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How do you choose your tennis shoes?

Tennis Shoes
File Photo Credit: Wei De/SportSG

Selecting a pair of tennis shoes that best fits a player is essential to his or her performance on the court. A typical game of tennis involves sudden starts and stops, and rapid side to side movements that will impact your feet and ankles. 

That being said, wearing a good pair of tennis shoes makes all the difference between bringing your ‘A’ game to the courts and injuring yourself. Here are a few tips to help you pick your dream pair:  

1. The ideal pair of tennis shoes should fit your feet like a glove. They should neither be too tight nor too loose. They should allow for comfortable movement while providing adequate cushioning on the inner sole. Unlike buying leather shoes, tennis shoes do not need to be ‘broken in’. The shoes should feel ready to play from the moment you try it on in the shop. Tennis shoes tend to feel snugger on your feet, but you want to make sure it’s not so tight it causes chafing.

2. Most popular tennis shoes have herringbone style outer soles that help with traction on the court. While this is suitable for games on hard, synthetic grass and clay courts, it works especially well for clay. The narrow treading found on those patterns help grip the floor while preventing loose grains on the surface from entering the sole and smoothening it out. Using the right sole for the right court surface can prolong the life of your tennis shoes, give the right amount of traction and prevent damage to the court.

3. Ensure that your new pair of tennis shoes gives your feet enough lateral support. This starts from the cushioning of the inner sole to compensate for the arch on your heel and moves to the heel counter and the heel collar. Your feet should feel low in the shoe with the sides supporting your ankles and the back of your feet. For baseline players, this is crucial to assist the unavoidable vigorous side to side motion. 

tennis shoes toe cap

4. Reinforced toecaps are the key to rapid start and stop motions frequently found in serve and volley players. They are the extra piece of material added to the external toe area of the shoe to increase durability and stop forward movement quickly. Too much or too little space in the toe box will cause unnecessary pressure on your big toe for the same reason.

Find your tennis shoes with the right fit and sole. Lateral support and reinforced toecaps makes the difference between an enjoyable game and an injury.


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