There’s not much stopping you from wearing your regular trainers when taking to the court for a casual hit of tennis. But for those who play regularly, investing in a good pair of tennis shoes will give you the support you need and your feet will thank you for it.
What’s the difference between a tennis shoe and my trainers?
Because trainers are not designed specifically for tennis, they may not have appropriate sole patterns that help preserve the courts. For example, when playing on clay courts, herringbone-patterned soles will often be required as this doesn’t damage the court like a ripple-soled shoe, and some tennis centres with hard courts may specify the use of white or non-marking soles.
Which tennis shoe?
Certain characteristics of tennis shoes will be more important than others depending on the surface you’re playing on. Good cushioning and ventilation in a shoe is especially crucial when playing on a hard court, given the greater stress this unforgiving surface places on your joints, and the heat it can absorb in warm sunny weather. On clay, lightness and traction become more desirable given the emphasis clay places on your footwork.
Where can I find tennis shoes?
You can buy tennis shoes from all good sporting retailers such as Rebel Sport , footwear outlets like Athlete’s Foot or Footlocker, tennis pro shops, and online. Buying shoes in store will give you the advantage of being able to discuss your needs with a shop assistant who can make recommendations, while the advantage of purchasing online is that they often come cheaper.
Give yourself an advantage
But if you want an edge, a tennis-specific shoe can offer some real benefits. Here’s some to consider:
Tennis puts an enormous amount of stress on your feet, so it’s important to select shoes with a good amount of padding (this can be in gel, air or fabric form). Cushioning is especially important around the toes and heels, which bear the brunt of the force of your movements.
Pushing off, changing direction and stopping dead are all common movements in tennis, which means you need shoes with a good amount of grip on the sole so you’re not slipping and sliding all over the court.
It’s also important that your feet feel secure when they’re making such explosive and forceful movements. Tennis shoes often provide a slightly wider base than a streamlined running shoe for added stability, and you should always look for shoes with good arch and ankle support to reduce the risk of injury.
A lightly weighted shoe will improve your court speed so you can more effectively cover the court and track down balls.
Given your feet sweat more than any other part of your body, shoes with uppers made from meshy, breathable fabrics will enhance ventilation and reduce heat in your feet.
Because they’re designed specifically for the sport, tennis shoes are mostly made from materials that better withstand the associated movements you will make on court and the often hard surfaces you play on. Finally, investing in footwear that lasts will give you good value for money.