Buy a first table tennis shoe is very important! You don’t want to ruin your footwork by using the wrong shoe. Today, I present the best table tennis shoes to buy.
In this tutorial, you will learn:
- How to choose the good table tennis shoes
- Know how to choose the right size for your feet
- Top 6 table tennis shoes to buy
Do we really need a pair of shoes in table tennis?
A player asked me “What is the best footwear for my table tennis?”
Is it worth buying a pair of shoes to play table tennis? The answer is Absolute Yes! Don’t ruin your footwork (4 movement patterns) by using bad and inappropriate shoes.
Table tennis is a specific sport. It requires you to do a lot of quick and small step footwork and also a lot of lateral movement. That’s the reason why, table tennis shoe is not the same as running shoe, tennis shoes, basket shoes or other indoor shoe.
Choosing the wrong shoes, not only prevent you to do the correct footwork, but it can also introduce the injury in table tennis. Especially “ankle injury” which is very common in table tennis.
Top players have the injury due to intense competition and training. Amateur players can have the injury due to bad shoes: high heel, slippy outer sole or bad support shoes.
How to choose good shoes
There are many table tennis shoes from different brands: Butterfly, DHS, ASICS, DONIC, Stiga, Joola, Mizuno, Adidas, etc. Here is my advice when you want to buy your first shoes for table tennis. I recommend you to buy cheap, and good quality table tennis shoes.
Based on my coaching experience, a good table tennis shoe should be light, thin outsole, low heel cap, and good protection on two sides.
- Don’t use running shoe in table tennis. Too thick outsole and high heel cap will prevent you to move side by side and can cause injury easily.
- Table tennis shoe needs thin and grippy outsole for excellent grip on the floor.
- It also has the flat heel, and good support to protect your foot to jump side by side.
- Firstly, I will buy a cheap shoe. I won’t spend 200 dollars for a table tennis shoe. Because most of the shoe is made in China, Vietnam, and Pakistan. I’m using a 50 dollars shoes for more than 2 years, and I don’t have any problem with these shoes.
- Secondly, I recommend you to buy light shoes. Not heavier than 200 g/shoe. You need a light shoe for fast footwork in table tennis. The light shoe also has light-weight mesh fabric with as little leather as possible. And it’s is also Breathable (so your feet don’t get too hot).
- And lastly, I prefer thin outer sole but grippy sole. We don’t need thick support sole. Because, in table tennis, the floor is normally gerfloor or gym floor (sprung floor), which absorbs shocks, giving it a softer feel. So thinner and lighter sole is better!
Please remember: light, flat outsole, low heel cap and breathable is best shoe!
Top 06 best table tennis shoes
You can have your favorite brands. So I recommend you to buy the table tennis shoes during serious training. Don’t use running shoes or tennis shoes! Here are some of my favorite shoes: (listed in my Influencer page)
- Joola Rally Blue
- Mizuno Wave Drive 7
- Joola Vivid Petrol
- Energy Force XII Shoes
- Butterfly Lezoline
- Li-ning CNT Ma Long
Here is my conclusion:
- If you want to buy cheap and good shoes (less than 50 dollars), you won’t go wrong with Joola Rally shoes (check price).
- If you can afford expensive shoes (100 dollars range), comfortable, and light shoe, go for Mizuno Wave Drive 7 (more info/ check price).
- If you want a professional-grade shoe, Butterfly Lezoline (check price) is the best shoe for you.
So, here are some good and well-known table tennis shoes. You won’t go wrong with these shoes.
1. Joola Rally Blue
If you don’t know which shoes to buy. I recommend you Joola Rally Blue. Why? Because it’s so classic! Every young player in my club uses it! Cheap, durable (more than 2 years), and breathable. You won’t have any problem with it. Comfortable and stylish and looking good and good price!
Joola Rally blue (Check price/ Read review / Order) is trendy and professional looking. It gives a good grip on most surfaces. On really slippery surfaces, you can try Mizuno shoes which provides a much better grip.
2. Mizuno Wave Drive 7
If money is not your problem, then you can buy more expensive shoes. Mizuno is well known and expensive shoes (Check price/ More info/ Read review). It is light! The cushioning and support are good too! Many professionals who use Mizuno shoes. They have a good grip even when they are old. But more importantly, they are light (about 270g) and very comfortable from the first time you put them on.
Wave Drive A7 is very famous, especially in Asian. You will see a lot of professional Asian players play with A7. It’s a unisex shoe that means it fit for both male or female table tennis player. Very good shoes! I like this one because it’s very light and comfortable on my feet!
3. Joola Vivid Petrol
Joola vivid is the new model 2018 of Joola. If you want the latest model, then here it is. I recommend you to buy Joola shoes. The new model is Vivid. Why? Because Joola shoe is cheap. The quality is good. I don’t have any problem with Joola shoes.
The latest model of Joola Shoe in 2018 are Joola Vivid Petrol and Joola Vivid Hellblau-rosa. Vivid Petrol has a nice color combination. Young and dynamic!
