So you are heading off to the tennis courts for a friendly match among friends. You pack your racket and balls, don your tennis warmup suit, pull on a pair of sneakers, and you are ready to go; right? Wrong; any old pair of sneakers will not do, and you need a pair of tennis specific shoes if you want to make the most of your game. Sure, tennis shoes look good and will complement your outfit – and fashion is important – but that is not why they are indispensable; function, not form, makes the proper shoes a must.
While tennis shoes may look like ordinary, generic sneakers, they are anything but. They are shoes designed specifically to help you make tennis moves while protecting you from injury. Further, they are designed to withstand the kind of wear-and-tear to which tennis is sure to subject them. A typical running shoe is designed for straightforward movements, and it is cushioned in the heel to absorb the pounding impact that running delivers.
However, a running shoe does not have the lateral support that one needs during the side-to-side movements that tennis demands. If you wear a running shoe to a tennis match you are likely to limp off the court with a sprained ankle; running shoes do not have a supportive upper that will protect you from a rolled ankle. A shoe designed for tennis has a supportive upper portion that will provide the stability you need to move quickly and avoid injury.
Watch the feet of some tennis players the next time you are at the court or watching on television. You will notice that many players drag their trailing foot on the ground during their ground strokes, and especially on their serve. You will also notice that it is the toe portion of their foot that is being dragged.
Tennis shoes – unlike many other styles of athletic shoe – have a reinforced toe that is usually protected by the same durable material as the sole of the shoe. Without this protection the typical tennis player would wear a hole in the toe portion of their shoe very quickly. A shoe designed specifically for tennis has this area covered so the lifespan of your shoes will be dramatically increased.
The sole of the shoe is where the rubber meets the road, and that is especially important in the game of tennis. The soles of tennis shoes are designed to provide superior traction because the tread is built with the court surface in mind. Further, the sole of a shoe designed for tennis is made from a material that will not leave unsightly scuff marks on the court surface. It is for this reason that many courts do not allow shoes that are not tennis specific on their courts.
Tennis shoes are available in a wide range of styles and colors that are sure to complement any outfit, and that is especially important if you are a style conscious player. But more important, a shoe that is specifically designed for tennis will protect you from injury, provide tennis specific traction, resist wear-and-tear, and protect the court as well.