The 7 Best Table Tennis Shoes of 2020
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Whether you play recreationally or professionally, choosing the best table tennis shoes can make a difference in your game.
Table Tennis requires lots of little steps and lateral movements, and specialized shoes support your footwork and prevent injury. Basketball, running, or other athletic shoes support the foot in different ways than Table Tennis shoes do.
Choosing the wrong shoes for Table Tennis can cause injuries. Smooth outer soles, bad support, or high heels contribute to injuries; ankle injuries are the most common injury caused by incorrect shoes.
The best shoe is not always the most expensive, but it is the one that fits you best and supports your footwell. KELME Star 360 Mens Michelin Leather Shoes is one of the best shoes on the market this year.
Best Table Tennis Shoes
KELME Star 360 Mens Michelin Leather Shoes
ASICS Mens Gel-Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoe
Butterfly Table Tennis Shoes
Mishansha Badminton Shoes for Men
Butterfly Lezoline Rifones Table Tennis Shoes
HUNG FENG Table Tennis Non-Slip Sports Shoes
LI-NING Men Whirlwind Table Tennis Shoes
1. KELME Star 360 Mens Michelin Leather Shoes
KELME teamed up with Michelin for this shoe, and they did a great job. The Star 360 offers a mixed upper of Nappa Leather, Mesh, Suede, and synthetic materials with a gum rubber sole made by Michelin.
The heel is lightly padded and lined with a soft mesh for comfort and stability. The shoe runs wide in the heel and midfoot and then tightens on the forefoot to provide lateral support.
Soft, tacky Grip with a solid feel is the best thing about this shoe. Michelin created a special sole that offers over 200 grip points and soft Grip. You will not be sliding around the court with these shoes on!
The point of these shoes is the Grip and sole. Kelme and Michelin made an excellent shoe that is durable, uniquely styled, and offers a versatile fit.
Not being true to size is the frustration with this shoe. You need to try them on before buying the first pair.
For a mid-priced shoe, these are a solid option with great Grip, but not the favorite on our list this year.
2. ASICS Men’s Gel Rocket 8
The ASICS Men’s Gel Rocket 8 is a great entry-level table tennis shoe. They have ASICS Trusstic System Technology for enhanced stabilization, a gum rubber outer sole, and ASICS signature rear and forefoot technology cushioning system.
This shoe runs true to size. The upper is made of mesh and synthetic material. The inner has fallen arch support, a removable insole, a foam-padded collar, and padding that protects from rubs.
From the box, these shoes are flexible and do not require any break-in time.
With a wide toe box and a supportive forefoot area, this shoe offers a versatile fit for everyone. It is an excellent shoe for practice or someone just getting started in the sport, offering lots of value for the price.
While these shoes are an affordable, entry-level shoe, they struggle in a couple of key areas. The sole is not as grippy as several other models on our list. There is no arch support, but you can add your insole.
The overall shoe lacks padding, making it best suited to a recreational player who will not be wearing them for extended periods.
3. Butterfly Table Tennis Shoes
The Butterfly is a well-known name in the table tennis world, and they make shoes with the same quality they make rackets – excellent. The Groovy is our favorite shoe for 2020.
The Groovy offers the same inner design as the well-loved 8001 Classic, with a few updates to the look and durability.
It is built and optimized for the fast, lateral footwork table tennis requires. There is a thin midsole giving a barefoot feeling, but still having stability and padding for comfort.
These are a minimalist shoe. You will find great support with the Groovy, but no extra padding. They are designed to work hard on the court, support your ankles, and prevent injury.
With the leather cover over the toe, the Groovy is very durable. Soles are stitched on instead of glued on providing even longer life.
These shoes are a solid favorite for table tennis shoes this year. With their grip and stability, they are great for recreational or professional players, the cover on the mesh toe increases their durability, and they are lightweight.
For the features, they offer the price point is hard to argue with. They are not the cheapest or the most expensive shoe on the list, but these are our 2020 favorite.
The color variety in the Groovy is best on the market. If colorful shoes are your thing, this is the best shoe for you.
Tips: For basketball players, you may see our guide about basketball shoes under 50 that affordable and more durable for a player.
4. Mishansha Badminton Shoes for Men
These are a solid contender in the economy price point. Mishansha put together a great table tennis shoe with a mesh and leather upper, rubber and MD sole, and a higher profile for better ankle support.
Rubber and MD soles can be noisy in play, but they offer high traction and durability. The mesh uppers lack durability and will not outlast the sole, but in hot climates offers great breathability.
