How to Choose the Best Shoes for Tennis

Q: I want to start playing tennis, but I only have running/walking shoes. Can I play with them?

A: There is a huge difference in the construction and fit of running/walking shoes. Athletic shoes have a more flexible sole and have the appropriate tread to absorb the impact of running/walking. They are lighter and narrower since the runner/walker need to step from the heel to the toe. Tennis shoes have a different tread, depending on weather the player is playing on a hard court, grass court or clay court.

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Q: What happens if I play tennis with my athletic/shoes?

A: Athletic shoes are made so a person can place their weight on the heel and move toward the toe. Tennis shoes are wider, have more arch support and a higher heel to absorb the shock of stopping and starting. Several of my students, who did not want to invest into buying tennis shoes and continued playing with athletic shoes, developed plantar fasciitis and developed problems with the calf muscles.

Q: How much should I spend on buying tennis shoes?

A: Most sporting goods stores carry "tennis shoes" for sale. These can range from $39.00 to $129.00, depending on the brand and the durability expectation. These shoes, most of the time, are bought from the tennis companies after they have discontinued the styles. Most Tennis Clubs, however, usually carry two or three brands of shoes of various prices to cater to their players. If the facility has different court surfaces, they will also offer the proper shoes to wear for the respective surface.

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Q: When I buy tennis shoes, how should I know that they are the right size?

A: Rule of thumb is to buy tennis shoes at least ? sizes bigger than normal street shoes. When a player stops, there are 5G forces on the foot, and it needs space to move. Players who purchase tight tennis shoes end up either with broken toe nails or injuries to their feet. I normally recommend people buying tennis shoes and wearing them at home before they start playing tennis. This gives the player a "break-in" period and allows the shoe to mold to one's foot. This process will let you if the shoes are too narrow, too wide or the wrong size.

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Q: What type of socks should I wear with my tennis shoes?

A: Players and teaching pros need to protect their feet so they can play and teach comfortably. Several of us, wear two pairs of socks: one thick pair and one thin pair. This method has been proven successful to eliminate both blisters and calluses. It is proven that when excessive perspiration occurs, that one pair attaches to the shoe, while the other protects the shoe from rubbing against the skin, thus giving double protection.

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About the Author

Fernando Velasco

Fernando Velasco is a USPTA and PTR Master Tennis Professional and the Director of Tennis at the Circle C Tennis Club in Austin, TX. To learn more visit
Fernando Velasco is a USPTA and PTR Master Tennis Professional and the Director of Tennis at the Circle C Tennis Club in Austin, TX. To learn more visit

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