Tennis Shoes vs Racquetball Shoes (Everything You Need to Know!)

The style of playing tennis is very different from that of racquetball and you follow different rules in each sport. The skills and equipment used in tennis would not be very helpful if you were playing racquetball. The types of injuries you experience are also different because of the different types of shoes you wear for each sport. However, before delving into the different shoes for each sport, let’s first understand each sport and what it entails.


 Tennis is not just a sport or a hobby, it’s a passion that is fun and gives you joy every time you step into a court, and it’s an intense game and can be exhausting and very demanding on your body. Tennis is a game that entails quick starts and stops, short sprints, and many lateral movements and that’s why you need a good pair of tennis shoes to help improve your performance. When selecting a pair of tennis shoes you need to consider the court surface, your style of playing, and your personal preference. There are different types of tennis shoes for different tennis courts, clay court, hard court, and grass court.

Playing style

When you’re choosing your tennis shoes based on your playing style, this will depend on the kind of player you are on the court.

Baseline player

If you’re a baseline player, you will be playing the game along the backline of the court. This means you will need tennis shoes that will provide good lateral support for your side-to-side movements and a very durable sole that will be able to withstand the wear and tear of the sudden and quick movements you will be making on the court.

Serve and volley player

This is a player that will be charging the net most of the time. This means you will be sliding your back foot along with the court when you’re making a serve so you will need shoes that are reinforced at your toes and good arch support so that you avoid ankle injuries.

Type of court surface

Tennis shoes vs racquetball shoes

The type of court surface you play on will determine the type of tennis shoes you buy. While a hard court surface will need shoes with a durable sole, a soft court will need shoes with more traction on the sole.

Hard court: This is the most common and popular tennis court and it’s the most demanding when it comes to the durability of your shoe’s outsoles. Hardcourt tennis shoes are designed with a herringbone pattern to ensure that you have maximum grip on the court. They also have enough cushioning and a midsole that can absorb shock and also transfer the energy with every step you make. They have a tough and durable upper for support with a reinforced toe area to protect your toes from the gritty hard court.

Clay court: The tennis shoes for this court are designed with a full herringbone tread pattern that helps to keep the clay out of your outsole so that you can get a better grip on the court when making lateral movements. This tread design also makes it easier when you’re sliding from side-to-side so that you can make a perfect shot and recover quickly. The shoes also have to have a tight-knit upper to prevent the clay from entering into your shoes and for stability. The right pair of tennis shoes will improve your comfort, confidence, and performance on the court.

Grass court: Although there is not a wide variety of grass-court tennis shoes to choose from, this surface has a fast game so you need shoes with a good outsole that has ample traction. The tennis shoes have pimples and nubs on the outsole which provides a great grip on the slippery grass. The bumpy outsole will not damage the court but help you feel more comfortable when making quick movements on the court. You can’t use these shoes on other surfaces.


Racquetball is a very intense sport that requires you to make frequent changes in your direction from forward, to back, to side-to-side movements as you play the game. You play this game on a specific court that has a protective coating made of polyurethane sealer. This means you need to wear a specific type of racquetball shoes to help with the quick movements and versatile to be able to make all the random movements when playing. Most of the time you will need to make these moves from a static position which means the shoes you wear should provide a certain level of protection and support.

Differences between tennis shoes and racquetball shoes

Shoe designs

Tennis and racquetball shoes both look the same, but there are slight differences between the two. While some people may confuse tennis shoes with running shoes, tennis shoes have stronger edges that are very helpful when making lateral movements and a less pronounced toe to help when stopping and charging the net.

Racquetball shoes, on the other hand, have a breathable rubber sole to give you great traction on the smooth and slippery court, instead of being designed for speed like tennis shoes. Racquet shoes also have a comfortable design that allows you to easily change direction and move around the court while still protecting your feet and ankles.

Court surfaces

The main difference between tennis and racquetball is the different types of courts used to play each game. There are different types of tennis shoes you should wear for each hard, clay, and grass court surfaces and a good pair of tennis shoes should be able to provide you with stability, support you need while the reinforced rubber at the toe area will protect your toes from the gritty hard surface.

A traditional racquetball court is wooden but covered with an oil-based polyurethane protector to ensure the court remains smooth, shiny, and slick. Your racquetball shoes should provide enough grip on the slippery surface with extra control over your movements and tennis shoes aren’t designed like that.


In each sports performance is very important and the shoes you wear should be very effective in delivering the best. Tennis shoes are designed for quick lateral movements over a large area at high speed, while racquetball shoes are for shorter and quicker movements that require more grip for stability and small bursts. If you wear tennis shoes on a smooth and sleek indoor court, you’re most probably going to slip while trying to pivot yourself to return a shot. And racquetball shoes being extremely lightweight would not be very supportive of a tennis court.

Injury prevention

Tennis shoes vs racquetball shoes

Injuries are a part of every sport, but there are distinct injuries you will sustain in tennis and racquetball that will force you to wear specific types of shoes. A tennis court is harder than a racquetball court so you need more padding and support also you make sudden lateral movements.

In tennis, you make quick stops at the net which needs more support at the ankles and reinforcement at your toes, while in racquetball you change directions on all sides meaning your shoes should provide support all round and better grip for quick movements. Your ankles and knees are more prone to injuries when playing tennis, while your heels and forefoot are common joint injuries when playing racquetball.

Non-scuffing shoes

A very distinct difference between tennis and racquetball shoes is the kind of shoes you’re supposed to wear. In tennis, you’re supposed to wear shoes with non-marking shoes so that you don’t damage the court with scuff marks and lines, but for racquetball, you should wear gum-soled shoes that won’t leave black marks on the court.


In the tennis shoes vs racquetball shoe comparison, the design of the shoes is very specific to each sport because each game has its skill requirements and movement. Wearing the right shoes for each game will help to improve your performance, provide comfort, and protect your feet from injuries.


Is racquetball a good workout?

Playing racquetball for an hour is like running more than 2 miles and burning about 600-800 calories. You also decrease body fat, maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, and slows down bone loss.

Can you wear basketball shoes for racquetball?

Basketball shoes don’t have enough grip on a racquetball court which can cause you to slip. Outdoor shoes shouldn’t be used indoors and there are designated shoes for playing on a racquetball court.

Are squash and tennis shoes the same?

You can use badminton or racquetball shoes to play squash, but you can’t use tennis shoes to play squash under any circumstances. Squash shoes are indoor court shoes that have an outsole made with gum rubber and synthetic rubber.

What is the right racquetball racquet weight to use?

The weight of the racquet can affect the control you have, how much power, and maneuverability. Racquets come in three weights; light-164gms or below, medium-174gms, and heavy-175gms or above.

How many calories do you burn in an hour of racquetball?

Playing a 30 minute casual game of racquetball burns around 238 calories if you weigh 150 pounds. In an hour you can lose 511 calories if you weigh 160 pounds.