If you’re still rolling to the court in your 1978 Stan Smith originals, it might be time to make a switch. Tennis shoes, like the tires on your car, eventually wear out.
Court shoes provide critical stability and comfort on the court. Playing with worn-out shoes can compromise your game, movement and increase the risk of injury.
As a general rule, a court shoe usually lasts about 45-60 hours of use before wearing out. So, if you play once a week for an hour, you should be replacing your shoes at least once a year.
Simple, right? — Not quite.
While the number of hours may provide a good benchmark, we like to encourage our customers to monitor how the shoe feels over time. Unlike running shoes where you can gauge how much mileage you’ve logged—court shoes are a bit trickier. The duration of use, style of play, type of court, shoe construction, and player type can all significantly influence the lifespan of a court shoe.
1. Lost the Squeak
If you’ve noticed that your court shoes have lost their squeak on a hard court it might be a good time to check the outsole.
Overworn outsoles, the carbon rubber exterior of the shoe, is the most obvious tell that you might need a new pair. Tennis requires a lot of aggressive lateral movements and that can take a beating on the outsole of your shoes. If the outsole has diminished into the midsole, then it’s probably time to replace your shoes. More wear equals less traction, less stability and inevitably an increased risk of injury.
The type of court you play on will affect the lifespan of your court shoe. Hard courts tend to wear the outsole of a shoe quicker because of the lower energy absorption and abrasion. One of the more abrasive types of courts to play on is made of plexicushion, an acrylic-based hard court surface, used at the Australian Open.
2. The Flex and Twist Test
If you feel like you’ve lost a bit of control and stability on the court, it might be a good time to try the flex and twist test. By holding the shoe at heel and toe, you can assess its flexibility and support by bending and twisting the shoe. This test is a good way to assess the shoe's structural rigidity and overall lateral support.
Compared to running shoes, tennis shoes are built far more rigid to provide the player more lateral stability when moving on court. If your shoes can be molded and bent with ease, this usually indicates the midsole has softened up and lost its structure and can potentially become harmful to the player.
3. Additional Aches and Pains
Tennis requires a lot of aggressive and jarring movements that can be hard on your body. When you start to notice soreness and stiffness at the bottoms of your feet, ankles or knees, it might mean that your shoes need replacing. Over time, the midsole of your tennis shoes can become compressed, compromising their shock-absorbing ability and making it harder on your body. If this happens, it's time to replace them.
4. New Blisters
If you're developing new blisters or abrasions when wearing shoes you have worn for a while, it could mean that the shoes have transformed and no longer provide optimal support and comfort. The shape of your once trusty court companions has been altered and it might be time for a new pair.
Once you've gone through the above checklist and determined it's time to replace your worn shoes, what's next?
Shop our shoe selection online.
Drop into our store for a fitting.
Skip the line and book a fitting online.