5 Best badminton shoes to dominate the courts (2024)

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I was down at the badminton court one morning comparing notes on the best badminton shoes with the other players.

I realized that we are often so focused on expressing our opinions, that we don’t realize we are talking past each other.

One player argues shoe A is best as it offers the best value for money. Another says shoe B is best because it’s ultra-lightweight regardless of its price point, while a third suggests that the most important thing is to protect your body, making shoe Z the best.

When comparing the best badminton shoes it’s hard to compare apples to oranges like that as they fulfill different needs.

Instead, we’ll have to look at them as different categories and find the best badminton shoe within each of them.

The best badminton shoe brands

There are plenty of shoe brands out there making sports shoes, and in theory, you could use any of them if you’re playing outdoors.

But, if you’re like most other badminton players and prefer indoor courts, you’ll need shoes made for that. I know some players who prefer to play in more casual trainer-type shoes and all the more power to them.

The critical part is that it’s a non-marking shoe made for indoor sports, which usually means that the outsole isn’t black underneath. Everything else is based on your preferences and you could use a shoe from another indoor sport. 

There are several brands that make badminton shoes and there isn’t one that’s simply better than the others as many compete across the same subcategories, like being budget-friendly, most lightweight, best to prevent injuries, etc.

That being said, players tend to favor one of the big three as the best badminton shoe brands: Yonex, Li-Ning, or Victor.

Before we dive into the review summary of my favorite picks in each shoe category, let’s look at a comparison matrix to give you an easy overview.

I’m attempting to plot these shoes into a matrix, so it’s easier for you to compare and get an overview. It’s tricky to get right, especially across brands and price ranges, so take it with a grain of salt as it’s hardly perfect.

On one axis we have light and fast the shoe is against being bulkier with more injury protection. On the other axis, you’ll see cushioning and comfort against a more naked and raw feel.

It’s hard to compare durability across different use cases and plot it into a matrix like this one, so I’ve left that metric out.

Here’s a table with more information about my pick for the best badminton shoe in each category.

Shoe CategoryThe best all-aroundThe best budgetThe best protectorThe best cushionedThe best lightweight
Shoe TypeAll-AroundAll-AroundSupportiveSupportiveLightweight
Shoe NameVictor A970AcePerfly BS530Yonex Eclipsion Z3Victor P9200IIIYonex Aerus Z2
ProsAwesome fitFairly durable for the priceAwesome fitGreat comfort + shock absorptionUltra lightweight
ConsLess durable outsole than other modelsBarebones cushioningLimited midsole cushioning + comfortThe heel is too lowLimited toe box + midsole cushioning
Weight per shoe (size 285 cm)361.6 g-379.4 g370.1 gTBD
Ratings
Fit and upper shoe100%30%90%80%TBD
The grip and outsole90%40%90%90%TBD
Toe protection80%-90%85%TBD
Insole/Airflow and heat reduction75%-70%70%TBD
The heel (area)85%--70%TBD
Cushion and shock absorption85%30%70%95%TBD
Durability90%50%90%100%TBD
Value for money90%60%80%80%TBD
Average Score87%42%85%84%TBD

If you’re considering shoes as a gift for a badminton player, consider reading this guide for more details.

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That means I’ll include links to buy the gear I review and if you do, the shop pays me a small commission. That doesn’t change your price and it allows me to purchase gear and create more un-sponsored reviews for you. I thought it was fair to let you know.

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Aske

To find the best badminton shoes, let’s dive into the following five shoe categories:

1. The best all-around: Victor A970Ace

2. The best on a budget: Perfly BS530

3. The best protector: Yonex Eclipsion Z3

4. The best cushioned: Victor P9200III

5. The best lightweight: Yonex Aerus Z2

The best badminton shoes in 10-hour tests on court: review summaries

Let’s dive into the shoes!

