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Minimalist Shoes for Tennis Shoes?

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  • Minimalist Shoes for Tennis Shoes?

    Any thoughts for a social (although sprint-speed!) game of tennis? I run in Nike Free Run+ 2s with a view to a long term upgrade to VFFs. The serious tennis players tell me that I will turn my ankle the second I step on a tennis court without super-supportive tennis shoes. Does anyone have any experiences to share of tennis or other "lateral" sports in minimalist footwear like the Nike Frees?

  • #2
    I've played tennis once in my Frees, and it was a bit different. I'm not a regular tennis player, so it's always a bit odd anyway though.

    My thinking is that many tennis players would say that because they are acclimated to having all that support in their traditional shoes that their feet/ankles NEED it constantly. It would probably take some time to shift from that to a more minimalist shoe, but I don't see why it would be a problem as long as your feet have adjusted themselves so that the support is coming from the underlying muscles/tendons/etc. rather than the shoe.

    Not an overnight switch, but long-term I wouldn't see why it's not possible.
    I got 99 problems but a pancake ain't one...

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    • #3
      I've been playing tennis in tretorn sneakers for more than 60 years - they're close to minimalist - I don't actually know of any "super-supportive tennis shoes."


      • #4
        D+C, I don't have specific advice as I don't play tennis. But you might want to post this question at: Vibram Five Fingers Forum - Index or

        Barefoot Runners Society

        Lots of minimalist and barefoot folks there that might have good advice.

        If I were going to play, I would probably wear my VFF Komodosport LS.
        My journal:


        • #5
          The turning the ankle thing is BS. I play handball (same game as racquetball, but with smaller ball and without a racquet) and basketball in the Skechers Go Bionics. I spent a lot of time trying to find a minimal shoe that still had enough padding to support lunging or jumping. These are perfect. They are flat with no heel to toe drop, but have enough cushion to jump and land in. And they are very light. Very good court shoes. I actually bought several pairs for years to come, just in case they decide to discontinue. I have tried many minimal shoes for the court and these are the best by far.


          • #6
            I thought the very definition of tennis shoes were simple ones like Ked's.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


            • #7
              If you look at replies in this thread (which I just googled up as an example) you will see the sort of things I hear at my wife's tennis club! Minimalist shoes for Tennis? - Talk Tennis

              Thanks a lot for the advice, I appreciate it. The only good thing I have heard was one of the old boys telling me they all used to play in Converse All Stars, which are zero drop!


              • #8
                I recently tried out my Merell Trail Gloves on the har-tru (green clay) courts, and loved them. I had been off of tennis for a few months (played competitively for years), but otherwise strictly minimal footwear for over a year. There wasn't any sense of lack of support, probably since I'm used to being barefoot. They felt light, quick. The guy at the court thought they tore up the court more, though...don't think he's right, but lots of tennis folks are used to the whites.


                • #9
                  My barefooting daughter, when forced to shoe up, played all her high school sports - volleyball, basketball, and badminton, in New Balance Minimus. An aggressive athlete, she never rolled an ankle nor tweaked a knee these past three years. She had no issues with traction on gym floors. The other girls were always wrapping ankles, and bracing knees. The only problem was she destroyed the mesh uppers of the shoes, and busted out of several pairs. It got expensive shoeing my barefooter! She eschewed Converse because they were "too trendy and name brand" although I thought the canvas uppers would be more durable. Wearing thin wool running socks helped mitigate the stink - one pair got retired prematurely due to odour.

                  "Unfortunately, humans rely less on instincts and more on culture to determine what they eat" - Marcia Pelchat


                  • #10
                    I thought the very definition of tennis shoes were simple ones like Ked's too


                    • #11
                      My mum uses Merrell pace gloves for tennis, she says they are fine.
                      Go sell crazy somewhere else.........we're all stocked up here.