Are Tennis Shoes Non-Marking? (Everything You Need to Know!)

If you’re playing tennis indoors, you will be required to wear non-marking tennis shoes because the court indoors is different from the court outdoors which means the tennis shoes you wear are different. If you aren’t familiar with these types of shoes, let’s first understand what non-marking shoes are.

What are non-marking shoes?

Non-marking shoes are shoe soles made with a unique type of rubber material that doesn’t leave any marks on wooden or tiled floors or damage them like other shoes worn outside would. The soles aren’t so hard so they don’t leave skid marks on the floor and are naturally used to play indoor sports like tennis, handball, basketball, volleyball, badminton, etc. The rubber has enough resistance to give a good grip, but not hard enough to leave scuff marks on the floor. Shoes with hard stiff soles often leave scuff marks and lines on wooden or tiled floors which damage the floor.

Non-marking shoes for tennis

Choosing the right pair of tennis shoes is just as important or even more important as choosing the right racquet for the game. Tennis is a game that can be played on different surfaces which include the hard, clay, and grass courts and some indoor tennis carpeted courts require that you wear unique indoor shoes. These shoes should be made of a smooth and soft sole that is non-marking which will also help in reducing your risk of getting injuries thanks to the non-slip sole that has good grip and traction on the surface. These shoes also come with added features like responsive cushioning, lightweight, padded, flexible, very comfortable, breathable, reinforced heel stability, and rubber around the toe box.

How to check if your tennis shoes have non-marking soles

tennis shoes have non-marking soles

Shoes with hard and stiff soles leave marks that damage traditional wooden or tiled floors. They leave ugly scuff marks and lines that can be very hard to correct. Indoor environments like gyms and dance floors have carpeted or tiled floors that will require you to wear shoes with non-marking soles. There is a way you can test to see if your shoes are non-marking or not.

  • Flip the shoes over so that the sole is facing up, then try and make a dent on the sole using your thumbnail. If the sole gets a dent but quickly recovers, then the sole of the shoe is soft and non-marking.
  • Another way you can know if your shoes are non-marking is by rubbing the sole of your shoes on a white piece of paper that you have placed on a hard surface. If there are any scuff marks on the white paper, your shoes are not non-marking shoes.
  • You could also get a plain white paper and try drawing a line with the heel of your shoes and check if there is any line or mark left on the paper. If there is no mark on the paper, your shoes have non-marking soles. Shoes with black soles will most likely leave marks than other shoes with light soles, but there are non-marking black-soles shoes that will not leave marks on the floor.

How to improve traction and grip on your tennis shoes

If you’re playing tennis in an indoor court, you must wear tennis shoes that will provide you with a good grip that will help you non slip when you’re making quick and sudden movements. If you can’t get good traction on your shoes, you can’t play a good game. When you’re buying non-marking tennis shoes, they come with a good level of grip, but over time and if you’re not taking care of them properly, your shoes can lose their traction and this is a big problem. However, there are things you can do to improve the traction on your shoes.

By cleaning


Your shoes may be losing their grip because they’re worn out, but it could also be they just need a good clean. Indoor courts may be smooth, but they gather a lot of dust and debris that contributes to your shoes have less grip. You will notice this problem before you see any dust on the floor that’s why the court needs to be cleaned properly. Sometimes this isn’t possible if the court is being used a lot and even though there is nothing much you can do in this situation, you can ensure your shoes are in good condition to get as much traction as you can.

To clean your shoes you will need:

  • Liquid washing soap
  • Warm water
  • Clean towel
  • Toothbrush or nailbrush
  • A pointy instrument like scissors

How to clean

  • Use a strong pointy instrument to remove the debris from the treads of your shoes like mud, small stones, or anything that could be stuck in the gaps of your shoes. Take care not to stub yourself in the process.
  • Fill a basin with warm water and pour a bit of liquid soap. Wash the soles of your shoes but don’t dip the entire shoe in the water, try and keep the upper part as dry as possible. Use a toothbrush or nailbrush to scrub your soles and the sides of the soles thoroughly, although it will take some time. Scrub in circular motions to ensure you clean everywhere and keep rinsing to see if there is any dirt or debris left on the soles.
  • Use a clean towel or absorbent rag to dry the soles after washing. If you notice the upper part of the shoes is getting water, use the towel to dry.
  • After drying the soles thoroughly, store them in a clean bag till the next time you need to use them. Avoid placing them on the floor where they can easily collect dirt and dust or putting them in a dirty bag.

Other tips for improving your grip

Cleaning your non-marking tennis shoes is the most effective and the best place to start if you want to improve the level of traction on your shoes.

Avoid wearing your shoes outside

If the indoor court doesn’t have enough traction because of the dirt and dust, you don’t want to bring in more stuck to your shoes. This will remove any traction left on the court and you will end up slipping all over the court. So, if you want to maintain the grip on your shoes, avoid putting them on until you’re on the court.

Clean your shoes after every game

Cleaning your tennis shoes regularly is the best way of maintaining them and ensuring their grip in intact and ready for the next game. Even if you’re only going to wear your shoes around the court, they still pick up dust and dirt.

Use a clean moist towel

Carry with you a clean moist towel and keep it by the side of the court to help clean the soles of your shoes and improve your grip during your game. Use it to wipe your shoes once in a while during the game to remove the dirt on your soles.

Use a sticky mat

Sticky mats are specifically manufactured and help to remove dirt and improve the traction on your shoes when on the court. All you need to do is place it at the side of the court and when you get a break, you simply step on it and it removes the dust and dirt increasing the traction on your shoes.

Get a new pair of tennis shoes

If you’ve done all the above and nothing is working, it’s time to think about getting a new pair of tennis shoes because traction is very important on the court. To ensure that the shoes you’re buying can perform the way you want, physically touch and feel the shoes. So, don’t order your shoes from online stores.

So, are tennis shoes non-marking?

The answer to this question is it depends on the type of court you’re playing on. Tennis is played on different surfaces like clay, grass, and hard courts, but sometimes you can also play it on an indoor carpeted court that requires that you wear non-marking shoes. If you’re playing on an indoor court, your tennis shoes need to be non-marking so that they don’t damage the court and leave scuffs and lines on the floor.


Can indoor shoes be used outdoors?

Most indoor shoes like basketball shoes are made with rubber that isn’t as hard as rubber for outdoor shoes. They also don’t provide enough traction as outdoors shoes.

Can non-marking shoes be used for running?

You can’t use tennis shoes for running because they’re specifically designed to support the side-to-side movement. The sole is also made in a different way using different materials which makes them more durable.

Are non-marking shoes slip-resistant?

No, these are very different features. Non-marking means your shoes leave scuff marks and lines on the floors, while non-slip means your shoes are made with a rubber sole that gives you a good grip on wet and slippery floors.

Can I run in tennis shoes?

You can use tennis shoes for running, but they’re lacking in most of the features needed in running shoes. Tennis shoes are designed to provide support for lateral movements so they will be very uncomfortable for long distances.

Are tennis shoes good for walking?

Tennis shoes are a bit stiff and they’re not designed to promote forward motion. Although the heel is slightly elevated, it’s not enough to promote the natural forward movement with each step.