Footwear Guidelines for New Court Use

Footwear Guidelines for New Court Use:

On our new playing courts installed in May 2021, we now have additional guidelines for players playing on the courts regarding their footwear.


  • Non-marking indoor court shoes.


  • Non-marking sports footwear – usually sports footwear that have a lighter coloured sole. 


  • Marking sports footwear – usually sports footwear with a black sole, please check your shoes!

  • Non-sports footwear – including but not limited to casual street shoes, work boots, any heeled shoes.

We appreciate everyone adhering to these guidelines to help the STBA community maintain our fantastic new playing surfaces. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. See below for further information on marking shoes. 


What are non-marking shoes?

If you are like most people, you probably don’t think much about whether your shoes are leaving marks when you are walking around or playing sports. In fact, non-marking shoes might sound like they wouldn’t be necessary at all.

Non marking shoes are shoes that do not leave marks on the floor. Black scuff marks on the floor are caused by shoes with black rubber soles and hard leather. Non marking shoe soles are materials that prevent scuffing the floor.

Non-marking shoes have specially manufactured soles that will cause the minimum amount of scuff marks, black marks, and damage to sensitive indoor floors – especially during sports or activities done on synthetic indoor surfaces. They don’t look much different from a normal shoe unless you know what to look for. So how can you tell if a shoe is non marking?

You can tell a shoe is non-marking by examining its sole, or learning what the shoe is designed for. Non marking soles will be soft, and not have a large tread. Shoes made for indoor courts are always non marking. You can safely assume that badminton shoes, indoor basketball shoes, volleyball shoes, netball shoes, indoor tennis shoes, and others will be non-marking.

Non-marking shoes are used in quite a few indoor sports and activities. They are not hard to find both online and in stores.

Non-Marking Shoes Difference

A non-marking shoe should not leave marks on your floors, while a regular shoe might. Typically, a non-marking shoe will:

  • Not have a black sole

  • Have a soft sole

Most non-marking shoes will have a white or light-coloured sole that will be less likely to leave dark marks. They will also be soft-soled. Hard sole shoes are stiff and tend to often leave scuff marks, while soft-soled shoes cause a minimal amount of friction while still having some traction and grip.

Non-marking shoes are sometimes made from gum rubber, or something akin to an imitation gum rubber. Gum rubber soles have been treated with natural gum, and imitation gum rubber shoes are usually made from polybutadiene. Both soles will be a beige/brown colour and soft, but grippy enough for sports.

According to a study done on the Effect of Rubber Sole no Pressure Change of Foot Movement, most shoes will be made out of a synthetic rubber, (like polybutadiene for example), versus a natural rubber because synthetics are more affordable and easier to come by.

You often see something like gum rubber soles on skateboarding shoes. However, non-marking shoes are most commonly used for sports played on indoor courts. This is because:

  • Synthetic court surfaces are easier to mark and tear up

  • The soft rubber of a non-marking sole will not hold up well in outdoor environments

Synthetic court surfaces are a lot softer than outdoor court surfaces, so many indoor sports like badminton, indoor tennis courts, and indoor basketball courts will require you to wear non-marking shoes when you play.

How to test whether your current shoes are non-marking

So, let’s say you already have a pair of shoes, and you want to see if they are non-marking. There are a couple of ways to test out your shoes to make sure they won’t mark up an indoor court.

  1. The Fingernail Test

  • Press a fingernail or semi-sharp object into the sole of your shoe

  • Non-marking shoe soles will dent, and will shortly fill out again

  1. The Paper Test

  • Rub or draw with the sole of the shoe on a piece of white paper

  • A non-marking shoe shouldn’t scuff or leave marks on the paper

As you can see, it is relatively easy to figure out if a shoe is non-marking or not with things you have lying around the house (or even just your fingernail!).