So you’ve finally gotten your child interested in the sport of tennis, or perhaps they’re simply interested on their own. Either way, you look at the tennis landscape and wonder what the heck your kid needs. They’ll obviously need a racquet, and we have a great blog post on buying the right tennis racquet for your kid based on age, as well as which tennis balls and court sizes to use. However, one of the most common mistakes parents make is in regard to footwear. Many will simply drive over to their local Dick’s Sporting Goods and grab a pair of kids running shoes or other training shoes. While these shoes are great for day-to-day activities, they are not at all ideal for the sport of tennis. So…
Can Kids Running Shoes Be Used for Tennis?
Short answer: No. But why not? Even at the junior level, tennis shoes are designed with enhanced lateral stability and support that far exceed the capabilities of running shoes and trainers. In this context, by “tennis shoes”, I’m referring to shoes designed for tennis, not the colloquial form that simply means “shoes” or “sneakers”. There are many reasons why it’s important to get shoes designed for tennis, but the biggest reason is safety. At the most basic level, tennis shoes are designed to prevent rolled ankles during quick lateral movements, while running shoes are designed to be extremely lightweight and forward-moving. Tennis shoes will also last a lot longer, as they’re built to take a beating. If this is all new to you, here are our recommended tennis shoes for boys and girls.
The Best Brands of Junior Tennis Shoes
Nike is far and away the most represented shoe brand at the pro level, and their collection of tennis shoes is quite comprehensive, even down to the junior level. Many of the brand’s best adult tennis shoes run through youth sizes. For example, young tennis players have the option to emulate tennis greats like Roger Federer by ordering their own Junior Vapor Xs with all the same great technologies.
Like Nike, adidas is very well represented on the ATP and WTA tours, and offers an outstanding variety of junior tennis shoes. They carry kids tennis shoes from both their durability and speed lines, meaning you can find SoleCourts, CourtJams, and Adizeros, among others. These shoes come at a pretty good variety of price points for the cost-conscious shopper.
ASICS is another high-profile tennis shoe manufacturer that offers a nice collection of junior shoes. Their long-time flagship shoe, the GEL-Resolution 7, comes in junior sizes, as do their GEL-Game tennis shoes. Both are great introductory tennis shoes for kids (with the GEL-Resolution 7 being higher performing), and come in a number of colors for both boys and girls.
New Balance offers a number of colorways for boys and girls in two distinct shoes: The 996v3 and 696v3. The former is modeled after the adult version, meaning it’s stable, comfortable, and long-lasting. The latter is designed for less-competitive junior tennis players. Overall, it’s also modeled after the adult version, but features a simple hook-and-loop Velcro system in place of traditional laces.
Wilson offers junior tennis shoes from both their Rush and Kaos families. Rush models are designed to be more stable and durable, while the Kaos line comes with less cushioning, but greater responsiveness. Within each, Wilson carries shoes with standard lacing and “quick lace” closures. For the youngest of tennis players, you’ll find shoes with Velcro hook-and-loop systems.
K-Swiss also carries two primary junior shoes. The first is the shoe that K-Swiss is perhaps best known for: The Hypercourt Express. The junior version features all of the same technologies seen in the adult version, meaning competitive junior tennis players can expect comfortable all-around performance. The other junior shoe is the Bigshot Light 3. This shoe carries all the same tech as its adult counterpart, and represents a lightweight and stable shoe at a lower price point.
Babolat offers one of the easier-to-understand collections of junior shoes on the market. The shoes are simply embodiments of Babolat’s two primary adult tennis shoe lines: The Propulses and Jets. The Junior Propulse is stable, supportive, and comfortable, while the Junior Jet is lighter and more dynamic.
About the Author: Chris Worman
Weight: 190 lbs