With the plethora of tennis shoes out there, it is not easy to stay focused on what's important comfort and functionality. With things like gel, air, plesh and pumps; a good pair of tennis shoes can be the most important thing in your closet, especially for those long matches on the court.
Imagine the stress that your poor feet go through during the game, the last thing that you should be worrying about is if there are blisters on your feet. Here's a quick guide on how to choose the best shoe for your tennis game. Personally, I just like light, simple and wide shoes which I get with the Women's Nike City Court (also happens to be nice and economical).
Choosing Canvas, leather or vinyl tennis shoes - Canvas stays coolest, breathes best, and is least likely to contain suspect chemicals that might enter your skin. Leather provides more support, stays drier in wet off-court environments and lastly Vinyl can provide good support, resist external moisture best, but tends to get hottest and breathe worst.
In a poll taken by Tennis Warehouse recently, here's how the following shoes rated:
42% - Adidas: Barricade 2-3-4
42% - Reebok: Reebok Match Point / Match day Pump
30% - Nike: Air Max Breathe 2-3 /Air zoom vapor speed (RF) /Air Zoom Vapor
13% - Other
6% Babolat: Team All Court Roddick / Team All Cour / Pure All Court III
3% - Wilson /Tour /Wilcard /Crossfire
What kind of foot is most like yours?
There are three basic foot types. An easy way to tell is next time you get out of the shower, check out the footprint on the mat.
The crescent-shaped footprint with little or no arch impression (the supinated foot): Supinators tend to wear out the outside part of the bottom of their shoes (the lateral side) before the medial (big toe) side and tend to have wide feet and need to look for a shoe that provides extra room in the forefoot and toe box. They also need a shoe with extra cushioning to compensate for their high arches.
A completely filled in mark, arch and all (the pronated foot): Pronators often have flat feet, and the medial portion of their shoe bottom wears down before the lateral part. People with this foot type often need extra support from their shoes so a mid-cut model or a shoe with extra stability on the medial side is usually a wise choice.
The moderate arch (neutral foot): Consider yourself lucky-this is the most efficient and biomechanically versatile foot type. Players with neutral feet can play tennis in almost any shoe.
The Final 4
When buying shoes, you should definitely know what you are getting into. Although sales seem like the economical thing to do, remember how active you are playing tennis and the importance of your feet being comfy to keep you moving. I will leave you with these four things to keep in mind when shoe shopping:
1) Buy shoes after you've played tennis or late in the afternoon (feet typically swell 5 to 10 percent after exercise or by the end of the day) and bring the same kind of socks you wear to a match so that you can accurately gauge what size shoe you need.
2) Be sure that the length and width of each foot are measured before you buy anything. It's not uncommon for people to have one foot that's larger than the other. If that's the case, buy a pair of shoes to fit the larger foot. (I would just say make sure you run around the store, who cares if you look silly, at least your feet are happy)
3) Bring your old shoes. The wear on your used pair will help a smart fitter determine how much support, cushioning, and durability you need. The salesperson may also ask you what shoes you've worn comfortably in the past. (I do this just to see the white factor of my new shoes compared to my old ones, its quite scary!)
4) Based on your foot type, support needs, and style preferences, your fitter should be able to recommend at least two or three different pairs of shoes to try, so try them all, even if they are out of your price range. You'll sometimes be surprised to see the difference in shoes and they are a very good investment.