Not everyone has the time to buy actual tennis shoes just so they can try them. What if you don’t end up liking the sport and then that $50-$60 you used to buy the pair is now wasted.
To answer the question, once and for all Yes, you can use running shoes just fine and will probably play the same way as if you had tennis shoes on. The only thing that generally separates tennis shoes from normal running shoes is lateral support. Tennis shoes are designed for side to side movement while running shoes are not.
Lately, I have been forced to use a pair of running shoes because my tennis shoes broke down and I currently am at a place that is hard to get tennis shoes shipped to. It’s a cheap pair and so far I can’t really complain, but it is not what I would recommend because it’s been almost two weeks and the shoes are always begging for mercy.
I was using an Asics shoe before they broke and I would pay over and over again to get the same feeling that I got when I used to play in those.
Why Get Tennis Shoes?
I have spent pretty much all my life on the tennis court, learning, playing, and trying out new things. I will say that for the most part of my journey I used normal running shoes for tennis, as I never really paid much attention. They work fine and you don’t really feel the need to get something new or spend extra on a tennis shoe.
Saying this, I will agree that ever since I got myself a good pair my feet and legs have never felt better. The comfort of a good tennis shoe that is designed to help you when you have to make quick side to side runs is unmatchable.
Most running shoes are meant to provide a very lightweight feel sacrificing a lot of cushioning that is needed for fast movement around the tennis court. If you play intermediate to advanced tennis, then I have to say that you need tennis shoes. They can be injury saving, preventing ankle sprains because of the support they provide.
They are More Durable Compared to Running Shoes
Certainly, not my forte as I go through shoes extremely fast, but when compared to the running shoes that I have now my tennis shoes lasted around 6-8 months before they showed any signs of wear and tear.
This depends on a lot of other factors as well, some companies make total tanks like Adidas Barricade shoes are very very durable, my colleague had a pair and he has been playing with them for almost two years at this point.
I’ve never had good luck with Nike shoes but Babolat is another durable brand and their soles are very durable and grippy. If you play on a court that is extremely slick then you’ll have an awesome time with Babolat shoes.
There’s a lot of extra movement in tennis that we don’t even account for like for example, I never thought that I dragged the front portion of my shoes when I served. Tennis shoes never let me feel any kind of discomfort in my fingers but the running shoes have started chipping from the front and I have to be careful when I am serving as to not injure my fingers.
I’m sure there are more durable running shoes out there but as far as the existing pair is concerned, these were built for performance rather than durability so I’m gonna judge them as that.
They can be as light or as heavy as you want them to be
Companies make all kinds of shoes, and that is a good thing because there isn’t a one size fits all ordeal when it comes to shoes. People have different kinds of feet, some like a light shoe, some prefer a heavier shoe.
It’s more so a preference rather than the heavy shoe being better than the lighter one or vice versa, but getting a lighter shoe has the disadvantage that you will lose a little bit on the durability front because of their lighter materials and overall build quality.
I like a lighter shoe because I love running for balls and feeling flashy but someone who’s not young and who might be suffering from plantar fasciitis is going to have a better time with a heavier durable reliable shoe.
They Provide Better Grip Compared to Running Shoes
This one is an obvious pointer, but I will elaborate on it further as to how important grip is when you are playing tennis. You will be running for shots, you will be stumbling and jumping all around the court and the last thing you want is slipping and breaking something.
Tennis shoes are designed for all the respective surfaces that tennis is played on, so you can browse around Amazon and find the shoes that actually will be a fit for the court that you play on.
I find that getting an all-around tennis shoe is better if you are just a beginner and don’t travel all that often because most places have hard courts and those shoes will grip the court just fine.
Running shoes have okay grip but they are not designed for the run-stop-run scenario that tennis goes through and their soles start breaking down real quick, this is the main reason they start losing grip so fast.
What Shoes Do I Recommend?
It depends on the type of shoe that you are specifically looking for, the good thing is that companies make shoes for almost all types of feet and you’ll be able to find something that will fit you just fine.
I’ll go in the order of what I like after testing over extended periods of time
Men’s Tennis Shoes (Amazon Links)
ASICS Gel-Court FF (One of the best lightweight shoes on the market)
Adidas Men’s Adizero Ubersonic 3 (great overall budget lightweight pair, durability is a little issue though)
Babolat Men’s SFX3 Cushioned Supportive All Court (Lovely grip and feel for such a bulky looking shoe, you feel like your feet are being massaged)
Diadora Speed Star K Elite AG (a company that you don’t see often but the shoe surprised me the most with its comfort)
Female Tennis Shoes
When Should You Replace Them?
All awesome things do come to an end and these tennis shoes will start to wear out too. You might be like my father, who treads very lightly but even then you will notice that your brand new shoes are not brand new anymore.
Things That Are Clear Indicators That the Shoe is Starting to Wear Out
- The first thing that pretty much all of us ignore is the bottom of the shoe, it is the part of the shoe that comes in contact with the court the most and suffers the most. Slipping and the sole is responsible with grip and the ridges start to break and the shoe starts becoming smooth from there.
You will notice it pretty late because most modern shoes have very good grip right up until the point that they don’t and that can cause injury. Keep an eye out on your sole from time to time and if you notice them wearing down significantly then it may be time to fork over some cash for a new pair.
- The insole is going to start wearing and that, in turn, can cause damage to the inner part of the shoe and your feet. Blistering is basically caused by it and you try avoiding damage wherever you can since and blistered foot means no tennis for a few days.
The good thing is that you can very good supportive insoles from the sports shops or from Amazon, some of them can even provide extra cushioning if you so desire.
The next time you think about whether you should take a little hit and get a pair for tennis or just get by with running shoes, you will know what’s the better thing to do. You’ll get a cool looking pair of shoes that you can pair with clothing for a new stylish attire or just use them for tennis. If you play tennis on and off, two or -three days a week then tennis shoes might be a tall order but if you are a regular, get a pair and have fun with your new shoes.