Can You Play Tennis In Running Shoes

As a runner and tennis enthusiast, I often find myself debating whether it is possible to play tennis in running shoes. While tennis shoes are specifically designed for the sport, running shoes are built for different purposes. In this article, I will explore the pros and cons of playing tennis in running shoes, based on my own experiences and research.

The Key Differences

Before we dive into the debate, let’s understand the key differences between running shoes and tennis shoes. Running shoes are designed to provide cushioning and support for forward motion while running. They often have a thick midsole and significant heel cushioning to absorb impact. On the other hand, tennis shoes are created to provide stability and lateral support for quick side-to-side movements. They have a flatter sole and are designed to withstand the demands of tennis-specific movements.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the reasons why playing tennis in running shoes may or may not be a good idea:

Comfort and Cushioning

One advantage of wearing running shoes on the tennis court is the superior comfort and cushioning they offer. Running shoes are designed to provide optimal shock absorption, making them ideal for long-distance running. This cushioning can be beneficial for players with ankle or knee issues, as it helps reduce the impact on joints during quick stops and changes of direction.


Running shoes are typically more flexible than tennis shoes due to their lightweight construction. This flexibility allows for natural foot movement and can be advantageous for players who prefer a more responsive feel on the court. It can also be beneficial for players who engage in both running and tennis, as they may not want to invest in separate shoes for each activity.

Traction and Stability

One of the major drawbacks of playing tennis in running shoes is the lack of specific traction and stability features. Tennis shoes are designed with a special outsole pattern and rubber compounds that provide excellent grip on court surfaces. They also have reinforced areas around the toe and heel to withstand the constant lateral movements in tennis. Running shoes, on the other hand, may not offer the same level of traction and stability, which can result in slipping and increased risk of injury.


Due to the nature of tennis movements, tennis shoes are built to withstand the wear and tear associated with the sport. They are made with durable materials and often have additional layers of protection in high-impact areas. Running shoes, while durable for their intended use, may not hold up as well on the tennis court. The constant pivoting and sliding in tennis can quickly wear down the outsole of running shoes, decreasing their longevity.


While it is technically possible to play tennis in running shoes, it is not the ideal choice. Tennis shoes are specifically designed to provide the necessary support, stability, and traction required for the sport. They offer features that can enhance performance and minimize the risk of injury. Investing in a pair of good-quality tennis shoes is highly recommended for anyone serious about playing tennis.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to play tennis in running shoes comes down to personal preference and individual circumstances. If you are just starting out or playing recreationally, wearing running shoes may be acceptable. However, as you progress and increase your level of play, investing in proper tennis shoes will undoubtedly enhance your performance and protect your feet and joints in the long run.