Buying tennis shoes doesn’t have to be a big knotty mess! It can be a nice experience. In this blog, we’ll talk about some of the basics to help you better understand which types of tennis shoes you should try and which ones you should buy. Plus, we’ll uncover the “why” in all of this. Like why do some tennis shoes work for others but not for you?
Before we get started, it’s important to know a few things about your feet. First off, everyone’s feet are different. Your right foot and your left foot might even be different. One could be smaller, longer, wider, or have a unique feature all its own. Because of this, shoe manufacturers engineer footwear based on the average person. They take into account length and width and spend lots of time testing what works best for the majority. Some brands build prototypes and have playtesters submit a list of pros and cons before the shoe is put into production.
Anatomy of a Tennis Shoe
If you were to saw open a pair of tennis shoes, you’d be amazed by what you’d find. Not really. Most tennis shoes are made up of similar materials, however, it’s the way in which they are constructed and the proprietary technologies that set each brand apart. Think of it like a recipe. Not everyone can make Aunt Judy’s apple pie even if they start with good apples. Looking at the front part of the K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt Express 2 (pictured above), notice how the upper encompasses a seam-free lacing system. Also, the toe cap is a thick rubber while the toe box is a generous width. These features make this lightweight tennis shoe comfortable for long matches and durable for a quick practice session.
To illustrate the back of the shoe, let’s look at the Adidas Men`s Barricade. It has a sleek midsole that maximizes a player’s padding. It also promotes lateral movement and gives extra support to the heel. Consider the outsole here. Adidas is using a new rubber compound with special groves to promote better stability and longer durability. Lastly, the upper on these high-performance shoes has an innovative U-throat design and an asymmetrical lacing system. They are worn by top pros such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Nitty Gritty of Tennis Shoes
When selecting a shoe, consider the following:
- Playing Surface
Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, on a hard court or clay, tennis shoes are a nitty-gritty part of the game. They are an investment, similar to buying a racquet, and require some research. Running shoes are not the same as tennis shoes. They were made to go in one direction – straight, while tennis shoes were made to move laterally, forward, and back.
Also, tennis shoes are grouped into three common categories: durability, lightweight, and value shoes. Available in a variety of brands, athletes might purchase a pair of durable shoes for practice, and lightweight ones for matches. Depending on your need and budget, consider where you’ll be playing and how long you might play. Naturally, if you have a comfortable, lightweight pair of shoes on, you will be able to play longer. However, if they are not durable, you’ll have to replace them more frequently.
Trial and Error
It’s okay to try new brands like Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, Asics, Diadora, New Balance, Wilson, and more. You can check out what the pros are wearing on the ATP and WTA, but consider brands you’ve worn in the past. What did you like or dislike about them? Use that as a starting point to determine any special needs you might have such as more cushioning, better grip, wider toebox, or built-in tongue with longer laces.
At Tennis Express we have a 60-day return policy on most shoes that have not been blemished or worn outside.
Lastly, if the shoe doesn’t fit, try making a modification. Use a new pair of socks to add arch support or read up on tennis shoe lacing techniques. Similar to finding a tiny pebble in your shoe, you’d be surprised how much a minor tweak can make a major difference.
Find the best tennis shoe on the market at TennisExpress.com, where we inspire champions.
Check out these Resources: