The Best 6 Table Tennis Shoes (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2019)

Best Table Tennis Shoes

Author: Kevin James, Last Updated: 17/06/2019

Any serious table tennis player, should definitely consider investing in a good pair of table tennis shoes.

If you've been playing table tennis for a while, you would have probably realized by now that one of the most critical aspects of the sport is the footwork. While you may have a great technique, but without the right footwork, you cannot pull off the strokes to the best of your capability.

And the foundation of a solid footwork begins with your feet. You don't want your Ma long like footwork getting impacted due to a wrong shoe - Right?

Because table tennis is a unique sport which requires fast-paced multi-directional movements. A typical match involves swift lateral movements, quick change in foot direction and a little bit of jumping (if you're smashing a lob) and more. And sometimes those seven-set matches can turn longer than expected. This can take quite a toll on your feet and shoes.

And most of the generic athletic shoes can't keep up with this...and it may very well just cost you the match. So give your technique and skill a boost by wearing a proper table tennis shoe.

Table Tennis Shoes - How Are They Different?

A table tennis shoe is designed to offer superior traction and comes with a thin reinforced sole which helps in improving speed, footwork, and stability. The extra lateral support saves you from the risk of injury during those quick moments. While at the same time these shoes are featherlight, weighing just about 270 to 300 gm/shoe.

Some players make the mistake of choosing any regular indoor or running shoes. The running shoes are designed primarily for quick forward motion while table tennis requires both lateral and forward movement. Also, the running shoes come with thick and soft outsoles which absorb the impact while running. This exposes you to the risk of serious injury while playing table tennis.

Now that you know the importance of these shoes, let's move on to the actual selection.

In this buyer's guide, we'll look at what features you need to account while choosing a table tennis shoe and ultimately we'll help you chose a pair which best suits your needs.

So, let's start!

Best Shoes for Table Tennis

Product
Picture
Material
Rating
Price
1. Mizuno Wave Drive 8
Mizuno Wave Drive Shoes

Microfiber synthetic leather, EVA inner sole, Reinforced rubber outsole

Best Overall

2. Butterfly Lezoline Rifones

Butterfly Lezoline rifones shoes

Synthetic leather, air mesh, Anti-skid KPU outsole

Premium Choice

3. Stiga Liner II

stiga liner 2

Flexible polyester fabric, EVA inner sole, gum outer sole

Value Pick

4. Mizuno Wave Medal 5
Mizuno Wave Medal 5

Synthetic leather, rubber sole

Best Support

5. Butterfly Lezoline Groovy

ButterflyLezolineGroovy

Synthetic leather, KPU outsole

Lightweight

6. LI-NING Men Whirlwind

Li-ning whirlwind Table tennis shoe

Synthetic leather, gum sole

Budget Pick


Table Tennis Shoe Reviews

1. Mizuno Wave Drive 8

{Feels lighter, accelerate faster and turn quicker}


Mizuno wave drive 8 table tennis shoes

Product Specification:

  • Type: Narrow to Medium wide
  • Features: Wave technology for increased cushioning and stability, AP+ sole, and Air mesh for breathability
  • Material: Microfiber synthetic leather, EVA insole
  • Weight: 306 gm/shoe

Pros
+ Most popular professional table tennis shoes, backed by over ten years of research
+ Good lateral support, decent cushioning
+ Thin reinforced rubber outsole

Cons
- Slightly costly
- Not recommended for players who are overweight or have a history of foot injury

Mizuno Drive 8 Review

Mizuno Wave Drive series has been in the market for well over a decade. This shoe has undergone a series of improvements over the years based on the player's feedback. To this day, it is one of the best professional table tennis shoe available in the market. Over the years, many top-ranked players have used these shoes as their weapon of choice. Some of the prominent ones are Ma long, Timo Boll etc.

Construction: Just like the name implies, this shoe is built for speed, stability and quick movement on the court. This lightweight shoe (306 gm/each shoe) is made with breathable synthetic AirMesh top and the anatomically molded removable insole provides maximum comfort and good lateral support during the play.

The non-marking sole is made up of thin yet sturdy heel wave plate with ap+ which provides a decent amount of cushioning and excellent traction. The thin sole gives you direct contact with the floor which helps you generate ample energy in your shots. If you play on taraflex, gerflor or sprung wooden floors, then these shoes are the ideal choice. However, if you play on hard floors or concrete, I would suggest you to for Wave Medal 5 instead.

