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Tennis Shoes vs Running Shoes: Differences, Benefits, and Best Uses

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Tennis Shoes vs Running Shoes

When it comes to tennis shoes vs running shoes, the debate seems to never end over which style is the better shoe. The issue with this argument is that neither answer is correct. Each type of shoe is better for its specific intended purpose.

Therefore, running shoes are going to be better for running, but tennis shoes will have their purpose as well. 

Main Differences Between Tennis Shoes vs Running Shoes 

Running shoes and tennis shoes are very different. Running shoes are specifically made for running and they absolutely make a difference when compared to tennis shoes. Running shoes are made to withstand the high impact forces of running as well as provide more comfort for long-distance running.

Tennis shoes will generally provide more support and stability. As a general rule, running shoes will emphasize cushioning and basic comfort and tennis shoes focus more on the side to side support and basic stability.

Benefits of Running Shoes

High-quality running shoes offer many different benefits to the runner over other types of shoes. Having the appropriate and correct shoes for your sport is essential. Running shoes are designed to support and comfort your feet where it matters most.

While running, you are generally always going in the forward direction. Therefore, running shoes are designed with added cushioning in the heel and toe areas to help withstand the constant heel-to-toe strikes that running requires.

Although sneakers made specifically for running do have some lateral stability, only minimal because side-to-side motions are very uncommon with running. The added extra cushion in many running shoes qualifies them as “neutral” shoes. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

Tip: The “neutral” shoes work great for people with high arches. Stability running shoes are great for runners whose arches could collapse. Runners who are heavier or have more flat feet could benefit from motion control running shoes.

If you were to attempt running long miles with tennis shoes, you would most likely be injured rather quickly with common pains in your feet from the lack of cushioning.

Different types of running shoes are better for different situations and conditions. We have done extensive research and found the top running shoes for several unique situations runners face.

Here is a quick list of those reviews:

Running Shoes Have a Lightweight Advantage

female legs in running shoes

With running, even every ounce is very important for maximum efficiency. While tennis shoes can also benefit from being lightweight, it is not worth it to sacrifice durability and support for a lightweight advantage.

Running shoes are better light, cushioned, and flexible. The running shoes will weigh less and also be more comfortable for the runner, especially while running rigorous miles. Tennis shoes will be more stiff, durable, and supportive.

Sometimes, while running, you will be exposed to the natural conditions of rain, sleet, or snow. In any of these conditions, a lightweight running shoe will give you a massive advantage. The conditions can cause your shoe to become wet and, therefore, very heavy.

Running is hard enough in competition, a water-logged shoe is the last thing you would want and would cause you to waste energy. Due to these natural conditions that occur, it is also important to choose high-quality, comfortable, lightweight running apparel as well. 

Benefits of Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes offer many benefits for their specific intended purpose as well. These shoes are designed specifically for the tennis court. That is why they are designed with so much lateral support and stability.

The added support and stability allow the shoes to withstand the extremely quick and constant movements, as well as the frequent side-to-side cuts that tennis requires. Tennis shoes are created with less cushioning.

That allows the player to be lower to the ground. Being closer to the ground is beneficial to tennis players because it allows you to feel more stable laterally. 

Tennis shoes have a stability advantage

Man in White Shorts Holding Tennis Racket

Tennis shoes are well known for the substantial stability advantages they offer. Without stability, a tennis shoe would not last long. If you have ever watched a tennis match, you would know the sport requires constant intense movements.

A running shoe would most likely have your foot tearing out the side of the shoe before the match even ended. High-quality tennis shoes will hold your feet very securely and comfortably, allowing you to step from side to side quickly and confidently.

The outsoles will generally be much heavier than running shoes, but more durable as well. They will also be made with advanced materials and supportive uppers to improve the stability of the shoe even more. 

Soles and Durability of Tennis Shoes vs Running Shoes

When it comes to the sole and durability of shoes, they can differ dramatically. The soles can be one of the most important qualities of a shoe. With running, you need the soles to be comfortable but also have good tread and traction for the different terrain you may be running.

Runners typically will put off replacing their running shoes as long as they still have good spring and cushioning. Many runners are even unbothered by dirt or even holes in their running shoes as long as they still provide that essential comfort a runner needs. 

The American Heart Association suggests that runners consider replacing their running shoes when the tread has been worn down. They state that is generally between 350-500 miles of running.

“the life expectancy of running shoes should be measured in miles rather than months or years: generally, 300 miles at minimum, 500 miles at most.”

Greg Weich, the shoe fit expert, and store manager at In Motion Running in Boulder, Colorado

As you can see 300-500 miles is a good rule of thumb because many of the most respected leaders in the running industry seem to agree in that regard. Tennis shoes are generally replaced after the player has worn through the outsole or has ground down the sole so much that it is now smooth and no longer offers any beneficial traction.

That is why the soles on tennis shoes are made so much more durable than running shoes. The player is constantly stopping and sliding, and the shoe needs to withstand those movements for long periods. 

Final Thoughts on The Differences

If you are a runner, you should choose running shoes for the many added advantages. The many benefits of running shoes can make the difference between many common injuries and being injury-free. Also, running shoes can be very comfortable for the casual wearer as well.

Many people like to choose running shoes for everyday wear. Running shoes tend to be very comfortable in many situations, including walking. Some people do choose to wear tennis shoes as everyday wear as well, but it is not as common. This is why the debate rages on: running shoes vs tennis shoes – which is best?

If you have high arches, a neutral, high cushioned running shoe will suit you very well. If you are flat-footed or heavier, motion control running shoes will meet your needs. If fast, quick movements are common or lateral support and stability are your concerns, I would suggest a high-quality tennis shoe for your needs. 

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.