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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