How Are Tennis Shoes Different From Running Shoes: Ultimate Guide - 2023/ Featured Image

How Are Tennis Shoes Different From Running Shoes: Ultimate Guide – 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Design & Purpose:
    • Tennis shoes support lateral moves and abrupt starts/stops. Running shoes cater to forward motion and absorb impacts.
  • Material & Durability:
    • Tennis shoes are robust with reinforced areas; running shoes are lightweight and breathable.
  • Cushioning & Support:
    • Tennis shoes offer firmer cushioning for side movements; running shoes have softer cushioning for footstrikes.
  • Usage Recommendations:
    • Tennis shoes for running: durable but less comfortable for long distances.
    • Running shoes for tennis: more comfortable but lack lateral support and optimal court traction.
  • Myths:
    • Expensive running shoes aren’t always the best.
    • Cushioned shoes don’t universally prevent injuries.
    • Both shoe types need periodic replacement.
    • Proper fit is vital for both.

As an aspiring tennis player or just out of curiosity, you might have wondered how tennis shoes differ from running shoes.

In this article, I will delve into the differences, similarities, and common myths regarding both shoes. 

Before going any further, I want you to know that if you are aiming to become a tennis player, make sure to invest in tennis-specific shoes to maximize your performance and prevent injuries. 

With that in mind, let’s get started

Related Post: Why Running Shoes Are Important

Differences and Similarities Between A Running And Tennis Shoe

Here are the similarities and differences between tennis and running shoes in terms of design, construction, cushioning, support, traction, and other features. 

1. Design and Purpose


Both tennis and running shoes share the primary objective of providing comfort, support, and protection to athletes during their respective activities.


Tennis shoes are designed to support quick lateral movements, abrupt stops, and starts, while running shoes are built for forward motion and to absorb impact during long-distance runs.

2. Shoe Construction


Both types of shoes utilize high-quality materials and advanced technologies to ensure durability, comfort, and performance.


Tennis shoes are more robust, featuring reinforced materials in key areas while running shoes focus on being lightweight and breathable with mesh or other lightweight materials.

3. Cushioning and Support


Both tennis and running shoes have cushioning systems to absorb shock and protect the feet from impact.


Tennis shoes offer firmer cushioning to accommodate lateral movements and provide stability, whereas running shoes have softer, more responsive cushioning in the heel and forefoot to disperse the impact of each footstrike.

4. Lateral Support and Stability


Both tennis and running shoes provide some level of stability to athletes during their activities.


Tennis shoes emphasize lateral support and stability with a wider base, lower profile, and more rigid midsole. 

Running shoes are designed for forward motion and focus on stability features tailored to a runner’s specific needs, such as motion control or stability shoes for overpronators.

5. Traction and Surface


Both tennis and running shoes are designed to provide traction on various surfaces to ensure a secure grip and prevent slipping.


Tennis shoes have unique tread patterns tailored to specific court surfaces (clay, grass, or hard courts) and feature non-marking rubber outsoles. 

Running shoes have less aggressive tread patterns, suitable for roads or trails, and prioritize a lightweight design.

6. Toe Protection


Both types of shoes offer some degree of toe protection.


Tennis shoes typically have reinforced toe caps or toe guards to protect from dragging, while running shoes have minimal toe protection to reduce weight and maximize breathability.

7. Heel Counter and Arch Support


Both tennis and running shoes have heel counters and arch support systems to enhance stability and comfort.


Tennis shoes usually have a more rigid heel counter and better arch support due to the sport’s demanding lateral movements. 

Running shoes may have varying degrees of heel and arch support depending on the runner’s specific needs, such as pronation control.

Watch the video below to learn the importance of using tennis-specific shoes for tennis

Pros and Cons of Wearing Tennis Shoes for Running

If you do decide to wear tennis shoes for running, in case you want to test how they will perform in your running routine. 

Here are some pros and cons that you will face when trying out your tennis shoes for running

Pros of Wearing Tennis Shoes for Running

1. Durability: As mentioned above, Tennis shoes are often more durable than running shoes due to their robust construction. This can make them last longer, even when used for running.

2. Lateral Support: As also mentioned earlier, Tennis shoes provide better lateral support and stability compared to running shoes. 

If your running routine includes lateral movements, such as agility exercises, tennis shoes may offer better support.

3. Enhanced Traction: Tennis shoes are also designed to provide excellent traction on various surfaces, which can be beneficial if you’re running on slippery or uneven terrain.

4. Toe Protection: Tennis shoes typically have reinforced toe caps or toe guards, which can protect your toes from potential injuries during running, especially on rough terrains.

Cons of Wearing Tennis Shoes for Running

1. Less Cushioning: As you know, Tennis shoes have firmer cushioning than running shoes, which may not be as comfortable or provide enough shock absorption for long-distance running.

2. Weight: Tennis shoes are also heavier than running shoes due to their sturdy construction, which can lead to fatigue and reduced performance during long runs.

3. Reduced Breathability: Tennis shoes may not be as breathable as running shoes, which can lead to increased sweating and discomfort during runs, especially in hot weather conditions.

