Minimalist shoes for Tennis?

I read an article in the June '13 issue of Men's Journal all about minimalist shoes and tennis.

The author states that both Vivobarefoot and New Balance are planning on releasing zero-drop shoes specifically designed for tennis in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Couldn't find the article on the web, but it's available in print.
Sounds interesting. I have used Vivo Barefoot Evo with good results. But they might not be durable enough for hard playing toedraggers (thats not me).
 
I'm not sure if there is less heel drop then my last shoe. I only know, from my shoe measurements thread, that the heel of the GG3 is lower then my previous shoe the Nike CB 4.3. Your comments on less heel drop causing more traction are right, though. So perhaps the GG3 has less heel drop. Or, perhaps the problem lies in my footwork.

You would think that with less cushion, their would be more knee stabilty, less traction and less torque. These are the sort of things that have me interested in trying a minimalist, zero-drop tennis shoe.
Yes. It will sound controversial to many, but you can say that the ground gives us adequate support, and putting cushoning between you and the ground "filters" it away. And when the shoes get worn, skewed, tilted you actually get "anti"-support.
 
I'm not sure if they're still making it but the ASICS Gel Velocity was really nice. It was like the Stan Smith but a lot lighter (and very durable). I initially bought it only for casual wear but I ended up using it for school, tennis, jogging, gym, flag football and even hiking. It lasted for a good 2 and a half years.
 

newyorkstadium

Professional
Although I'm aware of the science of minimalist/barefoot shoes, I chose to look for a minimalist shoe because I'm tall and struggle with low balls. I could see smaller guy's wanting more cushion to help with the serve and higher balls. I haven't tried serving yet, but I will be serving from a different angle with my latest shoes being 2cm lower.

Is there an argument for picking your shoe based on personal height, or shots you struggle with?
 
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Although I'm aware of the science of minimalist/barefoot shoes, I chose to look for a minimalist shoe, as I'm tall and struggle with low balls. I could see smaller guy's wanting more cushion to help with the serve and higher balls. I haven't tried serving yet, but I will be serving from a different angle with my latest shoes being 2cm lower.

Is there an argument for picking your shoe based on personal height, or shots you struggle with?
I think comfort, stability, contact with the ground, etc is much, much more important. One of my worst shoe purchases was some Prince squash shoes that had an extra high heel because they wanted to fit some kind of O-holes into them (ridiculous idea).
 

newyorkstadium

Professional
Here are a few interesting new studies.

Link - Barefoot increased jump height and peak power.

Link - At high speed, the rearfoot runners in a RF pattern, and the forefoot runners in a FF pattern, did not differ significantly in economy. But the FF runners in an RF pattern were more economical still, meaning they were more economical than the RF runners in an RF pattern! The FF runners also had a somewhat higher average preferred speed, suggesting those in the FF group were better runners in absolute terms. At slow and medium speeds, groups did not differ significantly in economy. This study had many flaws, the shoes were not zero heel drop which favors heel strikers. This may explain why the FF runners performed better in a RF pattern. Also, FF runners can easily revert back to a RF stride, but RF runners need training to adjust to a FF pattern.

Link - This study indicates that running performance improves with shoes 300g or under. So, it's good that tennis shoe companies are trying to lower the weight of shoes.

Link - Toe strike running increases the risk of injury in the early stages.
 
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WildVolley

Legend
Here are a few interesting new studies.

Link - Barefoot increased jump height and peak power.
This has been one of the reasons that I support zero-drop or minimal shoes for tennis. A raised heel does provide impact protection by cushioning, but it reduces athletic performance by pre-tensing the calves and limiting explosive movement. Sprint spikes, for instance, don't have built up heels.

Since I have healthy feet, I also realize I don't need much in the way of shoes to provide "stability" whatever that is.

A lightweight, flat tennis shoe with a firm midsole, low stack height, and durable outsole could be a good match shoe in my opinion. Especially if the weight can be kept under 10oz.
 

ericsson

Hall of Fame
This has been one of the reasons that I support zero-drop or minimal shoes for tennis. A raised heel does provide impact protection by cushioning, but it reduces athletic performance by pre-tensing the calves and limiting explosive movement. Sprint spikes, for instance, don't have built up heels.

