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How to Pick Court Shoes

YONEX POWER CUSHION AERUS 3R COURT SHOE BLACK

Just about every day, somebody who comes into our store to buy court shoes spends more time looking in the mirror than they do listening to our experts about court shoes. This is unfortunate. Court shoes are not about fashion. They are about performance. With that in mind, these are what your priorities should be when shopping for court shoes.

#1 Traction

Without question, the single most important factor to consider when purchasing a court shoe is traction. Court sports require sudden changes in direction. Sudden changes in direction require one thing above all else: traction. Mess this up and you could get seriously hurt.

Traction is also the most important consideration for our court shoe buyer. He understands that our players need shoes with excellent traction. So he examines every shoe we purchase carefully to ensure that it will serve our players well. If the brand or the model don’t offer sufficient traction, we don’t carry it.

#2 Fit

It may surprise you to learn that fit is actually a more flexible standard than most people think. In fact, most modern court shoes are designed in a way that permits players to wear their actual size or even one half-size bigger. When problems start to occur is when players try (and about half of our customers do) to cram their feet into shoes that are too narrow or too short for their feet.

Shoes are not skates. The rule is this: if you want to avoid foot problems when you are old, wear shoes that fit when you are young. Your toes cannot be crowded; they have to have room to move up and down and even spread out a little inside your shoe. Also important: your circulation should not be cut off, especially on the top of your foot. If you crank your laces like you do when you are tying skates or ski boots, you are cutting off circulation to your feet. A shoe should fit like a winter glove, not a pair of yoga pants.

#3 Function

Most court shoes are multi-functional. For example, badminton shoes can work for squash, volleyball, tennis or pickleball. However, not all court shoes work well for all sports. For example, there are almost no Mizuno volleyball shoes that our experts would recommend to squash, badminton or pickleball players.

In order to figure out which shoes are right for your sport, you really need to ask our experts. Once you pose the initial question, they will ask you a series of questions back. Once they have your answers, they will be able to help you narrow down your choices.

#4 Brand

Brand is almost, but not entirely, irrelevant when it comes to choosing court shoes. “Almost” because there are a few brands that do not make court shoes, or if they do, do not make them very well.

Our expert advice to customers is to ignore brand completely. The reason for this is simple. Too many customers get tunnel vision when it comes to brands. As a result, they end up buying shoes with inferior traction or shoes that don’t fit right or don’t function properly just because they want a particular brand. Teens and tweens are the worst for this. All too often, their top priority in court shoes is brand — not traction, not fit, not function.

#5 Style

Customers in our store often have the luxury of choice when it comes to style. Unless their feet are unusually large or unusually small, we will usually have plenty of shoes in stock that offer the right amount of traction in the right size and for the right sport. After that, it becomes a matter of choosing brands or styles to help narrow down their choices.

Unfortunately, customers with wide feet or other special needs, will never have the same style selection available to customers with “normal” feet. Wide court shoes are extremely hard to find and when our buyer does find them, they are usually bland. So if you have wide feet, focus on traction, fit and function only. Forget about brand and style. Those shouldn’t matter to you at all.

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Badminton Shoe Buying Tips

YONEX POWER CUSHION AERUS 3R COURT SHOE BLUE
Not all badminton shoes are created equal.
We sell hundreds of pairs of badminton shoes to players at all levels every month. And since most of our customers are repeat customers, we get a lot of feedback and we get many opportunities to see firsthand which shoes customers choose to buy again and which they do not. In addition to that, most of our staff play badminton themselves. So we get to spend a lot of time around people who play a lot of badminton and we get a chance to see what works for them and what does not.

YONEX NOT THE ONLY BRAND

Yonex ™ is our top selling brand of badminton shoes. There is no question about that. Yonex’ dominance in this category is partly deserved and partly undeserved. It is deserved in the sense that they make good quality badminton shoes worn by some of the world’s best badminton players. However, it is undeserved in the sense that other manufacturers make equally good badminton shoes that some players refuse even to consider as badminton shoes.

Asics, for example, like Yonex, is headquartered in Japan and is renowned for making top quality court shoes which are perfectly suitable for badminton and other court sports. In fact, some of their models, are made specifically for badminton. And perhaps most importantly, Asics shoes are designed for North American feet and therefore tend to fit North American feet better than Yonex shoes. Yet many badminton shoe customers completely overlook Asics badminton shoes because they don’t association the name Asics with badminton.

Asics is not the only brand to suffer this fate, though. Babolat, for example, makes slightly roomier shoes than either Yonex or Asics which are perfectly suitable for both recreational badminton and North American foot shapes, but few players even consider Babolat when looking for badminton shoes.

So our first piece of advice for customers shopping for badminton shoes generally is to take off the blinkers look at brands beyond the narrow world of Yonex. While there is no question that Yonex makes excellent shoes, there is also no question that Yonex shoes are designed primarily for the Asian market while other brands are equally good and tend to be better fits for North American feet.

NOT ALL SHOES ARE MADE FOR ADULTS

Shoe companies are smart. They understand their customers better than their customers understand themselves. For example, they all understand that they don’t have to make all of their shoes equally well because not all customers are going to wear their shoes for an equally long period of time.

Every year, for example, major brands like Yonex and Asics release one or two models that are designed for teenagers who will generally outgrow their shoes before they have a chance to wear them out. Naturally, these shoes are of lower quality than shoes which will be worn by adults over long periods of time. They have enough grip to last for a month or two.

They are built well enough to last through a typical six-to-eight-week high school badminton program. However, they are not built well enough to be suitable for adults who will be wearing them over the long haul. Nevertheless, they come in adult sizes and there are always adult players willing to buy them because they think they are getting a deal. They are not.

Therefore the second tip in our buying guide is to make sure that you are buying the right GRADE of badminton shoes. If you are buying for a teen who will only be playing for a short period in a school program, you may be able to get away with BUDGET grade badminton shoes. However, if you are an adult whose feet have stopped growing, avoid BUDGET grade shoes and go straight to RECREATIONAL or COMPETITIVE grade shoes instead.

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LISTEN TO

Finally, while many players tend to get their information regarding shoe purchases from other players, other players are usually not the best source of information when it comes to badminton shoes. Why is this? If you look around the courts where you play, you will see that most players are wearing shoes that are more than two seasons old any many have not purchased shoes in four years or more.

Think about the cell phone or computer you had four years ago. Shoe technology has been changing equally fast. So do you really want to make a decision about your footwear technology based on information offered by a customer who last bought shoes four years ago?

Materials and technologies are changing so quickly that even large department and box stores cannot keep up with the latest developments. In fact, large sporting goods stores order their shoes so far in advance that the shoe technology they offer is sometimes out of date before it even hits their shelves. The Yonex Aerus is a great example of this phenomenon. By the time most of the major sporting goods stores had Aerus shoes on their shelves, most of the high caliber players had already decided that the shoe was not a good one and were already moving on to the next big thing.

As a shoe buyer, your best course of action is to come into our store and try some shoes on. Our staff will find out where you are playing, how often you are playing, the level you are playing at and other important details. They will then be able to recommend a category of shoes that are suitable for your needs.

We carry a variety of badminton shoes in a variety of width suitable for both Asian and North American players. We know the difference between budget, recreational and competition grade shoes and we are completely up-to-date on the latest shoe technology.