What Tennis Shoes Are Right For Certain Surfaces
What Tennis Shoes Are Right For Certain Surfaces
Tennis, like every other sport, requires specific tools for optimum performance and delivery. For the players, using the right tennis shoes can literally make or break the performance, regardless of experience. For such a physical game that is played on varied surfaces, getting the right pair is important, as it helps to support your feet (which usually suffer most) and gives the needed boost to jump, slide, make sudden stops, and the many maneuvers that comes with a good game of tennis.
While you may be tempted to consider using other sports shoes for tennis (like table tennis shoes or volleyball shoes), it is worth noting that they may not suffice for tennis, and you might end up having a not-so-good experience, should you decide to use say neutral running shoes for a high impact sport like tennis. As earlier noted, playing surfaces generally influence the outcome of your game as well as your overall safety. This is why some of the best tennis shoes for women and men alike take into consideration play style, foot type and most importantly, the nature of the surface.
With that being said, having fair knowledge of the various play surfaces of tennis courts is crucial to making an informed choice on which to pick. The most popular surfaces for playing tennis around the world are hard, grass and clay courts, and while it may be tempting to use any pair of tennis shoes on any of these surfaces, it is not advisable, especially if you are looking to get the best out of such an energy-sapping game and reduce the pressure on your ankle as well as your foot. In this piece, we will be looking at the various play surfaces for the game and which shoe types fare best on each of them.
With ball slowing and higher bounces being some of the notable pros of clay courts, players on such surfaces are often able to return shots and perform relatively well; albeit the high demand, such a surface can place on a player. Clay Courts are often made of either shale, brick, or stone, hence the need to get the appropriate shoes to boss any game on such a surface.
The ideal shoe for a clay court must provide greater support for your foot and to give you mastery of your movements. The best outsoles for clay courts provide greater traction while you take and serve shots. Typically, your choice of clay court shoe must feature a treaded zig-zag pattern for a firmer grip on the surface to avoid slips. The patterns are usually built to prevent clay particles from lodging on the outsoles of the shoe. Even in cases where some particles do settle on the outsole, you can shake them off easily with a few side taps.
Some great examples of Clay Court Shoes you can use include the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X Clay, the Yonex Sonicage Clay, Wilson Rush Pro 3.0, Adidas adiZero CC Feather 2.0, Yonex Power Cushion 308, Asics Gel Resolution 5, Nike Air Max Cage, Head Speed Pro III, Babolat Propulse 4, Adidas Barricade 7, Nike Air Max Courtballistec among many others.
As one of the commonly used tennis court surfaces today, grass courts are typically made of grass and can either be grown on soil or carpeted. Such courts are usually used at the Wimbledon Championships, and is considered to be the fastest of all surfaces. What’s more, grass courts promote lower ball bounces due to the softness of the soil underneath. Balls move relatively faster on such courts than the hard or clay ones, and for players who have to contend with such a surface (which can get slippery and produce unpredictable bounces), it is essential to get a shoe that is not only comfortable to move quickly in but can also provide better traction and solid grip.
Additionally, outsoles for grass courts are usually flat (to avoid damaging the grass) and have a herringbone pattern to ensure you can withstand the fast pace nature of the game without constant pressure on your feet and your body. What’s more, grass courts are softer and kinder to the body than the other surface types, so getting a good and appropriate shoe sort of completes the equation, and gives you the agility to stand up to the challenges fast paced game would present.
Some commonly used shoes types you may consider for grass surfaces include the Asics Gel Challenger 9, Adidas CC Feather IV, New Balance 996, Nike Air Max Courtballistec 4.3 GRS, Adidas CC Feather 2, Babolat SFX Wimbledon, Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour LE, Lotto Vector 5, K-Swiss Grancourt II, and Adidas Barricade 8.
Unlike clay and grass courts, hard courts offer relatively better ball bounces and are usually made of rigid material like concrete or asphalt. Such courts are easy to maintain and players who love to be fully in control of games by predicting ball bounces, hard courts are best for that, and also ensure a slower ball speed compared to other surfaces.
Additionally, the nature of hard courts makes them the most demanding for players, hence the need to get the more appropriate shoes to make enhance your performance. What’s more, the best outsoles for hard courts also feature herringbone patterns, but these are a bit modified compared to those for the other surfaces. And due to the demand for a harder playing surface, your choice of shoe must provide adequate cushioning, with shock absorbing midsole to shield your foot. Among other things, a good hard-court shoe should be made of abrasion-resistant material, be foot hugging and light so as to enhance quick movements.
Some of the best shoes for enhancing performance on hard courts include New Balance Fresh Foam Lav, Adidas Barricade Novak Pro, New Balance 696 v3, NikeCourt Air Zoom Zero, NikeCourt Zoom Cage and NikeCourt Lite 2.
As we have already ascertained, your playing style is also a determining factor for the best kind of shoe you may want to consider. Whether you are a baseline player or a typical serve-and-volley kind, you need to pay attention to which shoe type suits you best. For baseline players, shoes with enhanced cushioning and durable soles work best, while serve-and-volley type players usually work best with shoes that have a more durable toe cap and greater flexibility.