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Can you use Training Shoes for Tennis?

Can you use Training Shoes for Tennis?

When you look at a training shoe and a tennis shoe side-by-side, you won’t find any considerable differences because both look almost the same. This, of course, is followed by an obvious question; if both are similar, can you use them for tennis?

Short answer: Yes, you can, but only if you are a casual tennis player. However, it is recommended that you wear tennis shoes for tennis because they have many benefits over training shoes.

Tennis, as we all know, is a very active game in which movement is key. The game requires moving effectively and instantly changing position. The better the movement, the better the chances of success.

While you can do anything wearing anything, it is recommended that you stick to the proper gear specifically made for the particular activity you are indulging in. Wearing improper gear will significantly decrease your performance, compromise your ability to succeed, and even cause an injury that might prevent you from participating in that activity for some time.

Why use Tennis Shoes?

With so much emphasis on movement during tennis, your feet require adequate protection to keep you going and prevent injury. Experts would recommend tennis shoes to tennis players no matter what the standard.

Tennis shoes are specifically made to cope with the movement of tennis. Movement in tennis is multi-directional with multi-directional impact. Tennis shoes provide adequate protection to the feet and ankle from the repeated impact of such movements.

Regular trainers are made to cope with a moderate amount of movement having a moderate impact. Any movement is too specialized and trainers would likely fail to provide the protection required to prevent injury.

Running shoes only support the feet during linear movement, that is, movement only in a straight line. Cross-trainers are better than running shoes because they provide lateral support, essential in tennis. But none of these shoes provides the necessary protection from the hard surface of the tennis court.

Training shoes are a good temporary option, though. Say you have damaged your tennis shoes during play and you don’t have a spare pair. Trainers can be used as a fallback option until you get new a new pair. Or, perhaps, you are trying out the sport, at which point, buying a pair of tennis shoes is an over-commitment.


The biggest reason to use tennis shoes is durability. Tennis courts have hard, abrasive surfaces. Regular trainers don’t stand a chance and get torn apart rather quickly. You will start seeing signs of wear and tear after a short period of use.

Tennis courts with less abrasive surfaces like clay or astroturf may spare training shoes. Trainers on such surfaces may have a longer life. But the difference is not significant and trainers still don’t stand a chance. Trainers with thinner outsoles and less padded insoles won’t last long and won’t provide adequate cushioning.

Wear and tear happen to all shoes. What makes tennis shoes different is that they have reinforced areas where abrasion is frequent like toes and heels. Trainers provide no such reinforcement making them less durable and making you more exposed to chances of injury.

Heavy padding on tennis shoes also makes them heavier than regular trainers. The padding is also the reason tennis shoes take a longer time to break in.

Support & Stability

Shoes that don’t provide adequate support and stability are linked to Achilles and calf injuries. Running shoes are only good for linear movement. They have more padding in the forefoot region to absorb the impact on the toes during running. The heel of the running shoe is lower than the toes known as the heel drop.

Cross-trainers can be used in many athletic and sports activities. They provide moderate performance for a wide range of activities but don’t excel in any one; jack of all master of none….type of situation.

Cross-trainers are more levelled, unlike running shoes for movement in various directions. They also provide some support for multi-directional and lateral movement. While support for such movements is important, there are other features that cross-trainers lack.

How are Tennis Shoes Really Different from Trainers?

You have been reading some vague terms like support, stability, and durability. But how do tennis shoes achieve that over regular trainers? What are the differences that make tennis shoes adequate for tennis? Why should you consider them over regular trainers?

Here are a few key differences that make tennis shoes different from regular trainers:

Fortified Forefoot Region

The forefoot region in tennis shoes is made to be more stable than in trainers. It faces a lot of abrupt stop-and-go which causes extreme wear and impact on the shoe. If the forefoot region is not properly fortified, it will be torn apart and may cause injury to the toes in the process.

To fortify the forefoot region, toe guards or toe caps are used. Toe caps protect the toes from toe dragging during serves and overhead shots. But protecting the toes isn’t the only function of toe caps. They are also specifically designed to prevent damaging the upper from shoe dragging on the court surface.

Cross-trainers may have toe guards but they are not built for extreme dragging as in tennis.

Lateral Support

Tennis is a sport that requires a lot of side-to-side movement. Along with the side-to-side movement, there is abrupt movement in multiple directions. There is a lot of force and impact involved.

Tennis shoes have strong sides and forefoot areas to support the side-to-side movement. The sides are also more rigid than other shoe types to support extreme side-to-side movement for longer periods. Reinforced sides prevent ballooning of the upper under extreme impact caused by abrupt movement.


There is a considerable difference between the outsoles of tennis shoes and the outsoles of regular trainers. Tennis shoes have thicker and narrower outsole regions. A thicker outsole, as you can guess, means more cushioning and durability from the impact on hard court surfaces.

The narrow design of the outsoles, however, is to allow manoeuvrability. Trainers have wider outsoles that provide lateral stability. But wider outsoles make sliding difficult. The narrower outsoles in the tennis shoes allow the right amount of sliding.

There is also a difference in the tread pattern of the tennis shoes and trainers. Treads in trainers are large for better grip. But large treads leave a mark on the court which is why training shoes are sometimes not allowed on the court.

The tread pattern of tennis shoes is thin. A narrower design of the outsole along with a thin tread pattern provides a balance between grip and sliding. The thin treads also do not mark the court.


There is a continuous impact on the foot during tennis. The abrupt multi-directional, stop-and-go movement hurts the feet. So, the midsole of a tennis shoe is heavily padded to protect the foot from heavy impact.

Trainers are less padded in the midsole area. They are usually designed for indoor activities like gyms. Although they work outdoors, they lack the level of impact handling present in tennis shoes. You will start feeling pain in your feet after some time on the court in training shoes.

Heel and Ankle Support

Heel and ankle support are essential in tennis to avoid injury. Tennis shoes have heavily foamed collars that lock the heel in place to prevent them from slipping. The abrupt stop-and-go nature requires the heels to be more protected. The tongue in tennis shoes is specifically made to give support to the ankle and keep it locked in place.

Can you use Training Shoes for Tennis?