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JohnMT 02-14-2012 10:00 PM

Minimalist shoes for Tennis?
 
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?

USERNAME 02-14-2012 10:07 PM

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/New_...B-NBM51BD.html
New Balance MC 851
Your not talking about using legit minimalist runners for tennis right? You will break your ankles.

Maui19 02-15-2012 04:24 AM

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

jtrain_36 02-15-2012 04:33 AM

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.

Povl Carstensen 02-15-2012 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6327111)
Your not talking about using legit minimalist runners for tennis right? You will break your ankles.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtrain_36 (Post 6327388)
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.

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.

NJ1 02-15-2012 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen (Post 6327648)
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.

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.

racquetfreak 02-15-2012 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen (Post 6327648)
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.

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.

USERNAME 02-15-2012 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen (Post 6327648)
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.

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.

banter 02-15-2012 12:32 PM

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.

WildVolley 02-15-2012 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtrain_36 (Post 6327388)
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.

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.

JohnMT 02-15-2012 07:43 PM

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.

Povl Carstensen 02-16-2012 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJ1 (Post 6327943)
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.

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

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6328188)
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.

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.

USERNAME 02-16-2012 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen (Post 6329923)
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.

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.

JohnMT 02-16-2012 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6330659)
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.

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 :)

USERNAME 02-16-2012 08:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnMT (Post 6331408)
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 :)

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.

bluetrain4 02-16-2012 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtrain_36 (Post 6327388)
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.

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.

Povl Carstensen 02-16-2012 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6330659)
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.

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.

Povl Carstensen 02-16-2012 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6331437)
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.

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.

Povl Carstensen 02-16-2012 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluetrain4 (Post 6331457)
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.

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.

JohnMT 02-16-2012 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USERNAME (Post 6331437)
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.

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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen
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.

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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