Minimalist shoes for Tennis?

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by JohnMT, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. JohnMT

    JohnMT New User

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    Hey all. I know this has been discussed on this forum before in the past, but I was looking for a little more information on the topic of minimalist shoes for tennis. And the vivobarefoot shoes just aren't an option for me unfortunately :(

    It's kind of a unique situation in that I can't wear the vivobarefoot shoes... they don't come in my size. The vibram komodosports don't either (I'd wear a size 38 if they did). I wish those did come in my size, as my size 38 KSOs are awesome!

    I'm a small guy, with size 7 (US) shoes, so finding shoes in my size is difficult enough.. finding minimalist shoes in my size is really difficult... now finding minimalist shoes that are good for tennis in my size.. well... You get the picture :)

    So I'm looking for any recommendations of shoes that are good minimalist tennis shoes, last long enough on the courts, and are good for lateral movement on the courts.

    Anyone had any good experiences with any particular types or have any suggestions?
     
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  2. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    #2
  3. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I'd put the Asics Solution Speed in that category.
     
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  4. jtrain_36

    jtrain_36 Rookie

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    Using a shoe like VFF's or any other minimal shoes will destroy the ligaments in your ankles. They are designed to move in one direction, not suitable for tennis IMO.
     
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  5. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    No you will not break your ankles. And what will destroy the ligaments in your ankles is you tripping over in regular, high of the ground-tennis shoes.
    To be blunt: tennisshoes do not support your ankles unless you play in ski boots.
    And to the OP: I guess you might have to look at the Vivo Barefoot in womens sizes, hope you can find something agreable. Also there are other Vibrams than the models you have mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
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  6. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    Changing to tennis-specific shoes from playing in running shoes/skate shoes totally rid me of my ankle pain which lasted for 48 hours after playing tennis.
     
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  7. racquetfreak

    racquetfreak Semi-Pro

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    if i could find ski boots with flexible, court-friendly soles/forefoot-toe uppers, i definitely would give them a try. i have an ankle sprain (7/4/10) that just won't heal.
     
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  8. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    Really? Why is it that we dont see more of the legit players wearing the lighter runners? I have yet to see anyone in D1 and D2 tennis teams in runners, let alone pros.
    It's the way the sole is made. Tennis specific shoes have wide soles that cover more area while minimalists have thin soles width wise that will cause ankle rolls! Without fail! Tennis shoes protect your ankles a hell of a lot more than just about any purpose built runners.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
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  9. banter

    banter Semi-Pro

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    I do not have experience with any minimalist shoes on the court but I do have some INOV8s which I use for running and vertical movements. I don't trust such shoes for lateral movements. I do wish to see companies put out shoes with less of a heel or zero drop that are for tennis use.
     
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  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Povl C already answered this well. The weakness of some V5Fs is that they don't attach tightly enough to the foot and might roll around the foot on hard lateral stops. This isn't the case for those that strap down tightly.

    Lifting your foot off the court by wearing highly cushioned shoes increases the torque on your ankles when stopping and increases the risk of turning the ankle. In low shoes it is very, very difficult to turn the ankle when playing tennis.

    I just turned my ankle bad running in a grass field because I didn't see a hole (the grass had grown up) and worse yet there was a pipe sticking up in the hole. I'm on crutches now and hope to recover in a few weeks. I was wearing shoes and it probably helped keep my foot from getting cut.

    Tennis courts are actually extremely easy surfaces on which to avoid turning an ankle. If you are strong, it should only happen when pushing your limits.
     
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  11. JohnMT

    JohnMT New User

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    Thank you all for the opinions and info :)

    I'd love to try a pair of VFF KomodoSports for tennis, but they are all size 40 or above. My experience with women's sizes in the VFF, and other shoes haven't been too good... way too narrow. Most of the other VFF shoes only come in size 40 or higher for men too.

    Has anyone tried the onitsuka tiger "mexico 66" by asics? If so, how did they hold up on the courts? I'm hoping to find something that not only very minimalist but also that will hold up fairly well.

    The reason I'm really interested in finding something like this for tennis is that I've had knee and ankle problems for many years... going back to when I played in high school. A couple years ago I ditched all the regular shoes and started wearing either my KSOs, going barefoot or wearing other minimalist shoes (no arch, very thin sole, etc) for everything. No more ankle or knee problems.

    Now in my early 30s, my knees and ankles feel so much better than when I was in high school... so I hope you understand the reluctance to go back to normal style tennis shoes.

