Choosing the Right Shoes: What Shoes Should You Wear On the Tennis Court?

tennis player tying shoes

As 2019 Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic will tell you, even the best tennis shoes can still lead to a slip and fall. To maximize your grip and control while playing, you have to consider a number of factors. Where you play, how you play, and even the shape of your foot can make a difference.

With the right pair of shoes designed for your needs, you’ll have the speed and balance great tennis players need.

How Do You Play?

There are players who focus on serving and volleying while there are others who move along the baseline. Those who charge the net tend to slide their back foot while they serve. Those who move along the baseline will need some extra bounce in their heel.

Those who focus on the “serve and volley” style, need something with a toecap. Those who move side to side need a shoe with lots of lateral support.

Where Do You Play?

The best players choose their shoes based on their court time. If you play on a hard court, you need a more durable sole. Grass players can wear a thinner sole without having their shoes wear down on them.

Choosing the right sole for the right surface requires you to think about traction as well. Clay or grass courts don’t require durable shoes but ones that will provide traction without damaging the court. Multi-court shoes are good for players who tend to mix it up a lot, playing on all kinds of surfaces.

Consider Your Foot Type

The best way to figure out what type of feet you have is to get them wet and make a footprint on a piece of paper or on the sidewalk. Looking at the space between your ball and your heel can tell you what type of foot you have.

A gap between the two with no wetness means that you have a high arch. If there’s no gap at all, your feet are flat. Most people are somewhere in between.

People with high arches need a more flexible shoe. People with flat feet need something more stabilizing. Flat feet cause a lot of wear and tear along the front and sides of the shoe.

Write it All Down

Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, you should have a list handy based on the above criteria. Consider the type of cushion as well. EVA cushions are great for people who need something light and flexible while PU cushions are for people who need something heavier and more durable.

While browsing, make sure every shoe meets the above criteria. When you’re looking at shoes, don’t be afraid to pick one up that’s a half size too big. Your feet will swell during exercise and you might be wearing bigger socks for cushioning.

Does Budget Matter with Tennis Shoes?

When it comes time to pick out the best tennis shoes, there’s no doubt you’re going to think about the cost. For the most part with tennis shoes, you get what you pay for. Whether you’re just starting out or starting to take your game more seriously, think carefully before you choose your shoes.

If you or your family are getting into tennis for the first time, check out our guide for tips on what it takes to learn.