When getting into tennis, you won’t probably prioritize getting tennis shoes. You are usually worried about finding the proper tennis racquet first. But even if you wear running shoes, you might still experience some discomfort. If this happens to you, or if you’re planning to play tennis for the long run, it’s best to invest in a pair of tennis shoes. If you happen to be curious about who invented tennis shoes, check out the history here.
Benefits of a Tennis Shoe
Tennis requires not just a lot of running around but also quick stops and starts. It also uses a lot of lateral movement, and tennis shoes are designed to give you that type of support and cushioning. The traction that you need on a tennis court is different than what you would need if you were running. Here are some reasons why you’d want to consider buying tennis shoes for play instead of using your regular running or athletic shoe. Also, the weight and material are extremely important for an effective displacement on the court. A great pair of shoes can make a complete difference in your game, and if you want to start looking for the best, you can check the top-ranked tennis shoes of 2020.
More comfortable to play in
Every decent athletic shoe is engineered for a specific task. Your everyday sneaker is perfect for getting you from place to place. The design of a running shoe supports, cushions, and stabilizes the feet. However, the support system like the soles, padding, upper, arches, grip, and insulation can have limitations.
On the other hand, tennis shoes are specifically made to perform the physical activities of the sport. The support that a tennis shoe can provide can make you comfortable to move back and forth. Some tennis shoes feature breathable features to keep your feet from getting overheated.
However, tennis shoes are not always comfortable – it’s comfy for playing tennis. You don’t want to run a marathon in tennis shoes.
Offers specific treading
Tennis court shoes come with treading in the outsole that is designed to give you the maximum amount of traction on the court. The type of shoes needed may be needed depending on what type of court you want to play. Hard courts, clay, and grass respond differently to the impact of your feet. Running shoes aren’t suitable for any of them since these types of shoes are made to interact with the pavement, not any surface of a tennis court.
Stability and Lateral Support
Tennis shoes focus on stability and lateral support, while a typical running shoe places emphasis on cushioning. Lateral support, stiffness, and stability are important to tennis players, as many quick movements executed on the tennis court are side-to-side movements. While cushioning is vital to the tennis player, it’s less important than stability and lateral support.
Important Parts of a Tennis Shoe
Like many fitness shoes, there’s a lot of sports shoe lingo that goes with tennis shoes that you may not understand if you’re a starter. However, you don’t need to understand it all, for there are only two things that you need to know:
- Outsole – The outsole of the tennis shoes is the actual bottom surface of the shoe, the part that comes in direct contact with the ground or court. It is designed for high traction and is made of a sturdy, resistant material subject to heavy wear on the tennis court. Also, there’s a choice of different profiles so you can get the perfect grip on any surface. The sole is made of soft material that can wear out quickly when worn in tennis games for running shoes.
- Midsole – The midsole of the shoe is the layer underneath the outsole. It’s where you can find some cushioning to help make the shoe comfortable to wear as you play. Tennis shoes have a thinner midsole than running shoes since tennis players need more control over their grip on the court, whereas runners attach great importance to the feeling of comfort so they can run faster and further.
Tennis Shoes for Different Types of Courts
In tennis, there are three types of court surfaces: hard court, clay court, and grass court. When buying a tennis shoe, you have to consider the type of court surface you’ll be playing on the most frequently, so you can get the ideal shoe. Each type of court exhibits different playing circumstances and presents unique challenges to players, so proper traction is important so they can perform their best and compete safely.
Hard court shoes
The most common type of tennis shoes, hard court shoes, are made for hard courts. They are easy to maintain and are designed to be worn on a paved asphalt tennis court with a more grippy surface. When you’re playing on hard courts most of the time, look for shoes with:
- Durable outsole with a reliable tread and prominent toe guard
- Added comfort and shock absorption
- Extra protection around the upper part of the shoe
The outsoles of hard court shoes are covered in a variety of patterns, and there will also be some available in herringbone texture. The midsole is designed to offer some cushioning since playing on hard courts can be harder for the joints and more jarring with all the stopping and starting. The outsole and the midsole must be designed to absorb these shocks. Usually, when a tennis shoe doesn’t have an explicit grass court or clay court label, it’s safe to assume that it’s meant to be used for hard courts.
Clay court shoes
The clay court happens to be the slowest court surface to play on because the ball loses speed and bounces higher after hitting the ground. These courts are slick, and players typically slide on it. The clay surface is also loose, so some material gets stuck within the tread of the shoe outsoles, which can cause a player to lose grip and traction.
To ensure the best performance in a clay court, choose a shoe with:
- A herringbone style tread
- A tightly-knit or woven upper
- Stability for slides during lateral or side to side movements
Clay shoes have herringbone tread throughout the entire outsole of the shoe, which helps grip into the clay court, and naturally, release clay when the foot twists or flexes. This pattern prevents the shoe from getting caked in clay since it will make the shoe too slippery, causing you to slide too much and even fall.
A tightly-knit upper can also prevent dust and clay from entering the top of the shoe while playing.
Grass court shoes
Finally, there’s the grass court shoe. Despite its prominence in professional tennis, grass courts are actually the least common surface since it’s the most challenging and expensive to maintain. Grass courts are the fastest of the three surfaces, as the ball frequently skids and bounces low. Since grass courts are more natural and more forgiving, the durability of a shoe is of less priority, but traction remains important.
Grass court shoes are specialized shoes with rubbery cleats or little nubs that help grip the slippery grass surface. It has a flat outsole with subtle bumps or pimples throughout the entire length of the shoe. Most professional tennis players use specialized grass court shoes for tennis with distinct outsole bumps.