Do you really need to get a pair of specialist table tennis shoes? Can’t you just use regular trainers instead? As a beginner and intermediate player, you should be fine in regular sports shoes. But as you level up your game, you’ll find that upgrading to a pair of shoes designed with the movements of table tennis in mind can really you to improve. After making the switch I’ve never looked back.
In this post, we’ll cover a few of the best table tennis shoes available and discuss some of the features that make ping pong footwear worth the money.
While we are sports lovers at heart, we over here at Ping pong Ruler are table tennis specialists. This means whatever the topic, if it’s about table tennis we have useful insight to provide. All thoughts are our own and we are not paid by companies to promote their products.
Now that we’ve covered what features to look for we’ll move on to individual shoes that we recommend!
1. Butterfly Lezoline Rifones — Best Overall 🥇
Weight: 2.3 lbs
Color: Black, blue, lime green, and pink
Available in four colors
Butterfly is one of the top brands in table tennis and the Lezoline Rifones demonstrate the quality they’re capable of. Having tried a lot of shoes over the years, and taking into account the cost, we think these are the best choice.
Available in four colors, these shoes feature a thin sole and wingtip that offers excellent grip on soft floors, and they are extremely comfortable. They also feature a B-Absorber. This is a shock-absorbing sponge that is sandwiched between the outer and middle soles of the forefoot. It helps ensure your feet are properly cushioned and adds flexibility.
The STB Torsion protection technology helps prevent deformation of the shoe which can happen after repeated twisting as is typical of table tennis movement.
They’re also super lightweight allowing you to move around the table easily. What’s more, the Rifones are the shoe of choice of many professional players including Timo Boll!
As a step down in price from the Lezoline Rifones, we have the Lezoline Gigus. Like the Rifones, these are designed with more serious players in mind. They have the thickest sole out of the entire Lezoline range. This B-Absorber sponge not only provides shock absorption and unmatched comfort, but it also has a good spring to it which helps you feel nice and agile as if you were wearing lighter shoes.
As with all Butterfly table tennis shoes, the wingrip outer sole is specially designed to tackle table tennis movement. Therefore you have great grip irrespective of the direction of your movement. As such, the Lezoline Gigus are easily some of the best shoes for ping pong that you can buy.
The Butterfly Lezoline Mach is the third and final Butterfly shoe aimed toward athletes. It has similar specs to the other two shoes and is very similarly priced to the Lezoline Gigus.
What distinguishes it from the other models is that it is lighter, unfortunately, though, Butterfly does not give us a specific weight which is a little frustrating. From the comparison chart they provided however, we can see that they are around average weight (higher spec models tend to be heavier). They also provide a good level of shock absorption — we consider these to be a well-balanced pair of shoes.
So if you want lightweight top-level table tennis footwear, the Machs are a great pair of ping pong shoes to purchase. If, on the other hand, you want a cheaper and lighter shoe, consider either the Lezoline or Vilight instead.
4. Butterfly Lezoline Groovy Table Tennis Shoes — Best Durability
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Color: Black/gold, blue, navy/pink, pink, white
Available in five colors
Our fourth choice of ping pong footwear are the Lezoline Groovy table tennis shoes from Butterfly. Like the Rifones, they have a very thin sole giving you an excellent feel and grip when moving around the table during a game. The soles have shock absorbers too which means they’re very comfortable and they take some of the strain off your joints during more extreme movements. With this model, they have switched out the usual mesh located above the toes. This is often an area that is susceptible to damage so the switch helps enhance durability. We think they are some of the best table tennis shoes around when it comes to robustness.
Another option for a great ping pong shoe is the Wave from Japanese brand Mizuno. It’s a really popular choice that has seen use by loads of professionals including Ma Long and Zhang Jike. The Wave technology used ensures plentiful cushioning with superior grip and a non-marking outsole. They’re made with AirMesh materials giving them excellent ventilation to stop your feet from overheating — excess sweat is wicked away while it stimulates cool air to flow. The overlay guards also help to prevent friction and chafing. This can be a big problem with other shoes during long intense training sessions. We feel that they’re a very good option that won’t disappoint.
