Tennis is undoubtedly the most popular racket sport in the world, having been played since the early part of the 19th century. Originating in England, it has spread and is now played in every corner of the world. Including everything from elite tournaments with huge prize money to children’s clubs in local parks, tennis is a sport that is embraced by people from all backgrounds.
As is the case in most sports, the better you get, the more you will pay attention to every little detail, in order to try and improve to be the very best you can. While selecting the best racket to suit your style of play tends to be most people’s focus, ensuring you have the ideal tennis shoes is just as important to the success you have on the court.
With that in mind, here we'll be looking at what a tennis shoe is, what options you have available, and just how the different types can affect you game. Hopefully, this should give you all the information you require to find the pair best suited to take your game to the next level.
Types Of Tennis Shoes
Men’s Tennis Shoes
Men’s tennis shoes will predominantly be the largest type on the market. This is because they are aimed at men, who generally have the biggest feet. That said, they can be worn by anyone.
Women’s Tennis Shoes
Often just a slightly smaller version of men’s tennis shoes, they can also regularly feature more feminine designs, such as details done in pinks and softer colours. They are specifically targeted at women but can again be worn by anyone they fit.
Junior Tennis Shoes
Junior tennis shoes are aimed at children and younger users. They will often simply be a much smaller replica of the two options listed above. However, they will sometimes have additional “fun” features as well, such as lights or decorations displaying popular characters.
Things To Consider
Material (manmade fibres, manmade leather)
The material will affect everything from price and durability to style and breathability of a tennis shoe. Make sure you select a pair made from a material that offers the combination you deem most suitable.
Court Surface (Hard Court, Soft Court, Clay Court, Multi Court)
The soles of many tennis shoes will be designed with a specific type of surface in mind. Make sure the pair you select features a sole designed for the surface you play on most frequently.
Lateral support can both reduce the risk of injury a player faces, as well as potentially limit their mobility. Decide which is more important to you and select the tennis shoe that best lines up with what you are looking for.
The level of cushioning in your tennis shoe can affect both your comfort and the level of mobility you have with your foot. Make sure to select a shoe will a level of cushioning that gives you the ratio of comfort to mobility that you desire.
Make sure the combination of support and padding in your chosen tennis shoe is sufficient to allow you to comfortably wear them for extended periods of rigorous activity.
While the majority of players will find an average tennis shoe sufficient, highly skilled players often look to tweak every little thing they can, in order to help them improve. Consider your ability level and how much the shoes will affect your game when deciding on your budget and what type you should buy.
Style Of Play
While some people like a solid grip when they place their foot, others prefer to be able to glide across the court. Make sure the sole on the tennis shoe you are looking at will go with your preferred style of play.
Similarly to the point above, consider your style of play when looking at the weight. While plenty of people will be happy with a heavy tennis shoe, those who like to move quickly or glide may well prefer something slightly lighter.
Consider your foot type when looking at tennis shoes and make note if there are any specific requirements you have, such as needing additional support on the arch of your foot etc. This is particularly important as getting the correct tennis shoe for your foot type will greatly help to reduce your chance of getting injured.
Size is the primary consideration when buying any kind of shoe but is particularly important with something designed to improve athletic performance, such as a tennis shoe. Make sure it fits comfortably but is also tight enough not to slip around while moving.
It may be a purely aesthetic issue but selecting a tennis shoe in a colour that makes you feel good about your appearance will give you greater confidence, which could help to boost your play.
Set yourself a clear budget before you start your search for tennis shoes. This will stop you from wasting your time analysing a pair that you are unable or unwilling to pay for.
Tennis Shoe Maintenance
There is limited maintenance that can be done with a tennis shoe. However, not leaving them wet will stop them from smelling and ensuring you don’t squash them when you store or transport them will help to extend their life.