Some people have one or two pairs of shoes simply because they need something to “slip their feet into.” On the other hand, there are also people whose closets look like this: hiking shoes, house shoes, dog walking shoes, all-kinds-of-purpose shoes, etc.
But what about tennis shoes? Is this really just a fancy excuse for explaining why you bought another pair of sports shoes, or do they actually serve a purpose?
What Are Tennis Shoes
As their name suggests, these shoes are the ones that you take on for tennis rounds. These shoes go by many different names: athletic shoes, sneakers, trainers, and many other common “labels”.
Tennis shoes started off like any other kind of shoe: a rubber sole around which they created the body of the shoe. They chose rubber simply because it didn’t mark up the tennis court. This, in turn, allowed the players to start and stop quickly, and move very quietly on the field.
Nowadays, trainers are more of a fashion statement. They are worn on different occasions, sports-related or not.
Differences Between Tennis Shoes And Other Sport Shoes
All tennis shoes are athletic shoes, but not all athletic shoes are tennis shoes. Are you confused already? We’ll explain this in a moment.
Think twice before saying a pair of old running shoes will work just the same on a tennis court. Running shoes are usually lighter to enable the runner to go forward much easier.
A pair of trainers, on the other hand, is not about aerodynamics; it’s about support. Tennis requires a lot of lateral movement which will put a lot of stress on the foot.
This is why you will need a pair of lightweight but sturdy shoes that will allow you to move quickly and freely.
Tennis Courts Vs. Tennis Shoes
You may not think much of it, but the variety of tennis courts will directly relate to the tennis shoe that you should choose. Just like a tennis ball, the shoe will be designed specifically for the type of tennis court: grass, clay, hard, and indoors.
When you serve and return, you need to be able to move on the court quickly. If needed, you need to go towards the net fast, and then back off just as fast.
In order to keep up with your pace, the best shoes for playing tennis on grass must have the following features:
- Good grip since grass courts can get very slippery. It can be either because of the morning dew or because the court has been run down by time.
- Flatter outsoles so that the court is not damaged. In fact, some players are actually required to wear completely flat trainers on the court.
- Flexible upper part to increase comfort while running. When you are running towards the ball, your feet cannot be constricted.
- There’s isn’t such a great need for durable outsoles when it comes to grass courts since the surface won’t damage the shoe as much as a hard surface court would.
Basically, a pair of sneakers for grass courts will be all about enabling movement and preventing damage to the actual surface of the court.
Typically, these shoes are made from rubber soles with a nub patterned soles, and uppers made from mesh and synthetic fabric combinations.
A clay court will be just a little slower, but with a lot more room for power shots. A stronger player can stand back and serve some very big shots on a clay court.
As a result, players will need lateral support and stability. This is because they will be shifting from side to side before “burying” their feet in the ground for the shot.
The best shoes for tennis on a clay surface will have the following features:
- Superior grip, since clay courts are usually dusty and don’t provide much traction.
- A well-patterned outsole that will release clay from the grooves. The reasoning behind that is so that it doesn’t leave shoe marks on the surface of the court.
- Durable soles – especially sides – so that they will not get damaged as you are sliding in for a shot at the ball.
- Lateral support so that you may swiftly move along the baseline.
- A tight upper part that will offer you stability and security as you are moving around the court.
Clay court shoes for tennis are harder than grass tennis shoes but softer than hard court ones. They need to have sole patterns that won’t clog with clay (typically, herringbone tread pattern) and allow sliding while still offering you a good grip.
A hard court is usually considered the neutral ground between grass and clay tennis courts. They are at a midpoint when it comes to speed and bounce of the ball, so they’re suitable for a multitude of game styles.
No matter if the player is fast or powerful, they can evenly match their styles without having a handicap.
Still, a hard court will demand a lot from your shoes, which is why you’ll need to consider the following when buying them:
- Sturdy and durable outsole that can handle the demands brought by a hard court surface. The sole needs to be friction-resistant as well.
- Back bounce and cushioning, since hard court surfaces can be really tough and unforgiving on your legs and feet.
- A tough upper side that will offer you support and stability as you are running around the court.
Since hard courts will be delivering punishment on your shoes, then you’ll need shoes that will be punishing the court as well.
This means that, unlike grass trainers that are “soft on the court,” these shoes won’t care whether or not you leave marks. Their sole purpose is to absorb shock and provide cushioning so that your feet won’t hurt after every tennis match.
