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For the majority of people, it’s crucial to wear tennis shoes when playing tennis. They are specifically made to give you the support, cushioning and traction that players need on the tennis court. Tennis players are not just running around a lot, there’s a lot of quick movements that will require a certain amount of traction.
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The sport also requires a lot of lateral movement and tennis shoes are made to provide you with exactly the type of support and cushioning that you need in these situations. The traction that you need on a tennis court differs from what you’ve need when running.
Different Courts, Different Shoes
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As you may already know, there are different tennis shoes for each surface. The biggest difference between them is what kind of court they are designed to be used for. There are different types of tennis shoes for different courts and if you choose the wrong shoe on the wrong surface, you could be in danger.
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There are many to choose from making your decision should not be just about the different colors and fancy designs unless you are not looking to use them for a specific purpose.
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Three types of courts that the vast majority play on are hard courts, clay courts, and grass courts. Hard courts are usually paved asphalt to create the court with layers of colorcoating. Clay courts are exactly that, a court made up of clay on a tennis field. Lastly, we have grass courts.
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These are just as they sound to be, a tennis court of just grass and painted lines with the net. these are the three types of courts that most tennis players are playing on.
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That’s why there are three different types of shoes that you can get for each of those surfaces. Choosing the right type of shoe for the style of court you play on can make a significant difference in both your performance and le
1. Hard Court Shoes
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The main purpose of the hard-court shoes is to give you right amount of traction. They are usually slightly heavier, and will last longer than other surface specific shoes.
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The whole sole is designed to absorb all the shock that comes from all the start and stopping that occurs on the tennis court. Something Important to mention is that no sport shoes that has a black sole should be used on this surface, as they may leave blemishes on the court.
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Hard courts are sometimes considered a neutral ground. The mid-point between clay and grass courts in terms of bounce and speed of the ball off the court. It suits many different playing styles, with both fast and powerful players evenly matched.
2. Clay Court Shoes
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Clay shoes usually have pattern going across the outsole. This is to help grip into the clay on the clay court without retaining a lot of that clay in the sole of the shoe. You don’t want the clay to stick to the shoe, even though it will somewhat anyway.
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That’s why you will see players smash their racquet on their sole after every point, it removes the dirt to keep the traction that is needed to play on a clay court.
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Clay court tennis shoes provides more lateral support in the upper part of the shoes, as there is much more sliding on clay courts compared to other surfaces.
3. Grass Court Shoes
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The last one, the grass court tennis shoe. This surface is not only the fastest, but it’s also the surface where court specific shoes are most important.
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I wouldn’t recommend playing with hard court or clay court shoes on grass, it will not only make your shoes last shorter, but it increases your risks of getting injured.
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Grass tennis shoes have a bottom with little nubs or robbery cleats to help grip into the slippery grass courts. This really is a specialized shoe and it’s far from ideal to use it on other surfaces than grass.
Can I Use Hard Court Shoes On Other Surfaces?
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Gael Monfils using hard court shoes on clay
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The hard court shoe is the most all-round shoe when it comes to use on other surfaces. It can often perform just as good on a clay. However, it certainly won’t perform and feel as well on a grass courts.
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If you play equally as much on clay/hard courts and don’t want to get one shoe for each surface, go for a hard court tennis shoe. That way, whether you play on hard or clay courts, you’ll have a good shoe.
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However, it’s still not ideal to use court specific shoes on other surfaces. They are made specifically for the best traction and injury prevention on that surface. There are court-specific shoes for a reason. I would go for an all-court tennis shoe if I only had to buy one shoe. I listed some of best options in this post.
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It all depends on how much you play and what your goal is. If you’re just getting started, don’t bother, play with what you have.
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However, if you are going to play more than once, you should buy a pair of tennis shoes. It will not only make you a better tennis player, but more importantly, it will prevent you from getting injured.