    Rolling an ankle for me would be really tough to do in tennis. My knees, ankles and hip joints aren't exactly "normal". The only time I've ever rolled an ankle playing sports is when doing something like stepping on someone else's foot in basketball.
     
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  12. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well I am not suggesting you play in running shoes or skate shoes.

    Again, I am not suggestioning running shoes. People roll their ankles all the time, and with worse effect, in tennis specific shoes. True minimalist shoes are so low to the ground (no padding/shockdampening/midsole) that it minimizes rolling, and the effect of it, should it happen. I have yet to hear of someone rolling their ankle barefoot, or in minimal shoes like Vivo Barefoot. Actually they were developed specifically by a tennisplayer to avoid rolling. Vivo Barefoot are not purpose built runners, this goes for a lot of the Vibrams too.
    Personally I have never hurt my ankles barefoot or in minimal shoes. But I did roll and sprain my ankle, leaving me out of sports for 3 months, in a pair of Asics Gel Encourage (otherwise a good tennis shoe I would say).
    To JohnMT. I have had all kinds of knee and foot problems also, used prescribed orthodics etc etc. And have the same experience, never felt better, since changing to minimalist shoes/barefoot. And my foot speed is better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
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  13. USERNAME

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    At my club and the public courts I used as a junior, Id seen guys roll their ankles a few times in what looked to be either trainers or running shoes. The ONE time I played in a pair of adidas marathons, I rolled my ankle landing just slightly on the edge of the sole post fh. Ive never rolled my ankle in that way in ANY tennis shoe Ive used. Only time I rolled my ankle in tennis shoes is when I was wrong-footed and had to really stop and lunge very quick. I also like the fact that tennis shoes protect my joints, I need the sole to dampen the shock from me running hard and lifting off the ground after most shots. Minimal shoes might work for a guy who is a twig and isnt physical, but for me, its a big no to minimalists on court.
    Also a NO from my current college coach and past coaches, my old coach would tell rec players to buy tennis shoes so they wont hurt themselves.
     
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  14. JohnMT

    JohnMT New User

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    I don't think a person has to be a twig for it to be OK really. Sure, I was a twig in high school playing tennis (5'2" 95lbs). Not so much a twig now though.

    Obviously one wouldn't want to go from normal tennis shoes to minimalist immediately, just like you wouldn't want to be a runner in regular shoes then go to running barefoot immediately. It takes a long time for the muscles that haven't been used much to build back up and be able to handle something like that.

    I already went through the "oh my god my calf muscles and feet are killing me" phase when I first started wearing these types of shoes regularly for physical activities. It lasted for a while, then I really started to notice a huge difference in the strength of my calf muscles as well as my ankles and knees no longer bothering me. The difference was amazing... I really wish I had tried this back in high school. My tennis bag back then was like a mobile pharmacy of pain meds, knee braces, and stuff like that.

    Really it's just whatever works well for the particular person though. If tennis shoes are working well for you, then great! I'm not trying to convince anyone to switch... I'm just trying to find something that will work well for me and not put me back to the path of knee and ankle problems again like what plagued me through most of my life. I kind of like having the muscles down there able to actually pull their weight now and not just relying on the shoes to handle all that.

    I've still got a couple months to find something that'll work and that will hold up on the courts. Too much snow on the ground to play tennis yet out here.

    I do think that my KSOs probably won't work too well. They are a little more "sloppy" on the foot and not too tight. That's why I was interested in the KomodoSports... Maybe they'll put those out in a 38 eventually. If not it sounds like there are some other alternatives out there which might work. Thanks again for the info and discussion on this :)
     
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  15. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    Invest in custom orthotics and find a lightER tennis shoe like the New Balance model I linked. If you wanna play at a decently high level safely you need the traction and support from a legit tennis shoe. It's not practical to play in minimalist type shoes, it's just unsafe. Anyone who came to the coaches I worked with in something that wasn't at least a mid-trainer or BBall shoes were told next time they come in those they'd be sitting.
     
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  16. bluetrain4

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    I was going to say that. Running, your feet are moving straight ahead and you generally know when and where your foot will strike. Nothing is really sudden and you don't have to make the sort of direction changes and severe cuts as you do in tennis.4

    And, minimalist shoes aren't even fool proof in a running context. Sure, they're the "in" thing, and I've met plenty of runners who swear by them, who have been able to heal injuries, who have really benefited. But, that's only half the story. I've also know runners who said it was the biggest mistake they've ever made and were injured as a result. Depends on the person.
     
