As you would expect from a highly competitive sport, the footwear worn during a tennis match will greatly impact a player’s overall performance.
While the type of shoes you wear is important, far too many tennis players overlook how their tennis shoes fit their feet and focus on the look of them.
To help you make sure you are wearing your tennis shoes properly, this guide will explain how tennis shoes should fit and feel when they are the right size.
50k Foot View (Pun Intended!)
To ensure a proper fit, your tennis shoes should offer comfort, stability, and support in the following ways:
Your Shoes Need to Fit Comfortably
For starters, it is always important that your tennis shoes fit your feet comfortably.
If your tennis shoes are causing discomfort, they will be an unnecessary distraction on the court. In addition, discomfort can lead to blisters, bruises, or more serious injuries.
Your Tennis Shoes Should Fit in a Stable and Secure Way
Your tennis shoes need to have a secure fit without feeling like there’s a vice grip on your feet. It’s an interesting balance.
Tennis often requires quick, lateral movements. If your shoes are too loose, you may not feel comfortable with those types of movements. If your shoes are too tight, you’ll be eagerly awaiting taking them off.
Ideally, there should be roughly 3/8 to 1/2 inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This space is not enough for your foot to move around inside the tennis shoe, but it is enough room to allow your feet to expand and breathe.
Tennis Shoes Must Offer Support
Since tennis involves plenty of sudden changes in direction, it is important that your tennis shoes properly support your feet and ankles.
If your shoes are too loose, they will not offer the support you need. You should be able to elevate the foot and shake it without the shoe moving separately from yours. Captain Obvious here, but your shoes should never feel like they could fall off at any point.
Choosing the Right Tennis Shoes for Your Foot Type
The shape and dimensions of your feet will differ from those of others, so it is important to choose a pair of tennis shoes that can properly support your specific foot type.
When it comes to choosing tennis shoes, it is important to understand your foot type.
Most people have one of three basic foot types, and the specific type of feet you have will play a significant role in determining what the best pair of tennis shoes are for you:
- Supinated Feet – This is the name given to feet with a high arch which places most of the bodyweight on the outside of the foot. Players with this foot type will often notice their running shoes and tennis shoes wear out on the outside of the heel and forefoot. Those with supinated feet are prone to shin splints, ankle pain and calluses on the outside of their feet.
- Pronated Feet – This is another term for feet that are flatter than average and is the opposite of supinated feet. Those with pronated feet place most of their bodyweight to the inside of their feet. Without definitive arches, your feet will roll inward naturally when walking or playing tennis. If you have pronated feet, your tennis shoes will typically wear out the fastest in the forefoot area.
- Neutral Feet – Most people have this standard foot type. This just means that your foot lands on the heal and rolls forward without putting more weight on the inside or outside of your foot. Having neutral feet does not mean that you should ignore the importance of playing in a supportive and stable shoe that fits your foot, but it does mean you have a little bit more flexibility for what’s on the market.
The Personal Preference Factor
While your tennis shoes should not be at any risk of sliding or falling off while you play, you do have a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to deciding how tightly you want to tie your laces.
While some players prefer a glove-like fit where the shoes tightly wrap around the tops of each foot, others will play with their laces a little bit looser, as it tends to make the shoe a little bit more breathable.
Wearing Socks with Your Tennis Shoes
Don’t forget to account for your socks while shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes. Thickness will impact the fit so if possible, wear your tennis socks when looking for a new pair of tennis shoes.
Tennis socks prevent chaffing inside the shoe and help to wick away some foot sweat.
Do not skimp on the socks you wear while you play. A good pair of tennis socks will make the playing experience much more comfortable, as well as protect and preserve your shoes.
Breaking the Tennis Shoes In
As with any shoes, they will feel tighter and more restrictive when new. Don’t feel discouraged if your new shoes feel a bit stiff.
Some people will wear a new pair of shoes for a few walks before taking them to the tennis court for the first time. Doing so lets you break the shoe in without having to worry about them being too uncomfortable during a match.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
A tennis shoe gives you the support and stability you need to play the sport properly. By finding the right shoe for your foot type and selecting a size that leaves enough room for expansion and breathability, you will be able to play comfortably and effectively!