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Gear: What to look for in your tennis footwear
We consider the important elements of the perfect tennis shoe and look at how some of the top shoes stack up
Posted Feb 24, 2012 by Equipment News
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If you were to ask an amateur the most important piece of kit for playing a good game of tennis and they are likely to say the racquet. Whilst this might be crucial to the game, footwear is certainly up there in terms of importance and the professionals realise that the right shoes can really step up your game (pun intended) or set you back.
What to look for in a tennis shoe:
- Comfort – you need a shoe that is going to provide a serene environment for your feet, protecting them in the hour after hour you spend on the court.
- Supportiveness – if you play tennis regularly you quickly realise that tennis elbow isn’t the only condition that inflicts itself upon us. Ankle injuries are such a common reason for paramedics being called to tennis clubs and even minor strains can leave you out of action for several months. The correct footwear needs to be not just comfortable but also supportive to your ankles allowing you to glide around the court.
- Durability – if you have just invested in new tennis footwear, you want to know that it is going to last the pounding it takes whilst you are on court, think about materials used and ease of maintaining the shoe.
- Speed – a dodgy shoe is no good to anyone and in tennis speed is obviously of the essence so you need to make sure it has been crafted to enable you to get around the court at lightning pace.
- Price – an important factor, but the truth is that very often you get what you pay for so purchasing the cheapest shoes definitely isn’t the way to go.
With these things to consider in mind, let’s take a look at some of the latest tennis footwear available:
First up, for women…
There is the Adidas Barricade adilibria
This has proved to be one of the world’s best-selling shoes. It offers the trademark adiwear6 outsole which offers superior traction and durability on the areas of the shoe that are most often subject to strain. The shoe is ultra-lightweight which offers you the speed you need on court and the ventilation helps to keep your feet in a world of comfort. That being said, those who have tested the shoe tend to report that Adidas have not gone far enough with their ventilation and that after a particularly long match some of the comfort for your feet is diminished.
Now for the men…
There is the Babolat V-Pro All Court Babolat.
Babolat is the brand of choice for current world #1 Rafael Nadaal and these shoes don't disappoint. These shoes offer strength, comfort and durability thanks to the Babolat’s collaboration with Michelin. Babolat boast that this shoe has a very quick break-in time making for maximum comfort out on court.
The Vibrakill cushioning system in the heel is a superb shock absorber and acts as a protector for your heel an ankle as well as providing the spring needed for blistering smash.
For many, the downside to this shoe is probably the fact that it is too lightweight and if you have slightly large feet then you could feel a little cramped and because the shoe weighs so little it often doesn’t feel as though it is providing the same support to your feet.