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  17. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well I am not talking about running shoes... And seems you have rolled your ankle in tennis shoes. If you are happy with tennis shoes then its perfectly ok with me, but other people can have other experiences with things you have not tried.
     
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  18. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Custom orthodics is just what I wasted a lot of money on with baad results. You can get traction from minimalist shoes, and support from the ground (yes). And I'm guessing those coaches did not have much first hand experience with minimalist shoes.
    But still, what works for you is fine with me.
     
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  19. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    VFF's were not originally designed for running, the same goes for Vivo Barefoot. They handle direction changes very well. But, yes they have benefitted a lot of runners. I am guessing for those with bad results, it is mainly due to overdoing it in the beginning or bad technique. But still, I only want people to do what works for them.
     
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  20. JohnMT

    JohnMT New User

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    Not safe because of the ankle rolling? I really fail to see how someone could roll an ankle while basically barefoot... And besides, the way my feet and ankles are built it's not very likely I'll roll an ankle no matter what shoes I'm wearing out there.

    Also on the ankle issue, the VivoBarefoot shoes were started by a guy who suffered many twisted ankles in tennis with regular tennis shoes. So he tried to find a way to minimize that.

    If regular tennis shoes work for you that's great... They obviously work for a lot of people. They might not work well for some people though. Just like minimalist shoes work well for me and others, but may not work well for you.

    I'm not trying to start an argument over minimalist vs regular tennis shoe here :) I'm just looking for input from people who have used minimalist type shoes on the tennis court, and which types they found to be the best and most durable.

    It turns out I was wrong about the sizing on the Vivo Barefoot shoes. Size 40 = Size 7 in US in those, so they actually do have some that should fit in Men's sizes. Have you tried a particular style of those with good results that you'd recommend?
     
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  21. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I have played tennis and squash in the Evo, Neo and Aqua models. The Aqua is very low to the ground and comfortable. The Evo and Neo have a slightly thicker and narrower sole, so they are slightly less "barefoot" feeling. But they have better traction, if you play on clay, and more durability because of the thicker sole I would guess. By the way the Aqua is now called Aqua lite and is more light weight than the old model. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
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  22. USERNAME

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    I run sprints in training and distance for fun. Most of my former coaches ran 3-4 times a week, my last coaches wife is a competitive runner, you will never see any of them using any running shoe on the court for serious play or practice. Personally I run in the CC Rides and just got some Charge RCs (AWESOME shoe) but also got a pair of Minimus Trails from my gf, I'd not be caught dead on a tennis court in any of those unless I was running sprints. I do have experience with a lot of different shoes and I can tell you that there's a reason tennis shoes are TENNIS shoes, they are built to protect your feet in the sudden starts and stops and changes in directions.
    I have rolled my ankle, running sprints in the Rides and in the Barricade 5, the roll in the Rides were worse. The way I play I put my body under a ton of stress, I'm off the ground on just about every forehand and will try to run everything down, because of this I need shoes that will keep me safe and stable. If you just bat the ball around feel free to use slippers for all I care, but if your an actual competitor you should be in specific tennis shoes.
    And if you think you can't roll your ankle barefoot, try street rugby or football. Not hard.
     
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  23. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I dont know all the shoes you are talking about, but if you are talking about running shoes with a midsole (lift) we have no disagreement (I think I have stated this quite a lot of times now). We do however disagree on the stableness of being very close to the ground. As JohnMT states and I can confirm it is really hard to roll in barefeet/minimal shoes, unless perhaps you step on a ball or something (but this is the same with shoes). And shoes worsens the impact.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
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  24. USERNAME

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    Like I said, play football or rugby or ultimate frisbee (if your that type) barefoot. You can roll your ankle barefoot with a sudden stop or change in direction or landing wrong, all those things can happen playing tennis.
    Minimus are the new NB minimalist shoes, nice for running BAAAD for tennis. CC Rides I wouldn't put in the minimalist category, they are very light and low but still a bit higher than say the Minimus. The Charge RC is UA's flagship shoe, they looked sick so I bought them and they are crazy smooth rides. I'll say it again, it you just bat the ball around wear whatever the hell you want, if your a serious player get the right equipment. There's a reason, other than cash, why pros and good college players use purpose built tennis shoes.
     
