What Kind of Shoes Should I Wear to Play Tennis?
Tennis is one of the most lively and unique games in organized sports. It involves such a variety of movements, including shuffles, sprints, jumps and split steps, that it can be tough to figure out what the best shoe for the game might be. Keep in mind a number of tips, but the most important guideline is to choose shoes that are supportive and durable.
In an active game of tennis, the sudden side-to-side movements, lunges and short sprints mean that it’s necessary to have very supportive shoes. If you dash for a ball with flimsy footwear, you may increase your risk of an ankle rollover or sprain. In choosing a supportive pair of tennis shoes, Dick’s Sporting Goods recommends looking for a wide, stable sole with a flat bottom and marked tread pattern; a sturdy upper portion and laces that hold firmly in place. Shoes that are cut to meet the ankle or even go above it may be wise choices because they’re more likely to keep the foot in a healthy range of motion.
If you think you might be playing tennis for longer than just a month or two, it can be worthwhile to cough up a little more money for shoes that are especially durable and well constructed. Footwork is one of the most important aspects of tennis, and your shoes will take a lot of wear and tear during practice sessions and games. Even new shoes can buckle, tear or come apart after just a few uses if they’re not made to last, so choose a pair that is made of tough, strong material and feels substantial.
Always try a new pair of tennis shoes on before buying them, and try to wear them around the house or on a quick jog outside before taking them on court. It’s not uncommon to try on shoes that seem to fit fine at the store and notice later that they hurt your feet in certain spots. TennisExpress.com recommends avoiding such instances by figuring out your foot type before you buy. Pronated feet put the most pressure on soles and balls of the feet, supinated feet wear out the heels fastest and ideal foot types even distribute pressure around a shoe. To get an idea for what kind of foot you might have, look carefully at a well-worn pair of your shoes.
Style is perhaps the least important aspect of choosing a successful pair of tennis shoes, but it’s still worth taking into account. After all, if you don’t like the way your shoes look, you may be less likely to wear them out on court, which can increase the chances of injury from an ill-fitting shoe. Find colors and styles you like that are within your price range, but be aware that sometimes a shoe may be priced up for just its appearance rather than its quality level.
- DicksSportingGoods.com: Tennis Shoes Buyer's Guide
- TennisExpress.com: Buying Tennis Shoes
- Nigg BM, Baltich J, Hoerzer S, Enders H. Running shoes and running injuries: Mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: 'Preferred movement path' and 'comfort filter'. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(20):1290-4. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095054
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, feature stories and corporate content. Her expertise on food, cooking, nutrition and fitness information comes from a Level 1 personal training certification and years of in-depth study.