I was using a pair of shoes specifically designed for the sport of Tennis, one of their best, the Nike Air Vapor Ace. I got them originally for Pickleball, and did slightly hurt my ankle once while playing with them, but have been using them for about 6 months now for badminton. Lately, the outside of my feet started to ache and my ankles felt like they were getting ready to sprain if I moved the wrong way. I have had about 4-6 major ankle sprains in my life, and I know when something is wrong. So I started asking the same question everyone else does who doesn't have badminton-specific shoes. I spent a lot of hours doing research on the internet about different shoes, and for me it boiled down to the Yonex Eclipsion Z, Power Cushion 65ZM 2, Victor A920, A960 and P9300. I am a fanatic about having light shoes because I believe that the heavier they are, the more weight you have to move around and the sooner you will fatigue and start to hit out-of-position shots. I REALLY wanted the Yones Aerus 3's since I weighed a pair at only 270 grams per shoe, but read over and over again about how they have little comfort and support, qualities I definitely want and need. So, I bought a pair of Yonex Power Cushion 65ZM 2's. For size 8.5 US they weigh 607 grams for the pair, 303.5 grams per shoe, only 12.5 grams more per shoe than my Nike's, 33 grams more than Aerus 3's. And boy, do they make a difference. They are much more comfortable, have better grip, and feel more stable when I'm making extreme maneuvers. My ankles and the sides of my feet don't hurt anymore. They really excel at moving straight backwards because of the curved heel. The 90 degree heel angle of regular shoes can cause you to trip or not move smoothly if you dig in right on the edge. Overall, there is a significant difference between these shoes and my old Nike's. Play-mates comment that I'm moving faster than before, and smoother. I'm getting to even more of those shots other people would give up on, the kind that people watching see and go "uuuuuuhhh", or politely clap or bang their rackets. If you need new shoes, I highly suggest these for their light weight, comfort, stability and grip. My doubles partner just bought some Comfort Z's, and hates them because he was used to the low weight of his Aerus 3's, but he hates them now too because they hurt his feet (the 3's). Mine aren't that much heavier, but have all of the other bonus's the 3's don't have, which I think is well worth the trade-off. So, do real badminton shoes make a difference? Absolutely, without a doubt, hell yes!