“Do I really need a specific pair of table tennis shoes?” The professional players use table tennis specific apparel, including shoes made for the sport. In the beginning we all start out playing with our favourite pair of sneakers, but if you find you are getting a bit more serious about the game, or just want to look the part, then getting some ping pong shoes may be your next step (no pun intended!).
The table tennis court can be quite a slippery surface. The faster and better your game gets, the more you will find yourself slipping and sliding. Ping pong shoes, therefore, have a specially designed anti-slip sole that provides a far better grip than ordinary sneakers. Some sneakers, of course, work just fine on a table tennis court and provide great grip, but as your game improves, you will find the need for shoes specially designed for table tennis.
Table Tennis Shoes – Comfort Is Important
Most table tennis shoes are lighter than regular sneakers, have a narrower design, and are made of a more ‘breathable’ material than normal shoes. These might seem like minor issues, but when you start playing serious table tennis, little things like the shoe’s breathability or grip can have a great impact on your game.
Ping pong shoes aren’t some kind of magical equipment that will instantly elevate your game to dizzying heights. But if you do decide to buy a pair of these shoes, make sure that comfort is your top priority over design, looks, or even price.
Ensure that the shoe fits well – take some time to walk around while wearing it. A lot of shoes tend to be narrow to fit a predominantly Asian consumer base. These shoes are uncomfortable for US consumers, so make sure that the shoe is wide/narrow enough for your feet. Having said that, if you buy one of the big brands like Butterfly or Stiga then you should have no difficulty.
Fabrics and Support
The shoe should ideally be made of light-weight mesh fabric with as little leather as possible. This is because leather, as a material, is quite heavy and does not breathe as well as mesh fabric.
Most ping pong shoes have a low cut since you don’t really need much ankle support for playing table tennis. However, some players might feel more comfortable wearing shoes with a higher cut, so experiment with different designs until you find something that makes you comfortable.
Shock Absorption and Grip
The ideal shoe should also provide adequate shock absorption. This is an important factor that most people tend to overlook, especially if you are playing on concrete floors. A shoe that lacks the proper absorption qualities will make playing difficult for long durations.
The shoe sole is easily one of the most important factors. The sole should provide adequate grip, but at the same time, allow you to slide across the court. Make sure that you buy a shoe that fits your playing style. If you prefer to slide, choose a sole that offers less grip. If you prefer a stronger grip, pick a shoe with a patterned/ribbed rubber sole.
Table Tennis Shoes – Summary
When buying table tennis shoes it’s worth going with one of the popular brands. If you can, test out the shoes yourself and find a pair that fits your feet and playing style. Keep comfort and fit at the top of your wish list of features in a pair of shoes, and you will not be disappointed.