What is the Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Sneakers

It’s completely okay if you’re someone who thinks tennis shoes and sneakers are synonymous. We thought that too! However, after a little digging we came up with a different perception. No, they are not similar entirely. Most of the features match but they are quite different from each other in some aspects.

Say for example, their usage has dissimilarities. As the name suggests, tennis shoes are frequently used during tennis matches. On the other hand, sneakers are just a pair with canvas on the top. Usually, sneakers are used as a regular wear and athletic purposes. History says that sneakers was invented first and tennis shoes later branched out of it. So, we can say that all tennis shoes are sneakers to some extent.

You might be wondering so what are the differences exactly? Should you buy a tennis shoe or a sneaker then? To untangle the confusions, we’re here with all the explanations. Keep reading this article till the end to know what is the difference between tennis shoes and sneakers. 

Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Sneakers

Table of Contents

  1. History of Tennis Shoes and Sneakers
  2. Why do They Seem Similar?
  3. What is the Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Sneakers?
  • Cushion Support for Comfort
  • Shoe Price
  • Availability
  • Weight of the Shoes

History of Tennis Shoes and Sneakers

In the early 18th century, a special type of shoe was designed for the British Navy so that they can hold grips on their slippery decks. These shoes had rubber sole and canvas uppers; being called plimsolls. They were marketed around 1892 and was named sneakers later on because of their almost silent noise while walking.

Gradually these shoes were developed into athletic shoes. Into 1960s many companies kept the same design but marketed it as tennis shoes. Though the design may differ a lot from the present shoes now, these shoes can be called the father of today’s tennis shoes. 

Why do They Seem Similar?

The main reason why people confuse tennis shoes with sneakers a lot is their design. They both have almost similar linings, cushions padding, laces on the top, etc. You’ll feel comfortable in both of the wear. Some people don’t even consider their original use. Instead, casually wears them because they go really well with casual outfits.

They both provide the maximum use of feet, say walking or running whichever, you prefer to do. So, it’s very obvious to call them by one another’s name and get caught while buying a new pair. However, you don’t have to worry now. On the next paragraph, we’re about to tell you all the details and answer to your question – what is the difference between tennis shoes and sneakers.

What is the Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Sneakers?

Cushion Support for Comfort

Sneakers are often called running shoes because they are best suitable for long or short runs. It’s common in the athletic world you can say. While running, runners need extra support on their toe and heel area. Some might even prefer support on the arch. The cushioning in sneakers fills that gap very well. Usually, runners don’t need to go sideways. So, sneakers are more likely used for running in one direction.

On the other hand, tennis shoes are specifically used for tennis matches. As you’ll need to go sideways, the tennis shoes have an extra padding on the sides of the shoes. It helps to balance you while you move and provides extra comfort. 

Shoe Price

The price of each type of shoes is different. It basically depends on the technology that has been used in the shoes. Some of the shoes are designed uniquely for multi-purpose. Speaking of the costs of sneakers, there are low budgeted and high budgeted sneakers. The low-priced ones tend to have poor quality of laces, cushioning, and be less functional. However, tennis shoes tend to have a higher price than that of sneakers. As tennis shoes are extremely carefully designed for sports activities, it has a lot of innovative features that cost more. To sum up, the both types are advertised according to their functionality and exceptional features. Thus, there remains a huge difference in the cost of tennis shoes and sneakers.


Usually tennis shoes are harder to find than sneakers. Not all stores have tennis shoes available as they are only suitable for tennis players. In contrast, sneakers are widely available, especially on the online stores. It’s because sneakers are trendy shoes that everyone could wear for almost any purpose.

Weight of the Shoes

Running shoes or sneakers are usually lighter in weight than tennis shoes. It’s because the more lightweight a shoe is, the faster a runner can run. Apart from running, people also use sneakers as a casual wear. That’s why sneakers are designed to be in less weight so that the user can experience maximum comfort by wearing them.

Tennis shoes are a bit heavier in this case. It’s due to the extra padding on the sides to make sideway movements more comfortable. The more shoes are designed to maintain durability, the more shoes become heavier.

Final Verdict

There are numerous types of shoes out there with almost similar types of features. Tennis shoes and sneakers are just an example. As we’ve shown you, it is quite understandable why people confuse between the two. However, wise people like you surf the internet a little just to make sure if he or she’s buying the right shoe. We’re also glad to provide you with some help in this matter.

Consider a pro tip. List out all of your requirements. See if any type of shoe can provide you with those facilities. In a pool of shoes, you’ll definitely find your right pick! If you’re buying sneakers or tennis shoes, then you can also go through our article above to get yourself clear on the differences. With that being said, we wish you a happy shopping!

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