Your footwear whilst playing tennis is largely dependant on what kind of court surface you are regularly playing on. Also some clubs will dictate the type of tennis shoes they require you to wear so that you do not damage or mark the courts.
Some of the better Australian Tennis Clubs such as Tennis World Chatswood will have different surfaces available and will advise you what type of footwear to wear.
Different court surfaces require different tennis shoes:- On grass, you need to be able to run fast and grip the turf, while grip is also vastly important on clay courts too whereas a durable outsole is essential for hard courts.
Your style of play needs to adapt to the court surface, and your shoe is the first thing to consider, after all it is always in contact with the ground.
The classic serve-and-volley players have always done well on grass and in tournaments such as Wimbledon. This is because of the speed of the ball off the surface, grass rewards players with fast serves and players who have speed at the net.
If you are playing on grass your shoes need to match you every step of the way.
- Good grip
Grass courts can be slippy either because of dew or the surface is slightly worn.
- A flatter outsole
This is not to damage the grass, at Wimbledon players are forced to wear completely flat shoes.
- A flexible upper
To enable you to run fast towards the ball and so your feet are not constricted.
There is less requirement for durable outsoles on grass since the surface is softer underfoot and the damage to your shoes is less.
Clay courts are slighter slower, baseline is king here, players tend to stand back and use their power to unleash fierce shots.
Because of this the main requirement is one of stability and lateral support, playing such shots means that you move sideways before setting your feet.
- Great grip
Clay courts often offer little traction.
- Good outsole
To release clay from the grooves and not to mark the court.
- Durable sides
To stop your shoes getting damaged as you slide around the court.
- Lateral support
As you move side to side along the baseline.
- A tight upper
To keep your foot secure as you move about the court.
Hard courts are really the middle ground between grass and clay in terms of bounce and speed of the ball off the court. It suits all styles of play with both fast and powerful players evenly matched.
Hard courts are probably the toughest on your footwear as there is no natural give in the surface.
- A tough outsole
To handle the demands of the unforgiving surface.
- Cushioning and bounce-back
Again because the surface is unforgiving on your joints, feet and legs.
- A tough upper
To add stability when moving around the court.
Choose your footwear to suit the surface, always look to add as much support and comfort as you can possibly can. A good pair of tennis shoes will reward you greatly in your game.