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  25. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    People roll their ankles in tennis shoes all the time (just look at the threads here). I have looked at the shoes: Charge is clearly a running shoe with elevation and midsole, would not recommend for tennis. Minimus looks better, but still elevated (but have you tried it for tennis, or you just "know"?). CC Ride according to you is a running shoe and not minimalist.
    I hate to repeat myself, but Vivo Barefoot was developed by a tennissplayer to prevent rolling the ankle, and it proved to be the solution.
     
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  26. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Again, were not talking lighter running shoes. I have yet to hear of any D1 or D2 players trying out minimalist shoes and dismissing it. And pros are under contract with makers of traditional tennis shoes.
    I would love if some of the more serious players here would give it a go and report their experiences. But, do not start out with a 3 hour match, 15 minutes or half an hour would be a good place to start.
    Also I would love to see the tennisshoe makers come out with tennis specific minimal shoes, ie shoes with little or preferably no midsole and outsoles specific for tennis traction and wear. And I am pretty shure it will happen in a year or two. However, I fear that companies like Nike would only go half way, like they did with their Free running shoes.
    And sorry for highjacking the thread, JohnMT.
     
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  27. jmverdugo

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    I have not tried any of this "minimalist" shoes but I am not sure they can handle a lateral stop after full speed, the shock on the heel is a main concern and maybe is just me but it seems like there could be some lateral slippage between the foot and the shoe. Even for stops while running forward I have a feeling like they could hurt your toes more than normal tennis shoes.

    I guess that the level at what you play or your playing style has a lot to do too. I mean if you do not run for sure you will not have to stop and definitely do not have the risk to roll over your ankle.
     
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  28. phaedrus

    phaedrus New User

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    Minimalist tennis shoes

    My partner and I have been investigating minimalist shoes for some time now. My latest try is a pair of Merrill barefoot trail gloves. They have zero drop and a large toe box. They feel like you are barefoot and make me lighter on my feet, springing from the toes and not pounding my feet -- better proprioceptive input.

    However... as others have pointed out, tennis is not like static running; there is far more start and stop and lateral movement. As far as I have discovered, minimalist shoes are just not cushioned enough, including my Merrills. I did take a gel insert and cut it to fit my Merrill's which helped, but I'm not sure I will stick with them for hard court play. When I get to clay later this year, I *will* be wearing the Merrills. Another problem is that the soles of minimalist shoes tend to wear very quickly. The Merrills have Vibram soles, but the friction necessary to change directions on hard courts seems to wear them out too quickly.

    So, for hard courts, I wear old style Adidas Rod Laver. While heavier and higher off the ground than I'd like, they don't have all the high-tech "support" that I dislike. I am always looking for a lightweight, zero drop, minimalist support tennis shoe.
     
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  29. CDestroyer

    CDestroyer Professional

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    You need very strong ankles to play with the 13-15 ounce shoes made for tennis. Other wise you will roll your ankles on some lateral moves.

    I wouldn't dream of playing in any other type of shoe. Your asking for a long term injury.
     
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  30. USERNAME

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    Ive never seen a top junior in minimalists OR running shoes at itfs, nats, or even sectionals. Ive yet to see a journeyman in minimalist shoes at the futures or challenger level, as in a guy without a sponsorship. Ive used the minimus, which are categorized as minimalist, for sprints... Forward and back on grass they were good, 4 point shuttle runs and I almost turned an ankle twice. The only reason I didnt roll is because I chose to fall over rather than try to regain my footing. Shuttle runs are quick starts and stops, with 4 pointers it also adds in change in direction, same crap done on a tennis court during a point (actually shuttle runs are easier imo) and I went up on the edge of the shoe an tweaked my ankle but luckily did not fully roll it.
     
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  31. USERNAME

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    Exactly.

    Cool that you actually play in these but yeah, they arent safe for the type of movement in tennis. Let me know how the clay works out, Id think there would be a huge slippage problem if your moving around decently quick.
     
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  32. phaedrus

    phaedrus New User

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    We're going to have to disagree on "safe". I look at the potential for ankle rolling this way -- if you were to play tennis in platform shoes (high off the ground), or socks (low to the ground), which is most likely to result in a turned ankle? The higher shoes... the further away from the ground your foot is. And while I think the Merrills could use more padding as tennis shoes, there is a trade off to be made. More padding means more cushioning for the sudden changes of direction needed (good), but more padding also means less feel (proprioceptive input) from your feet (bad). We've found we pound the ground much less in minimalist shoes, and believe this is because we (our neuromusculoskeletal system) can feel the ground better. In more cushioned shoes we tend to slam our feet down harder in order to feel the ground and our weight distribution. Again, a trade off that, we think, has gone waaaay to far in isolating the sensors in your feet from the surface in which they interact.
     
