Lightweight tennis shoes

Lightweight Tennis Shoes

Each tennis player has different characteristics that are unique to the individual. Playing style, stamina, preferences, and skill levels can vary significantly.

Moreover, some players will choose to play on different types of surfaces. Most importantly, all tennis players have unique foot shapes. 

Therefore, it is essential to distinguish between different types of shoes to find a suitable pair. Paying close attention to the kind of shoes worn during a game will give the performance a fantastic boost and take the game to the next level. 

Lightweight tennis shoes have become a new trend among tennis players because of the many benefits they offer.

Many lightweight tennis shoes are available on the market, and almost every mainstream brand produces them. Some individuals might not find it too challenging to find the right pair of lightweight tennis shoes, but it is crucial to understand why shoe selection is so important.

This article is a comprehensive guide on lightweight tennis shoes and why they may be a good choice.

Why Buy Lightweight Tennis Shoes?

Typically, tennis players have a preferred color and material choices and stick to certain brands.

But, it is crucial to give more thought to the foot type in question rather than the brand. Every player walks and runs differently, which is why there are so many different types of tennis shoes available to support performance and prevent injury. 

While most recreational players prefer to play in running trainers, this is the wrong approach, particularly for those who frequently play, because these shoes will quickly get worn down.

Lightweight tennis shoes are designed to withstand significant wear and tear, allowing for an extensive range of stopping and starting, slides, pivots, and lateral movements.

The lighter the shoes are, the faster the player can move. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that the weight of tennis shoes is one of the main features that should be considered when buying a new pair.

Technological advancements have made it possible for brands to produce lighter shoes without compromising in other areas.

Most players aren’t aware of the significant role tennis shoes’ weight can make in improving their playing style and performance. 

Check out the review of the top five lightweight tennis shoes for 2021 to help make the right choice.

Lightweight Tennis Shoe- The Latest Trend in Tennis World

In the past few years, many top tennis shoe brands have started to experiment a lot with the shoes they manufacture.

It is great to see the brands pushing the boundaries and offering lighter footwear that helps players feel comfortable playing on just about any surface.

Lightweight tennis shoes don’t just keep the feet sweat-free but also maintain the stability needed to keep players safe. Many factors are responsible for making lighter footwear a preferred choice for tennis players, which will be discussed below.

Freedom to Move

One of the main complaints tennis players used to have about their shoes is their bulky weight. To a certain degree, weightier shoes have been a necessity to ensure maximum durability and stability.

But today, tennis has become a faster-paced and more aggressive game. Therefore, the demand for lighter shoes is on the rise. Players now look to shed additional weight to move quickly on the court and enhance movement during lengthy matches.

A Complete Package

Durability, stability, and comfort have become the key indicators of the suitability of tennis gear, especially the shoes.

It has always been a great challenge for tennis footwear brands to make lighter shoes, although the many benefits lighter shoes offer, mainly because they didn’t want to compromise on durability, stability, and comfort.

There has been significant progress and advancement in the shoemaking craft, with various unique materials and designs helping shoemakers make the shoes lighter without sacrificing comfort, stability, and durability.

Lightweight tennis shoes are suitable for players of all levels and ages because they can move around the court at lightning speed. 

Cost-Effective Option

It is a misconception that lighter tennis shoes are more expensive than bulkier ones; some of the lightest shoes on the market are the least expensive.

One of the main advantages of lightweight tennis shoes is they tend to be inexpensive, so all kinds of players can afford them.

Whether a beginner player or a tennis pro-level player, lightweight shoes fall into most players’ budgets. In contrast, bulky tennis shoes can be expensive because people have become accustomed to bulkier shoes over the years; therefore, they are always in demand. Consequently, the price has naturally skyrocketed.

It’s important to note that tennis is a costly sport; many expenses are associated with the game, such as investing in a good quality racket, balls, strings, string savers, court fees, sportswear, racket bag, and many other things.

Shoes tend to be expensive already, so when there’s a better, more reliable, and performance-improving option in lightweight tennis shoes, most players choose to buy them.

Despite being inexpensive, it won’t be necessary to compromise on high-end bulky shoes’ features, such as comfort and durability. 

Fortunately, there are so many options out there for players to rely on when it comes to buying inexpensive, lightweight tennis shoes.

