Can You Use Tennis Shoes For Running? Here’s What You Need To Know

Most people use the same pair of shoes for multiple activities – walking, running, playing tennis, or basketball. When they are ready for a jog or to hit the tennis court, most people don’t think twice about the shoes they are going to wear.

To a casual observer, there is not much difference between a tennis shoe and a running shoe. Both shoes are meant to keep your feet comfortable and keep moving your feet fast.

But in reality, tennis shoes and running shoes are designed for two very different activities and environments. Choosing the right shoe will not only keep you comfortable and improve your performance, but it will also help you avoid injuries.

Tennis Shoes Vs Running Shoes

Running shoes have better cushioning

Tennis shoes have less cushioning than running shoes. Tennis players prefer having a good feel on the court so they can move around the court easily.  So tennis shoes ride closer to the ground and hence have less cushioning.

Running shoes have cushioning in the toe and heel areas to reduce impact from constant heel-to-toe contact on the ground.

Tennis shoes have stiff uppers for lateral support and stability

Tennis shoes have a stiff upper compared to running shoes.  This is because tennis players move quickly from side to side and lateral stability is important for tennis shoes.

Many tennis players also slide – not just on clay courts, even on hard courts. A stiff and thick upper is needed to protect the player’s feet.

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Tennis shoes are heavier

Tennis shoes are generally heavier than running shoes. Even lightweight tennis shoes are heavier than running shoes. This is because it is impossible to make a super lightweight shoe that has lateral stability and durability needed for tennis.

Outsoles are important for tennis shoes

The outsole of a running shoe is designed for forward movement.  But tennis shoes are optimized for starts and stops, and lateral movements. Tennis shoes are also designed to accommodate sliding and dragging the feet.

Tennis players put their shoes through a lot of wear and tear. So a good sole warranty is important. It is not uncommon to wear out the sole in a month or two of active playing. Tennis players typically replace their shoes when they wear out the sole.

Runners, on the other hand, typically replace shoes when their cushion wears out. Depending on the runner’s habits, it could last a few hundred miles. American Heart Association suggests replacing running shoes between 350 to 500 miles.

Should you run with a tennis shoe?

To state the obvious, running shoes are better for running. But if you are prone to injuries in the ankle or the knee, a tennis shoe provides extra stability.  But tennis shoes are heavier but for a casual runner, the additional weight won’t make a difference.

If you run a lot and don’t have any stability problems, you are better off going with running shoes. But if you would like to buy one shoe for both tennis and running, go with a tennis shoe.

Shoe buying tips

Buy shoes at the end of the day where your feet will be at their largest. Buy shoes at a specialty shoe store that has a good selection of shoes.

Bring socks that you normally wear during practice or training. When you try the shoes, walk around the store for a good 5-10 minutes to make sure they are comfortable and fit well.

Bottom Line

If you are serious about running or tennis, you must choose a shoe designed for that activity to improve your performance and avoid injuries.