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Slipping and Sliding in Badminton Shoes

yonex-shb-34-300x238

Recently, I went to play badminton with drop-in group I had never met before. I was invited by a friend who wanted me to experience for myself just how slippery the floors were in the high school gym the group called home. In fact, he was so concerned about the floors that he wanted me (as a coach) to write a letter to the school board regarding the danger to athletes forced to compete in such conditions.

“OK,” I said when invited. “I’ll come.” But I knew full well what I was going to find when I got there, so I asked my friend what his shoe size was so that I could bring some shoes to test on the slippery floors. “It won’t make a difference,” my friend warned me. “Everybody is having the same problem. It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes they wear.”

In all there were 17 players present on the night I visited. Looking around the gym about 30 minutes into the session, I saw two players in Nike running shoes and 15 in court shoes. Of the 15 wearing court shoes, two were wearing tennis shoes and five were wearing Mizuno volleyball shoes with synthetic rubber heels.

The remaining eight were wearing indoor court shoes suitable for badminton. Of these eight, five pair were models that Yonex ™ stopped selling three to five years ago, two were new budget models and one — only one pair of shoes on the 17 players present — was a new model from the recreational category.

Halfway through the two hour session, my friend stopped play so he could formally introduce me and explain that I was there to examine the floor and potentially write a letter to the school board on the group’s behalf.

The first thing I did was ask for a show of hands. “How many people are slipping and sliding?” I asked. Almost every hand in the room shot up. “OK. How many people are not having problems?” Down went 15 arms and only two went up. One was the guy in the recreational grade badminton shoes and the other was a young lady in new budget grade shoes.

Without explanation, I divided the players into two groups. I put the two players with new shoes on one side of a badminton net and everybody else on the other. Then we did a little test. I asked the large group to show me how slippery the floor was. They obliged and made it clear that they were unable to maintain traction over most of the floor on their side of the court.

Then I asked the two players on the other side of the net to slip and slide around the floor on their side of the court. Of course, they could not. “No fair,” said one of the slip-n-sliders, “That side of the room has more traction because this side of the room has the doors and benches.” OK. Fair enough. I told the groups to change sides and we repeated the experiment. The young lady with the budget shoes was able to slide a little, but the guy with the recreational grade shoes had full traction of this side just as he had on the other.

To complete my demonstration, I asked my friend (one of the slip-n-sliders) and the guy with traction to remove their shoes. I then got down on my knees with one of their shoes in each hand. Pushing down and forward, I showed them how the worn out shoe in my left hand was able to slide across the surface while the shoe in my right hand refused to slide at all. I then invited the players to try it themselves and several did.

While they were doing that, I went to my bag and took out a new pair of recreational grade badminton shoes and asked my friend to put them on. Once they were correctly tied to his feet, I asked him to demonstrate once again how bad to floor was in the gymnasium. Of course, he could not, because there was nothing wrong with the floor in the first place.

The most important feature of athletic shoes is traction. It’s not style. It’s not colour. It’s not price. It’s traction first. Fit second — and everything else is last. If you do not have proper traction, you will not play well, you will not be safe and you will expose yourself to injury.

Buy good shoes with maximum traction and take care of them. Budget shoes are suitable for players who expect to outgrow them before they wear out. They are also suitable for players who will only need them for one session. Be aware, though, that budget shoes are a false economy. While they may cost 20-30% less than recreational grade shoes, they last half as long or less. So if you are a semi-frequent player, you will be buying budget shoes twice as often as recreational grade shoes because the traction they give you will be short-lived at best.

If you take care of recreational or competitive grade badminton shoes, you may get two full seasons out of them. But beware. Even the best organic rubber dries out over time. So you will have to replace your badminton shoes regularly, even if you don’t wear them, even if you take perfect care of them. Traction should be your guide. Once it’s gone, your shoes are done. Regardless of how much you paid for them, regardless of how much you like them, once the traction is gone, it’s time to replace them.

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Best Shoe to Replace the Asics Gel-Blast

ASICS GEL-BLAST 7 2301

The end of Asics ™ Gel-Blast shoe series came suddenly and without warning to Calgary squash players. Like the death of an old friend, he was always there and then suddenly … he wasn’t.

Not everyone loved the Gel-Blast. It was too heavy for some. It was not breathable enough for others. But the shoe had legions of fans.

In our opinion, the Gel-Blast was one of the best squash shoes ever made.

The Gel-Blast 5 was breathable and definitely the most popular model ever made.

Unfortunately, Asics followed up that legendary effort by totally crapping the bed with the Gel-Blast 6. It was a fine shoe, man was it uuuuuugly.

They recovered the following season with the Gel-Blast 7 which was definitely the best version of that shoe. Then it was gone.

So what do Blast fans do now? What shoe could possibly replace such a legendary squash shoe?

Ladies and gentlemen. May we present Babolat ™ Shadow Tour 2018.

