by Craig Blake
When it's time to choose a pair of athletic shoes to improve your tennis game, it might help to have a basic understanding of athletic shoes themselves. Tennis shoes have a few major components that are specific to them. Although many kinds of men's athletic shoes are popularly called tennis shoes, make sure the men's shoes you buy are in fact tennis shoes made for tennis. Here are a few things you should look for in a new pair of athletic shoes.
Tennis shoe sole: The outsole of a tennis shoe should be relatively flat and stable. Since tennis is a game that involves a lot of lateral movement, the soles of men's tennis shoes should be wider than those of running shoes to prevent rolling your ankle. Likewise, the insole should provide plenty of support and cushioning, but it shouldn't slope down to the toe like a running shoe. Sloping insoles only cause your feet to slip inside the shoe every time you stop, and there is nothing worse than your toes constantly jamming into the front of your shoes whenever you change direction on the tennis court.
Tennis shoe upper: The upper of a tennis shoe should be thick and supportive. It should have sufficient laces to stay snug on your foot, keeping it from sliding around inside the shoe. Those with ankles prone to rolling should get a tennis shoe with tall ankle support.
Lightweight: Tennis players must be able to move at a moment's notice. If your shoes are too heavy, they can cost you precious time. Even taking half a second longer to move can be a big deal in tennis. Don't try to play tennis with all-purpose athletic shoes or the heavier athletic shoes made for basketball. Actual tennis shoes are lightweight enough to allow easy movement.
Beware bells and whistles: If it sounds like a gimmick, it probably is. There is so much competition in athletic shoes that anything can be used as an edge, but pumping a ball full of air attached to the tongue won't make you jump higher. Generally, sticking with basics isn't a bad idea when it comes to good tennis shoes.