Up next we have the Lezoline Vilight Butterfly table tennis shoes. This quality pair of footwear has a grippy outer sole, and a flexible, lightweight midsole. The front of the shoes uses a mix of mesh and reinforced material for breathability and longevity. And the mesh is located centrally, where it will experience less wear.
Available in four stunning colors, they are some of the best ping pong shoes in our opinion.
The JOOLA court shoe is one of the more affordable options you have for ping pong footwear, being less than half of the cost of the most expensive models. It’s a lightweight shoe with good support. The insoles feel very comfortable and the rubber soles are grippy, thereby allowing you to move quickly at a moment’s notice.
The Lezoline Sals are tournament-grade shoes aimed at delivering style and durability. Targeted towards improving table tennis players, they are exceptionally high-quality, providing super shock absorption needed for speedy gameplay. They are one of the more breathable pairs of shoes featured as you can find mesh throughout much of the shoe. They are also rather lightweight, but not as light as the Vilight or Groovy. Bold and trendy, these are quality shoes for table tennis that you can depend on, and look great while doing so.
Virtually all of the shoes featured on this list fall under unisex. Little footwear falls solely under the category of women’s table tennis shoes. However, we feel certain color pathways are certainly better suited to a female audience than a male one.
1. Lezoline Vilight in Navy
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Color: Navy, red, turquoise, yellow
Available in four colors
You might like the Lezoline Vilight ping pong shoes in navy. We rated this shoe as the best looking and think all of the colors look great. You’ll have to be quick if you want this color though, they are selling out fast!
It’s immediately apparent that the Xiom 4 Footwork shoes are highly attractive and a great choice for female table tennis players. They use a beautiful white one-piece outsole and a side lacing form for a snug fit. There’s also plenty of mesh throughout for breathability.
To help you choose the best table tennis footwear, we’ve written a brief guide to table tennis shoes and what you need to look out for!
Features of the Best Table Tennis Shoes
Being lightweight is one of the top features of a pair of ping pong shoes. Playing ping pong requires very quick movements around the table, so you want a pair of shoes that aren’t too bulky and allow you to change direction fast and move around without any inhibitions.
Another key feature of table tennis shoes are thin soles. Having your feet as close to the ground as possible will significantly reduce any chances of twisted ankles and other table tennis injuries resulting from agile side-to-side movements.
Support and Cushioning
Table tennis shoes don’t offer too much support and cushioning because they can add to the shoe’s weight and slow you down. That being said, they have adequate support and are made using lightweight materials to keep the bulkiness down.
High-Quality Durable Materials
Table tennis sneakers are often made out of high-quality synthetic leather and sometimes you’ll find real leather. People tend to favor synthetic over real leather though as it’s more breathable and durable.
Keeping your feet cool during the game is really handy, so table tennis shoes often feature breathable materials that have good ventilation. The mesh they’re made with means that air circulates a lot better and stops you from sweating so much.
Other Things to Consider
Your Skill Level
As a beginner, any type of sports shoe should be fine. Your footwear isn’t going to make much difference as you’re more focused on mastering your strokes and basic table tennis skills. But, as you improve and start entering competitions, your footwork becomes more and more important, and therefore, so does having a good table tennis shoe.
The Playing Surface
As we covered earlier, a big feature of table tennis shoes are their thin soles that offer great grip. But it will only be effective if you are playing indoors or on a soft surface. You shouldn’t wear them outside or on concrete and hardwood floors as that can damage the soles very quickly.
Shoes made especially for table tennis can be quite expensive and so if you only play occasionally it might not be worth investing in a pair yet. But as you improve and begin to play more competitively, it might be worth investing in a pair to supercharge your game.
Useful Size Comparison Chart
What is Special About Table Tennis Shoes?
Table tennis demands a unique set of body and foot movements that aren’t common in other sports. This is why shoes for table tennis exist. They are specifically designed for the intricacies of table tennis and help enhance your game more than another sports shoe would.
For very casual games, you can use any old sports shoes, but try to get ones that are as low to the ground as possible. Also, quick movements and side-to-side steps can quickly lead to injury for shoes that use high supports. So if at all possible get a pair of dedicated shoes. There are designs to suit everyone. Very few are advertised exclusively as men’s table tennis shoes. Most are unisex and come in a range of different colors.
