Running shoes good for Tennis

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by rk_sports, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Have you seen this article (by Richard Pagliaro of Tennis.com)

    Foot Boost: A Training and Treatment Tool for Feet

    "...Through scans we've found advanced players spend much more time on their toes than club players,
    and some of those players we've scanned have played in running shoes because running shoes are designed to help you push off your toes"

    "Think about the changes we've seen in racquets and strings and the slower surfaces and then ask yourself:
    What changes have we seen in tennis sneaker technology during the same period?" Grossman says

    Do any of you use running shoes as your primary footwear for tennis? Does it really help?
     
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  2. zunderlips27

    zunderlips27 New User

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    Yes, once. I injured my big toe in a forced lateral movement...That was 3 years ago and I still have pain. Sesamoiditis is the injury.
     
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  3. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well shoes without a heel "lift" promote an active forefoot, and could very well be superior (and lighter) for tennis imo.
     
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  4. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    I tried running shoes when I first got back into playing tennis. Found out that the thick, soft soles provide no support for lateral movement and can lead to ankle sprains (only took 4 weeks to heal). Same for shoes with nubbies on the bottom. They might be great for turf, but not good for hard courts. I found that New Balance cross trainers with a relatively flat sole provided both support and cushion. I also have some K-Swiss court shoes that provide great support, but are a little lacking in the cushion department.

    I can't remember seeing any advanced tennis players wearing running shoes (although I have seen some fugly court shoes).
     
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  5. tes

    tes Rookie

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    I use them when I am just practicing my serve. Never when playing.
     
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  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Don't use running shoes for tennis.

    The thick cushioned "high heel" on running shoes is an invitation for turning your ankle.
    [​IMG]

    Put that together with a lack of medial/lateral support [too much weight for runners] in running shoes and you have the perfect recipe for a sprained ankle.


    Is Dr. Grossman, the author of that article, trying to drum up business for himself?


    And there is another reason not use to use running shoes. Most have a softer rubber sole and a grip pattern that will very quickly wear down on the courts. As Dr. Grossman's analysis showed [and every tennis player already knew], tennis players are constantly pushing off the inside of their feet, so the wear on the shoes will be uneven, leading to an outside to inside slope on their running shoe's soles.
    You will be standing like this, with your ankles turned in:
    [​IMG]
    And when you go to run, there will be a twisting motion not only at your ankle, but above as well, with tendons and muscles subject to abnormal twisting forces, just like those that trouble runners with flat feet and over pronation.


    So for those that think they will save money by having just one pair of shoes for both tennis and running, they will have lousy, injury prone shoes for tennis, and all too quickly, lousy shoes for running.


    [Now all that being said, I have been wearing Asics running shoes for years, and find the Asics Gel Resolutions to have more of a running shoe cushioned feel than any other tennis shoe I have tried. But in a tennis shoe without a "high heel" and with plenty of medial/lateral support.]
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
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  7. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    I actually wear a training/workout shoe for tennis.

    Much lighter than most tennis shoes, more shock absorbancy and more stable when stopping and changing direction.

    I tried running shoes at first and although they were very comfortable, no support on the foot when stopping and turning and I actually tore the fabric away from the sole.
     
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  8. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Well...another great article from the folks that bring us Tennis Mag. Running shoes do not work well for tennis. You might be able to get away with a cross trainer.. but that might still be pushing it.

    I have taught a lesson in running shoes... never played in them.

    Steve
     
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  9. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    The shoe industry would like you to believe you need a different shoe for every activity. I was once asked in a Rockport outlet if I was looking for "walking shoes." I asked the salesman if they sold any shoes that would be inappropriate for walking.
    I've played tennis at least twice in running shoes because they were all I had with me, and things went fine. I'm not altogether convinced I was in peril playing in them and suspect my ankles do more to keep me from rolling over than any shoe I've ever worn. I've seen people roll their ankles countless times in tennis shoes, not at all clear they afford greater protection, and the cushioning of a running shoe perhaps would afford more protection against developing something like plantar fascitis. Johnny Mac, some will recall, played in cross trainers, sort of a hybrid running and general purpose shoe, for a good portion of his career.
     
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  10. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    #10
  11. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    "because running shoes are designed to help you push off your toes"

    This may be so, but they only help you push off your forefoot on one direction - basically straight ahead. Problem is that most of my movement in tennis is lateral (side-to-side) not forwards and backwards.