4. Not Optimized for Forward Motion: As mentioned before, Tennis shoes are designed for lateral movements and sudden stops, whereas running shoes are optimized for forward motion. 

Using tennis shoes for running may result in less efficient energy transfer and increased strain on your feet and legs.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Running Shoes For Tennis

If you do not have the budget to invest in tennis shoes and want to use your trusty and versatile pair of running shoes. 

In that case, Keep these pointers in mind, because you will experience them.

Pros of Wearing Running Shoes for Tennis

1. Comfort: As we all know, Running shoes are designed for long-distance runs, providing ample cushioning and comfort. 

This can be an advantage when playing tennis, as your feet may feel more comfortable during extended matches.

2. Breathability: Running shoes feature lightweight and breathable materials, such as mesh, which can help keep your feet cool and dry during tennis matches.

3. Availability: Running shoes are generally more accessible and available in a wider range of styles and sizes compared to tennis-specific shoes.

Cons of Wearing Running Shoes for Tennis

1. Lateral Support: Running shoes lack the lateral support needed for quick side-to-side movements in tennis. 

This can result in an increased risk of ankle injuries or foot instability during play.

2. Traction: Running shoes are designed for forward motion and often have less aggressive tread patterns, which may not provide the necessary grip on tennis court surfaces. 

This can lead to slipping and reduced performance.

3. Durability: Running shoes are not designed to withstand the wear and tear associated with tennis, such as toe dragging and rapid directional changes. 

As a result, they may wear out faster when used for tennis.

4. Stability: Tennis shoes typically have a lower profile and wider base, offering increased stability during lateral movements. 

Running shoes may not provide the same level of stability, leading to a higher risk of injury.

5. Impact Protection: Tennis shoes feature firmer cushioning to absorb the shock from lateral movements, sudden stops, and quick sprints. 

Running shoes have softer cushioning, which may not offer the same level of protection during tennis play.

Related Posts:

How Should Running Shoes Fit

How Tennis Shoes Should Fit

How Are Tennis Shoes Different From Running Shoes: Common Myths

Here are some common myths regarding both shoes.

Running Shoes

1. Expensive running shoes are always better: While higher-priced shoes may have more advanced features, the most expensive shoe isn’t always the best for everyone.

It depends on your personal needs and running style.

2. Cushioned shoes prevent injury: While some runners prefer shoes with more cushioning, there isn’t strong evidence that heavily cushioned shoes actually prevent damage. 

In fact, research suggests that shoes with less cushioning may actually be better for some runners.

3. Running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles: While it’s true that running shoes will eventually wear out with time, the specific mileage at which this happens can vary widely depending on the shoe, the runner’s weight, and the running style.

Tennis Shoes

1. Tennis shoes don’t need to be replaced as often as running shoes: Just like running shoes; they will eventually wear out and lose their supportiveness and cushioning. 

How often you need to replace them will depend on factors like how often you play and the type of court surface you play on.

2. All tennis shoes are created equal: Just like running shoes, there are many different types of tennis shoes designed for different types of players and court surfaces. 

Some shoes are designed for players who need extra support or stability, while others are designed for players who need more flexibility or speed.

3. You don’t need to worry about the fit of your tennis shoes: Just like with any type of shoe, it’s essential to ensure your tennis shoes fit properly. 

Too tight or loose shoes can cause discomfort and increase your risk of injury. Make sure to try on several different brands and styles to find the right fit for you.


I hope you liked this guide on how are tennis shoes different from running shoes. In conclusion, Running and tennis both sports put a lot of pressure on your foot. Therefore wearing a suitable shoe will help you prevent fatigue, blisters, or injuries. 

When it comes to running and tennis shoes, they may look the same from the outside but behind the scenes, there are differences in many aspects.

To summarise, running shoes are more flexible, support greater cushioning, and are lightweight. However, tennis shoes are more stable and durable.


What makes a shoe a tennis shoe?

Tennis shoes are specifically designed for playing tennis, and they offer features such as lateral support, durability, and traction on a variety of court surfaces.
These features make them suitable for the quick movements and changes of direction required in tennis.

Can tennis shoes be used for running?

Tennis shoes are not recommended for running, as they lack the necessary cushioning and support required for the repetitive forward motion of running. Using tennis shoes for running can lead to discomfort and increase the risk of injury.

What is the difference between tennis shoes and running shoes?

Tennis shoes and running shoes may look similar, but they are designed for different purposes. Tennis shoes are built to accommodate lateral movement while running shoes are designed for the repetitive forward motion of running.

Is tennis shoes good for gym?

According to the article in New York Magazine “Tennis shoes make great workout sneakers because the sport requires lots of lateral movement and quick bursts of speed. Plus, sliding around on a court calls for durability under your feet.”
Read more about the best workout shoes for women

Why are tennis shoes heavier than running shoes?

Tennis shoes are designed to provide more support and stability to the foot, which requires additional materials and cushioning that add weight to the shoe.

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