Higher profile shoes offer better ankle support, but these shoes lack cushion in the sole. They offer a wide toe box area and run true to size.
Mishansha did a great job with the color options available. You may like more discussion about badminton shoe reviews in depth.
These are entry-level, inexpensive shoes. A recreational player who needs added ankle support would find these a great fit, but they lack cushioning and durability for the more intensive play.
Mishansha did a great job developing this shoe and built features that you see in higher priced shoes. We like these shoes for what they are – a solid, entry-level shoe.
5. Butterfly Lezoline Rifones Table Tennis Shoes
The Lezoline Rifones is another winning shoe from Butterfly. These are professional grade table tennis shoes with several new features.
With the B-Armor covering on the front upper provides stability, durability, and high stiffness. The tongue is connected on one side for increased comfort.
Wingtip formed into the outer sole improves stability, and the outer rubber sole offers a superior grip.
There is shock-absorbing built in between the midsole and outer sole, and bridge-shaped midsole supports the sliding and lateral movements.
These shoes are a solid choice for the professional table tennis player. They are one of the highest price shoes on our list, but they are worth it for the features included.
Timo Boll wears this model of Butterfly shoe this year in competition. You can purchase the limited-edition color that Butterfly designed for him.
You cannot go wrong with the Butterfly brand with table tennis gear.
6. HUNG FENG Table Tennis Non-Slip Shoes
HUMGFENG has made a top not table tennis shoe. They are a relative newcomer to the arena, but this shoe hits it out of the park at a very affordable price.
With a breathable, absorbent mesh outer, your feet will stay cool and try while you play. These shoes have a rubber outsole with ventilation, are lightweight, and run true to size.
These shoes offer a well-padded heel collar. They combine comfort with support and create a shoe that not only prevents injury on the court but is comfortable to wear.
Each pair comes with a well-cushioned insert that is removable. These shoes offer great options not found in shoes of this price.
This shoe is a solid option for a training shoe or recreational player. They are one of the lowest price shoes that made our list this year, but they offer great value for the price.
You will love the mesh construction with its breathability, and the cushion is wonderful. We really liked these shoes, but they couldn’t compete with our favorite this year.
7. LI-NING Men Whirlwind Table Tennis Shoes
LI-NING sponsors the Chinese table tennis team and is a favorite with many competitors. These shoes are a mid-price point and have lots of options.
The synthetic leather and mesh upper offer breathability and durability. The EVA/Rubber outsole is lightweight but offers an excellent grip.
This shoe is ultra-lightweight and is almost a minimalist shoe, but it still has a comfortably padded insole with arch support. LI-NING did not sacrifice comfort but still made an ultra-lightweight shoe.
With an anti-collision toe cap and UFF Tip to extend the life, LI-NING put great features in this shoe to increase the durability.
These shoes are a solid contender in the mid-price point shoe. The butterfly is our solid favorite this year, but in the mid-price point, this is our favorite.
With the EVA/Rubber outsole for grip and the synthetic upper for durability, this shoe offers everything a table tennis player could ask for in a shoe. The reinforced, padded heel collar and liner and well-cushioned insole are other great features.
What to Look for Before Buying Table Tennis Shoes?
The lighter weight shoe the easier to maneuver. Lightweight shoes let you feel the ground better and reduce fatigue. Shoes under 10 ounces are best.
A heavier shoe can increase your risk of injury. The weight of the shoe will change the way you move and increase joint fatigue.
The Butterfly Groovy is one of the lightest weight shoes on our list at 9 ounces – that is one of the reasons it is our top pick for 2020.
You want to select a shoe that fits snuggly in the heel and midfoot when laced but has adequate room in the toe box. Consider your foot confirmation – do you have flat arches, mid arches, or high arches? Do you overpronate or under pronate?
To find if you have flat, mid, or high arches get a piece of paper and place it on the floor. Wet the bottom of your foot and step on the paper. If your entire foot shows up, you need a shoe without much arch support.
If a small area is dry on the inside of your foot, you have mid arches, and if a large area is dry with only a small portion of your midfoot touching, you have high arches.
Most running stores offer stride analysis. If you overpronate (rotate over the outside of your foot when you run), then you need shoes to support the outside of your foot and prevent that motion.
Under pronating or rotating over the inside of your foot is less common, but if you under pronate you need shoes to keep your stride straight and your foot from rotating in with each stride.
Find a shoe that supports your arches and has support to keep you from rolling your ankle when playing table tennis. The length, width, and footbed shape are all important considerations.