Indoor tennis sneakers are pretty much similar to hard court ones. If you are playing on an indoor field, it is very likely that the surface is either concrete, carpet, clay, or another similar surface.
When playing indoors, you need shoes that will offer a lot of shock absorption and cushioning – and preferably, with completely smooth soles.
Types Of Tennis Shoes
Depending on your personal preferences, there are several types of trainers that you can go for. Here’s how you differentiate between the various kinds of tennis sneakers.
These types of sneakers are fairly minimal, and they stand out from the crowd by the fact that they do not go over your ankles.
Since they have a low cut design, they will not only make you look proportionate, but they will also provide freedom mobility and allow you to be dynamic.
These shoe types will go right above your ankles and are perfect for sports such as basketball, tennis, and other similar sports that require a lot of movement.
They provide a lot of support, and if they have enough cushioning, they are perfect for hard courts as well.
These shoes are a good option if you can’t be bothered with shoelaces. They are very light, which is why they are a fairly good option when it comes to grass courts.
However, keep in mind that unless the elastic in the front is very strong, you risk a “slip-out” in the middle of the game.
Tennis Shoe Anatomy
If you thought that a pair of sneakers is not that important, then you were completely wrong. A lot of work goes into designing the perfect pair of sneakers, and the features generally boil down to these three:
Soles And Traction
As mentioned, choosing the sole will be highly dependent on the type of court that you will be playing on. If you have to play on a hard court, then going for the traditional herringbone pattern would be the best decision for you.
On the other hand, if you are playing on a grass field, look for trainers that have small rubber studs on the sole. This will prevent you from slipping on the grass.
Clay courts also have recommended soles that will allow you to slide, which is why you may want to ask for recommendations from the store’s experts.
For indoor courts – particularly carpet – you may want to look for soles that are completely smooth and won’t “grab” onto anything. Doing so will add unnecessary stress to the knees and ankles – and that’s the last thing you want during an important game.
The upper part of a tennis shoe refers to the material blend that wraps around the foot. It’s what differentiates your daily shoes from a sandal. Most tennis shoe uppers are made from fabrics that are highly durable, such as synthetic or fabric.
Some uppers also try to reduce the weight by using mesh. This is also an effective attempt at keeping the foot cool, making the material more breathable.
Uppers can also use combos of various fabrics. For instance, some shoes use synthetic fabrics that are more prone to wear and tear while the ones with no contact with the ground will use mesh to enhance breathability and cooling.
There are two main cushioning types used for trainers, and those are EVA and Polyurethane. Polyurethane is heavier and with a little more consistency, making it more durable and supportive. EVA is a little bit lighter, but also not as stable.
There’s also a significant difference in shock absorption when it comes to the best tennis shoes.
Furthermore, while it’s very tempting to look for shoes that have thick cushioning, you might want to think twice on that. You should look for shoes that provide proper cushioning but are not so soft that the result is negative support.
Tennis Shoe Manufacturers
So, you figured out the type of tennis shoe that you are interested in, but here comes another problem: what brand should you go for?
We’ve all been through this struggle: we bought a pair of shoes of a certain brand, and they lasted us two years. After that, we bought a similar pair from another brand, and it lasted us two months. What kind of sorcery is this?
Well, if you want to be sure you purchase a good pair of trainers, here are some brands that are really popular among buyers. And you know what they say: if the demand is high, then they’re probably very good.
When it comes to sportswear, Asics tennis shoes are at the very top and for a good reason.
Their trademark involves the gel technology (GEL-Solution Speed and GEL-Resolution), which allows the players to feel cool and comfortable on the tennis court, even during the toughest of games.
Moreover, not only do they make the best tennis shoe for kids or adults, but they also make other tennis-related stuff, such as clothes or accessories.
Their aim is to make the clothes as lightweight and breathable as possible so that players will not be hindered during the game.
New Balance mostly specializes in making the best tennis shoes for women. They designed and sold shoes to various famous female tennis players, and they are advertised to bring a win for every match you play; you only need the skills.
These New Balance tennis shoes focus on cushioning for comfort. Also, they feature a strong upper to improve motion control and stability.
Plus, the designs are very cute, so that you can be stylish while showing your prowess on the court.
Adidas is a well-known name when it comes to sportswear, and their focus is on quality materials that will last for a long time.
