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The Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Shoes for Tennis

2/11/2021 - Staff Writer - Footwear


Colloquially, the term “tennis shoes” has come to describe a wide array of casual footwear. However, when it comes to playing tennis, it is important that you have shoes for tennis, not just any old tennis shoes.

In this article, the term “tennis shoes” will refer to shoes that are made specifically for the game of tennis.

How Tennis Shoes Are Different Than Other Athletic Shoes

Using “the right tool for the job” is a universal expression. Although you can use a flathead screwdriver for marginal success when turning a screw designed to be used with a phillips, you run the risk of stripping the screw or doing an otherwise inefficient and ineffective job.

The same is true of tennis shoes when compared to running shoes, basketball shoes, or everyday sneakers. Of course, compared to being barefoot or something completely inappropriate (like ballroom shoes), any of these shoes can do a decent job protecting your feet from getting roughed up on the rough surface of the court.

However, running shoes are designed to cushion repetitive heel-toe footfalls, basketball shoes are designed to pivot, spring, and cushion for jumps, and everyday sneakers do not have the support or grip needed for peak athletic performance.

Tennis shoes are designed with lateral support and stability in mind, allowing for short stops and quick changes in direction as required by the sport of tennis. They are low to the ground (with minimal cushion compared to a running shoe) and enough grip to allow you to change direction quickly.

What Are You Looking for In the Right Tennis Shoe to Elevate Your Game?

First and foremost, the right pair of tennis shoes should be comfortable. When ordering new styles online, utilize size charts and product descriptions to determine what will be the best fit for you. You might try a new brand of shoes with each season until you find which one tends to suit you best. Over time, many tennis players develop brand loyalty that brings them back to the same manufacturer each year for a reliable fit that meets their needs for ideal comfort.

Make sure the shoes are snug to begin with to avoid chafing and blisters, the shoes will slowly become more spacious over time, so you do not want there to be any wiggle room in the beginning. On the other end of the spectrum, make sure to try the shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are at their most swollen, to make sure that they are not too tight either.

Finally, make sure that the grip feels appropriate for your level of play. Making a few quick, side to side cuts on the tennis court as if you are in an intense match will give you a good indication as to how the tread will serve your style of movement.

How Often Should You Replace Your Tennis Shoes?

If you are rough on shoes or play weekly or more, you will want to consider replacing your tennis shoes every year. Keeping old pairs around as a backup can also alleviate some of the demand put on your go-to pair of tennis shoes.

Even if you are just an occasional player, getting a new pair of tennis shoes every few years is important to accommodate any changes in your body and ensure the material is not beginning to break down.


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