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Tennis shoes are probably the last thing on your shopping list if you’re just getting started with the sport. You’re mostly concerned about buying the perfect tennis racquet and working on your swing technique first.
You might have an extra pair of golf shoes lying around the house but if so can you use them when playing tennis?
You could probably use your extra pair of spikeless golf shoes if you’re playing tennis casually. But if you are playing competitively it pays to wear tennis shoes that are engineered for maximum peak performance on tennis courts.
Golf shoes are designed to give you grip on soft ground while swinging a club. Although you will swing a racquet in tennis the ground is not soft so different shoes are needed.
I understand that it may not be convenient to go out of your way to buy tennis shoes when you’ve got a perfect pair of golf shoes going unused – but there are several perks of buying tennis shoes, including increased lateral support and stability.
Most golf shoes are optimized for use on grassy terrain – a typical feature of the landscape of most golf courses. As such, golf shoes come with extra spikes underneath their soles that provide extra balance and stability in the game.
Unfortunately, this advantage on golf courses doesn’t always translate well onto the tennis court.
If you must wear golf shoes for tennis, go with the spikeless variants. The spikeless versions weigh quite a bit less and mimic the same performance features of regular tennis shoes.
But they carry much of the same baggage as their spiked counterparts – namely, a rugged sole that doesn’t really do you any favors on the tennis court.
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Why Fuss Over Tennis Shoes?
Tennis shoes are designed specifically to be safer and more efficient at getting you around the tennis court – quickly. Regular sneakers and golf shoes will get the job done – but not in an efficient manner.
There are a few reasons why tennis shoes are better for tennis. Let’s deep dive into some of their main attributes.
1) Tennis Shoes are More Comfortable
Although golf shoes are very comfortable on the golf course, their support system is uniquely equipped for the grassy terrain with the right combination arches, insulation, and padding, and as such, has certain limitations that do not translate into a good experience anywhere.
Tennis shoes, on the other hand, are much more comfortable because you’ll be putting your feet to work by quickly getting from one end of the court to another. They also come with moisture wicking properties that pull the sweat from your feet away.
As a result, your feet won’t get sweaty and overheat during use.
Does that mean tennis shoes are more comfortable than golf shoes? There’s more nuance to this topic that meets the eye. Golf shoes are comfortable for playing golf, whereas tennis shoes are comfortable for playing tennis.
Neither will get you good results in a marathon race or in the other sport.
2) Treading On Tennis Shoes Is A GameChanger
Tennis shoes come with unique tread that is not found on golf shoes. The treading is designed to provide maximum traction on the tennis court.
In fact, you’ll need to wear different tennis shoes depending on the type of court you’re playing on. For example, clay courts will feel different than hard courts, and your tennis shoes will impact your feet differently.
But you know which type of shoe isn’t ideal for playing on either of these courts? Golf shoes – especially if they come with spikes.
Clay tennis shoes usually feature a full herringbone pattern to provide excellent grip on the slippery surface. This treading also keeps the clay away from the outsole of your shoes so that you get better traction while moving from one direction to another.
Clay tennis shoes also feature a tight-knit upper that provides extra stability while preventing the clay from entering your shoes.
Grassy tennis courts are much softer on your body and joints. You don’t need durable outsoles because the surface is softer, so it is less likely to damage your shoes.
With that said, you need tennis shoes that can provide a good grip on the slippery surface. The outsole on most grass-court tennis shoes has bumps and pimples that can only be used with grassy surfaces for a good grip.
More importantly, the tennis shoes must have flatter outsoles to prevent damaging the court and a flexible upper to help you get around the court more quickly. You cannot use these shoes on other outdoor and indoor surfaces and you cannot use golf shoes on these surfaces either because of their aggressive treading (with or without spikes).
Grass court tennis shoes are not always available, and you may have to pre-order them because of the shorter tennis season.
Lateral Support And Stability
Tennis shoes provide more lateral support and stability. These two are important to tennis players because of the quick movements they make on the court. Although cushioning is also important, tennis players need as much lateral support as possible.
Moreover, tennis shoes have a low to the ground feel that makes you feel more stable when moving across the court. This is why most tennis shoes come with less cushioning.
Weight And Flexibility
Tennis shoes are a bit heavier than golf shoes because of their added agility and flexibility. The padding on most tennis shoes adds to their weight, which is important to support your body structure in a fast paced game.
However, both shoes come with robust uppers and treading.
You can use golf shoes to play tennis – but they won’t provide you with the necessary support, traction, and comfort levels your feet need to score big on the tennis court. This is why they are worth the extra cost.
It is worth noting that all shoes, including golf shoes and tennis shoes, are prone to regular wear and tear.
You will notice over time that your shoes will get a bit slippery on the court. For peak performance, you should try to keep the soles fresh otherwise you won’t get any benefit from them on the court.
This is why it is advised to only use tennis shoes for tennis and golf shoes for golf. For regular use, choose any run-of-the-mill sneakers you can find.