All Types of Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are soft, flexible and very comfortable. This also makes them perfect to perform any type of physical activity. Additionally, they help cushion high impacts, preventing serious knee and leg injuries. But you have to choose the best one from different types of tennis shoes.

Tennis shoes are also quite diverse. In fact, there are different types of shoes for different purposes. For example, some make you faster and others help you correct the way you walk.

In this article you’ll know all the different types of tennis shoes that you can find in the current market. You’ll also find a brief explanation of the history of these shoes and how they got their peculiar name.

types of tennis shoes

What is Tennis Shoe?

Tennis shoes, also known as sneakers, are the best for performing physical activity and sports. These days, tennis shoes have become very popular and people also wear them as casual shoes as well.

It’s known that shoes with soft rubber soles were already popular in the UK during the 1870s. These are call as “plimsolls”. In those times, they were used as casual footwear to walk on the beach. They were cool, soft and breathable. Also, they dried easily if they accidentally got wet.

Later, they began to be used by tennis and cricket players. Because of that, the term “tennis shoe” began to be popular.

The term “tennis shoe” is usually used in North America and Australia. However, the term “sneaker” is more common among modern users. This term became popular early in the twentieth century, thanks to advertising agent Nelson McKinney. He called these shoes “sneakers” because of how quiet they were compared to casual shoes.

However, some historical records show that at the end of the 19th century, people already knew “tennis shoes” as “sneakers”. For example, an 1887 article in the Boston Journal said that young people at that time called shoes with soft rubber soles sneakers. That’s because you could “sneak up” on someone when you used them.

Different Types of Tennis Shoes

As said before, tennis shoes are quite diverse. You can find them in a variety of sizes and models. However, all of them can be grouped into these main types:

  • All court shoes
  • Clay court shoes
  • Grass court shoes
  • Carpet court shoes
  • Lightweight shoes
  • Durability shoes
  • Hybrid shoes

Let’s go we will write few more details of each type of tennis shoes. Hope you will love this part.

All Court Shoes

All court shoes adapt to all types of surfaces. They’re durable and have a deep friction pattern to provide maximum grip. All court shoes also have a herringbone style tread. The zig-zag pattern prevents the build-up of clay and other debris in the outsole.

All court shoes aren’t always as effective as expected. For example, they can work perfectly well on clay. However, they may have problems on grass. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do some performance tests before deciding whether to use them or not.

Some international competitions, like Wimbledon, have strict rules on the design of the shoes. In some cases, all court shoes aren’t accepted because they may damage the court surface.

Clay Court Shoes

Clay courts have a loose surface. Because of that, tennis players’ feet frequently slip when moving at high speed. In addition, the clay dust tends to accumulate within the notches of the outsole. When this happens, the player loses grip and can easily fall to the ground.

In this case, the outsole needs to have a herringbone style tread to prevent clay build-up. The zig-zag pattern helps release the dust when the sole bends of flexes.

In clay court shoes, the upper should be sealed to prevent the entrance of clay dust. For this purpose, you need a wide tongue and a tightly knit upper.

In the case of clay court shoes, color is also important. These shoes tend to get dirty easily. So, you have to choose a color that helps to hide stains. For example, brown tennis shoes may be your best choice. If you choose a light color, you’ll have to clean your shoes after each use. So, white shoes aren’t an option.

Grass Court Shoes

On grass courts, the risk of accidental slips is high. Therefore, grip should be a priority in your shoes. In this case, the traction pattern should be deep and complex. Those outsoles with small pimples on their surface are the best for grass courts.

Stability is also a priority on grass courts. Therefore, the midsole shouldn’t be too soft. Instead, you need something firm but cushioned enough to absorb impacts. Currently, grass court shoes aren’t very common in shoe stores. That’s because competitions on grass courts aren’t so common anymore.

Usually, professional tennis players directly contact manufacturers to get grass court shoes according to specifications. All court shoes may also work in this case.

Carpet Court Shoes

Carpet courts are the safest of all. They provide a stable and anti-slip surface, allowing tennis players to move with confidence. In this case, the grip of the outsole isn’t the highest priority. So, any friction pattern may work just fine. However, it isn’t desirable that the midsole is too hard as in the case of clay court shoes.

The midsole should be cushioned to absorb high impacts. As you can move faster on a carpet court, the impacts will be higher when you stop on your feet. That’s why the midsole should be soft, thick and stable for this purpose.

Lightweight Shoes

They’re also known as Matchday shoes. They’re lighter and more responsive than common tennis shoes. That way, the tennis player can move much faster with little effort. Lightweight shoes eliminate as much weight as possible by using lightweight materials and replacing part of the sole with compressed air.

In addition, lightweight shoes are usually reinforced where the impacts are higher. For example, around the tip and the heel of your feet.

Durability Shoes

Professional tennis players often spend many hours training to perfect their techniques. During training, the sole wear is greater. Durability shoes are perfect in this case, because they have a thicker and more durable sole. That way, the shoes can withstand long hours of use without being damaged.

Also, durability shoes are better for absorbing impacts. This is very important, because tennis players are prone to injury during those long training sessions.

Hybrid Shoes

Hybrid shoes combine the best features of lightweight and durability shoes. They’re made to be durable, but light enough to let you move faster on the court. These shoes are ideal for professional competitions with five sets per match. In these cases, the wear of the shoes is greater, so you need a more resistant sole.

However, the tennis player should also move fast to respond to the opponent’s attacks.


As you can see, there are different types of tennis shoes. Each one works better for a certain type of surface. Choosing the perfect type of shoe will improve your performance on the court. It will help you move faster so you can easily reach the ball. Having a higher reaction speed will reduce the number of points against and increase your chances of winning.

Before buying tennis shoes, consider some important aspects such as stability, comfort level and outsole design. Think about the desirable features you need from your shoe to get the best results. Then, choose a model that fulfills each one of your demands. Make sure to follow these tips if you want to find the best pair of tennis shoes for you.

James Smith

James Smith, along with an army of foot soldiers, personally tries and reviews some of the most revered products and brand in almost every imaginable category of footwear.

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