Originally Posted by Strut99GT
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.
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.