Most of these are durable enough to last almost a decade. Although players may get bored with wearing the same shoes repeatedly, the shoes will not wear out as quickly.

Here’s a video offering valuable information on why lightweight tennis shoes are a raging trend these days.

Things to consider when Buying Lightweight Tennis Shoes.

Whether buying lightweight shoes or bulkier silhouettes, it’s imperative to check out the two most important and critical aspects that make a good shoe; the midsole and the outsole. Both the soles are visible from the bottom of the tennis shoe. 

The outsole is the main surface or the bottom surface of the tennis shoe. It is the part that comes in direct contact with the playing surface.

However, the midsole is the layer underneath the outsole. The purpose of the outsole is to provide much-needed stability and traction when playing. Conversely, the midsole is where the all-important cushioning comes from.

Another essential aspect to consider is the type of court in question. The three types of courts are clay courts, hard courts, and grass courts.

Hard courts are generally made from paved asphalt that is laid with layers of color-coating. Clay courts, of course, are made from clay.

Grass courts are made from grass with painted lines on them.  Some players frequently play on clay courts, some on grass, and some on all surfaces, which is why four different types of shoes can be bought for each surface. 

Choosing the Right Tennis Shoes

The best option is to choose a shoe with an outsole designed for the type of surface that will be played upon.

Footwork and the gameplay will vary slightly, according to the type of surface. To maintain optimal footing on each court surface, it’s important to choose lightweight tennis shoes suitable for all kinds of surfaces and maintain optimal footing on all surfaces. 

Hard Court

It should be kept in mind that the most common play surface is the hard court, which is also the most demanding one. So ideally, the tennis shoe will have an outsole that can handle this surface’s demands.

Usually, hard-court tennis shoes have a modified herringbone pattern that provides the player with a perfect blend of grip and give on the court.

For those who frequently play on hard courts, the shoes should have ample cushioning, meaning they must feature a midsole.

This will help transfer energy into each step and will absorb the shock that characterizes a hard surface. 

Clay Court

The best tennis shoes for clay court feature a full herringbone, zig-zag tread pattern, which helps keep clay out of the outsole.

This feature helps the player enjoy a better grip on a clay court when sprinting, changing directions, or stopping.

Even if there’s some clay gathered around the outsole, this can just be removed by tapping the racket between the points to knock the clay loose.

Another feature of the herringbone design is it makes sliding from side to side predictable, and the player can seamlessly glide into a shot and recover.

Grass Court

The grass is softer on the joints and overall body. There may not be many grass court shoe options available in the market currently, but lightweight tennis shoes can be a good choice on this surface as well.

These allow for play on a grass court to be much faster. However, it is advisable to check the shoe’s outsole; it must feature pimples or nubs because these offer better grip to the player on a slippery surface, such as grass.

The bumpy outsole will not damage the court, but it must be remembered this kind of outsole will not be suitable for other surfaces.

Tennis Shoe Weight Ranges

Every player’s needs are different when it comes to shoe weight. But, if a player’s shoes are too heavy, these will weigh them down no matter what type of player they are.

Most tennis players associate the shoes’ weight with speed; a lightweight shoe will naturally feel faster, whereas a heavier or bulkier shoe will feel sluggish. Shoemakers often make a tradeoff between stability, weight, and durability to strike a balance that appeals to all kinds of players.

If some material is removed from the shoe, it will get lighter. However, this will affect the stability and durability factors.

Research reveals that even lightweight shoes can affect the muscles if they aren’t the right option. In a study focused on shoe weight versus athletic performance, researchers added and subtracted weights off the shoes and asked players to run with them.

It was discovered that if the shoes weighed less than a certain threshold point, the runners’ muscles faced more stress to compensate for it.

This shows how vital the shoe weight could be in improving or affecting performance, especially in a sport like tennis where running is a fundamental part of every match.

For players who are finding it hard to meet their running targets, the shoe’s weight could be the culprit. It is imperative to check out the shoes’ weight instead of investing in a heavy shoe, considering it is more durable and stable than lighter shoes.

It is a general rule the tennis shoes’ weight is owed to the material it is made from.

Materials like leather are more supportive and durable, but they make the shoes heavier. Canvas and EVA shoes are the lightest of all.

