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Are Running Shoes Good For Table Tennis?

A decent shoe is a must, whether playing at novice or advanced table tennis level. You will need to heed a few qualities before putting on your running shoes and heading towards the court, having and enjoying a good, safe game of table tennis.

Running shoes are good for table tennis for the beginner or recreational player, not the advanced table tennis player. Running shoes were designed for forward motion and don’t provide the support table tennis shoes give a player while doing sideways movements.

Will the right shoe give you an edge in your game? What are the advantages and benefits? This article clarifies the confusion and explains how your running shoes benefit your game. We’ll cover the exceptions keeping different capabilities and necessities of players in mind.

Will Running Shoes Suffice In A Table Tennis Game?

Sneaker, trainer, or running shoes are all standard terms for a similar item – shoes worn for exercise and athletic activity. Understanding your running shoe and its uses before playing table tennis will help with your performance and also avoid injury while playing table tennis.

The running shoe’s basic purpose is to move you forward while walking, racing, or sprinting. The heel and toe have cushioning to help absorb impact when landing on the ground after each stride. The heel-to-toe motion is necessary to push you in that forward direction. The stiffness of the middle of running shoes is a safety feature.

While being under the impression that running shoes would be very comfortable to play table tennis in, it wasn’t constructed with the strenuous sideways play of table tennis. At advanced levels, the performance factor would be lacking while wearing running shoes.

If the lack of stable side-to-side movement isn’t an issue, running shoes will be acceptable to wear for playing table tennis.

Why Wear Running Shoes For A Game Of Table Tennis?

You can wear running shoes that offer good support and prevents possible injuries while you are still at a beginner level or play table tennis for fun over weekends with friends. As you move to higher levels of proficiency in the game, you will understand the importance of wearing table tennis shoes and the advantages they will bring to the outcome of your game.

Choose a pair of running shoes most suitable for your activity level, your end goal, and your manner of movement and body type. If you take your table tennis game and your health seriously, you should wear a pair of running shoes meant for the specific effects the game has on the movement of your body.

Keep these questions in mind when wanting to grab a pair of running shoes before heading off to your table tennis game.

  1. Do they give you good support during movement?
  2. Do they provide flexibility, and are they durable?
  3. Do they offer protection against common injuries like sprains?
  4. Do they provide stability for your ankles when making sudden direction changes?
  5. Do they improve your gaming performance?

Your choice fundamentally depends on one factor: your current ability level. If you’re a beginner, your footwork is probably under-developed, and you won’t notice a difference when wearing running shoes or rubber boots. If all the above are answered with YES, then, by all means, grab those running shoes and onwards to your table tennis game.

Features Of The Running Shoe In Playing Table Tennis

You will already know the benefits of wearing good shoes if you’re an intermediate or advanced table tennis player.

At an advanced level, wearing the wrong shoe can make competing impossible. The best shoes don’t get in your way of the game – letting you make your moves without you hardly noticing them. The shoe can make your table tennis game a more pleasant, comfortable, and safe experience.

Below, in order of importance, is the features of good running shoes that are important when playing table tennis.

  • Traction or grip. When executing a high-precision move, you do not need your feet sliding and adding another factor to complicate your play. The sole must offer grip, traction, and good flexibility where it is required and when it is needed.
  • Stability and motion control. When making sudden changes in any direction, your shoes must allow you to adjust responsive movements with ease.
  • Prevent injury. The essential aspect is the fit. Your shoes should not cause you any discomfort. If you’re experiencing blisters, aches, or pains you are wearing the wrong shoe. If too small (no, they won’t “give in and feel better”), too big, too narrow, or with a heel that rubs and blisters, you can cause injury and needlessly derail your fitness capability.
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Differences Between Running And Table Tennis Shoes

Running table tennis shoes have similar qualities that make them ideal for being active. Both are designed for a specific range of movements that put a lot of pressure on your feet.

Below are some of the structural differences to take to heart before deciding which shoe you’d prefer to wear – running shoes or table tennis shoes.

  • Sole. The sole of a running shoe has a front with the flex to improve pushing you off forward, shock absorption, and a stiff middle to prevent unnecessary movement.
  • Table tennis shoes have a much more flexible, thinner sole so players can feel closer to the court and supply lateral stability.
  • Outsole. Running shoes have different outsoles for different surfaces. They are smoother on the bottom and provide traction on hard surfaces. Table tennis shoes have more durable outsoles as this grip is for the extreme stress players place on their shoes with the constant stops, starts, and slides.
  • Cushioning. Running shoes have more cushioning than table tennis shoes because of the repetitive forward motion involved. Table tennis shoes focus on lateral support and traction over cushioning.
  • Heel. Running shoes are more robust with thick heels to meet the demands of forwarding motion, and cushioning in the running shoe help with shock absorption of the hard ground that imparts your joints, but the thicker heel could cause you to trip. The table tennis shoe lays less emphasis on height so the player has more stability.
  • Directional movement. While running shoes are constructed with continuous, smooth, rolling motion over different terrains in a forward motion, playing table tennis involves quick starts and stops and jerky movements across a flat surface. The shoe needs to prevent foot and ankle injuries.
  • Cost. If cost is a factor, it’s recommended to wear running shoes to start. Running shoes won’t give you the same stability or hold as table tennis shoes when doing sideways moves, but the cushioning in running shoes will allow for comfortable play.


I hope you found our post helpful. Again, if you are a casual player or a beginner just getting into table tennis, you don’t need to invest in a pair of table tennis shoes. Any sports shoe would be okay to start. Wear what works for you. But once you’ve developed sufficient skill and want to take your game to the next level, you are highly recommended you pick a pair of table tennis shoes.

Shoes are a personal thing. If you participate in table tennis more than three times a week, consider choosing a shoe specific to table tennis. It gets down to that there is no perfect shoe, only the best shoe for you.


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