Tennis Shoe Buying Guide
Without proper footwear, the game of a tennis player becomes deficit. You might be having a great serve and an excellent backhand, but a good footwear is what you need to get an edge in your game. A good tennis shoe manages all the constant movement on the court, side to side court coverage, the back and forth to the net, lunging, jumping, running, and the quick pivot th6at are required in a tennis match. The design of tennis shoes is such that it abides by the game’s constant movements and rapid starts and stops.
Choosing the right tennis shoe may be difficult given the wide selection available. There are several factors you should consider before making the final selection. The style of tennis you play, your foot type and the type of court you usually use.
One may consider using their regular running shoes for tennis, but there are several good reasons why athletes should wear only tennis shoes for practicing and playing tennis. Running shoes are specifically designed to support your forward motion which is usually done in running or walking for fitness. They have soft, thick heels which increase the cushioning and reduce the impact that comes with running. Hence, it does not support the rapid lateral movements, to and fro movements which are all required in a tennis game. Tennis shoes provide that stability required for the frequent movements. Tennis shoes are built with stiffer and heavier material than other sport shoes. Their flat and durable soles are designed in order to prevent sliding and stumbling on the court while making rapid movements.
Not sure about the kind of tennis shoe you need? Your footwork, the way you walk and stand, the type of foot you have, all have an enormous effect on the way that shoes fit, feel and perform for you. Though every foot is different, there are some general types of classification of feet.
Pronated, Supinated and Ideal.
-If you see a lot of wear on the inner side of the sole and around the ball of your foot, then you fall under Pronated foot category. The Pronated foot is the type of foot that is most usually associated with injury. You must be extra careful in selecting the shoes and choose a tennis shoe that has lots cushioning and extra support.
- If you see a lot of wear along the outer side of the heel, then you are likely to have a Supinated foot. The shoes of players having a Supinated foot tend to wear faster than those with other types of foot. In that case, shoes with an extra durable sole would be the correct choice.
-. If your shoes seem to have an even wear all around then you fall under the rare category of Ideal types. Players with Ideal foot types can be flexible enough to opt for any kind of shoe as long as it is comfortable enough.
So by now, you might have figured out what kind of feet you have and what kind of support levels are best for you, what are the other factors you should consider? The next key factor for any player is the Playing surface. Tennis matches are generally held on concrete, grass or clay and each one has a very different surface of play.
Clay courts offer a natural 'slide' as the player moves. So on a clay court, you can have slightly lighter lateral support, but the fine granules of dirt can be problematic to feet, so be sure that you choose a shoe with solid upper of leather or synthetic material.
Grass courts give players the most natural cushioning that allows you to forgo some cushioning in preference to more lateral support.
Concrete, being the most challenging for player's feet, is the most common playing surface. The hard surface is challenging while cushioning is comfortable. Lateral support is important as player's stops and starts are quite sharp on the firm concrete surface.
Apart from these factors, another factor is body type. Tennis players who are taller and heavier would want to consider heavier, more stable shoes that provide the extra support you need. On the other hand, smaller players should consider a lightweight shoe that is more manageable over long periods of physical exertion.
The last and final step to achieve the best fit possible in your tennis shoe is ch6oosing a cushioning sock and lacing up properly. Tennis shoes have developed good lacing systems designed to hold your foot firmly in place and to not loosen or come undone under the strenuous demands of tennis. If you are prone to rolling your ankle you might want to consider a higher cut shoe that can give you more support, particularly when laced up properly.
Surface, Style of Play and Materials
The style of tennis you play can also depict what tennis shoe is best suited for your needs. If you are a baseline player, a player who plays the back line of the court for most of the game, you will require a shoe with extra lateral support. This style of play mostly does side-to-side action and requires the most support for lateral movements.
If your play features the serve and volley with frequent changes to the net you should consider a tennis shoe with a toecap that gives extra protection to the front of your foot. This style of play is particularly tough on the toe and sole of the shoe, so consider an extra durable sole. However, it is important to remember that increased durability often means increased weight in the shoe, so make sure you consider after carefully evaluating your requirements before choosing a tennis shoe.
The materials used to develop the upper part of the tennis shoe varies and each of the materials benefits to players in a different way.
- Canvas will remain the coolest and allows air to flow in and out of the shoe, but it offers very little support for lateral movements.
- Leather is the most expensive. Provides the best support and keeps your feet dry in damp conditions.
- Vinyl can provide support similar to that of leather. Helps in resisting moisture the best, but not easily breathable, hence may cause feet to overheat.
Many tennis shoes combine the best of leather or vinyl by pairing them with a durable mesh facilitating the air to circulate through the shoe, cooling your feet and allowing moisture to evaporate. By keeping your feet cooler you resist fatigue and you can play better for longer periods of time.
The type of tennis court on which you play the majority of your game will also determine the type of tennis shoe that you require.
Hard and concrete courts: Tennis shoes for this kind of courts usually offer a leather or vinyl upper for strength and support and an extremely durable outsole .They are designed for the highest stability and support for lateral movement. While playing on hard courts, make sure you check your soles frequently for wear, you may require replacing your shoes when required, since continued play on hard court surfaces will wear the tread of the soles that can eventually lead to loss of traction and increased slipping.
Soft Courts: Soft courts such as clay or grass require tennis shoes that offer good traction. Durability is not an issue for players playing on soft surfaces. But, however, players must select tennis shoe with smooth, flat sole since the knobs and bumps found in other athletic shoes can damage clay and grass court surfaces. For this reason, Running shoes are usually not allowed in many tennis clubs.
When Should You Replace Your Tennis Shoes?
The rule of thumb is that you should replace your tennis shoes after 500 miles of wear. But it is not practical to calculate whether you have managed to travel 500 miles or not. However, you can observe the signs of wear which can be seen when shoes are failing. There are chances of your slipping on the court and succumbing to an injury if you notice that the tread pattern on the sole has become less evident particularly if smooth spots are emerging.
While serving, many players drag the toe of their shoe forward and handle forehand groundstrokes which results in rapid wear of their tennis shoe. In that case, you will require replacing your shoes more frequently than once a year.