When you play tennis, you have certainly noticed that there is sudden and rapid movement front to back, side to side, and everything between. This causes your feet to move inside the shoe, so it’s essential to have the right pair of shoes for maximum performance, comfort, and injury prevention.
In this article, I will teach you whether tennis shoes need to be tight or not, should you size up, how to choose a pair, and more! Before I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s learn should tennis shoes be tight?
As a general rule, tennis shoes should feel like a glove in hand. Not too tight nor too loose. Upon trying tennis shoes on, you should be able to comfortably play with them right away without breaking in like with leather shoes. Ultimately, they will loosen up slightly, but they shouldn’t be too tight.
It can be quite hard to determine whether the shoe is tight or not when you first try them on. This is why you should walk and jump around with them in the store so you can be absolutely sure that they have that glove-like feel.
When the shoes fit your feet like a glove in hand, it’s the perfect tightness and size because the explosive movements on the court won’t hurt your feet, but they aren’t too loose that you won’t feel the support needed for those sudden movements.
There are as many different sized and modeled feet as there are different people, so it might not be easy to find the right tennis shoe pair for some. For example, people that have wide feet often have trouble finding the right shoes because all shoes seem to be too snug on the forefoot, which really doesn’t feel great for the toes and whole foot.
Great shoes for men with wide feet are the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2, and a popular one for women is the K-Swiss Women’s Hypercourt Express, so don’t worry if you have wide feet or other situations that make it difficult to find proper shoes because there are solutions to everything, especially in the huge world of tennis.
Should you size up in tennis shoes?
In short, if you try your shoes in the store, then there is no need to size up as long as the shoe feels good without being too tight or loose. If you order online, then you should read the manufacturer’s instructions on whether the shoe is the size it says or actually bigger or smaller and size up or down according to the instructions.
Most manufacturers and online stores announce whether the shoe is bigger or smaller than the appointed size. This is because there are hundreds of different shoes from different manufacturers, so the size 42 isn’t the same in all shoe models in the market.
If you or your kid is still in the growing stage, it would be wise to size up and get a slightly bigger shoe. However, it still needs to feel good and not too loose because it wouldn’t support much. I highly recommend trying the shoe personally because you can accurately know the size and feel for sure.
Do tennis shoes get looser over time?
Tennis shoes do get slightly looser over time, as do all clothing when worn over and over again. However, the change shouldn’t be so drastic that it would ever bother your game. Also, you shouldn’t think about the loosening when buying new shoes, therefore don’t consider slightly tight shoes.
What should I look for in a tennis shoe?
1. Your main court
The most important thing to look at in your shoes is the outsole. It must fit well with the court that you are playing on because not every material and design is great for all four court types (grass, clay, hard, artificial grass). Below are some recommended features for each court type.
- Outsole for grass-court: Pimples for better grip, don’t use grass shoes on hard or clay courts.
- Outsole for clay court: Herringbone pattern for grip, lateral support.
- Outsole for hard court: Durable herringbone pattern for grip & traction, shock-absorbing feature.
- Outsole for artificial grass court: Cross-directional or shallow herringbone treads or pimples for grip.
In addition to those features, your shoes must have lateral support, which won’t allow your shoe to bend and ankles to twist easily, but more on that on the shoe design part.
2. Your feet characteristics
The second thing to think about is your feet themselves. As briefly discussed above, everyone’s feet are built a little differently, making a pair of shoes perfect for another, whereas it just wouldn’t be a good fit for another.
For example, if you have wide feet, you need to get great shoes for that kind of foot. Similarly, people’s toes are built differently, so one person might have all the toes in a perfect line. In contrast, other toe lengths might vary drastically, which makes different pairs of shoes essential. All in all, you get the picture.
If you buy your new shoes in the store, then measuring your feet isn’t necessary because you can try ones and settle for the pair that fits. However, if you’re buying online, it can be a waste of money or time if you need to return them if you don’t know your foot size accurately.
This is why I highly recommend measuring your feet before ordering shoes online because you must know the closest size possible. As important to read the seller’s instructions about whether that particular pair is normal-sized, smaller, or bigger than the appointed size.
Check out the video below on how to measure feet when buying shoes online.
3. Your playing style
The final step that is crucial to think about when choosing tennis shoes is your playing style. Whether you are an agile sprinter that covers every inch of the court and loves to charge for the net after a serve or a baseline player that wants to keep a good distance, the shoe choice and optimal features are different. Let’s take these playstyles under my radar.
If you are a serve and volley type of player, you need a durable and comfortable toecap and flexible shoes because of your sudden stops and explosive dashes.
If you are a baseline player, durable and comfortable soles for shock absorption and stiff lateral support are essential because of that particular playstyle.
Be sure to think about your playstyle and think about your past games, and you will notice what parts of your feet ake the most and where your shoe is working out fastest. This way, you can focus on the right features on your future shoes, and you’re one step closer to the best ones for you.
4. Shoe design
Now that you have thought about all the essential things, you can focus more on the looks. Although, one essential thing to the design is that it should have lateral support. This makes the shoe a little harder on the sides so that it won’t bend as easily when you move and stop quickly, so your ankles are better supported on the tennis court.
As humans, we always take at least a slight peak at the looks regardless of the perks and features. This is only natural, and it is something to take a look at. Personally, I like simple and stylish shoes that are light in color; however, white is always tricky when it comes to dirt. Luckily tennis courts aren’t covered in mud!
Finally, to sum all things up, you need to decide your budget and whether that pair of shoes are worth the investment. In my opinion, it always is if you play more frequently than once a week because your playing will become more comfortable, supported, and injury risk minimal.
Can I play tennis in running shoes?
Generally, you shouldn’t play tennis in running shoes for various reasons. First of all, most running shoes don’t have the needed lateral support that you really should have when playing tennis. Also, running shoes often have a rubbery sole which can leave marks on the tennis court.
That being said, it really depends on your personal situation and love for tennis. If you are an occasional player that plays a couple of times per month or once a week just for fun, then using running shoes doesn’t have any problems if they don’t leave too many marks on the court.
On the other hand, if you’re a passionate tennis player, even one just getting started with plans to hit the court multiple times a week, then tennis shoes are almost a necessity if you want to minimize the risk of injury, play comfortably, and agile, and have a better overall playing experience.
Finally, running has a casual front movement that is even rhythmic and not so harsh on the shoe when you think about it. However, tennis has explosive side-to-side and front-to-back movements that are drastically harsher to the shoe. Therefore your running shoes will break sooner than later when playing tennis because tennis shoes are designed for that tennis movement, and running shoes are not.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
When you decide on a new pair of tennis shoes, make sure that they are like gloves to your feet instead of slightly tight or loose. The golden middle road is the best option when it comes to tennis shoes and when you remember that, you will have the needed amount of support and comfort without neglecting the other.
I hope that this article gave you a lot of new information and tips about choosing tennis shoes and what not to do when deciding on a new pair.