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Do you really need tennis shoes? Here's all I wish I had known

13 Nov 2019

I lost count of how many times I wondered whether playing tennis in running shoes 👟 was a good idea or not, so I figured I'd share my humble opinion on the subject now that I finally have one! You know, I'd be really happy if my years of trial and error didn't go to waste 🗑, but helped someone else instead 😊.

I'm Elena Margaria 👋🏻 and just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it. That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.

Before I start, I just want to point out that none of the products I mention and show were gifted or anything, and that all you read is just my honest personal opinion, no more no less!

So, back to business. Do you really need tennis shoes? To play tennis, YES YOU DO! And not just because you'd ruin the court (as I first thought), no no no! Maybe because of that too (if you play on clay or grass), but first and foremost because of your own safety ⛑. That's wayyy more important!!

Think about it: you may save a hundred euros today, and twist your ankle next week. Is it worth the risk? Let me tell you, it's not 🙅🏼‍♀️. Always ALWAYS put your health first, especially when you have some control over it. Too many bad things and injuries already happen all the time (even on the tennis court): if you can prevent one, do it!

Now that you know my opinion on whether or not you should invest on tennis shoes, let me also share (and debunk) the assumptions I used to make before banging my head 🤕 and figuring out the truth! I'm pretty sure you may have similar thoughts, so why not clear a few doubts right away?!

If you want to jump straight to a specific assumption, here's the Table of Contents. You're welcome 😇.

#1 - Tennis shoes are hard and heavy 🦧

Some are, but not all. In general, because of the support and protection they aim for, tennis shoes feel harder and stiffer than running shoes, but in different amounts depending on the brand and on the shoe itself.

Same thing applies to the weight: unlike running shoes, tennis shoes are not built for speed only, but for stability too. That's why they may feel a little heavier.

👉🏻 MY EXPERIENCE: I've recently bought the Women's ADIDAS Adizero Ubersonic 3 and OMG, I've never even thought such feather-weight tennis shoes existed! Whenever I play in them (always!) I literally feel like flying 🦋. This is not my first pair of Adidas, and certainly won't be the last: I'll stick to it for sure!

Women's ADIDAS Adizero Ubersonic 3 tennis shoes

#2 - Running shoes are just as good as tennis shoes 👌🏻

True, but for their own sport! Running shoes are good for running, and tennis shoes are good for tennis! And yes, when you play tennis you also run, but in a completely different way from how you'd run on a track or road. You sprint, stop and change direction all the time, and run sideways much more than forward. Which is what tennis shoes are built for, and why they offer your feet that extra lateral support you need to avoid ankle injuries and excessive blisters.

👉🏻 MY EXPERIENCE: I've played tennis (on hard court) wearing running shoes for years 📆. Until I twisted my ankle during a match and had to stop playing for a month, waiting for it to recover. Never again 🚫! Oh and did I mention the countless, ultra-painful blisters I collected during those years due to my feet moving around as a result of the little lateral support? And just so you know, with ultra-painful I mean I had half of my foot opened up! Sorry for the a-bit-disgusting details 🤢, but at least you know what to expect from using running shoes for tennis!

#3 - Tennis shoes are the same for every surface 🌱

Not really! I've just recently discovered this, and I was like 'WTF?! Seriously?'. Well, turns out that different surfaces require different tennis shoes! Not just to reduce damage to the court, but also because of their intrinsic characteristics and conditions.

For example, 🟢 grass courts are typically the most slippery and delicate, which is why grass-court tennis shoes have pimples underneath (for traction) and they're more flat than others (to reduce damage). On the contrary, 🔵 hard-court tennis shoes are usually tougher and durable as they get worn out more easily, and they have more cushioning, support and protection. 🔴 Clay-court shoes, on the other hand, have a very specific pattern (aka herringbone pattern) on the outsole to maximize grip and stability.

👉🏻 MY EXPERIENCE: I've never played on grass, so I cannot talk about it. But for clay and hard courts, yes, I have 2 different pair of tennis shoes. The truth is, I wouldn't feel comfortable at all playing with my clay shoes on hard court, as I find them too stiff and grippy for that. And at the same time, I would never wear my hard-court tennis shoes on clay, as they're too dynamic and I'd most likely lack stability.

#4 - Tennis shoes always feel uncomfortable at first, but loosen up by playing 🥵

Couldn't be further from the truth! If they do feel uncomfortable when you try them on in the shop, that's a big, giant red flag 🚩: don't buy them! That's the first hint they're not for you!

Whether they're too stiff or soft, too heavy or light, too hot, too plasticky or too whatever, when your first impression is they're 'too something', then forget about them and keep on searching 🔎! Chances are, they won't become more comfortable all of a sudden, when you'll step on the court!

👉🏻 MY EXPERIENCE: Before buying my new beloved Adidas, I've actually purchased another pair of tennis shoes: the Wilson Kaos-Comp. And guess what? I wore them for one week and then said goodbye to them 👋🏻. For good. My feet couldn't breathe: they were literally suffocating! Which wasn't surprising at all, since the first feeling I had when trying them on was they were warm and cosy. Lesson learnt!

Wilson Kaos-Comp tennis shoes

But enough from me, now it's your turn!

Let me know in the comments your thoughts about tennis shoes, and if you have some favorite brands and models!

🔹 First of all, which of my old assumptions were also yours? C'mon, don't be shy! No one is born knowing everything 😉.

🔹 Then, what's your absolute fave tennis shoe? What's so special about it? The fit? The support? What? I wanna know!

🔹 And finally, do you also tend to stick to the same brand, once you're happy with it? Or you cannot help but try new ones? I'm really curious about this one, don't skip it!

Hope you found this blog interesting and useful. You know, I wish I had read about how vital are tennis shoes (even on hard court) before I twisted my ankle! If so, leave me a clap (or two) so I know you did 🙏🏻.

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