The right type of footwork paired with the correct equipment is what you need when playing a game of table tennis. By equipment, we mean a pair of good quality grip paddles, balls, tables, and most importantly, comfy table tennis shoes.
So, if you’ve been playing table tennis for some time now, either as a recreational sport or planning to become a competitive player, you understand the need for energetic and precise footwork. In fact, no matter how great of an athlete you are, without the proper footwork, pulling off the strokes to the best of your ability isn’t possible.
Table tennis shoes are all that stand between a skilled player and scoring the best of their games. You might now be wondering what to look for buying table tennis shoes. And here’s where you’ll find the straightforward answer.
Table tennis requires a lot of lateral movements so you can’t alternate any random pair of running shoes to play this sport. These shoes were designed for moving or running straight, not crossways. Thus, they don’t include adequate cushioning on the sides.
Also, if you wear generic running shoes to play games with involve fast movements, chances are, you will end up with a foot injury.
Table tennis shoes must feature a thin sole due to two very simple reasons:
- To create more power – Thinner soles enable players to generate more powerful strokes.
- For fast-paced lateral motion - Table tennis requires constant, fast sideways movement. The center of gravity remains relatively low with thinner soles, and players can freely lateral movements without losing balance.
The ideal weight of sports shoes is under 300 gms. Anything more than that could slow the player down. As table tennis is naturally a fast sport, therefore, the last thing you would want is a pair of shoes so heavy they’re literally weighing you down, decreasing your footwork’s speed and affecting your performance negatively.
Table tennis is also a flat sport given the majority of movements being sideways. Thus, the best shoes for table tennis need to offer more lateral support so your feet can establish a steady grip on the ground during dynamic movements.
Typically, the sole features a rubber construction, or alternatively a better derivative of it with non-mark grooves for tractions. While the outer sole must offer enough traction on any given court, it shouldn’t be sticky to the extent that it would hinder your agility.
Heat tends to build up inside any sports shoe pretty fast due to the intensive workout your entire body is engaging in. Moisture accumulates inside the shoes. So, ventilation is a key factor to consider in what to look for when buying table tennis shoes. A high-quality upper mesh will allow proper air circulation.
Pay attention to the comfort and fitting of any shoe you buy, but it’s especially more important in these contexts. The insole has to appropriately and firmly hold the feet and ankle in place during the footwork. Anything too loose or too tight could lead to foot injuries.
Shoes for table tennis are designed with quick starts and stops in mind. The thin sole provides force and strength for the footwork. With that said, it can be quite hard on your ankles and knees.
Therefore, there must be adequate cushioning in the forefoot and heels area to decrease the stress on joints and the feet in general.
Your shoes will experience an elevated amount of stress in comparison to the average running shoes as you need to put in extra hours in the practice arena to be good in table tennis. Always aim for shoes with an air-permeable synthetic leather top or a KPU.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying Table Tennis Shoes
Apart from the basic things, what to look for when buying table tennis shoes that will give you an edge in the game? You need to think about foot size, type, and the kind of court you’ll be playing on. It’s not wrong to have your preferred aesthetic qualities in mind too.
Shape of the Feet
One of the most overlooked aspects, feet size actually matters quite a bit when choosing a shoe, especially shoes you will be wearing when hitting the gym or playing a sport. Your foot construction determines how you stand, walk, run, and also how the shoe feels, fits, your performance and posture in all outdoor and indoor games.
There are three kinds of feet:
- Neutral or normal arch – Any shoes with high stability or balance features; basically anything the market has to offer for the normal type.
- Supination or high arch – Look for shoes with a ton of cushioning.
- Pronation or flat foot – Best to get shoes offering superior motion control.
Table tennis shoes are available in two shapes:
- Narrow-mouth shoe
- Wide-mouth shoe
If your feet fall in the narrow to medium width category, opt for the normal-mouth shoes. If not, wide-mouth shoes will be your friend.
Playing Court Type
You can’t use the same kind of shoes for different floor surfaces as their composition (nature and materials) won’t make it a safe bet.
For table tennis courts made of hardwood and concrete, high cushioning shoes featuring hard outsoles are ideal. This will limit the stress your joints feel while the hard exterior raises the shoes’ resistant against wear and tear.
You don’t need to go out of your way to buy a pair of table tennis shoes, or anything for that matter. Know how much you can spare for your necessities and find shoes within that range. A professional pair can range anywhere from $100 to $150 while you could get intermediate-level shoes for about $50 to $100. Check your local sports store or Amazon.
The right footwear will boost your game up significantly. Now that you know what to look for when buying table tennis shoes, it’s time to make the pick. Glory awaits you on the court!