Monday, December 24, 2012

Badminton Shoe Review: Babolat Shadow

This is my first badminton shoe review, and it's going to be quite different from the rackets one since there's probably a whole different set of specs to rate.

I've got four pairs of shoes at the moment - Mizunos Wave Lightning 8 and Wave Fang XT, a Li Ning AZYG013-2 (they should probably have cooler names for their shoes), and I'm going to try and rate them somehow...

I also used to own a pair of Yonex SHB101-LTD, but that's been retired and too far from memory to be fair in reviewing.

So without further adieu, here is the review.

Note: This review is my opinion of the shoe from using it in my games. Take this with a pinch of salt since we all play the game differently. I'm here to tell you, in as much accuracy as I can, how the shoe feels and if it added to the game. Comments welcome!

This comes in a close second after looks (go figure). You should really learn to get the right sized shoes for your feet; I remember someone telling me once that he can wear anything from size 9-10...

Which is really troubling since a half size difference in my shoe size caused my feet to hurt during the game and for me to almost sprain my ankle.

The Babolat Shadow has a really thin cast, wrapping around your feet like a blanket in the cold night. There are elastic wraps inside the shoe to really grab onto the top of your foot, making the fit exceptionally fine.

When pulled, the laces don't really feel tight, but rather a little loose even though I've tightened them as much as I can. This is pretty much a good thing since you've got the stability of a well-strung piece of footwear, as well as the comfort of a loose sneaker on your feet.

Stability / Grip
I usually test the shoe's gripping ability by placing the shoe on the court and then attempting to slide it across the floor with a finger. If that turns out well, I'll use my foot.

Generally, I've noticed that the flat-soled shoes tend to do better in this department, but the Babolat Shadow is no sore contender. It manages to hold on tight enough so that I don't end up falling over from stepping on a bead of sweat.

The patterns on the bottom of the shoe are excessive enough to enable good lateral movement and stopping power. It's like the sole of your old SHB92 if you've ever seen them. I like soles like those.

Not your one-piece construction, but it sure as heck can give you a solid turn when you need it, with different patterns at different locations of the sole to optimize your stopping.

Image from Babolat website

On the court
The Babolat Shadow makes me feel faster. Not only because it's darn light, but also because of the closer fit on the feet that makes it feel less burdened.

I've thicker shoes like the Li Ning one that gives you a very high stability but at the cost of additional weight. Both shoes move fine on the court, but you've got to give it to the Babolat Shadow for making movement so much more fun.

Because it's not fully flat on the ground like the Li Ning and the Wave Fang, the shoes offer a quicker change in direction due less drag on your movement. Overall chasing shuttles with this shoe is a little easier.

However, the light weight and thin foot-wrapping comfort comes at a cost. The need for thick-toe socks appears when you're moving around in singles games for two hours like I do. From all the stopping and turning, I was pretty much left with a sore foot... The lack of cushioning for the tip of the shoe raises some issues on its durability.

Babolat Shadow

Very Light
Comfortable and not warm after wearing
Good stop and turn
Excellent pace

Lack of cushioning makes toe hurt
Durability issues from thin material used


SleepyEyedBoyZ said...

It's Michelin tires! Haha

And I saw they have a orange version.. Wonder why it is not in sg..

Arthur said...

The Michelin technology is for durability rather than grip. And the orange one's probably the previous model.

SleepyEyedBoyZ said...

Really? I thought grip as well, for you need a lot of grips in racing and it is one of the few top brands in racing tyres.

Arthur said...

Says on their website that it's just for durability though.

Anonymous said...

Would you recommend these over Yonex shoes?

Arthur said...

They're cheaper and lighter (I feel) than Yonex shoes, but the material at the front is thinner and you'll need thicker socks to make sure your toes are alright.

Last but not least, and the most important of all, they look better. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your input! Just got a pair, know any good brand of thick socks :)?

Arthur said...

The Li-Ning socks are darn thick.. but I have a favorite Karakal one - nice and blue like the shoe!

Anonymous said...

Have you try Kumpoo shoe before? Plan for a review on the brand.

Arthur said...

Not really tried nor seen the Kumpoos around, so don't think I'll go for them sorry.