If you play tennis, you likely want to have the best shoes on hand to help you move around the court without exerting too much effort, and the same case applies to any other sport. However, that does not mean that all shoes will be slip-resistant, as it depends on several factors that will determine the resistance of the shoe – some shoes have higher slip-resistance than others.
This is particularly important in sports because the floor is not exactly the most hospitable to your feet, so the slip resistant shoes guarantee your safety and prevent most accidents. This brings us to the question of whether tennis shoes are all slip resistant, and we will explore why.
What should you keep in mind when you are selecting tennis shoes?
The nature of tennis is a sport that demands a lot of your feet due to how fast it is. In fact, you will quickly discover that the game, at least most of it, is actually about your footwork techniques, rather than your serves and your technique of hitting the ball – so that means you cannot compromise on the shoes you select. The part of your feet that will take the most punishment are your toes, so it is highly important to get a pair of slip resistant tennis shoes that protect this region, as well as giving plenty of support to your midsoles and heels.
You will also note that when it comes to the slip resistant tennis shoes you select, you have to take into account that women and men have different needs because the style they prefer to play will differ. Male players require men slip resistant tennis shoes that can absorb the impact from net play and hard servicing, and slip resistant tennis shoes for women should allow quick movements around the court because of their longer rally’s.
Regardless of your gender, you will require shoes that are comfortable and supportive, and they must give you exceptional levels of traction to allow you to perform at your best.
Some general factors to keep in mind are:
- Playing style – there are two styles you mostly play in; the baseline player, and the serve-and-volley player. Baseline players enjoy playing along the court’s backline, and the shoes will require plenty of lateral support and well as a very durable sole (due to the constant horizontal movements). For a serve-and-volley player, you are charging the net frequently, which means sliding your back foot along the court. You therefore require a shoe with a reinforced toe (durable toecap), as well as a medial within the shoe arch.
- Type of court surface – for a concrete surface (hard court), you need a shoe that is more durable, because the soles will wear out faster. Check the outsole and upper, which will mostly use vinyl or leather materials. For a clay court (soft court), the traction of the shoe must be non-damaging, while if you prefer multiple courts, you should get those specifically for multi-court use.
- Shoe fit and foot type – foot types are in three varieties: under pronation, neutral, and over pronation, which you can find out through doing a ‘wet test’. If you have over pronation, the wet test reveals that your entire foot leaves an imprint on the floor surface, and you will require stabilizing shoes due to the tendency of your foot to roll inwards. For neutral feet, a visible space will be present in the arch area during the wet test, and it allows you to try on any tennis shoe. For under pronation, the imprint has a wide gap and the visible part of your foot is small. This means that the feet tend to roll outwards as you stride, so you need a flexible shoe that allows for quick movement.
What makes a shoe slip-resistant?
There are several reasons that make a shoe slip-resistant, whether it is tennis sneakers or any other athletic shoe. The most distinguishing reason is the tread patterns, design of the outsole, and the material that makes up the outsole. These factors are explained below:
- Material – most people will know this as the ‘sole’, but it might cause confusion when you talk of the insole and midsole. The outsole is the part of the shoe that comes into direct contact with the ground. As a general rule, slip resistant outsoles are softer and made of rubber that resists slipping on oil and water, in contrast to the harder, stiffer outsole that comprises many tennis shoes.
- Design – the thing you need to remember is that athletic shoes are generally not tested for oily or wet surfaces, so they will not necessarily protect you in this instance. They are meant to protect your feet when you are on the sports court, which is why the courts should remain as clean and hazardous-free as possible at all times.
Slip-resistant shoes are those that prevent falling, slipping or tripping in a dangerous environment such as a sports court, and it is rated through a measure known as ‘dry static coefficient’, which is the ratio of the frictional force between two objects. In this case, the objects are the ground and the shoe sole, and the force that keeps hem pressed together.
The material that comprises slip resistant shoes is soft rubber on the sole, which will grab and hold the surface you walk or stand on. The treads will then add some level of stability. The more flexible and soft the rubber is, as well as the finer the tread patterns, the more traction you have on the surface of the ground.
However, you need to also keep in mind that tennis shoes, while being slip-resistant, will not necessarily be non-slip when you use them on an oily or wet surface. Their main use of slip resistance is on a tennis court, which includes clay and grass courts.
You might assume that tennis shoes, or other athletic shoes, are slip resistant at all times, but this only applies to the tennis court. This is due to the outsole being stiff, while a slip-resistant shoe needs to have a softer sole with finer tread patterns.
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