Since I have healthy feet, I also realize I don't need much in the way of shoes to provide "stability" whatever that is.

A lightweight, flat tennis shoe with a firm midsole, low stack height, and durable outsole could be a good match shoe in my opinion. Especially if the weight can be kept under 10oz.
I second that!
 
The most minimal, lightest shoe I've seen in the last couple of years are the K-Swiss Speedster Classics. I bought a couple of pair just to knock around in. They look pretty cool in an old-school tennis way, very light. I got them at TW, but I don't think they have them any more, no picture but if you look on the internet you'll probably see a pic.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-KWSTWB.html
 

random1

Rookie
I've been battling plantar fascitis for the last 9 months or so. Based on some reviews by people with plantar fascitis, I tried the Merrell Trail Glove as a casual sneaker - it's a minimalist trail running shoe. I just got the Merrell Bare Access 2 to use for tennis. The sole, and more importantly the edges of the sold, look more or less like tennis shoes. There's been talk about the danger of running shoes in tennis. Many running shoes have edges on the soles that can "catch" and cause an ankle roll, and most running shoes don't have good lateral traction, which can cause problems. The Bare Access doesn't seem to have these problems, I've only used them once so far, but love them.

My $0.02
 

OKUSA

Hall of Fame
What tennis shoe would y'all recommend until these new generation minimalist tennis shoes arrive? I've been wearing court ballistic 2.3's for a long time and always thought they were overly cushioned and clunky..

I have played tennis before in vibrams forget the name but it was their second model after the original and they got destroyed readily but I had no problems physically
 
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BLX_Andy

Professional
I would prefer the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour. They're lightweight and have great support IMO. Durability is surprisingly good if you don't wear this everyday unless its for tennis.
 

bigdaddyps

Semi-Pro
Love my superlight Adidas Response CC Rally Comps.

Great fit, nice stylin', and I got 2 pair at $49.99 ea.
Hot damn!

Now I only play on clay. Don't know how they would feel on hard courts.

They are 4 ozs. lighter than the pair of Asics Gel Res 5 clay court shoes I have. And it makes a significant diff for me.
 

WildVolley

Legend
Those of you who bought Vibram Five Fingers note that they settled in the class action against them for false claims about the the health benefits of their shoes. You are entitled to $94 for each pair that you've purchased since March 2009.

FiveFingers Maker Vibram Moves to Settle Suit Over Health Claims
Proposal Awaiting Court Approval Would Offer Refunds to Shoe Buyers [WSJ]
I purchased a pair at some point, don't know if I'll have records for the date. The settlement is actually for a small amount, less than $4 million (so it is basically impossible to reimburse most of the purchasers, especially after the lawyers take about a 1/3 of that).

It's a weird case. I bought my pair because they were close to barefoot but added some protection from sharp surfaces.

They definitely do help strengthen your feet, but less so than just taking your shoes off and going around barefoot. It is sort of amazing that someone would argue that going barefoot doesn't strengthen your feet. You can just take off your shoes and see that your range of motion increases. I'm sure that someone could walk very gingerly barefoot and not increase strength, but the same person could probably lift weights and not increase strength.

The idea that it would reduce injury is the more questionable claim. Did Vibram actually ever say that? Seems hard to believe. The most legitimate complaint against them is that the pair I have is poorly designed in that dirt can sift between the fixed insole and the outsole and then they stink like hell. You have to constantly wash them if you don't want to kill other people from the stink.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
I have been playing in some squash shoes - which while not minimalist - are far more minimal then normal tennis shoes and have less drop.

You feel more stable and quicker - but I find on concrete I want more shock absorbing ability. It's true with more cushion you give up stability but you gain shock absorbtion.

The whole draw of minimalist shoes is that you avoid heel striking. However in tennis the pros can avoid that without minimalist shoes - fed will stay on the balls of his feet till he plants to hit.

So seems to me that's the best of both worlds - you avoid heel striking and get more cushioning. I know there is some theories that cushioning doesn't really work. But I don't buy it..