These shoes are quite durable and sturdy. A pair would easily last you for 1 to 1.5 years with around 30 hrs of play a month.

Fitting: These shoes are slightly narrow with medium width and are best suited for players with medium wide feet.

Note: These shoes run 0.5 to 1 size smaller than your regular shoes.

Not recommended for: If you’re overweight or have extra wide feet or suffer from plantar fasciitis or some sort of knee/sole pain, then you should avoid this shoe. The thin sole of the shoe does not provide enough cushioning, which during the long and high-performance matches can adversely impact your heel and knees.

To summarize: The Mizuno Wave Drive 8 offers a right balance of performance, durability and overall value. You can't go wrong with these shoes and the price point is too good to pass up.

2. Butterfly Lezoline Rifones

{The best table tennis shoe that money can buy}


Butterfly Lezoline rifones shoes

Product Specification:

  • Features: STB torsion protection, B Armor reinforcement, B-Absorber shock absorbing midsoles and durable Winggrip outer sole
  • Material: Anti skid KPU material, synthetic leather and air mesh
  • Weight: ~274 gms/shpe
  • Color - Blue, Lime, Magenta

Pros
+ Professional quality shoes used by the likes of Timo Boll, Jun Mizutani and Harimoto
+ Comfort fit, great grip and excellent cushioning
+ Lightweight
+ Sturdy build quality
+ Visually appealing

Cons
- Costly

Butterfly Lezoline Rifones Review

The Butterfly Lezoline Rifones shoe is the perfect combination of top-of-the-line performance and style weaved into one package. By no means, they are cheap though. In fact, they are one of the costliest table tennis shoes available in the market. But its price is vastly justified considering the performance enhancements and value these shoes have to offer.

Timo Boll (world rank 6th) has been wearing the Rifones for the last couple of years, and this highly speaks about the quality of these shoes. These shoes are built to suit the needs and performance requirements of professional players.

The shoe offers excellent support and comfort while maintaining a visually appealing look. The front upper layer of the shoe is constructed with KPU material which cushions the foot during the high impact lateral movements. The midsole is flexible with generous cushioning, while the grippy outsole provides excellent traction throughout. The unique shock absorption sponge is strategically placed in the rear and middle part of the shoe, providing good cushion and stability to the feet during quick reflexes. The shoe is lightweight yet sturdy enough to prevent any shoe distortion during those peculiar/incorrect foot movements.

Due to the superior construction quality and high-quality KPU material, these shoes should easily last you 1 to 1.5 years with 40-50 hrs of practice every month.

To summarize: If you're looking for the very best table tennis shoe, look no further than the Butterfly Lezoline Rifones. The performance and the construction of the shoe is superior to any other shoe currently available in the market.

3. Stiga Liner II

{Value buy, with just the right mix of price and performance}


stiga liner 2

Product Specification:

  • Material: EVA inner sole, breathable mesh upper part and gum rubber outer sole
  • Weight: 325 gm/shoe
  • Color: Single (White/Red)

Pros
+ Value for money
+ Breathable top air mesh provides excellent ventilation
+ EVA inner sole for a better fit
+ Very durable with decent cushioning
+ Free shoe bag

Cons
- Slightly heavy

Stiga Liner II Review

Stiga Liner II is the new and improved version of the popular Stiga Liner I. With the liner II series, Stiga has up the ante, addressing the shortcomings of the earlier version. 

The first thing you would notice about the shoe is the simplicity of the design yet how beautiful it looks (subjective opinion). 

The shoe comes with a soft inner sole which provides decent cushioning to the feet. The rubber gum outsole is grippy but not sticky, which is a definite plus during those quick change in direction. Surprisingly these shoe grip well even on the concrete flooring. 

The shoe has excellent ergonomics and provides good overall support to the feet while the breathable upper half keeps the temperature and humidity low in the soles. The overall build quality is quite durable and sturdy and a pair should last you easily over a year.

To Summarize: Priced at about $75, we feel Stiga Liner II offers a great value. The performance of the shoe is quite close to the premium shoes in the segment and the price is significantly lower. 