The support for two sides is good (help you jump side by side). The sole gives a good grip, and it’s not too thick, which is good. It’s a little bit heavy, but it’s OK. It’s rather durable, I have used a Joola shoe for more than 2 years. For this new model, you can buy it directly on the Joola shop (Buy online / Check Price / Hellblau-rosa model)
4. Energy Force XII Shoes
The Energy Force 12 Shoe (Read review / Check price 1 / Check price 2) is the latest edition in the Energy Force Series from Butterfly. Very light and anti-slip. Very well looking shoes as well. Energy Force 12 has many of the benefits of its predecessors such as NC Rubber, P–Gel, Magic Ventilation, and other popular features. “Quick Counter” was designed for Energy Force 12 by analyzing the footwork of top players. Quick Counter is installed in the heel to prevent sliding due to the intensive side to side footwork. The Energy Force Series from Butterfly is joint–developed and produced by ASICS.
5. Butterfly Lezoline (Timo Boll’s shoes)
Butterfly Lezoline shoes (Check price/ Read review/ Order) are the favorite shoes of many professional table tennis players, including Timo Boll. Shoes are light and really breathable. Perfect table tennis shoe. Very comfortable, light, with perfect grip. There is no bad odor even after many hours of practicing.
These shoes are phenomenal! The support from the shoes is great. Highly recommend sport orthotic insole. It’s similar to the Asics Gel shoes which are recommended by many players.
6. Li-ning shoes (CNT Ma Long)
The outer side of the sole is designed to prevent rollover, securely support for both feet, high protection while playing table tennis. The textile material with mesh vents makes shoes more breathable.
Three types of foot
Before choosing your shoes, you need to understand your feet. Do you know that human has 3 types of foot? Chinese National Team measures the foot morphology for each player. I will explain to you quickly right now.
You need to understand your foot morphology. It will help you to select the right shock absorption and the midsole.
Your foot type will decide how thick the midsole, and also the lacing technique for your shoes.
In general, there 3 types of foot morphology: Normal foot, High arch, and Flat Foot.
How to determine your foot morphology?
There is a simple technique, called “Wet Test”. You can do it at home easily.
- Put your feet in the water.
- And step on to a paper.
- When you look at your foot imprint, you will see 3 common foot types: Flat, Normal, and High.
- If you have a flat foot, buy cheap and thin insoles will help you during the long training sessions.
- For a high arch foot, you should use custom support midsole.
- If you have a normal arch, choose the normal shoe without any modification
Lacing technique for table tennis shoes
There is also the perfect way to lace your shoes for your foot type. There are 4 types of lacing techniques for your table tennis shoes.
- Combination lacing: good for flat arch
- Forefoot lacing: for a wide forefoot
- Lock lacing: for who has a narrow heel
- Midfoot lacing: best for table tennis, best for lateral movement
Are badminton shoes good for table tennis?
Some players asked me the difference between badminton and table tennis shoes. Badminton shoes are in general, a little bit harder and heavier. Badminton shoes have a higher heel cap to protect your feet while moving laterally.
Some peoples say that you can use the badminton shoes for table tennis. But I won’t recommend you to do that. Because in table tennis, you need a light, and a thin sole. Please read below for the reason, that you shouldn’t use a badminton shoe or a tennis shoe for your table tennis.
Buy a good table tennis shoe! Don’t use badminton shoes.
Sizing Chart Instructions
Before you purchase your shoes, please take the time to measure the insole of a current sports shoe you wear. Then compare it to the chart above and chose the correct size. Sizing varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
As such, do not just order a size based on a different brand of shoe you wear. The correct way to measure is from the tip of the toe to the back of the heel, between the two furthest points. I recommend you to buy a little bit larger size for your feet (1 size larger). Too small shoes will hurt your feet.
Here is the table to convert the size of your table tennis shoes to the EU, UK, CN scale.
|US Size||Euro Size||Japan Size||Inches||mm|
Table tennis shoes for the Chinese National Team
That’s why Chinese National Team members are extremely selective about their equipment. Not only their blade and rubber but also their shoes.
Each year, about 10 types of blade are given for National Team to try.
And then it often takes 2 to 3 modification to satisfy them. About hundreds of thousands of blades are given to the Chinese National Team each year. The top player can easily feel the small difference in equipment.
For example, Zhang Jike uses 40.5 degrees on his Hurricane 3. Even though the DHS (Double Happiness) machines measure the precise value, Zhang Jike can still feel it when the hardness isn’t perfect or when the hardness isn’t what he wants.
Different shoes can be made for different foot characteristics or different shapes. Modifications for grip and even appearance can also be done.
Zhang Jike wants his left shoe to have the letter (J ***) on the back of his shoe, with 3 stars underneath it to symbolize Grand Slam winner, and his right shoe to have the letter “K” but with only one star underneath it, and 2 question marks.
Zhang Jike’s feet is also unique in that size 25.5 is too small for him while size 26 is too big. So the team buys 25.5 for him but also buys an expander in which they put the shoe for 3 days to have it expanded to 25.75. They want to have the perfect possible types of equipment!
I sill see some amateurs players go to the club, with the outdoor shoes, or very high heel cap shoes. It’s not serious! Just buy a good and cheap table tennis shoes! It’s designed to train and improve your table tennis techniques correctly!
You should read
Coach EmRatThich was born in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1983. He started playing table tennis at the age of 8. After finishing his Ph.D. in Paris, University Pierre Marie Curie (Sorbonne University) in 2011, he is now a table tennis coach in a small club in France (about 153 players). Interested in table tennis coaching for a global audience, he founded pingsunday.com, one of the best online coaching programs for table tennis players. Using the Chinese coaching philosophy, his table tennis lessons are free, which allows many table tennis players to improve fast. He can speak English, French, Vietnamese, and a little bit of Chinese.