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  33. USERNAME

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    I have still not rolled my ankle on the dead run for a shot, the times I rolled mine were when I landed wrong after a serve and forehand. At that point it wouldnt matter what your wearing (or not wearing) your ankle is gonna turn. Also, ever slide on hardcourt? I wouldnt try it with a minimalist personally, your welcome to though, if your playing at a high level that forces you to run at the speed it takes to slide youd better be in tennis shoes. That wide sole on tennis shoes are there to ensure you have alot of contact with the court so that when you hit the breaks you dont fall over (or TURN something). When Ive seen someone roll while running its always been player error, ie they try to make a huge change in direction or speed going way too fast, not the shoes fault. Tennis shoes are built for tennis, to keep the ankle, knees, and back safe.
     
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  34. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    It is possible to roll your ankle bare foot or in shoes. However, on a smooth surface like a tennis court, I think it is easier to roll your ankle wearing shoes as they lift your foot off the surface and tend to fail critically and roll or trip you.

    However, most tennis players want shoes because they do protect the foot from abrasion and impact.

    I'm not a fan of the super-heavy, combat boot style of tennis shoe and prefer a more minimalist design. One of my dislikes is that so many shoes have a raised heel. This is actually an unathletic position because it pre-tenses the calve muscles and limits the ability to push off. Just as sprint spikes do not have a built up heel, the footbed of a tennis shoe should be level in my opinion. I'm interested in trying the new lightweight shoe from NB. I'd like to see a tennis shoe that weights under 10 ounces but still has a decent outsole.
     
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  35. USERNAME

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    Your not supposed to be on your heels? When you split before you hit your supposed to land on the balls of your feet... When your waiting for a serve your supposed to be on the forefoot ready to split. The heel cushioning is there for when you jump back (for say an overhead maybe) or for when you make a wide lunge and slam on the heel. There is a reason for these differences that tennis shoes have. You won't ever see a player playing at the D1 or pro level in a shoe that is built like a minimalist because they move, jump, and run so hard that they would be looking at an injury if they did.
     
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  36. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I have to disagree on this. In an elevated shoe the torque is increased so that you get the turn resulting in a sprain, closer to the ground this will happen more rarely.
    So it is the players fault? But what if it would not happen in other shoes? Without the torque, without the edge of the shoe gripping into the surface or obstacle?
    The foot does not need a heel in the shoe. The running shoes market is changing, and so could the tennis shoe market be, albeit a bit delayed. Ofcourse a lot of people who have not tried it will be against it, spurred on by an industry that has been pushing high tech solutions for decades (in this respect the tennis racket industry is also a farce..). Experiments show that running in shockdampening shoes puts more impact on the joints. The same experiences could translate into other sports like tennis, and imo it should not be dismissed just because the majority is sticking to what they know at the present.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
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  37. USERNAME

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    It is player error on the rolls I've seen. Simply someone trying to do too much, the result is an injury since their body gets pushed that little bit more off balanced than it should. As for how I rolled mine, I've done it in tennis and a few times playing street football BAREFOOT... Instead of landing like this: | where my foot lands flat or almost flat, I land like this: / on the edge of my foot or shoe. When that happens as I said it really doesn't matter what your in, your turning your ankle. And I have used minimalists and much prefer traditional shoes for any running (distance/sprints) and will not use them in tennis because the chance of a injury, be it long term or immediate, is more likely.
     
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  38. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I am not sure I understand this post? Just curious.

    And to Phaedrus and others, it must be said that I have not tried playing barefoot (or in minimalist) on concrete (hard), but enjoy it on clay and indoors (forgot the name of the surface). On wooden floors traction is a problem, this could be the case on concrete too, so a shoe would be needed.
    And Username, perhaps the biggest difference between us is that I have yet to roll my ankle barefoot or in minimals....
     
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  39. USERNAME

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    I think that the biggest difference is physicality. And probably playing level. I have to put my body under tons of stress that requires the use of proper equipment, you might be able to get away with LESS protection on clay against whoever you play but on hard court against the guys I play I need the cushioning and grip.
     
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  40. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Admittedly I am not a high ranked grinder, and I do not play on hard courts. Yet others here seem to support my line of thinking. Anyway it will be interesting to see what development tennis shoes will undergo in the comming years!
     