    Before I knew better, I wore running shoes on the tennis court, but they just didn't have any support when I had to cut hard to the left or right and the flimsy mesh on the upper started to tear or separate from the shoe very quickly.

    IMHO- You are better off with shoes designed for tennis. FWIW- When I tried on the Babolat Propulse 3's, it seemed to me that it had a slight tilt forward to keep you on your toes. But, if that's the issue, it probably just better to practice your footwork and staying light on your feet. You can't really depend on you shoes to do it for you if you don't have the strength, fitness, or good habits to move well on the court.
     
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  12. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Yes, my only serious injury on the tennis court came in a pair of Asics Gel Encourage (formerly Enqvist) shoes. Severely rolled my ankle. I have not been close to doing the same in minimal, low to the ground shoes or barefoot. In fact the Vivo Barefoot shoes were invented and developed by a tennis player frustrated with his recurring ankle injuries.
     
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  13. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Consider me unconvinced by this article. Running shoes with built up heels tend to push you forward on the toes, but they also limit the range of motion off your toes. I don't need help getting on my toes. The built up heel takes shock from heel strikes but it encourages you to heel strike at the same time.

    I think some tennis shoes are overbuilt and too heavy (Barricades for instance). Most running shoes are lighter and less supportive. Also, some studies are showing that shoes that are too cushioned tend to encourage more torque at the knee which might not be a good thing.
     
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  14. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This ^

    Only a complete fool would wear running shoes to play tennis in.

    I have in the past used cross-trainers - and indeed so did many pros - but the trend in trainers in recent years, especially Nike, has been shifting them towards the running shoe side of fence - much lighter and flimsier than tennis shoes. I imagine this is because so many people use them primarily as casual shoes and the last decade's growth in gym use as opposed to outdoor training.

    A really popular Nike tennis shoe in the late 80s worn by McEnroe and Agassi was the Air Trainer 1.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    Not worth the risk. As others have noted, no lateral stability. Even if you're confident in not getting injured I personally don't like the feel of running shoes for tennis. Too high up off the ground. Any sports requiring lateral movement I prefer less cushioning and being lower to the ground.

    I always wear sports specific shoes. It may sound expensive to buy different shoes for different sports but really if you wore just one type of shoe you would wear it out more frequently than if you had 2 pairs. So you're just spreading the wear between the different shoes and they last longer.
     
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  16. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I always play in running shoes!

    I've found that running shoes definitely have more cushion than tennis shoes, and so it really helps keep my knees tendinitis-free.

    Also, I argue that running shoes actually reduce my risk of rolling my ankles. Tennis shoes have wider base and hard edges, while running shoes have much softer edges.

    Once you start to roll in tennis shoes and get past the point of no return, you've rolled it. Now you're out for a few weeks.

    But with running shoes -- and the softer edges -- there is no point of no return. When you start to roll a little, you can always catch yourself.

    I used to roll my ankles fairly severely and frequently until I swtiched to running shoes 5 years ago. Now I know that tennis shoes are dangerous and high risk for my ankles.

    By the way, I am being 100% serious -- this post is no joke.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
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  17. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Yeah, the physics of it say completely otherwise.

    Running shoes have softer soles all the way across (left to right) so they start to compress and lean over with uneven weight application way earlier than any good tennis shoe. So you reach the point of rolling earlier also - that being the point at which your weight is outside the lateral strength limits of the ankle joint when the foot is bent under.

    The wide base of a tennis shoe is the start of the support advantage over a running shoe. While running shoes often have the same sort of sole width - that is so they have enough rubber on the ground for grip, not support. Above that they have more spongy soles and so far less lateral support.

    Try it. Put a piece of board on a phone book and stand on it. Then put the same piece of wood on a pillow and see how unstable it is comparatively. Extreme example but shows why tennis shoes are such a tricky piece of equipment to make well - you have to give support but its high impact nature necessitates cushioning.

    What you say about running shoes in relation to injury however might hold some sort of merit. The fact that running shoes will roll more readily may mean you bail out when there's less force being applied - ergo the roll wont be as severe as if it happened much later with a bigger weight behind it.

    Personally I'd rather not find out I was wrong and so wear the shoes designed for the job. If I get tendinitis in my knee I'd address that at the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
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  18. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I've worn running shoes when playing tennis and basketball. Neither was tragic. When I first started playing tennis (again), I was surprised at how underwhelming tennis shoes were. I expected something lighter with more cushioning (such as you can find in basketball shoes). Perhaps these kinds of tennis shoes are available, but I just haven't run across them. The biggest knock against running shoes in tennis is the sole: it tends to tear up the clay.
     
