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Choosing Tennis Shoes

Aug 17, 2007
Good tennis shoes do several things apart from covering your feet, and tennis is a sport, that is very hard on shoes, and feet, so you need to find a shoe that will last, and one that is not too heavy, bearing in mind some factors.

Tennis shoes must be able to support your feet with all the stops and starts you have to make, and it must give you good support at the sides of your feet. Each surface has differing requirements, and all of us have different types of feet, all of which places different demands on your tennis shoes.
The first consideration is what type of feet you have, because that will determine how much cushioning you will need, and what and where you will need lateral support.

There are three basic foot types:
1. SUPINATED - here your wear is on the outside of the shoes

2. PRONATED - here your wear is on the inside around the ball of the foot, and this type of foot suffers the most with injuries from overuse.

3. IDEAL - here the wear is even.
Either get a fellow player to walk behind you to determine whether you are walking with your foot tilting inwards, or outwards, or not at all. Better still find yourself a well-qualified sports shoe person. You could also test yourself by wetting your feet and standing on a square of cardboard.

1. If there is a large are where the arch of your feet didn't touch you are SUPINATED

2. If the whole of your foot is marked, looking like a rectangle with slight curves then you are OVERPRONATED

3. If your feet leaves an imprint that is a balance between the others then your foot is IDEAL
Confirm this self-diagnosis with a third party watching you walk, and the wear test on your current shoes.

THE FIT OF THE TENNIS SHOE is vital, and points to pay particular attention to are as follows.

1. You need about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the tennis shoe.
2. The foot should be a comfortable fit without any stretching
3. The heel should not slip, although some movement is wanted.

Just remember your feet are different sizes, so pick your size according to the larger foot, and use an insole to balance up your smaller foot.

The most important thing in a tennis shoe is LATERAL SUPPORT because much of your running on a court is side to side, and there are dangers of turning your ankle. Good lateral support is necessary if you are heavy and if you are pronated.

Your tennis shoes will need a degree of CUSHIONING and SHOCK ABSORPTION.
This is especially true if you are a baseliner, and you play most of your tennis on hard courts. Pronated feet jar most easily.

The two most common cushioning you read about are EVA, which is lightweight, but not very durable, or stable, and PU[polyurethane] which is denser, better stability, but it is a lot heavier.

FLEXIBILITY is important, and tennis shoes must bend easily at the ball of the foot, however too much flexibility makes for a shoe that won't be comfortable.

At the end of the day, comfort is important, and tennis shoes are no different to anything else, you tend to get what you pay for, and I know very few things of quality that are cheap!!
About the Author
Ian Smith is a former international sportsman who contributes articles to websites featuring sporting footwear.
He recommends Adidas, and suggests you check out
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