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How to pick the right tennis shoe

by David Beinhacker 15 Nov 2023
How do you know which tennis shoe is best for you? There are a few factors you should be mindful of when searching for the right shoes for your game. These factors include:
  1. Foot type
  2. Playing style
  3. Court surface

By following this guide, you’ll be able to narrow down your footwear options to find the shoe that provides the optimal amount of comfort and support. 

Foot Type

While everyone’s feet are different, there are three general categories most people fall into with foot type: pronated, supinated and neutral. If you don’t already know which category you fall into, a good way to determine this is by assessing the wear and tear on your existing shoes.

If your shoes show extra wear on the inside of the sole and around the ball of the foot, then you are potentially over-pronating. If you suspect this is the case, you will need a shoe with good support on the medial (inside) side of the shoe.

If your shoe shoes extra wear on the outside of the heel and forefoot, you are potentially a supinator. Supinators typically have high arches and need shoes with more cushioning and flexibility.

Lastly, if you have a neutral foot-type your shoes will wear evenly across the out-sole. Although players with a neutral foot type will have more options when choosing a tennis shoe, they should still ensure that they are getting a shoe that fits properly and is comfortable and supportive.

Playing Style

Different styles of play result in different types of movement on the court.

The Baseliner
If you are a baseliner, and prefer to do most of your work form the back of the court, you’ll need to focus on the level of lateral stability the shoe provides. These types of players tend to be harder on the out-soles of their shoes and thus look for shoes that offer a higher level of durability.

The All-Courter
This type of player needs to be quick and light on their feet. All-court players tend to favour shoes that are slightly lighter in weight an offer more flexibility. This will allow for better footwork and court coverage.

The Serve-And-Volleyer
Although this style of play isn’t as common as it once was, there are still those players who rush to the net at every opportunity. Serve-and-volley players tend to be hard on their shoes in the forefoot and toe area. Therefore, they need a shoe with a significant toe cap and more durable out-sole.

Court Surface

Based on the type of court you play on determines the type of out-sole you need. These surfaces include: clay court, hard court, grass court, or a combination of all of these. Each court has different traction and durability requirements. 
Read more about why court surface matters.

Bottom Line:

You need to consider three factors when deciding on the best tennis shoe for your game. The three factors are: foot-type (pronator, supinator, neutral), playing style (baseliner, all-courter, serve-and-volleyer) and court type (clay court, hard court). By refining your requirements you will find the shoe that provides you with the utmost comfort and support on the court.

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