One aspect that cannot be overlooked when purchasing lightweight tennis shoes is they could be less durable at times compared to their heavier counterpart. A lightweight shoe will wear out a bit faster than other shoes for those who play more frequently.

Men’s tennis shoes can weigh somewhere between 11.7 and 16.2 ounces, whereas women’s tennis shoes generally weigh between 9.4 and 13.7 ounces.

Here is an overview of the best lightweight tennis shoes for women.

Lightweights vs. Heavyweights:

There’s a considerable difference between the characteristics of lightweight shoes and heavyweight shoes for tennis players.

Lighter shoes feature lesser cushioning, while heavier shoes usually have heavy cushioning, which makes them bulky. 

But, lighter shoes allow for faster running on the court, while heavy shoes will be comparatively slow due to their bulkiness. The player may not feel as comfortable when sprinting faster wearing heavy shoes, but they can sprint with lightweight tennis shoes.

Another difference between the two tennis shoe types is that lightweight shoes are super-breathable, and heavy shoes are less breathable.

Furthermore, lightweight shoes have a smoother heel-to-toe slope, while heavy shoes have a steeper heel-to-toe slope.

Here’s a comparative analysis of both kinds of shoes to help you better understand the difference.

Pros and Cons of Lightweight Tennis Shoes

It is essential to identify the various benefits and drawbacks of using lightweight tennis shoes to make it easier to decide. Let’s first check out the advantages of lightweight tennis shoes.

Advantages

Speed

The main advantage of using a lighter shoe when playing tennis is that lesser weight will hold the feet down, which means the player can move around the court much faster than with a heavier shoe.

It happens because lightweight shoes feature modified designs that improve the heel-to-toe transition required to move quickly. So, it doesn’t matter if the player is taking an explosive first step or scrambling for ball retrieval.

A lightweight shoe has the potential to provide that subtle edge over the opponent, allowing for more balls to be served to them.

Ventilation

Though all lightweight tennis shoes aren’t equally ventilated, most tend to have breathable mesh uppers. These provide terrific ventilation to help keep the players’ feet feeling fresh and comfortable.

For those who frequently play in hot climates or find it troublesome to keep their feet dry, a lightweight tennis shoe is a good choice, as it will keep the feet well-ventilated

Stamina

Tennis is a grueling sport. Players often feel fresh and active early on in the match but will struggle to keep the feet moving in the game’s later stages.

This tendency can make or break a player’s success graph and performance on the court. Though a difference of a few ounces may not seem like a lot, it can impact a player’s movement when their legs start to feel like lead by the time they reach the third-set tiebreaker.

In such a situation, lighter shoes will help the player stay on their toes when feeling fatigued due to a hard-fought match.

Breathability

No tennis player likes to put their feet into cumbersome shoes. Lighter shoes make the feet breathable and allow a more comfortable playing experience.

A breathable membrane in the shoe, such as mesh lining, waterproof lining, or membranes, keeps the shoes lightweight and breathable.

For those who frequently play in areas where the weather stays humid and wet mostly, shoes should be made from a waterproof material.

All leather shoes are less breathable than those made with a combination of mesh and leather. Shoes made with synthetic mesh materials are also a good choice.

Support

For frequent tennis players, lightweight tennis shoes are a great option, as they provide maximum support for a better running experience. It’s impossible to determine how supportive a shoe would be by merely looking at it.

A better way to identify its supportiveness is by paying attention to the arch and the sole. Also, feel the material, whether it is thicker or softer. If it is so, the shoe will likely provide optimal support.

Style:

It won’t be necessary to compromise either over the style factor or the comfort level with lightweight shoes.

Lightweight shoes are designed so stylishly that they are guaranteed to look good on the court. 

Watch this video on the most stylish tennis shoes available on the market.

Mental Edge

Tennis is more of a mental game than a physical one. Even if the impact is negligible on the player’s movement, a lightweight tennis shoe pair will provide a fast and agile feeling that will improve the player’s performance. 

Disadvantages

Although there have been many improvements to lightweight tennis shoes, there are still a few drawbacks that should be kept in mind when selecting footwear.

Most of the drawbacks stem from using the minimal amount of material compared to heavier tennis footwear. Here is an overview of the drawbacks of tennis shoes. 

