The Difference Between Running Shoes and Badminton Shoes

There’s a shoe for every activity on this world. Athletic shoes make your workouts more convenient and under the proper conditions, boost your performance as well. Running shoes and badminton shoes are two such versions of athletic footwear that satisfy a very specific portion of sports. Knowing us humans, there’s a common tendency where we tend to alternate one thing for another. However, when you switch out one shoe for something else and get the substitute wrong, you run the risk of damaging your legs as well as slowing down progress. When it comes to the difference between running shoes and badminton shoes, there are quite a few factors that must be mentioned.

Running shoes vs. badminton shoes: are there any differences between these two? If yes, what are they? And more importantly, how severely does alternating one for the other affect us?

In short, you can distinguish between running and badminton shoes through their height, soles, material, and flexibility. They feature unique designs with very few similarities.

Today, we will be conducting an in-depth research into the factors separating running shoes from badminton shoes.

You can also read: Can I Wear Training Shoes for Running?


The Difference Between Running Shoes and Badminton Shoes

Photo by: athima tongloom

Without doubt, this is the biggest difference between the two.

Sole Thickness

For thickness in soles, running shoes are on the thicker side and are much more durable. In contrast, badminton shoes feature super thin in and outsole. However, this is intentional due to numerous reasons.

A thinner sole allows the player to feel more of the ground during play. In badminton, you need to make a ton of explosive moments.  The more ground you can feel, the more explosive your hits can be.

The soles on running shoes need to be thicker so the wearer doesn’t feel extra pressure. This protects the feet from injuries when running for prolonged periods.

Materials of Soles

The Difference Between Running Shoes and Badminton Shoes

Photo by: Kypros

There is a general material difference in running shoes vs. badminton shoes. Badminton shoes come with gum rubber soles while those of running shoes feature a rubber construction. Rubber and gum rubber aren’t the same thing. Yes, they’re both variants of rubber but do bear significant differences.

Gum rubber is thinner, softer, more flexible but not as durable, especially in comparison to rubber used to make running shoes. Plus, gum rubber is generally yellow in color. 

Running shoes’ soles need to have a rubber construction since they’re more durable and can be used to run for miles. Much more compared to badminton. One of the primary reasons you can’t substitute badminton shoes for running shoes is because badminton shoes would wear up rather fast.


Photo by: 10'000 Hours

Flexibility matters a great deal in badminton. And this isn’t just limited to the player’s body. Shoes play a big role in enhancing performance in all kinds of sports, and badminton is no exception. Badminton shoes take the lead in the flexibility department. Badminton is a game filled with a need to make short, fast-paced movements.

Your shoes must be able to adjust to your feet shape regardless of the kind of movement you make, including lunges, sidestep, jumping, and more. With flexible shoes, these quick movements are easier, comfier, and speedier to make.

In contrast, running shoes do not offer such flexibility as there’s simply no need. Majority of the times you’re running, you run only in a straight direction. The movements are same most of the time. There is a very little need for change of direction or maneuvering. However, in badminton, the player needs to be on the move at all times or they miss a shot.

Center of Gravity

Photo by: Corey Jenkins

No, you weren’t hallucinating when you thought you had grown taller the moment you put your running shoes on. These shoes with extra tall heels. Badminton shoes don’t feature this and are usually flat. This ensure the player has a lower center of gravity, giving them better control over their balance.

And since you’re moving in one general direction during runs, the center of gravity isn’t the biggest issue. In this case, balance from center of gravity isn’t as important as cushioning.

Can I Interchange Wearing Them?

That would be a no. After analyzing running shoes vs. badminton shoes, it’s very clear that these two should not be interchanged under any circumstance. If you’re going out on a run, put your running shoes on. And if you’re heading to the badminton court, wear your badminton shoes. Wearing running shoes while playing badminton is more dangerous than wearing badminton shoes to run.

A player is very vulnerable to injuries like ankle sprains or twists if they’re wearing running shoes for their badminton match. The height of running shoes’ heels makes it easier for the ankle to twist when the wearer changes directions swiftly.

In addition, it isn’t comfortable enough to for hours of uninterrupted play. They aren’t flexible enough to take the movements a player has to make during practice/games.

On the other hand, going vice versa, or wearing badminton shoes instead of their running brethren isn’t as dangerous, but we still wouldn’t recommend it. As mentioned before, badminton shoes have ultra-thin soles, which will be painful if the wearer runs or jogs for a long time in those.

Moreover, running will also inflict wear and tear upon the soft soles of the badminton footwear. If you’re running outside on concrete floors, the damages are more prominent. If you want to get the most use out of badminton shoes for a long time, make sure you’re only wearing them inside the badminton courts. Make sure to take good care of them.


Not surprisingly, there are a handful of differences when it concerns running shoes vs. badminton shoes. The primary variations lie in the soles, center of gravity, and flexibility. Given how soft their soles are, it’s no shock badminton shoes wear out faster. In conclusion, refrain from wearing them interchangeable because it can be dangerous. Never wear running shoes in place of badminton shoes, but the stakes are lower when it’s the other way around.

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