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Tennis players play on different surfaces which have different requirements. And each player has their own playing style, stamina level, preferences, and skill level. They also have unique foot shapes. 

Therefore, it is essential to distinguish between the different types of tennis shoes. If you pay attention to the type of shoes you wear, it can give your games a boost and help take your tennis to the next level. 

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

There is a wide range of lightweight tennis shoes available in the market, and almost every mainstream brand is producing them.

You may not find it challenging to find the right pair of lightweight tennis shoes, but it is crucial to understand why shoe selection matters so much.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on lightweight tennis shoes and why they might be a good choice.

What You’ll Learn

Why Buy Lightweight Tennis Shoes?

Every player walks and runs differently. This is why there are so many different tennis shoes available to support players’ performance and prevent injury. 

So, apart from your budget, playing style, and playing surface, you need to consider your foot’s size and shape.

While most recreational players prefer to play in running trainers, that’s a wrong approach because if you play frequently, you will regret your decision as these shoes will quickly get worn down.

Lightweight tennis shoes are designed to withstand significant wear and tear.

These allow for an extensive range of stopping and starting, slides, pivots, and lateral movement while being breathable.

The lighter your shoes are, the faster you’ll move.

Hence, it isn’t surprising that tennis shoes’ weight is one of the main features you should check when buying a new pair.

Technological advancements have made it possible for shoemakers to make shoes lighter without compromising a lot in other areas.

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

Lightweight Tennis Shoe- The Latest Trend in the 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 not only keep your 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. Let’s have a look at some of these factors.

Freedom to Move

One of the main complaints tennis players used to have about their shoes is their bulky weight. To a degree, weightier shoes have been necessary 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 weight to move quickly on the court and enhance movement during lengthy matches.

A Complete Package

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

It has always been a great challenge for tennis footwear brands to make lighter shoes, despite the many benefits more lightweight shoes offer.

The reason being that they didn’t want to compromise on the abovementioned three factors. There has been significant progress and advancement in the shoemaking craft.

Various unique materials and designs help shoemakers keep 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 bulky ones.

Some of the lightest shoes on the market are the least expensive of all.

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

Whether you are a beginner, a recreational and infrequent player, or a tennis pro-level player, lightweight shoes fall into every category of players’ budgets.

However, bulky tennis shoes are pretty expensive.

Don’t forget that tennis can be an expensive sport. A player must factor in all the costs associated with it, including a good quality racket, balls, strings, string savers, court fees, sportswear, racket bag, etc.

Most players choose lightweight tennis shoes over traditional tennis shoes for their price, reliability, and performance gains.

Despite being inexpensive, you won’t have to compromise on the features that high-end bulky shoes offer, including comfort and durability. 

And the good thing is there are so many options out there for people to rely on when it comes to buying lightweight tennis shoes that are not expensive at all.

Most of these are durable enough to last 5 – 10 years when you play once a week.

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 you buy lightweight shoes or bulky ones, you have to check out the two most important aspects that make a good shoe- the mid-sole and outsole. Both the soles are visible from the bottom of your tennis shoe. 

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

In contrast, the midsole is the layer underneath the outsole.

The outsole’s purpose is to provide much-needed stability and traction when playing.

Conversely, the mid-sole is where you will find the all-important cushioning to help make the shoe as comfortable for the player as possible.

Another essential factor to consider is the type of court you will play on.

You will play on three types of courts-

  • Clay courts,
  • Hard courts,
  • Grass courts.

Hard courts are generally paved asphalt used with layers of color-coating to create the court. Clay courts are made up of clay. And the grass courts are made up of grass and painted lines.  

Some players are frequently playing on clay courts, some on grass, and some on all surfaces.

That’s why there are four different types of shoes you can buy for each surface. 

Choosing the Right Tennis Shoes

The best thing is to choose a shoe with an outsole designed for the type of surface you will be playing on.

Wherever you play, hard, clay, or grass surface, your footwork and game will change slightly.

To maintain optimal footing on each court surface, you should choose lightweight tennis shoes suitable for all kinds of surfaces and maintain optimal footing on all surfaces.

Best Shoes for a Hard Court

You should keep in mind that the most common play surface is the hard court, and it is the most demanding one.

Ideally, look for an outsole that can handle this surface’s demands.

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

If you frequently play on hard court, look for shoes with ample cushioning, which means they must feature a mid-sole.

This will help transfer energy into each step you take. Moreover, it will absorb the shock, which the hard surface is known for. 

Best Shoes for a 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, you simply need to tap with your racket between the points to knock the clay loose.

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

Best Shoes for a Grass Court

The grass is softer on your joints and 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 let you play on a grass court faster. Check out the outsole of the shoe, though. It must feature pimples or nubs because these offer better grip to the player on a slippery surface like grass.

Don’t expect that the bumpy outsole will damage the court because it won’t while you will feel more comfortable and move quicker on the fast surface.

But do keep one thing in mind that this type of outsole will not be suitable for other surfaces.

Tennis Shoe Weight Ranges

Every player’s needs are different. But, if your shoes are too heavy, these will weigh you down no matter what type of player you are.

A majority of tennis players associate the shoes’ weight with speed.

