Cats or dogs. Apples or oranges. Chocolate or vanilla.
Everyone has their preference, but when you’re looking for shoes, each kind has its own specific uses. Buying the wrong pair of sports shoes means you won’t get the best possible performance. So if you’re deciding on tennis shoes vs sneakers, you might be surprised what sort of differences they have.
Many people believe that tennis shoes and sneakers are the same things. But while they may look similar, they both serve different purposes. In this guide, we’re going to discuss which one you should get.
Join us for our tennis shoes and sneakers guide.
Tennis Shoes Vs Sneakers: Why Do People Get These Shoes Mixed Up?
When people are looking for a good pair of sports shoes that provide exceptional comfort and support, they think of tennis shoes. Or they think of sneakers. To many people, these words are synonymous.
Perhaps the main difference between tennis shoes and sneakers is that one has a longer history. Tennis is an older sport than you might believe, and so is the gear associated with it. The earliest tennis shoe on record goes all the way back to the 19th century.
Sneakers are a bit younger, finding their origins also in the early 19th century. As time went by, both of these shoes saw significant changes until they became the modern versions we know of today.
Modern shoes are made with lighter materials, are more breathable, and typically last longer. Another feature of modern shoes has been the ability to mass-produce them in a variety of sizes. The best tennis shoes and sneakers saw an explosion in popularity from this.
Perhaps the biggest confusion is that both tennis shoes and sneakers serve a similar market. They’re all-purpose shoes that usually have a sports component. Both Converse shoes and tennis shoes would make a great pair for, say, playing volleyball.
That’s perhaps the easiest way to tell these shoes apart: they’re versatile. Even though tennis shoes have a more specific use, they’re great for many things besides tennis.
What Are Sneakers?
Sneakers are casual-wear shoes. They’re designed to be comfortable, with rubber soles and good support. However, they don’t excel in one particular type of sport or game.
Sneakers lack many of the “extra features” that you might find in sport’s shoes. They don’t provide lateral support, their soles are prone to scuffing, and they lack quality shock absorption.
However, sneakers are a lot more stylish. You can wear them to more occasions, in some cases even formal ones. But with tennis shoes, it’s not ideal to wear them outside of casual functions.
Sneakers also go better with most clothes. Sneakers go great with pants, shorts, and even skirts or dresses. Tennis shoes don’t usually fit with a more formal outfit.
Another thing to consider is that sneakers have laces that are more fashion-focused. It can take longer to lace them up, and the intention is for the laces to lie flat.
Finally, sneakers are not ideal for sweat-heavy sports. If you sweat a lot, the canvas material won’t do a good job drying off your sweat. If you have sweaty soles, there aren’t good pads for absorbing them.
What Are Tennis Shoes?
Tennis shoes, as the name implies, work best for tennis. When you think of the game of tennis, you can begin to imagine what sort of shoe it needs.
First and foremost, tennis shoes have a lot of support. Since tennis players need to jink around, that support needs to extend to all sides. For your tennis shoes buying guide, look for tennis shoes that add a lot of spring to your step.
Much of this support needs to be lateral. Lateral motion is the side-to-side movement that you see when tennis players are trying to intercept the ball. With sneakers, this movement might be less springy and put more weight on sensitive joints.
Another thing tennis shoes have is a good grip. They need to hold onto the court as you move around, back and forth. Without this, you have less control of your moves.
Tennis shoes handle sweat better. They have lighter, sports-friendly material. They wick away sweat after a long playing session.
Tennis shoes also tend to be more affordable. Popular sneakers brands cost more, so expect to add a few dollars to your budget if you buy sneakers.
Finally, tennis shoes have good laces. They stay on your feet without moving, providing superior traction and control.
Which One Should You Wear?
The answer is usually pretty simple.
If you want a stylish, versatile shoe that’s comfortable to wear and works well in more formal situations, go for sneakers. Sneakers come in a lot of styles, but they’re still good for running when you need them.
If you need a comfortable sports shoe that gives you a lot of traction and support, go for tennis shoes. These shoes work better for an active lifestyle with a lot of walking. Plus, they are better with sweat and have strong laces.
Tennis shoes are not ideal if you’re going for style. They only go with a handful of styles and don’t work in formal situations.
Find the Right Shoes for You
Tennis shoes vs sneakers have been the question of the ages. While for many people there seem to be few meaningful differences between them, these are two very different shoes. They serve unique purposes and choosing the right one will decide what you can use your shoes for.
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