BABOLAT SHADOW TOUR BLACK-YELLOW-BADMINTON-SHOE
The Babolat Shadow Tour is a worthy replacement for the Asics Gel-Blast series.

Not the 2017, mind you. The Shadow Tour 2017 was a nice shoe, but it’s not in the same league as the 2018 model.

The 2018 model is the perfect replacement for the Gel-Blast 7.

It has an awesome Michelin gum rubber sole, a 3D printed mid-sole and a carbon fiber upper that provides at least as much stability as any shoe in the Gel-Blast series.

For squash players, this shoe provides a platform that is every bit as wide as the Gel-Blast and a slide guard that is every bit as tough at the Blast’s famous Rhino skin.

In our expert opinion, this shoe is not only equal in every way to the discontinued Gel-Blast, it is better in every way than anything made by Salming.

For that reason our staff have rated this shoe as a five star option for squash players.

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Challenge – Kobra vs Shadow Tour

BABOLAT SHADOW TOUR BLACK-YELLOW-BADMINTON-SHOE
We think you will like the new Shadow Tour better than the Salming Kobra. Take a pair for a test drive and see for yourself.
Racquet Network is betting that Calgary squash players will like the Babolat ™ Shadow Tour better than the Salming Kobra.

In fact, we are so confident that players will like Babolat’s Shadow Tour better than Salming’s Kobra that we are inviting players to take them for a test drive.

“It doesn’t matter what you compare,” says Brent Johner, owner of Racquet Network, “The Shadow Tour is better shoe than the Kobra and it costs a lot less.”

“The gum rubber is better on the Shadow,” says Johner. “The upper is more durable. The eyelets for the laces are stronger. The insoles offer a better ride and the Shadow is better ventilated than the Kobra.”

In fact, Johner describes the Kobra as “seriously overpriced.”

“The Kobra sells for $220.00,” Johner points out. “The Shadow Tour is $170.00. How can that be, when the Shadow Tour is a much better shoe?”

To make the case and to give Calgary squash players an opportunity to decide for themselves, Racquet Network has arranged to have a fleet of Shadow Tour shoes available for players to test drive. After putting down a small security deposit, players are welcome to take a pair of Shadow Tours for a 24 hour test drive.

“There are going to be a few players who think it’s worth an extra $50.00 to wear shoes with the Salming name,” Johner predicts, “but I suspect that when players who already know the Kobras try the Shadow Tours, they will prefer to save the fifty bucks.”

Players who wish to take the Kobra vs Shadow Tour Challenge may come into our southwest Calgary store anytime during the 2018-19 season.

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Kids Court Shoes

YONEX ECLIPSION 2 JUNIOR TENNIS SHOE
We carry kids shoes that are ideal for use in school gymns.
Racquet Network carries Calgary’s largest selection of kids court shoes shoes. In fact, we have the largest selection of court shoes of all kinds.

Come in for a fitting with our experts and leave with the perfect fit for your feet. We are open 7 days a week. Monday to Friday 11:00am to 8:00pm. Saturday and Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Many of our kids shoes are ideal for use on the hardwood floors found in typical Calgary schools. They are perfect for volleyball, dodge ball, badminton, basketball, floor hockey, net ball, and other sports.

We carry all available sizes and offer three general price points including budget, recreational and performance.


Shoe Selector For a full list of shoes in this category, please check out our ONLINE SHOE SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, width and price.

Kids Court Shoes


Shoe Selector For a full list of shoes in this category, please check out our ONLINE SHOE SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, width and price.
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Where to find WIDE tennis shoes in Calgary

BABOLAT SFX 2 ALL COURT BLACK-BLUE
We carry wide tennis shoes for players with wide feet.
Racquet Network always has an awesome selection of tennis shoes at a variety of price points. Below is just a small sample of our selection.

We carry budget shoes, recreational shoes and high performance shoes for men, women and children.

We also offer wide tennis shoes for players who need them.

Customers can count on our experts to determine which shoe is best for the surface they will be playing on.

We also help customers with expert fittings that help to minimize foot pain caused by a variety of factors.

Come in for a tennis shoe fitting with our experts and leave with the perfect fit for your feet — even if those feet are wider than normal.

We are open 7 days a week. Monday to Friday 11:00am to 8:00pm. Saturday and Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm. We are closed for all statutory holidays.


Men’s Tennis Shoes

A small sample of our men’s tennis shoes.

Shoe Selector For a full list of shoes in this category, please check out our ONLINE SHOE SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, width and price.

Ladies Tennis Shoes

A small sample of our ladies tennis shoes.

Shoe Selector For a full list of shoes in this category, please check out our ONLINE SHOE SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, width and price.

Junior Tennis Shoes

A small sample of our junior tennis shoes.

Shoe Selector For a full list of shoes in this category, please check out our ONLINE SHOE SELECTOR. You can sort by sport, gender, brand, size, width and price.