Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to machine wash your tennis shoes

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Store Manager

Yes! Bring some life back into those dingy tennis shoes by tossing them in the washing machine. Put them in with the rest of your clothes, or if you’re like me where the thought of those soles touching your pretty tops makes you cringe, you can follow these steps to ensure that your shoes get cleaned with little to no hassle.
  1. Wipe off any residual dirt from the shoe and treads before machine washing, especially if you’ve played on clay or har-tru surfaces.
  2. Remove the laces. This is basically so they don’t tangle in the machine.  
  3. Place shoes in a mesh laundry bag to avoid the soles marking up the inside of the machine. You may also add the shoelaces if needed.
  4. Add ¼ - ½ cup of detergent and/or baking soda (for those extra smelly shoes) to a small cycle.
  5. Once finished, wipe shoes down and set them aside in the sun to dry. Unless you want to hear your shoes banging up the inside of your dryer (which we don’t recommend), it’s best to let them air dry.
Sometimes your shoelaces are so strung out, that washing them won’t do much help. Therefore, buy a new pair specifically made for sneakers for an instant makeover on an old shoe. However, if all the suds in the world can't do those grimy tennis shoes any justice, then stop in the club or shop at our new online store at for a new pair of treads that are already sparkling clean!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How do I know when I need new tennis shoes?

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Store Manager

Continuing with celebrating the opening of our online store, we are forging along with topics about tennis shoes and what better than figuring out when to buy new tennis shoes. There are many players out there that tend to wear their favorite tennis shoes longer than they should. There's no magic number of months or times you've played, and we understand not everyone has an unlimited budget to buy a new pair of tennis shoes at the start of every season. But to avoid risk to injury (and to give you a fresh kick to your step), here are some tell-tale signs on when you need to immediately dump those tired soles for a new pair of greatness:

  • Smooth sole - Your once treaded sole is now as smooth as your on-court trash talking. Whether you've worn away the toe, or ball of your foot or heel area, you should consider moving on to a new shoe. Before you know it, you’ll be sliding every time you intend to stop, which increases your risk to injury.  
  •  There are holes in the sole - This is an obvious one. If the outsole is chewed away or if your toe is making an appearance, it’s time to toss those shoes without a second thought to avoid stumbling (and not to mention the inevitable blister).
  • Outsole wrinkles – We’re not talking about a few wrinkles that accumulate in areas of high use, we’re talking about cracks and tears along the entire upper sole of your shoe from longevity and overuse. This doesn’t mean the shoe is trash-worthy, actually they make great donations for those in need. However, for continued tennis play this shoe has lost a lot of supportive structure making them unstable and liable for a rolled ankle or knee injury.
  • Little to no cushion – Your shoe might still be in great shape but the insole and cushion are pretty much as flat and hard as a rock. The flatter and less cushion a shoe has, the more pressure you’ll feel on your joints. Sure you can add insoles to help cushion your shoe, but because they’re lifespan is relatively short in an active sport shoe, you might as well look into a new pair altogether. The good news is they make another good donation option!
     For additional questions on the lifespan of your shoe or help in finding a new pair, ask our shoe experts at the front desk for some assistance. 

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tennis shoe Q & A

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Shop Manager 

To kick off the opening of our online store, featuring the latest and greatest tennis sneakers out there, we felt it was appropriate to dedicate a few posts on this essential tennis gear. We’re asked a lot of questions when it comes to the shoe department so we compiled a few general answers so you can better equip yourself the next time you’re ready to buy shoes.

Can’t I play in my running shoes or cross-trainers?

Nike Air Vapor Advantage
They’re all sneakers so you don’t really need a specific shoe for tennis right? Wrong! All sneakers are essentially made best suited for different types of surfaces or activities. When it comes to tennis, you need to make sure the sneaker you buy has a smooth non-marking sole with traction, nice cushion, and strong structural support for the areas you’ll need it most, which in tennis will be the area around your toes, ball of your foot and ankle. Think about it, tennis has you cutting and moving in all different directions at a moment’s notice. Your shoe needs to do the same without putting you at risk for injury. Any other sneaker that is not made specifically for tennis like a running shoe or cross-trainers may have too jagged of a sole, too flat arch support, or too flimsy of an outsole, where a rolled ankle or knee injury is a nightmare waiting to happen.

How much space do I want to leave for my toes?

A good rule of thumb is to go a ½ size up from your regular dress shoe. This is because you want to leave enough space for your toes as they tend to swell during play. We always suggest to our players to move around in the shoe they’re trying and to do the ‘stop-short’ test. (Imagine chasing down a drop shot from the baseline and having to put on the breaks before toppling the net.) If your toes are grazing the brim of your shoe without feeling totally crammed or broken afterward, you found a good fit.

Also, if you're one to get a lot of blisters after you play that may indicate that your shoe is too big since your foot is sliding around too much--we see this a lot with teen boys! The next time you're trying a pair of shoes on, stand up and have someone feel for your big toe. You should have about ½ an inch to play with from your toe to the tip of the shoe. 

Is one brand better than the other?

That's hard to determine since all brands have entirely different fits so for your personal preference, you may be biased toward a particular brand. For instance, if it’s style that appeals to you then Adidas might be your shoe. If you have a narrow foot, Nike might be a better fit. If you’re looking for cloud-like cushion then give Babolat a try. For those that are looking for support structured like a tank, then by all means try K-Swiss. But just because we say a shoe is one way doesn’t mean you’ll likely agree, so don’t write that brand off immediately. All brands try to be versatile with different styles of their shoe, so Nike Zoom Vapor may feel too tight, but the Nike Air Max Cage might fit perfectly.

For any other questions concerning the fit of a shoe or tennis shoes in general, ask any of our representatives at the front desk for help. We guarantee we'll find something that will fit your needs!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

When to replace your tennis racquet

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Shop Manager

It might be because you two have been in a long term relationship, or there's been a lot of tension between you both lately. Or maybe it's because you can't help but let your eye wander to the newest models out there. Whatever the reason, you can't help but wonder if it's time to buy a new racquet. But when do you know when it's time for a change?

Signs you need a new racquet:
  •  Cracks - As much as you try to keep your racquet in pristine condition, it's going to see a lot of wear and tear over time. But what to watch out for are any signs of visible cracking on the frame, or if you hear rattling from inside. Once a crack is formed, your racquet is no longer able to perform at optimum level and the chance of it surviving another stringing is slim to none. It might just be a matter of hitting a few groundstrokes before it splits completely in half!
  • Damaged grommets - When your grommets start to wear, your strings take a toll since they no longer have that added protection to keep them from easily snapping. Normally you can order new grommets to bring life back to your racquet, however, you may be stuck when you are unable to find new grommets for older models. 
  • Over 10 years old - You should definitely be looking for a new racquet if you've had it for more than 10 years. This is basically because the technology is drastically different from then and now. We understand you might be attached to your old friend, but racquets today are designed to only improve your game-why not just give it a try?
There might not be any particular reason you need a new racquet other than you're ready for a change or like to keep up with the latest models. That's perfectly fine, just be smart with how you buy.
  1. Always demo a racquet before purchasing--you wouldn't buy a car without driving it!
  2. Keep a budget in mind but know that the average price for a quality racquet will be around $150-200. Always check our demo bin for sales since you might find a good bargain for a quality racquet that is only a couple seasons old. 
  3. Finally, focus on the weight and feel of the racquet rather than the color or what professional is playing with what. 
If you follow these guidelines and find it speaks to you, this year you'll be sporting a new racquet that everyone will envy!

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