If you have decided to invest in a pair of tennis shoes, you might find that you are unsure about how much you should spend. You probably want to find a happy medium between price and quality, whether you are going to be playing casually or seriously. Tennis shoes are sold at a wide range of prices, and it can be overwhelming to begin your search.
You might also be willing to pay a higher price for a better shoe. If so, you are probably wondering if there big differences in quality and support between the low end of the price range and the high, or are you only paying for the brand name. To make the best decision, you will need to know what the typical price range is for tennis shoes.
The average price for tennis shoes is $70 with a range from $50 to $170. If you are a beginner, $70 tennis shoes will last you until you decide if you’re going to advance in tennis skills. Expensive tennis shoes around $150 are made by trusted brands with better materials, with better stability, traction, and support.
The right pair of tennis shoes can enhance your experience on the court. It might be worth it to pay a little more, and get a shoe that will be the most durable and offer the best support, but you can sometimes find everything you need in a less expensive shoe.
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How Much Should I Spend on Tennis Shoes?
How much you should spend on tennis shoes depends on several factors:
- How often you are playing tennis
- Your preexisting conditions
- How often you can replace your tennis shoes
- The type of court you play on most often
If you are a serious tennis player, and you play often, you should take that into account when you purchase a pair of tennis shoes. It might be more worth it to you to spend some extra money and get a shoe with more support. A more expensive shoe can offer increased support and comfort. This makes it easier to spend hours on the court without experiencing pain or an overuse injury.
However, if you are a casual tennis player and don’t expect to spend extended periods of time playing, you can easily make do with a shoe from the lower end of the price range. It should offer similar support to the more expensive shoe, just at a lesser level and less attention to comfort.
If you have preexisting foot, knee, or other conditions, a more expensive shoe is probably the way to go. Higher-priced tennis shoes are going to offer the most structured support for the multi-directional movements of tennis.
Just like any other shoes, tennis shoes will need to be periodically replaced as they begin to wear out. The United States Tennis Association recommends replacing your tennis shoes at least once a year, but potentially as often as every three months if you are a more serious tennis player.
Therefore, when choosing a tennis shoe, make sure you are considering durability. Lightweight shoes might seem like a good idea, but they can wear out much faster than sturdier shoes. Some more expensive shoes will put extra reinforcement in the toe panel, an area that is commonly worn out quickly by tennis players.
Lastly, the court you play on does make a difference in the shoes you should buy. Harder courts like cement or asphalt will be harder on your shoes, causing them to wear out faster and need to be replaced sooner. Spending the extra money on a more durable shoe might save you money in the long run.
Are Expensive Tennis Shoes Worth it?
All tennis shoes should be designed to support the basic movements and needs of a tennis player. That said, it can be worth it to buy a more expensive tennis shoe in certain cases.
The following chart shows some of the primary traits found in more expensive tennis shoes ($100 or up), and the price range of those traits.
As you can see, qualities such as a reinforced toe and a padded collar can be found throughout the range of $100 to $170, but between $130 and $170, being lightweight becomes less of a priority and is replaced by durability.
If you are a serious tennis player, the extra reinforcement in some of the shoes at the high end of the price range could be worth it to you. You will probably be harder on your shoes and can avoid replacing them as often if you go for the more expensive and durable shoe.
If you are a more casual player, you probably do not need the most expensive shoes. However, if you are experiencing foot issues, the extra support found in a heel clip and other support qualities of expensive shoes could allow you to continue working on your tennis game.
Pros and Cons of Buying Expensive Tennis Shoes
Expensive tennis shoes should provide all of the qualities you need in a tennis shoe, but at a higher level. You should see more support features such as heel straps, and increased midsole structure. You will also see reinforcement in high-impact areas, such as the toe box, extra modifications for comfort, and the outer materials are usually said to be made of more durable materials.
On the other hand, if you are a more aggressive player who plays on a hard court, and you know you will wear your shoes out faster than a casual player. Buying the more expensive shoes can add up over time, even with the added durability. If you are on a budget, you might want to see how far a less expensive shoe will get you before you invest in a $170 pair.
If you are still on the fence about whether or not to invest in an expensive pair of tennis shoes, you might want to consider some of the pros and cons.
Additionally, while expensive shoes tend to be more durable, some will focus on being lightweight. Lightweight shoes can wear out faster, especially on hard courts. If you plan on wearing your expensive shoes every day, durability should probably be your main criteria, and you might have a hard time finding a truly durable, non-lightweight shoe until you are at a very high price point.
You also might want to compare different shoe brands. It is possible to find the same qualities as a Nike in a lesser-known brand. You will want to make sure that if you are paying the higher prices, you are getting as much bang for your buck as possible, and the quality of the shoe should precede the brand name.
Overall, you must weigh the pros and cons of buying an expensive tennis shoe against your personal needs. The durability of a very expensive tennis shoe can be a great asset to the moderate tennis player who isn’t on a budget, but not everyone will benefit from buying the most expensive shoe.
What to Look for When Buying Tennis Shoes
If the expensive shoe is not necessary for your needs, or just not in the budget right now, what are the most important qualities to find in a less expensive tennis shoe?
You will want to make sure that your tennis shoe has:
- Midsole support
- Low heel drops
- Ankle stability
- Shock absorption
- Supported toe box
You should be able to easily find all or most of these qualities in low-priced tennis shoes, they just might be of lower quality and made of less durable materials than the more expensive pairs. tennis shoes are designed for lateral movement with midsole support and low heel drops, ankle stability for multi-directional movements and quick stops and starts, and traction to allow you to properly grip your court surface.
Toe box support is especially important if you know you will be doing a lot of serving or if you tend to drag your toes while you play, as both can wear out that area of your shoe more quickly. Shock absorption is most important when you will be primarily playing on a hard court.
Whether you choose to buy an expensive, high-end tennis shoe, or you opt to try one at a lower price point, the most important thing to keep in mind is your personal needs. It might be necessary to choose an expensive pair if you have preexisting foot conditions, or you want the extra support and reinforcement as a regular player. A casual player might find all they need in a $50 pair of shoes.
Regardless, the average price of a pair of tennis shoes is going to be around, and for that amount, you can often find a shoe that is supportive and durable enough if you fall somewhere in between a casual player and a serious one.
How Long do Tennis Shoes Last?
The average life span of tennis shoes depends on the frequency of the usage. The type of surface and the player’s weight can also be a factor to determine how long their tennis shoes last. Heavier players may have to replace their tennis shoes more often compared to lighter players.
Related: Types of Different Tennis Court Surfaces (at bottom of the article)
How often should you replace your tennis shoes depends on the frequency of tennis play. Average tennis players play tennis 1-3 times a week, and 10 tennis matches is around 2-3 weeks of usage.
An average tennis player’s shoes may start to become non-supportive after 6-8 months of usage, and they may start to see signs of subtle pain on their feet, ankles, and knees. If they continue to play through signs of feet pain, it may eventually lead to hip pain.
Frequency of tennis shoes usage:
- If you play tennis casually (once a week), and only use them to play tennis, you can expect them to last more than a year, often 1-2 years.
- If you play tennis 2-3 times a week and also use them for daily walking, you will start to see signs of wear and tear after 6-8 months.
- If you play tennis aggressively more than 3 times a week, you should start to look for a replacement every 3-6 months.
Aggressive & competitive tennis players tend to start looking for a replacement for their tennis shoes after these time frames:
- Matches: after 50 matches
- Hours: After 75-100 hours
- Weeks: After 10-15 weeks