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  19. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    As I stated before, the most comfortable shoe I've found (particularly for wide feet) is a New Balance cross trainer with a relatively flat sole such as this 723.

    [​IMG]

    Good stability, nothing that gets hung up on the court surface, and still has a decent amount of cushion. If you're having knee problems, these may be a good alternative.
     
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  20. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    If it looks like a tennis shoe and quacks like a tennis shoe, maybe it is a tennis shoe!

    To me that really looks a lot like a tennis shoe. It doesn't have a herringbone pattern, but neither did the Adidas Stan Smith.
     
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  21. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I think that the notion of "shock absorption" in a shoe can be misleading. That diagram above in charliefedererer's post shows misaligned ankles which can occur in any shoes that don't match up correctly to a player's feet, including sneak's designed for tennis. When I've found shoes that give me proper ankle alignment, I also get much better "shock absorption" from them, even if the soles of those shoes are especially thin.

    Pounding on misaligned ankles will drive any of us straight to tendonitis town. I think that this is why it's important to pay attention to the descriptions of different shoes. Some are made for medium to wider feet, others for more narrow feet, and even for those with flatter or higher arches.

    As far as shoe stability and resisting ankle rolls works for me, I describe that by comparing an F-1 race car with a high-riding SUV. Turn hard in one direction or the other (yes, laterally) and which one is more likely to roll? The one that's got a higher center of gravity - the SUV. No comparison. My more stable shoes have been the same in that the closer they keep my feet to the court, the more stability I enjoy with them, even if the heel counter isn't built like the Alamo.

    Running shoes usually have a lot of "stuff" under the heel, which might be good for a runner who needs to have that cushy business under the heel to soften the repetitive landing when loping along. As a tennis player though, that only creates a higher platform that my heel can roll off of when I push sideways good and hard. The lower my foot is riding, the less leverage there is between my heel and the court to effectively "tip my ankle over".
     
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  22. Tennis Truth

    Tennis Truth Rookie

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    The article seemed ok to me until it veered off the cliff with the below quote:

    “I’m not saying everyone should go out and play in running shoes; I am saying that wearing quality running shoes to play tennis does not lose stability or risk injury versus a tennis shoe, and the advantage of the running shoe is they help you push off and move forward better than most tennis shoes,” says Grossman, who believes scanning technology has both performance and health benefits.

    First off, while he "says" he is not advocating everyone play tennis in running shoes, that is exactly what he seemd to be advocating in the next sentence.

    As others have said, running forward is not the dominant movement in tennis, and I think it is universally acknowledged that running shoes DO lack lateral stability and do increase risk of potential injury.

    Also, I think there HAVE been advances in tennis shoes since the old days. Shoes used in the wooden racquet days were very different than today. Old shoes were often more like canvas Chuck Taylor type. Granted, maybe there can be additional advances in shoes through the scientific processes discussed in the article.
     
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  23. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You guys still use shoes to play tennis?

    Don't you know that barefoot is the only way? The natural way?

    You are just slaves to the great sports shoe conspiracy man.
     
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  24. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Well the body is a great shock absorbing mechanism, that is my experience.
     
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  25. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Except for you (and the hippie who said the classic 'You are just slaves to the great sports shoe conspiracy man.' :)) , almost all are saying the opposite.. now, I understand this was your experience... but do you have any other evidence or a study of some sort?
     
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  26. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    The only time I wore runners to tennis, when running forward and going into a slide, the high spacious top of the running shoes (rather than the flat boat-y prow of a tennis shoe) allowed my big toe to bobble up inside, the shoe gripped the tip of my big toenail and bent it back resulting in pain, a black toenail, and the loss of it later.

    I stopped ever contemplating runners for tennis.

    I have seen someone wear the tough cross country hiking type boot (not leather) with the fairly raised teeth underneath, and as a non-flexy, tough and hard shoe it seemed to suit their flat non-explosive footwork on synthetic grass - they were a real grinder-type player - fairly well. Still, wouldn't want my toenail bent back in one of those.

