So for my first couple of months of playing badminton I played in my normal trainers (sneakers). They are a pair of lovely, soft, flexible trainers which I wear for normal gym sessions. Not too snug and not too loose.
Pretty soon though my husband started telling me that I can’t wear them to badminton and I need to get some badminton trainers. I didn’t understand the difference. Why did I need different ones? Anyhow, I needed to establish that I was going to continue playing badminton before investing in new footwear for it. That’s quite a commitment you know!
Two (2) months passed and I thought, ok I do really like badminton, I’ve not stopped playing and it looks like I’m going to carry on. I can now commit to buying some trainers for it!
So I turned to my good friend Google, knowing nothing about the type of trainers I need except that they need good grip. I just wanted them to be cute. I know, priorities! My colleagues at work gathered around and voted for the ones they thought looked best: Babolat Shadow Tour 2 women’s court shoes in pink and yellow. They cost me £70 but I felt quite pleased with myself.
I told my husband and he told me he hadn’t heard of anyone getting Babolat trainers for badminton before and after googling them he thought they weren’t right for badminton. Gulp, I was worried now and didn’t want to admit it. Should I cancel? Worry, sweat, worry.
They arrived and they were beautiful. I guess everyone has their own opinion on this, but I really like them. They’re more orange than pink which I like. They are neon, you can pretty much see them from space! No-one is going to lose me anytime soon!
Excuse my pyjamas in the picture!
More about the trainers themselves:
- Midsole Vent System – support is provided by the plastic bridge under the arch. This allows placement of underfoot vents so air is drawn in and pushed out using movement of your foot to aid in cooling.
- Babolat and Michelin collaborated on the rubber grip at the bottom. When I read this I thought well, I’ve heard of Michelin tyres and if they’re good enough for cars, they’ll be good enough for my feet! In real life when I saw the rubber grip at the bottom, it looked similar to the grip I’ve seen on my husband’s trainers which I found reassuring. Most badminton trainers seem to have either this or a honeycomb design from what I’ve seen.
- Dual density midsole – the heel section is designed to cushion the foot from lunges and landing forces with one type of foam. Then the forefoot uses more responsive foam to cushion and rebound energy to move faster on court. I have found these quite nice and springy, so I feel they do help me lift off from the ground and they definitely provide a nice soft landing for my return.
- HTS 360 – A foot stability system with heel, ankle and lateral foot supports. A frame is activated when lacing for heel and ankle support and there are 2 lateral straps for forefoot support. I must say that these trainers feel super secure when I have them on. I didn’t realise how important this was until I got these. In my old trainers, my feet were just slipping and sliding within my shoe. In these my feet will only go where directed and will not go further than I want either! If I go further on the court, that is purely my own misjudgement.
- Stretch resistant mesh upper – so weight is reduced by use of this strong mesh rather than bulky supports. I do find these trainers relatively lightweight.
- Drag resistant plate – heavy duty drag plate to prevent wear on the shoe when the rear foot is dragged in a lunge. I don’t suppose I will feel this as much but my husband gets through so many pair of trainers when playing badminton. I guess his feet go through more impact and more intense movement than mine do at this stage.
There were very few reviews online for me to check before buying these trainers, so it was a complete stab in the dark. I am usually a size 3 (36) but went for size 3.5 which are a perfect fit. From the few reviews I did find, everyone said that the trainers are quite painful when breaking them in. I was nervous about this because let’s face it, who wants to put their feet though pain?!
As it turns out, these trainers have been mega comfortable. I have had no pain in them at all. They feel so secure when I am wearing them that I feel in complete control of my movement. The lateral support is great and so important if you don’t want to slide off your soles! I love the cushioning of them because it acts as a great springboard and a great shock absorber.
I have been wearing them a few times a week for a month now. I have no other badminton shoes to compare these to but I do really like them as my first pair. The first few times I wore them, I felt like my feet were far sweatier than usual but this has calmed down now and I don’t feel that they are any warmer. Only thing now is for me to remember to take them off before leaving the court!
My husband often says that footwear is the most important piece of equipment in badminton, even more so than a racket. I’m inclined to agree with this now.