Tennis Shoes: How To Pick The Right Ones

Table Of Contents

  1. Is It Time To Replace My Tennis Shoes?
  2. Becoming A Smart Tennis Shoe Shopper
  3. Where You Play Determines What You Should Wear
  4. How You Play Determines What You Should Wear
  5. Ready To Buy?

The search for the perfect pair of tennis shoes has been around for ages. Many players struggle to find a pair that fits them just right, while also being durable for their entire season of sliding on all types of courts. If you want this, you need shoes specifically designed for tennis.

Once you come to this realization, you can determine which court, whether grass, clay, or hard court, that you will play on the most as a starting point to find the proper footwear for you.

With the stopping and starting that is inevitable while playing tennis, you need shoes built for comfort, support, and durability. 

But, before we move on to the best type of tennis shoe for you, you might be asking yourself a different question…

Is It Time To Replace My Tennis Shoes?

Tennis players can typically know when to replace their shoes by looking at the outsole. If the outsole is wearing away to where you can see the midsole, you are losing traction and it is time to get a new pair of tennis shoes.

The anatomy of a tennis shoe.

Becoming A Smart Tennis Shoe Shopper

In order to find the right shoes for you, you should brush up on a tennis shoe’s anatomy. Understanding the structure of these shoes can help you become a more captious person/customer when looking for the right fit.

The more you know, the better. For the sake of time, I’ll give you some common footwear lingo that you need to know.

There are four parts of a tennis shoe: the heel, midfoot, forefoot, and toe. Then, there are two sides to every shoe: the medial and lateral.

The laces and eyelets (holders of the laces) are a very looked-over part in a tennis shoe. Laces can come in different sizes according to what the buyer is looking for, however, the eyelets can become a big problem for players if they’re not careful. Picking a shoe where the eyelets don’t blend well with your foot shape can cause rubbing at the ankle bone.

The right tongue of a shoe can also help to provide the maximum amount of comfort you are looking for. When shopping for a tennis shoe, examine the tongue in whether or not it is plusher (for comfort) or less (for speed and movement).

The heel counter in the back of your shoes should be full of plush for maximum comfort and support to your ankle. If an ankle is not properly controlled, injuries such as sprains, breaks, and fractures come into play.

The insole of a shoe provides extra cushion to the player and is usually removable in case it needs to be switched out for more comfortable, or doctor prescribed insoles. The insole can also provide more arch support, warmth, and a better fit.

The midsole is where you can find most of the cushion in a tennis shoe. For tennis players, a midsole takes most of the shock absorption and in some shoes serves to control excessive foot motion. After a certain amount of repetitive load is placed on the midsole it will compress and not rebound to do its job. All tennis players need a very foam-filled midsole to protect their heels.

The outsole is where the shoe makes contact with the court. This is where a player’s traction and durability comes from. Certain outsoles are made for different court-types and have their own features for that specific court. Towards the end of this article, we will get into the shoe types for the three different courts. An outsole can come in two different pieces. The piece that separates the two is called the shank.

The shank keeps you as stable as possible while you’re moving. It is the pivoting point of the entire shoe and works to keep you supported while giving the shoe structure.

The toe box is the area where your toes fit. The toe guard is an added piece of material that keeps the tennis player protected against toe dragging. If you are a toe-dragger, you need to make sure that you have a spacious toe box and a sturdier built upper part of the shoe.

Where You Play Determines What You Should Wear

As you read earlier, the court type will affect the tennis shoe you choose. The outsole differs in each type of shoe, thus making it easier to play on grass, clay, or hard court.

Hardcourt Shoes made specifically for hard courts will have a variety of patterns on the bottom of the shoe. Textures such as a small amount of herringbone can be found to give traction to the player. Hardcourt shoes are also made to be extremely durable because of how destructive this court can be on them. You can also find more cushioning since hard courts are very rigorous on your joints. The hard court shoes can commonly be used on all three types of courts.

Clay court – Shoes made for clay courts usually have patterns going across the outsole to help grip into the clay, but not take the clay into the sole. The whole outsole is generally all herringbone patterns. There can also be more lateral support because of all the sliding that clay court players face.

Grass court – Grass court shoes are a very specialized shoe. The bottom will have small rubbery nubs or cleats in order to provide traction. Grass courts can tend to be very slippery and wet, which makes it hard for tennis players who play on this type. This type of shoe can typically only be used on grass courts and not on the other two types.

Tennis shoes built for grass courts.
Tennis shoes built for grass courts.

How You Play Determines What You Should Wear

The type of tennis shoes that you come to choose should also be based on your specific playing style. Whether you are a baseliner or a serve and volley player, there is a tennis shoe right for you.

Baseline Player – A baseline player performs a wide range of side to side movements, causing more wear. If you are this type of player, you should invest in shoes with an added cushion that provides extra lateral support and a long-lasting sole.

Serve and Volley Player – A serve and volley player approaches the net often and requires shoes that have a reinforced toe guard and sole. Additional arch support helps greatly since these players are likely on their toes a lot of the match. 

Ready To Buy?

If you’re ready to find the right tennis shoe for you, we’re happy to help. We’re not here to sell you our product or make money off of your well-being.

So, you’re not going to see an affiliate link here or a recommendation for a shoe from a sponsor. Instead, we will provide a link to an article that we believe provides you with great information on which shoe is right for you.

Using the information provided in the article you just read, you will be able to figure out which tennis shoes is right for you.

The 11 Best Shoes for Tennis: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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