4. Mizuno Wave Medal 5

{For those who're looking for more cushioning and support}


Mizuno Wave Medal 5

Product Specification:

  • Type: Medium wide shoes
  • Features: Wave plate technology enhances mid-foot support, SR touch insert for heel support and anatomically moulded removable inner soles for maximum comfort
  • Material: Abrasion-proof rubber sole, Synthetics/textile top with air mesh, cold padding
  • Weight: 278 gms/shoe
  • Color: Blue atoll/White/Safety yellow

Pros
+ Superior cushioning and support compared to Wave drive 8
+ Ergonomic fit offering good ankle, heel and knee support
+ Offers excellent traction and great comfort

Cons
- None!

Mizuno Wave Medal 5 Review

If you’re looking for extra cushioning and rear foot support, then the Wave medal 5 may be the right choice for you.

This shoe is quite similar to Wave Drive 8 in terms of performance. But it is modified specifically to suit players who're looking for a shoe with extra support and cushion. Ideal for players who are a bit on the heavier side or those who experience pain in and around the heel/ankle/knee area.

Players who’re looking for a high-performance shoe which offers maximum stability, cushioning and at the same is lightweight will surely appreciate Wave Medal 5. The shoe provides excellent support to your feet while keeping your feet locked-in during the play.

The SR touch insert in the forefoot facilitates faster movement and acceleration while the D-flex grooves provide a good amount of traction. The proprietary PoWne midsole provides right amount cushioning to the arc and the rear foot. The anatomically molded removable cup insoles improve the overall comfort and at the same time offers excellent lateral support. The breathable upper Airmesh keeps your feet cool and dry throughout the high tension matches.

Fitting: The shoe is a bit wide and well suited for players with wide feet. Also, the shoe runs 0.5 to 1 size smaller than your regular shoes. 

To summarize: Whether you play on hard or soft floors, the Mizuno Wave medal 5 would not disappoint you. Excellent cushioning, good support and above-par traction makes it a great choice. 

4. Butterfly Lezoline Groovy

{Flexible, lightweight and excellent grip}


ButterflyLezolineGroovy

Product Specification:

  • Material: EVA inner sole, Anti skid KPU material
  • Weight: 265 gm/shoe
  • Color​, ​,  ​, 

Pros
+ The lightest shoes among all the shoes we reviewed
+ Thin midsole gives a barefoot feeling
+ Excellent grip suppresses sideways shake
+ Very durable

Cons
- Can be a bit uncomfortable to wear for a long duration due to the missing air mesh

Butterfly Lezoline Groovy Review

Butterfly Lezoline Groovy is an excellent pair of shoe and coming from the Butterfly brand; you can be assured about the quality. These beautiful looking shoes are designed to offer you superior support and grip during the intense footwork.

The medium thick outsole provides excellent grip for quick lateral movements and the thin midsoles give you the good feeling of the ground. The non-marking soft sole offers a decent amount of support to the arc and the rear foot. The solid non-breathable upper half adds to the durability and stability of the shoe. Weighing just about 265 gm/shoe, the Butterfly Lezoline Groovy is one of the lightest pair of professional table tennis shoes. While it may weigh less than other shoes in the segment but the durability and construction of the shoe is top notch.

To Summarize: If you’re looking for a lightweight yet sturdy shoe which does not put a hole in your pocket, the Butterfly Lezoline Groovy may be an excellent option for you.

5. LI-NING Whirlwind

{Bang for the buck}


Li-ning whirlwind Table tennis shoe

Product Specification:

  • Material: Synthetic leather top, non-marking gum rubber sole, breathable air mesh
  • Weight: 324 gms/shoe
  • Color: Red, Green

Pros
+ Sturdy build quality, durable with decent grip
+ Breathable air mesh
+ Anti-collision toe cap

Cons
- Heavy
- Minimal cushioning

LI-NING Whirlwind Review

If you're looking for a high-quality table tennis shoe with does not cost you a bomb, then you can’t go wrong with LI-NING Men Whirlwind. But don't just go by the pricing, the quality is top-notch too. The testament to this is that many top Chinese national table tennis players including Ma Long use these shoes.

These shoes are medium-heavy (324gm/each), constructed with breathable synthetic leather and mesh. The medium-wide construction of the shoe firmly holds the feet in place during those high-intensity matches while the air vents keep the temperature and humidity low in the sole.

