Last Updated on March 31, 2020 by Austin Cunningham
One mistake that a beginner often makes is thinking that these are the same as running shoes. However, there are some striking differences between them, and playing this game with a running shoe can lead to some less than fortunate circumstances, not to mention injuries.
The design of a table tennis shoe gives you a better grip and footing to allow for quick and stable movement. It comes with a reinforced sole that facilitates complex footwork and fast reflexive motions. Additionally, they give you ankle support so that you don’t risk spraining your ankle during any sudden movement.
On top of these features, a TT shoe is light as a feather that weighs a maximum of 300 grams. Because of this lightweight design, you can move freely around the table without hassle. To put it bluntly, table tennis shoe sales a lot because of the fact that they feature a much better build quality than your traditional running shoes.
Where running shoes focus on forwarding motion, a table tennis shoe tends to both your forward and side movement. Besides, running shoes do not offer you that much ankle support without which, you risk serious injury while playing table tennis.
Do You Really Need A Pair of Shoes for Playing Ping Pong?
Is it worth spending your hard-earned money buying shoes for a game? Well, if you want the best possible experience with the game and also want to prevent unnecessary risk, the answer is pretty simple. Yes, you should invest in at least a pair of shoes specifically for table tennis.
The main difference between a regular shoe and a table tennis shoe is the build quality. A shoe made for TT is lighter and has better ankle support. Considering how much this game relies on quick ankle movement, you need all the help you can get. Just one misstep could lead you to bedrest for months if you are not careful.
If you are someone who is looking to get into the competitive side of this sport, then you definitely should opt for a decent pair of shoes. Most amateurs suffer from ankle injury solely because of wrong shoes. On top of that, without the right footgear, you will not be able to pull off the correct footwork that you need to shine at this game.
Speaking of footwork, table tennis requires you to do complex foot movements that are honed through rigorous practice. Without the correct pair, even your coach will discourage you from attempting them. That is not to say your table tennis shoe is only a one-trick pony. You can use the same pair of shoes for other sports such as volleyball, badminton, or even indoor soccer.
Truth About Shoes Made by TT Companies
Table tennis companies like Butterfly, Donic, etc. also make shoes, but they are often overpriced to the point that it’s laughable. However, apart from the price, there are some certain things you will get with TT shoes like –
- They will be very breathable
- Lightweight and comfy
- Flat/non-marking sole
Looks too good to be true, right?
The irony is that the material seems cheap. They wear out rather quickly and will stink up if you sweat a lot. I don’t know why they even bother to make these overpriced shoes.
They’ll turn into a skunk shoe in a heartbeat if you don’t wash them regularly. The only thing I like about them is that they are breathable than most shoes out there.
Table tennis shoes are designed to keep the needs of table tennis players in mind. For this reason, your style of playing should directly affect the choice of footwear. If you focus on offense and deliver strong strokes, then more cushioning is better. For a defensive player, lightweight shoes are a better option.
When buying a table tennis shoe, you should never cheap out. If you can afford it, go for high-quality footwear by a reputed brand. It would give you the best value in the long run since you can get better durability and will save a lot on repair costs.
However, squash shoes or badminton shoes can serve as a decent substitute for table tennis until you get to advanced levels. Avoid shoes that are heavy with a low heel cap. Also, check for proper grips. With cheap shoes, you will not get excellent traction, which can lead to you slipping or skidding.
Additionally, you should also avoid shoes that are not breathable. When playing, your feet will naturally get hot and sweaty. Without any breathability, the shoes will stink up and need a daily wash. That will, in turn, drastically reduce its lifespan.
- Can I use shoes made for other indoor sports in table tennis?
Technically, you can. However, keep in mind that those shoes will not serve you well in a competitive environment. Since shoes made for other sports are typically heavier, you have a high risk of injury playing with them. You might also not get the superior movement that comes with table tennis shoes.
- Do I need to break in the shoe after buying?
No, unlike other shoes, table tennis shoes do not need any breaking in. You can start playing the moment you get your hands on it.
You should never wear shoes made for another purpose for table tennis. They will not give you the proper support and freedom that you need while playing. For example, volleyball shoes are quite heavy. It will constrict your movement and get in your way when you are moving around the table.