Tennis is a safe, popular sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. You do not have to be an expert to play the game, but it is important for serious and recreational players alike to use care to avoid injury.
If you play tennis, it is best to buy a shoe designed specifically for the movements of the sport. Tennis requires bursts of sprinting and quick side-to-side movements. The best shoes for tennis have proper cushioning, arch support, and enough “give” to allow for sliding back and forth.
What to look for in tennis shoes
You should never play tennis in random shoes you grab from the back of your closet, particularly running shoes. Tennis shoes allow for side-to-side movements; running shoes provide too much traction and can lead to foot and ankle injuries.
Proper tennis shoes need to have a roomy toe box and should grip the heel. There should also be adequate cushioning and arch support.
When shopping for tennis shoes, bring a pair of athletic socks. Put on both shoes and lace them up completely. You need to make sure that:
- The collar of the shoes is not rubbing against your Achilles tendon.
- There is room enough in the toe box to wiggle your toes.
- Your ankles do not roll in the shoes.
- Your feet do not slip out of the heel.
Issues created by improper fit
Tennis is a sport that requires quick reaction. The twisting, pivoting, and side-to-side movements put feet and ankles under stress. While properly fitting shoes can help reduce the risk of injury during tennis play, poorly fitting shoes can exacerbate existing injuries and put players at risk for new injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that occur on the tennis court include:
- Ankle sprains
- Blisters and calluses
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Stress fractures
- Tennis toe.
Wearing proper tennis shoes greatly reduces the risk of injury. If you have any existing foot conditions, make sure you talk to a podiatrist before shopping for new tennis shoes.