The EVA innersole provides decent cushioning and relieves the impact of those tight landings, thus reducing the chance of injuries. The outsole is constructed with high-quality grippy rubber which offers good traction and the thin sole provides a great feeling of the ground. The heels are further reinforced to reduce the impact of the hard landings.

To Summarize: Overall, you can’t go wrong with these shoes. Bang for the buck with a superior all-round performance.

Table Tennis Shoes : Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Table tennis requires a unique set of foot and body movements, which is not common in other sports. As a result, you need shoes that are tailor-made to facilitate such swift moments. While you may have come across advices such as using regular trainer shoe, volleyball shoe or badminton shoe for table tennis, but I DO NOT recommend using them. 

As I have already mentioned, table tennis is all about lateral movements. And most of the running shoes are designed for running straight not laterally. So, they don't provide sufficient cushioning on the side. And if you end up playing some high spirited games with a typical running shoe, there are chances of you hurting your feet and you definitely don't want to be in that situation.

Here is my feedback on various sports shoes and their suitability for table tennis:

  • Running Shoe - AVOID, as they do not offer sufficient lateral support and are heavy. Chances of injury are higher.
  • Badminton shoe - Quite heavy with decent grip. Can be used till intermediate level.
  • Volleyball shoes - Quite heavy, AVOID
  • Squash shoe - Low support and cushioning. Can be used till intermediate level.
  • Tennis shoe - Heavy, AVOID

As you can see, running shoes should be strictly avoided. While the cost difference between other athletic shoes and a table tennis shoe is not huge. I personally feel, you're better of buying a table tennis shoe.

 In the next section, we will discuss what features you should look while buying a shoe for table tennis:

Attributes of a Table Tennis Shoes


  1. Thin Sole – Table tennis shoe must have a thin sole. And primarily there are two main reasons for this – fast lateral movements and to generate more energy. Table tennis involves a lot of lateral or sideways movements and the players are primarily on their feet rather on their heels. With thinner soles, the center of gravity of the whole body remains low and the players can move sideways without being unstable. Also, the thin soles facilitate quick movement without requiring you to lift your feet too much above the ground.

    Secondly, players can generate more energy in their stroke with thinner soles. Let me explain how. In table tennis, players generate energy in their strokes in two ways – fast upper body movement (80%) and by pressing the feet against the ground (20%) to generate forward movement. With thin soles, it becomes easy and quicker to press against the ground.

  2. Lightweight – Ideally, each shoe should not weigh over 300 gms. Because anything over this would slow you down. Table tennis is a fast sport and the last thing you want is a heavy shoe slowing down your footwork.

  3. Lateral Support – Simply put, table tennis is a horizontal sport as it predominantly involves lateral movements. Whereas running, badminton, lawn tennis involves a bit of both horizontal and forward movements. So table tennis shoes should be designed to provide a good amount of lateral support to hold the feet snuggly in place during the vigorous foot movements.

  4. Grippy but not Sticky – The outer sole of the shoe should provide just the right amount of traction on your preferred floor type. The sole is generally made up of rubber or one of its derivatives with non-marking grooves for traction. But one thing to note here is that the shoes should not be excessively sticky as it would hinder swift foot movements.

  5. Breathability – Due to the quick and fast foot movements, a lot of heat and humidity gets generated inside the shoes. Look for shoes with breathable upper mesh material for ventilation and air circulation.

  6. Snug and comfortable fit – The insole should snuggly hold the the ankle and feet in place during the footwork. Anything too tight or too loose may result in an injury. A perfectly fitting shoe would provide sufficient support to the important areas of the foot, prevent blistering and joint pain.

  7. Cushioning – Table tennis shoes are designed to handle fast feet movements with quick stops and starts. The thin sole provides stability and energy for the footwork but at the same time, it can also be hard on your knees and ankles. Cushion in heel and forefoot area effectively reduces the stress on the joints and foot. That being said, professional shoes have limited cushioning. Because adding more cushioning will result in thicker soles which would be counter-productive. As a result, the cushioning is limited to just the midsole region, which absorbs a decent amount of shock.

  8. Durability – As table tennis shoes experience a higher degree of stress. It's best to spend extra and get good quality durable shoes. Look for shoes built with KPU or breathable synthetic leather top and gum rubber soles.

Things to consider while purchasing a Table Tennis shoe


Picking a table tennis shoe would require you to account a couple of points like your foot type, size, the type of court you plan to play on and maybe the aesthetic aspect of the shoe.