Comfort is the top consideration. Yes, supporting your ankles and preventing injury is important, but if a shoe is not comfortable, you will pay more attention to your feet and less attention to your game.
Most of the shoes on our list offer very little padding. You want to feel the court, and if the insole fits your foot shape, the lack of padding does not matter because you have the support of the shoe and are not relying on padding to fit your foot.
Choose a shoe that is comfortable, does not rub anywhere, and has the right amount of support where you need it.
Non-slip outer soles prevent injury. When making quick, lateral movements and fast footwork, table tennis requires a non-slip outer sole to prevent ankle and foot injuries.
Gum rubber soles are the best option for non slip shoes. Some companies use a mixture of rubber and synthetics or plastics, these offer great support and durability, but gum rubber is still the best choice for grip.
You want to make sure that the shoe has the right amount of stickiness but still allows you to pivot and spin. A shoe that is too grippy can cause injuries when you pivot, and it sticks to the court too well.
Choosing the right amount of ankle support for you is important. From the Mishansha with its high-profile design for added support to the design of the Butterfly that supports the ankle with their unique sole and footbed design, choose a shoe that gives you enough support to prevent ankle injuries.
You can control the amount of support by the lacing technique, too. How you lace, where you tie, and how tightly you lace your shoes will help with ankle and arch support.
Depending on your climate, breathability and absorbing sweat are important. You want to choose a shoe that has breathability but still offers support.
A mesh shoe with leather or synthetic supports is great for moderate climates. Hot climates a full mesh shoe, may be a better option.
Mesh shoes can lack support and durability, but the tradeoff may be worth it in hot climates.
You want a shoe with midfoot flexibility. The best shoes will provide flexibility with stability for fast turns to prevent injury.
Mid footbridge support that prevents twisting while still being flexible is what you are looking for. Butterfly shoes offer wonderful bridge support.
Every shoe brand has a different amount of flexibility: try on several shoes, and find one that suits your style of play.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Which shoes are better for a defensive style player vs. an offensive style player?
A. You want more durability in the toe and a less flexible bridge for defensive style players. Playing defensively, you are further from the table and play more on your toes. A sturdier, more durable shoes will suit you better.
Q. Which shoes are best for high arches?
A. The Butterfly line of shoes fit high arches well. Another option is a shoe like the HUMGFENG that has a completely removable insole. You can place a custom orthotic in the shoe.
Here, you can find more discussion about the high arch shoe to avoid foot pain.
Q. I need lots of ankle support, which shoes provide more support?
A. The Mishansha shoes offer the highest profile and most supportive shoe. All Table Tennis shoes offer great ankle support and you may find another brand gives you the support you need!
Q. What shoes come in the widest range of sizes?
A. The ASICS Gel Rocket 8 offers the broadest range of Men’s and Women’s sizing. The butterfly also has a very wide range of sizes and remember that they run a half to one size large! The other shoes on our list come in more limited, common sizes.
All 7 of our shoes featured here are great. The ASICS Men’s Gel Rocket 8 is a solid choice if budget is a concern. You will love the comfort and durability. They do lack some features Butterfly offers, for a recreational player, they are a solid choice.
ASICS is the only Table Tennis shoe to offer gel padding in the forefoot and heel. They have a proprietary stabilization system, the Trusstic system, to prevent torsion and reduce weight. With a mesh and synthetic upper, the ASICS Gel Rocket 8 is well ventilated while still having the support of a synthetic upper.
The ASICS struggles with the outer sole, not gripping the court. Arch support is minimal, and without a removable insole, so custom orthotics can be placed that limits which the Gel Rocket will be comfortable for.
Our favorite is the Butterfly Groovy. From the classic style, it is based on the fun colors of the updated toe cap for durability and support the Groovy is the best table tennis shoe of 2020.
It has an ultra-thin midsole; you can feel the court through the shoe. The outer sole offers excellent grip and stabilization to prevent injuries. Full mesh construction with the added toe cap for stability gives you the breathability of mesh with the support of leather.
We love the LI-NING shoe as a mid-price shoe. It does not come in a wide variety of sizes, but it is a solid middle-priced table tennis shoe. The padded insole and heel collar, stability, and sole outer shape to reduce injury are wonderful features.
This is an ultra-lightweight shoe with a synthetic and mesh upper. The EVA/Rubber outer sole has excellent grip, and the anti-collision toe cap that protects your toes from injury are the best features of the LI-NING shoe.
But the best table tennis shoe of 2020 is the Butterfly Groovy. It offers the best grip and support, fun colors, extended sizing, and features that only a company that has made its name from Table Tennis would know to build into shoes.