1. The best all-around: Victor A970Ace

the best badminton shoe for all-around: a970ace

The best all-around shoe is its own category among the top badminton brands and I recently changed my opinion about the best performer overall.

Since getting the Yonex SHB 65Z3 I’ve loved the pair, but now that I’ve had a chance to test the newly competing shoe from Victor, The A970Ace used by Lee Zii Jia and Anders Antonsen, I find that one better suited for my feet.

It’s slightly narrower at the front of the shoe and feels a tad more protective at the bottom of the big toe along with at the very front where the toes bump against the shoes when explosively lunging to defend a tight net shot. I especially noticed this during front court drills.

At the same time, the midsole feels like it’s providing a slightly nicer cushion underneath the foot compared to the 65Z3.

Many of the other areas they compete on, such as the grip underneath the outsole, felt equally good despite being made with different technology.

Update: I’ve been going back and forth between this model and the Li-Ning Yun Tin being my favorite.

I actually prefer the Li-Ning, which is why I believe it’s the model with the best cushioning I’ve tried, but after playing with it for a while longer I discovered something annoying that didn’t appear during my initial test. Scroll down to the ‘best cushioned’ section to find out what that was.

That means I’m back to preferring this Victor model as the shoe I currently play with. Here’s my detailed test and review of the Victor A970Ace.

2. The best on a budget: Perfly BS530

Finding the budget-friendly best badminton shoe is always tricky as you know that the brands have to cut down on something in order to make it available at the price point you’re interested in.

I’ve found that we tend to get a little extra by considering brands that are fighting to get more market share as they’ll usually go the extra mile to impress us, customers. The problem is that it’s usually hard to tell which brands those are, except it’s not the most established ones like Yonex.

One example is Decathlon’s Perfly brand which makes badminton gear. I used their Perfly BS 530 shoe, costing about $40 here in Vietnam, a few times a week for six months or so and I was happy with them. They offered good value for money and didn’t break as opposed to the Yonex shoe in the same price range I got after.

best badminton shoes - the best budget shoe is the perfly bs530

The Perfly BS 530 has extra padding on the outer layer of the shoe, on the inner side of your foot, for better durability when you lunge and use your non-racket leg to control the movement.

It also has the non-marking indoor sole, required of most venues. The shoe has a bit of shock absorption–what I’d expect considering the price, but nothing spectacular. In fact, just a little compared to other budget shoes like Yonex’s Precision 1.

Overall, this is the best budget badminton shoe I’ve tried. If I had to start over and get another budget shoe, I’d probably get this one again.

3. The best protector: Yonex Eclipsion Z3

the best protector category for best badminton shoes

If you’re looking for the best shoe to protect your feet, you might like Yonex’s new Eclipsion Z3.

yonex eclipsion z3 unboxing

The color scheme of the newest edition looks hella fresh and is known for firm stability, some cushioning, and durability.

It felt decently cushioned, but nothing crazy, and I wouldn’t mind it having slightly more. For this shoe it’s all about stability, meaning your feet are locked in to avoid moving around to cause you issues. I found it to be extra snug, almost like a badminton boot if there ever was one as I share in my review play-testing the Eclipsion Z3.

It comes with the grippy radial blade sole, which is awesome, and my current favorite outsole as it’s like glue without being too much.

The Eclipsion Z3 has ventilation holes underneath the shoe, which is especially nice if you get hot feet while playing (I play in what feels like a sauna, so for me it’s critical). That being said, it’s still a fairly hot shoe to play in–hotter than performance shoes like Yonex’s SHB 65Z3 or Victor’s A970Ace.

One downside to this shoe is that the heel area is extra tall and caused some irritation against my skin for the first 10-15 hours of playing, but that did disappear afterward.

Overall, it’s a great badminton shoe for the player who wants to prioritize protection and staying injury-free over speed and performance. It’ll be a good fit for the casual adult player, rather than the ambitious tournament player.

