Sports Shoes 101 : What Are Tennis Shoes?

Tennis shoes are one of the most popular athletic shoes in the world. Although invented a hundred years ago, they’ve reached the peak acceptance in 21st century. Footwear has transformed recently with advanced technologies and upgraded materials. Sports shoes have dramatically changed in the recent years and it’s hard to tell them apart from each other. Tennis shoes are not an exception. So, what are tennis shoes?

Tennis shoes are confused with other shoes and vice versa. If you are new into this athletic fashion vision and wondering what are tennis shoes, this article is for you. We’d explore the special characteristic of a tennis shoes and their difference with other sportswear. Without much ado, let’s find out!

Why the Name is ‘Tennis’ Shoes and What are Tennis Shoes?

People often mistake tennis shoes as strictly made for the tennis court. However, tennis shoes are actually made for everyone and it is simply an athletic shoe. They were invented at the time when tennis was the most popular sports in the world and a shoe was needed to be specially made for the players.

In around 1800s and 1900s, tennis gained massive popularity in the world. There are several noteworthy changes made in tennis shoes compared to traditional running shoes. Tennis shoes are basically rubber soled canvas shoes. At first they were called plimsolls but later various names emerged-felony shoes, sneaker, tennis shoes. The last name stuck.

Anatomy of a Tennis Shoe

We already know that tennis shoes are athletic wears, so their structure and quality is different from regular shoes. A typical tennis shoe has four parts.

  • Heel
  • Midfoot
  • Forefoot
  • Toe

There are also two sides of a tennis shoe-the lateral side and the medial side. Tennis shoes also have different types of lacings. Lacing may seem like an unimportant part of the shoes, but they influence the fitting and grip hold of shoes. Tennis shoe lacing can be rounder and strong or they could be a bit flat and minimal.

Eyelets are the small round holes in the lacing of the shoes. While these also seem trivial, some eyelet design might rub against the ankle bones. So, check the design properly.

Tongues of a tennis shoes can be two types- they can either be attached to the shoe or remain unattached. Some are very plush, with air cushioning. Strictly athletic tennis shoes have harder tongue to protect the feet from impacts.

Heel counters keep you heels in place. The counter looks like a small cup-sized mold. They are inside the heel of the shoe and protects the heels from twisting and turning.

Insoles are the most important part of any shoes. Insoles are removable part of shoe, providing cushioning support and comfort. Usually the insoles of a tennis shoes are rubber-made.

Midsoles of a tennis shoe have the majority of the cushioning support. Midsole cushioning are mostly under the heel side of the shoe.

Outsoles are the armor of the tennis shoes. This is the part that has the most contact with the court or ground. It’s the most durable part of the shoe. They are also responsible for providing traction. Outsoles have different patterns, each having varying traction performance.

The upper of the shoe is kind of like a roof, a strong barrier to protect the overall feet. It’s made from a synthetic material usually, although suede sneakers are made from natural fat from animal skin.

Lastly, the toe box. Toe boxes are also called vamps. As the name suggests, it is simply a little room for your toes. Toe boxes are crucial factors while buying a tennis shoe for physical conditions such as planar fasciitis, bunions, diabetes.

What Are Tennis Shoes?

Types of Tennis Shoes

Now that we know what are tennis shoes, let’s look into their types. There are several types of tennis shoes in the market, but we are listing the core ones. They are differentiated based on the technology used and the functionality.

Synthetic Tennis Shoes

Most tennis shoes in the market happen to be synthetic tennis shoes. Traditional sport shoes were made of cotton material. But, sports shoes need more body, hence began the use of synthetic fabrics to make the upper of the shoes.

Chunky Sole Tennis Shoes

Chunky soles tennis shoes have extra cushioning in the heel area. During the game, tennis players often need to jump to take a shot. So, there was a need to update the tennis shoes for withstanding very high impact. The advanced shock absorber technologies make them very high performing and a favorite among the professional players.

Outsole Tennis Shoes for Women

Outsole tennis shoes have slightly wider soles and meant to give you a good grip. They are very lightweight and preferred by women more. There is some extra cushioning in these tennis shoes, making them very comfortable.

Air Vapor Tennis Shoes

These tennis shoes employ air vapor technology in the tennis shoes. They are best for running and leaping activities. The sir vapor technology gives the shoes an extra bounce.

Gel-Technology Tennis Shoes

Gel tennis shoes have a special gel item inside them to enhance the shock absorbing property. This gel is usually put in the heel of the shoes. Many advanced players prefer these as they are quite lightweight as well. ASICS makes one of the best gel tennis shoes in the market.

Running Shoes Vs Tennis Shoes

A lot of people confuse running shoes with tennis shoes. Although they have a lot of similarities, there are still some fundamental differences. The main difference lies in their purpose, weight and design. Tennis shoes are much more flexible and agile than their cousin, the running shoes.

It makes sense if you think back to what are tennis shoes made for-they were invented for tennis players. They have higher amount of padding accommodated and support materials around the heel area. Running shoes are much lighter and have more drag.

Final Words 

Tennis shoes are very trendy nowadays. Though originally made for tennis, they have now gained popularity as a regular wear. We tried to give a basic and brief idea about what are tennis shoes and how you can compare them with other shoes. Choose a suitable tennis shoe for yourself and enjoy the feel!

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