Difference between Tennis Shoes and Running Shoes
By Theydiffer - June 27, 2016

We keep being bombarded with articles telling us that we need to work out, to have an active lifestyle and that we need to get out there. At the same time, articles about injuries and about how we are doing everything wrong keep pouring in. It’s no longer just about doing something, it’s about the way we are doing it and about the equipment and how to choose it properly. Speaking of which, do you know the difference between tennis shoes and running shoes?


Getty Images/EyeEm/Wattanaphob Kappago

Tennis shoes, although often mistaken for sneakers, are the shoes designed for the game of tennis. What makes them special? The fact that they are intended to help the athlete’s foot in his left to right motion as opposed to other types of sports is what makes them different. They are sturdier and their soles are flat but they may vary in design according to the type of tennis court a match will be played on: grass, clay or hard court, with the proviso that soles will get worn out sooner on the latter. The key features of tennis shoes, as they may vary according to the type of court, are the grip, a well designed outsole, good sides and lateral support and a tight upper.

Depending on the type of game played, tennis shoes can have flexible uppers or flat outsoles for the swift movements when the player dives to catch the ball. Also, since this activity means springing all over the court in side-to side, forward or backward springs, the shoes are designed accordingly and are very versatile.

Getty Images/Moment/Visoot Uthairam

Running shoes are specially designed to cushion the foot as it presses on the ground and to allow forward movements. Recent studies and runner experiences have shown that more and more professional and amateur runners have become aware of the importance of good running shoes and they are more keen on trying to avoid pulled muscles, shin splits, joint and knee pain. The type of the foot plays a big role in selecting the right running shoe. Flat footed people need shoes which provide them with more stability, while those with high arches need midsole padding with flexibility.

Tennis Shoes vs Running Shoes

So what is the difference between tennis shoes and running shoes?

Both tennis shoes and running shoes are designed particularly for specific ranges of movements. While tennis shoes need to have side padding and provide a good grip so as to allow the ankles to move around from side to side freely, running shoes are designed to let you pound the pavement without the pressure of the hard ground to impact severely on your joints. Both of them need to take into account the height of the foot arch, but, then again, this needs to be a variable when choosing any type of foot.

Running shoes can be designed for track, cement and on nature trails, their adherence and padding differing. The same goes for the tennis shoes and the types of court.

Comparison Chart

Tennis shoesRunning shoes
Designed for different types of courtsDesigned for different types of tracks
Have better lateral grip, flexible upper and flat outsolesHave better stability and come with special padding to reduce the shock of pounding the ground
Need to be chosen according to the height of the foot archNeed to be chosen according to the height of the foot arch
Proper footwear will prevent lower limb injuriesProper footwear will prevent lower limb injuries