4. The best cushioned: Victor P9200III

best badminton shoe in the most cushioned category - matrix of victor p9200iii

When it comes to the best badminton shoes for support, as opposed to a balance all-around or being lightweight, I notice two subcategories. One is stiff and injury-preventive, especially towards the ankle, while another is all in on cushioning and comfort.

The latter is what I’m looking at here and Victor’s P9200III does that well.

It’s heavy, bulky, and even hot. The upper heel has a thick sausage cushion for fit and comfort but is too low for my preference. Testing it felt like my foot would sneak up and out of the shoe at times even though it didn’t happen.

But in exchange for that you get the most comfortable shoe I’ve tested in terms of shock absorption and softness when landing from jumps or any other move around the court.

The new drop-in midsole concept combines the insole and midsole. It works well, feels bouncy, and is nicely slide-resistant to avoid your feet moving within the shoe.

victor p9200iii new drop in midsole example

The P9200III’s toe box has lots of padding and is the most comfortable shoe I’ve come across when you have to do hard stops on lunges that push your toes to the front of the toe box (alongside Yonex’s Eclipsion Z3).

In my experience, this type of cushioning isn’t as good for preventing ankle rolls, but it can help prevent knee issues in the long term.

Here’s my in-depth review of the Victor P9200III after testing it for ten hours on court and keeping it in my shoe rotation for even longer.

5. The best lightweight: Yonex Aerus Z2

yonex aerus z2 ultra light badminton shoe

In the best lightweight shoe category, Yonex’s Aerus Z2 is the best I’ve tested. It feels similar to their popular 65z3, but with even less cushioning and a more raw (and lightweight feel).

While testing this shoe, I’ve noticed how I feel less tired and not like I’m carrying around extra weight during the final stretch of a long session or match. Some shoes feel heavy when it matters most, but not this baby.

This is expected in the lightweight category and the trade-off is only a little cushioning in the midsole (underneath your foot during landings and other moves) and toe box. If you perform many hard stops during lunges, your toes will feel fatigued in this shoe.

I anticipate that this model will be well-suited for players who are light on their feet with a low body weight. Heavier players will likely feel that it doesn’t carry enough padding for a flagship badminton shoe.

The Aerus Z2 (late 2022) model

I’m currently finishing testing this shoe on court. I’ll update this section when I have the finished review ready for you.

The best men’s badminton shoe vs. the best women’s badminton shoe

When it comes to the best men’s badminton shoes and the best women’s badminton shoes, the top brands tend to have each of their flagship shoes available in specific models for each gender.

That means the suggestions above still apply no matter your gender and some models have unique colors made specifically for each gender.

The best Yonex badminton shoes (for the fan-boys out there)

Many of the shoes I’ve covered are Yonex shoes, so you could argue that this is almost an article on the best Yonex badminton shoes. 

If you’re a fan of Yonex products and are looking for the best performance shoe they offer, check out the Yonex SHB 65Z3 (the number “3” stands for the third generation, which is the latest model).

It offers a good balance between comfort, speed, and protection. I’ve written an in-depth Yonex 65z3 review based on my own experience play-testing this shoe. In short: it’s great.

It’s grippy and protects your toes fairly well when, say, you are performing quick stop-movements like lunging to get a tight net or drop shot. It’s reasonably comfy for a high-end shoe and the power cushion feels a bit like having a basic pillow wrapped on your feet while still being lightweight and quick to move around on court.

I’ve been struggling to find detailed information that gave me confidence in the shoe models from Victor and LiNing. The next step is for me to buy each of their flagship models and test them out myself.

Takeaways

4 comments
  1. I know this may or may not come as a factor. But can carbon-plated shoes give you a significant boost in performance like in running?

    1. Hey Dirga, it hasn’t been my experience that it gives a significant boost in performance. I’ve found it helpful for stability when you’re moving around the court, so you’re better able to land as planned rather than twisting your feet. I imagine many players likely won’t notice the difference most of the time.

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