Let's discuss each of the factors:

Shape for your feet

Although not often discussed, but the shape of the feet is one of the most crucial factors to look for while choosing a shoe. And this is not just limited to table tennis, but any sport which involves feet movement. Your foot construction decides how you walk, run or stand and ultimately affects how the shoe fits, feels and perform.

 Broadly there are three types of feet:

  1. Supination or high arch – Cushioning shoes
  2. Neutral or normal arch – Stability shoes (fits most of the shoes)
  3. Pronation or Flat foot – Motion control shoes
find your feet type

Credit: https://www.star2.com/health/2017/10/16/best_type_of_shoes_for_you/

The best way to check the type of feet you have is by doing a wet feet test. Simply law down an A4 sheet on the ground, drip your feet in the water and stand over the sheet. Now analyze the water impression to determine your feet type.

Based on your feet construction, choose the correct shoe type for you. 

shoe type based on feet type

Correct shoe type based on the feet construction. Credit: http://injuredrunner.com/running_shoe.htm

Shoe Width

Shoes primarily come in two shapes– narrow mouth or wide mouth. If your feet are narrow to average width, then go for normal mouth shoes. For wide feet, go for a wide mouth shoe.

Court Type

Table tennis can be played on almost any surface from outdoor grass to concrete to professional floorings. But unfortunately, you can’t use the same shoes across different floorings. For concrete and hardwood flooring, it’s best to go for high cushioning shoes with hard outsole. The cushioning limits the stress on the joints while the hard outsole prevents the shoe from wearing out sooner due to the friction. For gerflor or taraflex flooring, you can go for any non-marking shoe which offers a decent amount for traction. And for outdoor, I leave the decision up to you to decide.

Playing Style

If you’re an offensive player or developing an offensive technique, choose a shoe with better cushioning. For choppers and defensive players, it's best to go for lighter shoes with thin soles.

Budget

A professional table tennis shoe would cost anywhere in the range of $100 to $150 while an intermediate level shoes retail in the range for of $50 to $100.

Table Tennis Shoe FAQs


Q. Will my game considerably improve after using table tennis shoes?
I wish, but the answer is NO. But you sure would be able to move quicker and at the same time, the chances of injuries would be lesser.

Q. Is there any risk of using these shoes?
Yes and No. While in most cases there is no risk but you may experience some amount of pain in your heel and knees. As these shoes do not provide ample amount of cushioning, the shocks generated due to the movements can impact your joints. If you have a history of pain in your feet or knees or are overweight, its best to go for shoes with better cushioning.

Q. As a beginner, do I need table tennis shoe?
If you’re purely a recreational player you don't need them. But if you’re a beginner or an intermediate level player and regularly practice, its best to invest in a reliable shoe.

Q. I’m overweight shall I buy a shoe?
Yes, you should go for a high cushion shoe.

Q. How often should I replace the shoe?
If you play 2-3 times a week and around 30 hrs a month then a typical shoe should easily last you about 1 to 1.5 years.

Q. How much should I spend on a shoe?
You can get a decent shoe for anywhere between $60 to $100 and a professional shoe between $100 to $150.

Q. Can I use squash, volleyball, or any indoor sports shoes for table tennis?
Well, you may but over the long run, it may be detrimental for you and you could be prone to injuries. Table tennis as a sport has a unique set of requirements – thin sole, lateral support, grip type etc. While with the other athletic shoes may provide you with good cushioning but you would miss on other performance parameters.

Q. Does table tennis shoe required breaking in?
No, most of the shoes do not require any sort of breaking in.

Q. What sort of socks work well with the shoe?
Not formal socks! Jokes aside its purely based on your preference.

Q. Are there any rules for Table tennis shoes?
While ITTF does not have any specific rules for the shoes. But generally, the shoes should be non-marking and should be clean.

To Wrap it Up

While looking for a table tennis shoe, you need to account several factors like weight, the shape of the feet, cushioning, budget etc. And even if you get that right, there is always a personal preference as comfort has a different meaning for everyone.

I hope you found the guide helpful and were able to make the buying decision or at least got close to making one.

Help Us Improve

While writing the review, we analyzed the top table tennis shoes in the market. But we may have missed some. If you would like to suggest a shoe which you've personally tried and tested, we're all ears.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Kevin James
 

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