A lightweight shoe will naturally feel fast, whereas a heavier or bulkier shoe will make you feel sluggish. S

shoemakers often make a trade-off 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, it can affect the stability and durability factors.

Research reveals: That even lightweight shoes can affect your muscles if they aren’t the right choice.

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 your performance, especially in a sport like tennis, where running is a fundamental part of every match.

If you find it hard to meet your 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 more durable and stable than lighter shoes.

It is a general rule that 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 we cannot overlook when purchasing lightweight tennis shoes is that they could be less durable than their heavier counterparts.

If you play more frequently, a lightweight shoe will wear out a bit faster than other shoes.

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.

Lightweight vs. Heavyweight:

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, making them bulky. 

But, lighter shoes make you run faster 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 easier 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.

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 for you to decide. Let’s first check out the advantages of lightweight tennis shoes.

Advantages

Speed

Wearing a lighter shoe when playing tennis means you can move around the court much faster.

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

A lightweight shoe has the potential to provide that a subtle edge over your competitor. You will get more balls back.

Ventilation

Though all lightweight tennis shoes aren’t equally ventilated, most tend to have breathable mesh uppers.

This provides terrific ventilation to keep the players’ feet feeling fresh and comfortable.

If you frequently play in hot climates or find it troublesome to keep your feet dry, a lightweight tennis shoe is a good choice as it will keep your feet well-ventilated.

Stamina

Tennis is a demanding sport that you might feel fresh and at the top of your game early on. As the match progresses, you may not be as energetic and have tired legs.

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.

Breathable

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

A breathable membrane in the shoe, including mesh lining, waterproof lining, or membranes, keeps the shoes lightweight and breathable. If you frequently play in areas where the weather stays humid and wet mostly, consider buying shoes with waterproof material.

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

Supportiveness:

For frequent tennis players, lightweight tennis shoes are a great option as they provide maximum support for a better running experience.

You cannot guess 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 most likely provide optimal support.

Sleek and Stylish:

You won’t have to compromise over the style factor or the comfort level with lightweight shoes.

Lightweight shoes are designed so stylishly that you would find them pleasure while playing. 

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

Mental Edge

Tennis is definitely a mental game. Even if the impact is negligible on the player’s movement, a lightweight tennis shoe will provide a fast and agile feeling to improve the player’s performance.

Disadvantages

Although there have been many improvements in lightweight tennis shoes, there are still a few drawbacks that you should keep 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 weaknesses of tennis shoes. 

Lack of Durability

This is one area where lighter tennis shoes receive the most criticism. These shoes suffer the most with regard to their durability.

Shoe manufacturers reduce the amount of protective lining to keep the shoe lightweight. This is an inevitable choice because manufacturers want to keep the shoe as light as possible.

The protective layer they compromise on is the outsole.

It is the dense, heavy rubber that’s found at the bottom of the shoe.

It is this layer that makes 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 shoe’s bottom receives the most wear and tear with frequent playing. So, players wear it 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.

That’s why most lightweight tennis shoes don’t come with durability guarantees.

Stability

The material added to the shoes sole and upper can increase its stability.

Regardless, when the soles of lightweight shoes are constructed, durability is decreased. This may negatively impact the shoe’s stability to some degree.

Comfort

Most of the comfort that you feel from a shoe stems from its midsole.

It is usually a lightweight EVA foam.

But, to some extent, if the mid-soles thickness decreases, the comfort and shock absorption also suffer. Some shoes use less EVA foam or choose to use other technologies, like the Nike Zoo Air, to minimize their weight.

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

So now you won’t find as much difference in the comfort level.

If you choose to invest in a renowned brand, the shoes will be comfortable enough for you to enjoy the match when playing on any given surface.

Do you need special shoes for tennis?

Yes, it is essential to purchase shoes specially made for playing tennis.

It is a crucial piece of your 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 you enough comfort, support, stability, and breathability that you need 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.

If you choose to play with running shoes, it will be as if you are trying to play tennis on stilts.

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

What is the difference between tennis shoes and trainers?

There is a massive difference between tennis shoes and casual trainers.

The most important one being that tennis shoes are designed in a way that the player finds it convenient to undergo dynamic movements when moving across the court.

Running shoes are constructed for forwarding movement and aren’tthat suitable for tennis.

Tennis shoes are designed after considering how tennis players’ foot moves and provide the proper 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 help if you kept in mind that some tennis shoe brands also create casual trainers and footwear for other sports types.

But, this doesn’t mean you can select just any shoe for playing tennis. Including Basics make some excellent tennis shoes and casual trainers but you shouldn’t choose running shoes over tennis shoes if you are serious about improving your performance. 

Conclusion

Too heavy tennis shoes can hamper your game.

Lightweight tennis shoes will help you play long matches without feeling tired or fatigued.

But, we cannot overlook some drawbacks to lighter shoes, especially when it comes to durability.

However, countless great lightweight shoes offer you the best of both worlds.

The first thing you should look for in lighter tennis footwear is the shoe material.

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

Several advanced lightweight shoe options are available, which are breathable and let you play your best game.

There cannot be a one size fits all formula when it comes to 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 trade-off is between durability, in which heavier shoes provide better and faster speed, where lightweight shoes score more points.