Lack of Durability

This is one area where lighter tennis shoes receive the most criticism. These shoes suffer the most in regard to their durability, which can seem inevitable for shoemakers as they aim to keep the weight of the shoe down.

Manufacturers reduce the amount of protective lining on it. The protective layer they compromise on is the outsole, which is the dense, heavy rubber that’s found at the bottom of the shoe, making the shoe durable.

The outsole material is reduced in its density to reduce the shoe’s weight, but this usually affects the shoe’s durability.

The bottom of the shoe receives the most wear and tear with frequent playing; therefore, it is worn out faster.

Moreover, some tennis shoes provide protective materials that cover or wrap the upper portion of a shoe to resist abrasion and reduce weight.

Some materials are dropped or minimized. This declines the shoes’ durability, which is why most lightweight tennis shoes don’t come with durability guarantees.

Stability

To some degree, the material added to the shoe’s sole and upper can increase its stability. Still, when creating lightweight shoes, the amount of this material throughout the shoe is considerably reduced. This may impact its stability to some extent.

Comfort

Most of the comfort felt from a shoe stems from its midsole. It is usually made from lightweight EVA foam.

But, to some extent, if the midsole’s thickness decreases, its comfort and shock absorption ability also do. Some shoes reduce the EVA foam amount or substitute it with alternative technologies like Nike Zoo Air to minimize weight.

But many players complain the shoes don’t provide a similar level of comfort. However, today there are considerable advancements in the technology used to create lighter shoes.

So now there won’t be as much difference in the comfort level. For those who choose to invest in a renowned brand, the shoes will be comfortable enough to enjoy the match when playing on any given surface.

Do you need special shoes for tennis?

Yes, it is important to purchase shoes specially made for playing tennis. It is a crucial piece of a player’s tennis kit, along with a racket and strings.

A tennis shoe is constructed with the proper outsole, keeping in mind the different types of surfaces players usually have to play on.

Moreover, only a tennis shoe can offer enough comfort, support, stability, and breathability needed to play long matches without the risk of injury.

More advanced tennis shoes incorporate the latest performance technologies to allow tennis players to get a significant advantage on the court.

It will be as if trying to play tennis on stilts for those who choose to play with running shoes.

Check out this video to understand why tennis shoes are so important to prevent injuries on the court.

The difference between tennis shoes and trainers

There is a large difference between tennis shoes and casual trainers. The most important is that tennis shoes are designed so that the player finds it convenient to undergo dynamic movements when moving across the court.

Running shoes are constructed for advancing movement and aren’t suitable for tennis. Tennis shoes are designed by considering how tennis players’ foot moves and provide the right amount of comfort and support where it is required the most, which is the ankle and heel.

Furthermore, tennis shoes come with a toe guard to prevent toe drag. However, it would be useful to keep in mind that some tennis shoe brands also create casual trainers and footwear for other sports types.

But, this doesn’t mean just any shoe can be selected for playing tennis. Asics make some excellent tennis shoes and casual trainers, but running shoes shouldn’t be chosen over tennis shoes by those who are genuinely serious about improving their performance. 

In conclusion, tennis shoes that are too heavy can hamper your game.

Lightweight tennis shoes will help facilitate long matches without feeling tired or fatigued. However, there are some drawbacks to lighter shoes that cannot be overlooked, especially concerning durability.

However, there are a number of great lightweight shoes that offer the best of both worlds. The first thing that should be considered in lighter tennis footwear is the shoe material.

Most lightweight shoes are created using synthetic materials. If durability is the priority, select a shoe that offers a combination of leather and synthetic material.

Several advanced lightweight shoe options are available nowadays, which are breathable and allow for optimal performance.

There cannot be a one-size-fits-all formula for buying tennis shoes because some players value one aspect of the shoe more while others value another. Some players prefer ultra-lightweight shoes to improve foot speed, and some want heavier shoes to prevent rolling an ankle and have maximum support.

Generally, most players look for shoes that offer a combination of comfort, durability, traction, support, stability, and breathability.

Most lightweight tennis shoes on the market are offering these features.

However, the tradeoff is between durability, in which heavier shoes provide better and faster speed, where lightweight shoes score more points.