    Interesting topic - caught my left toe while moving side to side last night and rolled my ankle. It was in a weakened state due to the last injury 6 weeks ago. Wasn't wearing my ASO brace. Am thinking to wear braces henceforth on both ankles as preventative (a la Murray, Hewitt et al). It's not just the shoes. I have wonderfully flexy and bendy ankles - it just so happens not particularly suited to tennis and will have to wear braces as preventative from now on because each rolled ankle is 4-6 weeks out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
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  27. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
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  28. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    Wouldn't want to be rolling ankles in runners.

    To my mind tennis shoes have flanges underneath to offer greater contact and a flat non-rolling surface. Up top they offer far more lateral support with various built-in plastics and strapping in the shoe.

    Runners, put simply, are built for fwd moves and not side to side. Or look at it the other way. Go run on the road in tennis shoes eg. Barricades. Not very "runnerly" are they!

    If you are in runners on court I just don't think you can go for extreme moves, certainly not with confidence.
     
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  29. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    Its also harder to slide with runners. Running shoes are fine, but you have to turn and run in a straight line to get those extreme shots. But running shoes are better at sprinting to dropshots.
     
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  30. superfittennis

    superfittennis New User

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    Really a big debate on this matter?

    Running shoes are great for running in a straight line only. When agility is involved do not wear running shoes. There is a reason why you will never see a pro or college player wearing running shoes. No lateral stability!!!

    My ankle hurts just thinking about this:shock:
     
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  31. aweil

    aweil Rookie

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    then just buy a stiffer running shoe that has pronation support
     
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  32. aweil

    aweil Rookie

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    not true at all there are plenty of running shoes out there that offer just as much stability as say a nike vapor 8
     
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  33. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    I want to play like Federer, so I wear ballet slippers to play tennis.

    Seriously, my tennis shoes were chosen to fit me differently than my (very expensive) New Balance running shoes. I have NB 'walking shoes' as well and they are hard for me to do my workout DVD's in because the sides are so high it rubs my heels when I do side lunges and other things. So I have running shoes, tennis shoes, walking/whatever shoes, and still need a pair of cross trainers or whatever for my dance-y/kickboxing/workout stuff. #firstworldproblems
     
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  34. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Wasn't the Nike Breathe Free 2 basically a modified running shoe with a slightly tougher sole?

    I had a pair years ago. It looked like a running shoe, had an elevated heel with the big airbags under it, and was reasonably flexible. Actually, the bars connecting the heel to the forefoot on the outsole snapped on mine right away, so that might have made it more flexible.
     
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  35. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    The BF2 (the GOAT tennis shoe, IMO) felt like a running shoe because it was way, way less material than any prior tennis shoe. This made it feel like a running shoe when you held it in your hand, but on the court the outer upper (the cage style) gave almost as much support as the old leather tech, at about a third of the weight.
     
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  36. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    stability in a straight line......

    Unless you are looking at cross-trainers, running shoes do not have the same amount of lateral support.
     
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  37. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    I play every other time on hard courts in my nike running shoes.. it has helped my shin splints a lot. takes away that extra pounding .
     
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  38. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

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    What is medial/lateral support? Where is it on the shoe? What if a running shoe has a zero drop heel?
     
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  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I use the Federer Nike Vapor Airs from TW for everything - work, weekend chores, tennis, travel.
     
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  40. 3fees

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    Depends on the running shoe,,not all running shoes are created equal, some cradle the foot to the ankle,,when I was growing up if you didn't wear converse all stars low cut-black,,you got funny looks from everyone on the tennis courts..


    :)
     
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  41. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    How long did they last? or how long has it been since you bought them?
     
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  42. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    When we were kids we had one shoe for everything… PF Flyers.
    Then Converse All Stars, also with canvas uppers. Basketball, baseball, football, tennis, badminton, everything.
    Then the Jack Purcell, a "real" tennis shoe appeared. Cool for tennis and the street.

    Way back then there was an ad in an old tennis mag with Borg wearing Tretorns. I wore them for years. They look like canvas bowling shoes. They would wear out in two weeks.

    In contrast my Nike City Court V tennis shoes lasted almost 6 months on hard courts 3 to 4 times a week. Limousines for the feet.
     
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  43. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    I have a pair of Vapors and some CB 3.3's

    but I still mostly play in my Nike Air Max's

    As far as rolling ankles....everyone I personally know that has that injury all had the same thing in common.

    (Top Heavy) either Slinging their beer gut around on court or a few that only spend time on the upper body at the Gym.