Plus, they are designed to be extremely comfortable, and they even have different cushioning styles for people with high or low arches. So, they adapt to your feet.
Adidas tennis shoes are also a stylish choice if you want some retro-looking items. Since the brand has been around for a while, they have a multitude of options to choose from.
No matter if you are playing indoors or outdoors, Wilson will make sure you are comfortable and supported.
Newer Wilson tennis shoe models are even more optimized for hard courts; they have plastic inserts attached to the outsole to improve sliding and get you moving more quickly.
Other Uses For Tennis Shoes
They are called this for a reason: we use them specifically to play tennis. Still, this rule doesn’t apply to everyone, and these shoes end up being used for other reasons besides tennis. Here are some of the most common ones.
With basketball, there’s a lot of hopping and turning around, just like when it comes to tennis. This is why a pair of trainers (specifically, high top ones) would be so useful while playing this game.
Volleyball requires a lot of lateral movement – just like tennis does. Furthermore, since the uppers are pretty supportive, they’re very convenient when you continuously have to lunge back and forth after the ball.
As sad as it may seem, not everyone has the “perfect foot.” For those people, even the simple process of walking can be painful, which is why they need certain footwear to improve their lifestyle.
With the best arch support tennis shoes, their daily activities will become less painful, and those people will finally be able to lead a more comfortable life, without having to stop every five seconds for a rest.
Let’s face it; more than half the population uses these shoes because they look cool, and not necessarily because they play the game.
Only one out of ten tennis shoe wearers will actually play tennis. These trainers are loved for the fact that you can mix them with pretty much anything, and still look like fashionable and trendy.
Maintenance And Cleaning
There are a lot of people who obsess over how to keep their sneakers ultra-clean for as long as possible – and this often involves barely wearing them.
These types of people will draw a wet wipe to clean the sneaker quicker than a mother would to clean the mouth of the baby.
On the other hand, ‘normal’ people obsess over how to keep their shoes clean for a longer time – but also how to deal with disasters such as mud puddles, grass marks, and so on. Because whether we like it or not, we’re never safe from these if we are on the playing field.
The days when we would simply throw our shoes into a pillowcase and into the washing machine are long gone.
We’re in a modern time – which means that we’ll have to go for modern measures. Here are a few golden rules to keep your trainers clean, no matter the torture you dragged them through:
Clean The Spots
First, you might want to tap the soles of your shoes together. This will help dislodge the dirt from the sole pattern and other cracks.
After that, take a damp cloth and wipe off the superficial marks. You may also want to keep a pack of quick wipes on you for quick cleaning on-the-go.
Deep Clean Them
Now, let’s get to the serious part. Take a wet shoe brush and add a few drops of shoe cleaning solution.
Gently scrub it all over until you get foam, and use a toothbrush to reach the trickier places. This is also recommended if you have areas with more delicate fabrics such as suede.
Wipe off with a towel to remove the stains, and then repeat the process until they look clean and shiny.
Adding fresh laces to your shoes will instantly lift their look. You can remove the laces and replace them with a new set. You can also soak your old ones in detergent and maybe add some chlorine (that is if your shoelaces are white).
Once you have cleaned your shoes, you should allow them to dry naturally. You should never place them over or near direct heat to “speed up the process,” since that will only damage both the upper and the sole.
For a nice finish, you may want to lay them on a towel and spray some water and stain repellent on them.
Certain fabrics ask for certain care products, so you may want to ask a specialized store what they can offer you so that you can keep your shoes looking good for as long as possible.
Filling the shoes with tumble dryer material will help deodorize the shoes and draw the moisture out. This is especially useful if you tend to wear your shoes without any socks. As for space, it is best that you keep your tennis shoes in their own box – ideally stored in a dust bag.
If you have difficulties finding your shoes, you can take a picture of them and stick it to the box. If will offer easy reference, without you having to unpack every shoe box just to find one pair.
No matter if you are looking for the best kids’ tennis shoes or the best trainers to offer to your husband or wife, making the choice is certainly not easy.
There are so many things to consider, such as the rapport between the field and your tennis shoes, but also the shape of your foot and the cushioning/support. It’s like playing the lottery; make the wrong choice, and you’ll be crying by the end of the game.
If you’re not yet certain what shoes to buy, you may want to check our buying guide for some suggestions. We took into account some common features and put together some popular brands just to make your selection easier.
Get your game on by purchasing the right shoes!