Investing in the right equipment for your tennis game can help find small gains that may make the difference on the match court. Being more consistent on the second serve, finding more power on the forehand, or punching a volley. Most players spend time researching and trying out different tennis racquets, various string types and grips to give themselves that edge, but give little thought to a vital piece of their tennis arsenal that could in the long run be their best investment – tennis shoes.
Tennis shoes are designed with a functional purpose to suit the demands of the game. Whereas your traditional runners or cross trainers are designed essentially to go in one direction (forward), tennis shoes are built to prevent excessive movement of the foot within the shoe from the sudden stop-start nature of other sports, provide stability to assist with the multi-directional movement, and will help prevent injury.
Here are my top tips when looking to purchase your next tennis shoe:
- Work out what are the most important purchasing features for you. It could be the weight of the shoe, how much cushion the shoe provides, the durability based on materials used, the breathability of the shoe in long hot sessions, and lastly the design of the shoe and how it looks on your foot!
- Consider what surface you will predominately be playing on. Whilst an all-round tennis shoe may be suitable across multiple surfaces, some tennis manufacturers will produce specific grass, clay and hard court shoes to allow for the differences in grip required for those surfaces.
- Visit a professional in store to determine your foot requirements, many manufacturers now make shoes to suit broader or narrower feet, as well as measuring the length of your foot. A lot of people have feet that aren’t the same size. But mostly, nothing beats trying shoes on in store for immediate feedback about comfort levels.
- Like your tennis strings, regularly update your shoes to ensure you are getting the best out of your footwear and avoiding injury from shoe degradation. A general rule may be the amount of times you play per week is how often you should purchase new tennis shoes per year.