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  41. USERNAME

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    Well from the looks of it, they'll be more and more shoes with lighter cushioning. So you'll see lighter shoes but not a legit minimalist. There will always be more of a demand for a cushioned shoe.
     
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  42. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well even if there is more of a demand for a cushioned shoe, we could se a legit minimalist. But now I am splitting hairs.
     
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  43. mrags

    mrags New User

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    I hit with my vibrams from time to time. Have not played a match yet. I play on clay, and it definitely makes you stay on the balls of feet and to run more upright, efficiently and with better posture. Sliding is a bit dicey, but it becomes less necessary to slide when you are moving more effectively on the court.
     
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  44. Strut99GT

    Strut99GT New User

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    Think about shoes in caveman terms. I run in minimalist shoes because I can run outside barefoot and feel that it is a natural, logical transition. However, I would never, ever consider moving back and forth, side-to-side on a concrete tennis court in my bare feet, nor do I think anyone else should. Tennis shoes are engineered to assist the human body in accommodating this movement.
     
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  45. yellowoctopus

    yellowoctopus Professional

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    Afraid my personal take on this is not very optimistic. I respect people's desire to want to revert to the caveman or the lesser primitive way of doing things, including barefoot walking and running. The truth is, our ancestors did not live very long, have tons of health issues (often result in painful deaths). Additionally, their activities were much different than ours (probably no tennis). The environment they lived in were also different. So what make us think that a caveman could survive the modern world better than the modern version?

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  46. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    The human skin is very tough, specially with some progressional training (not straight out of the shoe box).

    I would say modern man would have a tougher time surviving the cave world.
     
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  47. corners

    corners Legend

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    You're making a lot of assumptions with zero evidence. There are many (but fewer every year) groups of people on the planet that live hunter gather lives today that are probably little different than the "caveman", whoever he might be. Most of these groups don't wear shoes, don't die young and don't have tons of health issues. They don't play tennis, but neither do they sit at desks all day and drink soda pop and get diabetes. And I guarantee you that their feet are a hell of a lot stronger than yours or mine.
     
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  48. corners

    corners Legend

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    Tennis shoes are not engineered as well as you might think. Most of the engineering is meant to reduce the impact of counterproductive torques introduced by the shoes themselves. For example, the "stability" elements of designs employed are necessary to compensate for the inherently unstable situation of placing the foot on a foam platform an inch or more above the ground, with a sharp edge on either side that the ankle can roll over. It is nearly impossible to sprain an ankle while barefoot.

    Sports shoes are the result of a continuous product development cycle driven mostly by marketing folks, not by engineers. They are really rather heavy, constricting, stiff and over built, in my opinion. For us to think that they assist human movement is the primary objective of the marketing executives.

    As far as playing tennis on concrete, you should really give it a try before advising other people not to. Our feet have sensory abilities that protect them from abrasion. These adaptations force us to move differently than we do in shoes when on hard and rough surfaces, but it's still possible to move quickly and play well, even on a hard court. Does that mean we should play barefoot? No, it doesn't, but it can be done.
     
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  49. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Totally agree with the above posts. For instance, there is nothing wrong with pronation per se. It is part of our natural shock absorbtion. Its the padded shoes that can not handle pronation, and need "antipronation" build in. We are then told it is because af a problem with our feet.
     
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  50. yellowoctopus

    yellowoctopus Professional

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    I believe this is an assumption without evidence. Look at the statistics on the average life expectancy and you will see that the communities with the high numbers (of years) are those that have embraced modern inventions.

    I agree that the sedentary lifestyle in many modern societies has its own set of negative consequences, which btw does not come with cause-effect evidences, just a bunch of statistical correlations. But to say that the more primitive lifestyle is better? There is simply no evidence of that.

    I just want to mention that many shoes manufacturers are now marketing the minimalist shoes (which is the topic of this discussion). The advertising messages are that its sexy, non-constricting, sleek, light, and bring us closer to nature. I am pretty sure the marketing executive have their heavy hands of these as well. Does this make it as bad as the conspiracy of the other sport shoes technology?

    IMHO, if one is born and raised in a society that walk around barefoot every day, there might be an argument for the benefit of running barefoot. The truth is, most of us are not in that situation. It is very challenging and quite risky for us to switch from wearing shoes to work, but spend the few hours running or playing tennis barefoot, or even with minimal support. This is one fact that I believe the supporters of barefoot activities, and the manufacturers of these minimalist shoes, would rather leave out.

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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    #50

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