I have played on some rubberized surfaces which I think would replicate the feel of padded shoes and they absolutely seem easier on my joints. I'd think clay is somewhat similar - you lose some stability but you gain softness..
 

morten

Hall of Fame
I have been playing in some squash shoes - which while not minimalist - are far more minimal then normal tennis shoes and have less drop.

You feel more stable and quicker - but I find on concrete I want more shock absorbing ability. It's true with more cushion you give up stability but you gain shock absorbtion.

The whole draw of minimalist shoes is that you avoid heel striking. However in tennis the pros can avoid that without minimalist shoes - fed will stay on the balls of his feet till he plants to hit.

So seems to me that's the best of both worlds - you avoid heel striking and get more cushioning. I know there is some theories that cushioning doesn't really work. But I don't buy it..

I have played on some rubberized surfaces which I think would replicate the feel of padded shoes and they absolutely seem easier on my joints. I'd think clay is somewhat similar - you lose some stability but you gain softness..
Sounds logical except one important difference , yes you stay on the balls of feet while just hitting, at eachother.. As soon as you start running and grinding, staying low, chasing dropshots you must land on your heels sometimes. All the stopping, changing directions. . You cannot play tennis looking like Fred Astaire, all the time. I have been a barefootshoe/minimalistshoe runner for 5 years, i even work in the business. I wanted it to work believe me, for match play it does not work. I use CB 4.3. , one thing the shoemakers could do is to try a bit lower drop, not so much raised the heel.
 

6LOVE

New User
After a couple years (10 pairs) of playing in Merrell's Barefoot Road Glove, I can no longer find this excellent shoe in my size. (The successors, Road Glove 2 and 3, don't cut it.) I'm thinking about the Merrell Vapor Glove as a replacement. Has anyone given the Vapor Glove a try?
 

morten

Hall of Fame
vapor glove is amazing, but really thin and minimalistic.. And the size run big... had to go down.. But i never wore them for tennis.
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
I'm having some foot problems (cramps in the instep/anterior ankle) I've been doing a lot of foot strengthening and recently changed my usual Yonex cushioned sneakers to an old worn down pair of New Balance.. no holes just a flatter bottom sole..
My feet are more sore after i play on hard courts but the cramps have subsided somewhat..Maybe it's my new worn down minimalist sneaker lol.. Any Thoughts??
Also is there anything new in this technology?
 
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Worn shoes are problematic, if not just because the soles will be tilted (not horisontal) from repetitive use. This is part of the advantage of real minimal (or no) shoes. They keep horisontal throughout their use.
 

6LOVE

New User
I'm using the New Balance Minimus 60 but don't like it very much. Just ordered the Nike Court Air Zoom Ultrafly, I'll let you know how I like those. My favorite minimalist tennis shoe was the Merrell Barefoot Road Glove (discontinued) with a homemade insole of PPT foam.
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
Worn shoes are problematic, if not just because the soles will be tilted (not horisontal) from repetitive use. This is part of the advantage of real minimal (or no) shoes. They keep horisontal throughout their use.
Thanks Pov, luckily, these aren't too badly tilted but i need to get a new minimalist pair..Last year i spent over $200 on 2 pairs of Yonex's ugh
 

skuludo

Professional
Are these minimalist shoes better than the Wilson Glide shoes at sliding on hard courts?
 
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WildVolley

Legend
Are these minimalist shoes better than the Wilson Glide shoes at sliding on hard courts?
Wilson Glide shoes are designed to slide with a slick plastic plate in parts of the bottom.

Minimal shoes are good for sliding only in that they have very low stack height so there's less stress on the ankle as you slide. Minimalist tennis shoes haven't been designed for sliding. The NB MC60 for example is a herringbone-tread clay court shoe that really sticks to the clay. I'd say it is harder to slide because the traction on clay is so good.
 
On another note, I got to see and handle the Vivo Barefoot Motus in a shop today. And the sole is definitely more rugged than on their normal shoes, so durability might not be bad.
 

WildVolley

Legend
I'm not certain, but it looked like Kuznetsova was wearing the NB WC60 shoes during her final in Miami yesterday. That's the most minimal shoe made by a big name tennis shoe company.
 
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