On a Saturday afternoon, I was filled with sheer delight as a friend of mine invited me to play a game of Badminton at a gymkhana. I made my way down to the gymkhana with house music reverberating in my head, enough to add to the existing excitement. I happened to get there a little earlier than expected, and made my way to the court. As I stepped onto the badminton arena, I was left in low spirits as my delight turned into bitter dejection. The badminton attendant said, ''I’m sorry, but you can’t be wearing these shoes on court.’’ To which I quickly replied, ‘'Well, they’re normal sport shoes.’’ Playing Badminton on a court for the first time I was politely told that the shoes I wore were not non-marking shoes. Then popped the question in my head.
So what are these so called 'non-marking shoes'?
Non-marking shoes are shoes that leave no mark behind on the traditional tiled or wooden floors. Additionally it prevents scuffing the floor. They are made from special rubber type material which provides smooth ride and maximum friction. These shoes are especially used during indoor sports such as badminton, volleyball, tennis, basketball.
How to find out you have a non-marking shoe?
There are mainly 2 ways to find whether you have non-marking shoes or not.
- Flip your shoes and make a dent on the sole using your thumb. If the dent recovers quickly, you have non-marking shoes.
- Take a plain white paper and keep it on the floor. Take your shoes and drag the sole of the shoe against the floor with force but do not tear the paper. Now look for a scuff mark on the paper. If you do not find any then you have a non-marking shoe.
How to maintain non-marking shoes?
- Avoid wearing them unless you are playing the sport you purchased them for
- Clean the sole regularly
- Let them dry from the activity before you put them in the bag
Should non-marking shoes be used for the running ?
Non-marking shoes should be avoided in outdoor spaces. They are not made for hard and rough surfaces. It would be advisable to go for running specific shoes, either for walking on the road or running on a treadmill as they are specifically designed for that purpose.
Are the same non marking shoes applicable for all sports?
The answer is NO. You have a variety of non-marking shoes available in the market for different purposes. Non-marking shoes are designed in different ways serving the demands of different games such as badminton, volleyball, basketball, etc.
Three main things for badminton shoes are grip, good cushioning and lightweight. The soles are made from thin gum rubber that creates better stability and traction. Good cushion helps in absorbing the shock of the foot which is due to quick reverse movements. Badminton shoes also have light mesh material which allow the feet to breathe. Wearing such non-marking shoes will give you enhanced foot movement, comfort, flexibility, and mainly reduced injury risk from full 360 degree ankle support.
Basketball shoes have thicker soles because of the need for high jumps such as dunking, rebounding, blocking, and defense. Thicker soles result in heavier shoes as compared to badminton shoes. Also basketball shoes go above the ankle giving maximum support. Additionally, they are made from rigid material and poor ventilation.
Tennis is played on a variety of surfaces such as clay, grass, synthetic, hard court and some indoor carpeted courts. Therefore there are a variety of tennis shoes catering to different courts and needs in terms of designs and structures but their main difference lies in the soles. Tennis shoes generally have endurance rubber which increases the durability of the shoes, albeit it results in increasing the weight of the shoe a little bit. Tennis shoes that are made for concrete courts have thickest soles and deep herringbone pattern while the ones made for clay are lightweight and have shallow herringbone pattern. The tennis shoes that are made for indoor courts are most flexible and lightweight with the smoothest non-marking shoes. Since the movements are relatively similar to that of badminton, you can use the same shoes to play badminton.
Each player in the game of volleyball has fixed positions and thus brings something different to the game. If you are in the front, you may want to jump high and attack, whereas if you are at the back of the court, you may need to get low and play defensively. This is important in choosing the right non-marking shoe for you. Every player in the game of volleyball, regardless of the position, should look for high grip in order to avoid slipping and lateral stability because of sudden change in the direction.
If you are in the back row which means you are playing defensive, you need to pay attention to extra stability and shock absorbers which is extra cushioning. And if you are in the front row, you should pay attention to enhance your jumping abilities for which you will need excellent cushioning for constant jump, light weight material, perfect fit and traction.
All in all, this has prepared me well enough to avoid future mishaps on the badminton court. Hope it helps you too. SportsEquip caters to your every need by providing authentic sports equipment right at your door-step.