Are Table Tennis and Badminton Shoes the Same?
While probably the most similar type of sports shoe, badminton shoes do differ from table tennis shoes. Badminton shoes are heavier and sturdier than table tennis ones. This is because badminton involves more sharp runs and they need adequate support for jumping. In my opinion, weight is the biggest obstacle for badminton trainers. You need your ping pong trainers to be light for quick lateral movements.
Are Volleyball Shoes Good for Table Tennis?
Volleyball shoes are much like badminton shoes but worse when it comes to table tennis. They are heavier and even more sturdy, as jumping is very prevalent in volleyball. This makes them a pretty poor choice for table tennis.
Are There Other Sports Shoes You Could Use?
Below we’ve listed some of the other types of shoes and their features that make them not suitable for playing table tennis:
Running shoes don’t have enough lateral support and they can be heavy too.
Squash shoes don’t offer much cushioning and support but you can use them at an intermediate level.
Tennis shoes are too heavy and don’t provide enough lateral support so you should avoid them.
What Non-Table Tennis Shoes Do You Recommend for Table Tennis?
We always recommend choosing shoes specifically designed for table tennis if at all possible. However, there are some okay choices from other brands.
Our Ascis table tennis shoes pick: Asics Upcourt 4. Great indoor shoes, good tread for table tennis.
Our Adidas table tennis shoes pick: Solematch Control. Designed for tennis but light enough for ping pong. Highly breathable, sub-optimal rubber sole tread.
We were, unfortunately, unable to find a viable pair of Nike table tennis shoes. None of their footwear seems suited to table tennis.
What Table Tennis Shoes Do the Pros Wear?
The pros use a variety of footwear, and many have been spotted sporting the shoes featured on this list. The high-end models such as the Lezoline Rifones and Mizuno Wave tend to be the most popular.
Will Table Tennis Shoes Help Me to Improve My Game?
Table tennis shoes can certainly help improve your game, but don’t expect to turn into Jan-Ove Waldner overnight. You might consider shoes a relatively boring part of table tennis relative to other equipment, but they play their part in improving your game. A good pair of table tennis shoes are light which helps prolong your gas tank and are comfortable enough to allow you to train for many hours at a time. Most importantly, the right table tennis shoes prevent injuries. This is super important as acquiring an injury often means you can’t train which will certainly hurt your game.
Does My Type of Foot Matter?
You should really pay attention to what type of feet you have as this will affect whether you need to buy supports or not. There are three main types of feet:
For those of you with normal feet, you’ve hit the jackpot! You have no need for additional support. However, if you have either flat foot or high arches you should purchase some custom insoles. These will provide support so that your foot morphology resembles the standard arch. Search for either “flat foot insoles” or “high arch insoles” depending on your feet.
To find out your foot type, you can check your current shoes to see if there is excessive wear on any particular area. You can also do a footprint test by stepping on the ground with wet feet.
How Often Do I Have to Change My Shoes?
This is dependent on the quality of shoes you buy. Poor quality = early replacement. You also have to consider how much you use them. A player who trains every day will need to replace their shoes far more often than someone who plays once a week. For most people, there is no reason you shouldn’t get at least a few years out of the best table tennis shoes. To know when it’s time to change, just take note of how they feel. If the cushioning has deformed, parts are starting to rub that didn’t before, or the grip is lacking, it’s time for a new pair.
We hope you found our guide to buying table tennis shoes helpful. Again, if you are a casual player or a beginner just getting into table tennis, you probably don’t need to invest in a pair of these shoes. Any sports shoe should be okay to start out. But once you’ve developed a sufficient amount of skill and want to take your game to the next level, we highly recommend picking up one of these awesome pairs of trainers.
For us, the best table tennis shoes are the Lezoline Rifones. They may be the most expensive, but with this added cost comes quality. When it comes to shoes, they are going to get a ton of use just like your rubbers and blade, so you really shouldn’t cut corners by buying a cheap pair if you care about your performance. With the Rifones you know you are getting the latest shoe technology, super support, and you harshly minimize the risk of any foot-related injuries.
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