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What do you Wear to Play Badminton? A Complete Guide

Image credit: Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash -

You’re new to Badminton, you’ve just started playing at a local club and you’re not sure what to wear. If you’ve done any other sports of any kind chances are you have the majority of what you need to wear to play Badminton. It’s great for new starters as they can get started with the sport quickly.

So, what do you wear to play Badminton? For Badminton, wear shorts or a skirt with a light synthetic sports T-shirt. Avoid tracksuit pants or long-sleeved T-shirts as you need to be able to move freely. Avoid cotton materials for any of these. If you’re going to be playing regularly then have a pair of quality Badminton shoes in your bag.

Badminton is accessible for all to pick up and play. If you’re joining a club, starting to compete or are getting coaching then you’ll need to be aware of more details then this. Read on to find out what the dress code is for more competitive play and more details around the essentials.

What you need to wear, the essentials

The absolute basics to wear for Badminton are:

  • Good quality cotton sports socks
  • A pair of sports shorts or a skirt
  • A light sports T-shirt
  • A quality pair of Badminton shoes

Good quality socks are often overlooked for sports but they can be the difference between a comfortable, enjoyable playing experience and a blister prone nightmare that can wear out your socks before you know it.

There are plenty of places to get good quality sports socks. Badminton brands produce socks designed for Badminton, I’d say these are optional though. Go with a good sports brand and make sure the socks are nice a thick with a high thread count. This prevents your feet from rubbing against your shoes and forming blisters.

Light, breathable and freedom to move, avoid cotton!

After that, you most likely have general sports gear like shorts, skirts and T-shirts which are most likely fine for Badminton. Just make sure their made of breathable material and avoid cotton as it will absorb sweat. Wearing a sweaty cotton T-shirt whilst playing Badminton is not pleasant.

What kind of shoes should I wear for badminton?

Play in clothes that allow you the freedom to move unrestricted. There are lots of twisting, turning, reaching and lunging in Badminton so wear clothes that can stretch or are loose to give you the space to move.

I would say that if you’re just starting out playing and don’t have Badminton shoes then don’t worry, use Basketball, Squash or general indoor sports shoes. It’s better to have a pair of Badminton shoes that you use just for Badminton that you don’t wear outside.

Shoes like trainers and running shoes won’t give you the required support or safety whilst playing. Most trainers and running shoes lack the cushioning to protect the feet, knees and legs against the shock of lunging and jumping during Badminton. They won’t have the adequate grip to prevent you from sliding around and won’t have enough support around the ankle to prevent twists and rolling.

We have an article detailing the difference between Badminton and Tennis shoes and a recommended page for the best badminton shoes to suit any budget.

Optional gear but nice to have

The previous section detailed the absolute essentials, this section we’ll look at items that aren’t necessary to have but are nice to have, especially if you start playing more frequently.

Sweat headbands, wristbands

Not as popular as they used to be but sweat headbands and wristbands can be really useful while playing Badminton. Playing Badminton really gets the heart pumping you’ll be working up a sweat in no time. Sweat can be a real problem though.

Badminton courts are hard, elasticated surfaces which are waterproof which means any sweat or liquid spilt on them will just sit on the surface of the court. This makes the court very slippy and is so dangerous with the speed at which Badminton is played.

Rather than letting your sweat drip all over the court, and potentially causing an accident, having a sweat headband on to catch it and wristbands to wipe down your arms etc will go a long way.

Warmup jacket and pants

Getting warmed up fully before playing Badminton is essential. Lack of a good warmup routine can lead to potential injuries and you just won’t be ready to play your best. Badminton and sports brands design warmup jackets and pants that distribute your body heat evenly across your body.

They’re not like most other tracksuits as they don’t restrict your movement as much as regular tracksuits might.

I say these are a nice to have because they can be expensive and although they work really well normal tracksuits and hoodies can suffice for providing an extra layer until you’re fully warmed up.


For anyone who has long hair, man or woman, you’ll need a hairband. I can’t imagine it being very comfortable or practical to have long loose hair constantly getting in your face whilst you play.

I put these under the optional section more in reference to the sports branded hairbands. I can’t speak from experience but the sport-specific hairbands look more like a luxury when I see people play and just use regular bobbles for tieing their hair back.

Apart from being machine washable and more durable then normal hairbands and bobbles I don’t see greater benefits with these. Just make sure you have something to tie your hair back with.

Badminton dress code rules for men

If you play socially, with friends or family or anybody else, and you play at your local leisure centre just for fun you can play in whatever you want. I’d still recommend sticking to clothing we’ve talked about in this guide.

However, if you play for a Badminton club in a local league or compete in competitions then you will be subject to a particular dress code. The dress code for men from one league or tournament to the next will rarely be different.

The dress code will most likely state that you have to wear shorts, not long pants, and a T-shirt but excluding anything like football, rugby, hockey or any other sport-specific shirts. The exclusion of these is to not detract from Badminton as a sport and by playing with a football shirt you’re effectively advertising a different sport.

There can be regulations around printed shirts as well. Any shirts with graphics, imagery and written content on are most likely banned. Again the exclusion is against the advertising as well as regulating any inappropriate content like nudity and explicit language.

There are very limited rules and regulations around colouring and designs for shirts and shorts. Almost all sports clothing will comply with any regulations there might be.

It’s worth noting that the higher tier the event you participate the more rules there will be around clothing in regards to sponsorship, printed names on shirts and potentially matching your partners’ clothing colour if you’re playing doubles or mixed. Not something to worry about when you’re just starting out but something to know.

Badminton dress code rules for ladies

Controversially the BWF at one point considered making it mandatory for women to wear skirts whilst playing Badminton. Thankfully they came to their senses and revoked the idea. Women now have the same dress code rules as men do. They’re free to wear shirts, shorts and skirts following the same restrictions that men have.

Not so much a dress code but for modesty, I’d recommend that if you were to wear a Badminton skirt then having a pair of shorts underneath would be advisable.

Some sports brands now have skorts which are skirts with shorts attached underneath like swim shorts for men. These are great because you don’t need to have separate shorts and skirts to layer up.

If you found this article helpful return the favour and share it with a friend. If you feel I’ve missed anything out or have other advice, please leave feedback and share your help with others below. Thanks again for reading.

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Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.

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