    I am of even build and playing hockey for years leading up to tennis I'd say my lower body is stronger than my upper body.

    I like to get to net quickly and in my air maxes I seem to do it better than in my "tennis shoes"

    Throw some good insoles in them and my legs/feet/knees last way longer than my arm does.
     
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  44. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Click on the S curve video in the middle of this web page to see the support system of a tennis shoe is from New Balance. http://www.newbalance.com/New-Balance-1187/MC1187,default,pd.html


    Similar types of support are engineered into all top of the line tennis shoes.

    For instance, Asics calls their stabilization system the "trusstic system", and you can learn more about by clicking on the GEL-RESOLUTION 4 video on this page:
    http://www.asicsamerica.com/footwear/tennis-shoes/gel-resolution-4-e201n-mens/

    Adidas has the "Torsion System":

    [​IMG]




    Looking at the web sites for the different manufacturers today, it seems there are less pics on their stabilization systems than in the past.
    Maybe they don't want to give competitors insight into their specific designs.
     
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  45. corners

    corners Legend

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    Charlie,

    I think that all those systems are misnamed. They are not foot support systems. Rather, they are systems designed to keep the foot on top of the foam block that is the shoe's midsole. None of those gizmos do much of anything to support the foot, which would mean to restrict one part of the foot's movement relative to another part of the foot. All they do is tether, one way or another, the foot to the sole of the shoe, essentially transferring the friction characteristics of the sole's rubber to the foot by cleverly strapping the foot to the sole/midfoot. These are fancy strapping methods. They don't support the foot much at all.

    BTW, Asic's Trusstic system was originally designed to reduce the support of the shoe: the idea was to remove material from the midsole (the foam block, in other words) to allow the plantar fascia and the bones above it (the cuboid, primarily) to deflect downwards. The midsole is usually shaped with an arch contour, which impedes the downward deflection of the midfoot and plantar fascia. Removing the foam under the plantar fascia was supposed to allow it to extend naturally, allowing it to store and return energy as it is supposed to. To maintain the structural integrity of the shoe with this foam from the center of the midsole removed, they added a plastic shank unit. All manufacturers use these plastic shanks nowadays, and I think Asics usually now uses the Trustic system for this purpose rather than to allow plantar fascia deflection. But the shape remains as before, usually, with a very noticeable plastic piece directly under the cuboid bone, which happens to be shaped like a cuboid.

    Generally, I think it's a big mistake to give these guys too much credit for their shoe designs. The majority of their "stability" gizmos are just attempts to stabilize the foot on top of the thick midsole. The midsole, being a block of foam, by nature destabilizes the foot, and so they have to invent things to bring stability back to the foot/shoe system. Pretty much all of these gizmos are straps, tethers or buttresses, nothing more. Shoe "technology" is in the same class as racquet "technology", IMHO. It is much more about marketing than real innovation.
     
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  46. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I wasn't posting to claim any one of the shoe companies had a "technology" better than another. Only that they did design some system to prevent the foot from sliding around in the shoe like feet would do in running shoes during changes of direction.


    "Rather, they are systems designed to keep the foot on top of the foam block that is the shoe's midsole."
    "The majority of their "stability" gizmos are just attempts to stabilize the foot on top of the thick midsole."

    I think that this is what makes a tennis shoe superior to a running shoe for tennis.
    The foot is kept in place in the shoe.
    Because a running shoe lacks medial and lateral support, the foot would be sliding back and forth in the shoe during changes in direction.
     
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  47. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I agree with you. I think the main problem with running shoes is that the side support usually isn't stiff enough to keep the foot on top of the midsole during hard lateral cuts and stops. The foot can slide off the midsole, press out the side, and then cause a critical failure (roll) that can injure the ankle. A tennis designed shoes should be stiff enough to keep the foot on top of the midsole during slides.

    If a running shoe has a stiff enough upper, because of straps, etc, then it could be used for tennis safely.
     
    #47
  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,726
    I can make them last 6 months
     
    #48
  49. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
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    People roll their ankles all the time in tennisshoes. They would be better of in that respect with a minimal, low to the ground, non elevated shoe (call it running or not), imo and experience.
     
    #49
  50. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,757
    Exactly, it is a reinforcement of the shoe. An attempt to remedy the problem that the shoe/midsole itself is. Then it is called "foot support", as if it was the foot that needed it.
     
    #50

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