Sports Magazine

The Do’s and Don’ts When Purchasing Tennis Shoes

By Jen Campbell @TennisLife_Mag

Think about all the things your feet do for you day in and day out. They hold up your entire body so you can stand tall; they get you to where you want to go; they dance when you are happy; they help you exercise to stay fit and healthy; and, depending on how talented you are, they pick up the pen on the coffee table for you so you won’t have to move from your comfy position on the couch to work on your crossword puzzle.

Your two little feet, with 10 wiggly toes, give so much, and all they ask in return is for you to protect them by investing in great fitting shoes that will help them accomplish all they do in comfort, and without incurring any injuries.

Whether you are a weekend warrior on the tennis court or are crushing overheads on a daily basis, wearing the proper tennis or court shoe is extremely important in avoiding injuries to your feet, back, legs, knees, and ankles. A good fitting tennis shoe can also enhance your performance on the court – bonus!

Not the shoes you want to buy at a discount store.

If you are not familiar with a store that specializes in athletic shoes, ask around and find one through friends or tennis clubs that has a good reputation, or check Yelp! for recommendations. What you spend on a good pair of court shoes, you will save in doctor bills on those injuries you may incur playing in low-priced, poorly constructed shoes.

In the world of shoes, size matters.

Believe it or not, even fully grown adult feet change in size over the years. Shoe manufactures also often change where their shoes are made, which may cause changes in the shoe size as well. Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes when choosing your new shoes; get measured with each new pair. Proper measurement of your foot should include heel to toe, heel to the ball of your foot, and the width, while sitting and standing.

Bring your socks to the party.

Socks come in a variety of materials and thicknesses; trying on court shoes with the socks you will be wearing when you play is important to obtain the best fit. If you wear inserts or orthotics, don’t forget to bring them as socks, court shoes

Don’t squish your digits.

The distance between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe should be the width of your index finger, providing adequate room in the shoe’s toe box, so your toes won’t crunch up or continually rub the inside front of the shoe as your foot moves. The toe box should be padded and the shoes are supposed to bend the same place as your toes do, at the ball of your foot.

Heels you can love.

The last thing you want is an unstable heel moving in and out of your court shoe, or your life (just thought I’d throw in that tidbit of wisdom). Your heels should fit snugly inside the shoes, not slipping up and down or side to side.

Don’t be an early bird.

Shop in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swelled. Try on several pairs or styles of tennis-specific shoes, both left and right and properly laced up on your sock adorned feet.

Road test ’em.

A quality athletic shoe store will encourage you to test the shoes before purchasing them by walking around the entire store for a minute or so. Perform the motions you use on the court; run up, stop fast, and try some quick lateral moves or the motions used during a serve. Pay attention to how your feet feel in the shoes as opposed to keeping your eye on the ball. Do your heels stay put? Are your toes crashing against the front of the shoe? How’s the cushion? All these are things that usually go unnoticed while you are concentrating on the game during a match.

No pain… all gain.

The court shoes you walk out of the store with should have felt comfortable from the second you put them on and took that first step until you put them back in the box. If you experience “a little” pinching, rubbing, or foot movement inside the shoe, keep shopping. Athletic shoes of any kind never have to be “broken-in”.

Nothing like a soft sole.

The balls of your feet take a beating during a spirited match of tennis with the various movements the game requires. Take care of them with flexible shoe soles at the ball of your foot, which provide cushioning and arch support as well.

Shoes look forward to retirement, too.

Replacing your court shoes is not dictated solely (pun intended) on hours of wear. Outsole and midsole materials can dry out, depending on the environment in which they are kept. So, whether your court shoes see the light of day often or seldom, they ought to be replaced once a year. Often worn tennis shoes are best retired after 45 to 60 hours of wear.

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