Some people say that tennis is an expensive sport. I would not agree with it, as you need just three basic things to start playing. You need a tennis racket, tennis balls, and tennis court or at least some space with a wall. Eventually, there is a fourth thing you need to consider. Kids tennis shoes can save your kid from injury and give him/her better stability when playing. We put together basic advice on how to choose the best kids shoes.
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Does the starter really need tennis shoes?
Regular Kids Tennis Players
How to choose the best kids tennis shoes?
– Grass Kids Tennis Shoes
– Clay Kids Tennis Shoes
– Hard Kids Tennis Shoes
– All Court Kids Tennis Shoes
Sizing of Kids Tennis Shoes
– Laces or Velcro Strips
– One or Two Pairs
or check our Kids Tennis Racket Guide here
Does my kid really need tennis shoes for the first tennis practice?
In the beginning, I start with the most asked question. Does my kid really need special tennis shoes for the first training session? The answer is pretty simple. No.
Kids like to try a lot of different sports. It would cost you a fortune to buy your boy or girl special shoes for every sport he or she tries. I recommend using any sneakers your kid already has. Any sports shoes are good for the first few sessions. Kids always start with light practice sessions with more physical activity and games before starting playing serious tennis.
By the way, you can borrow a tennis racket and ball in most tennis clubs, so you have basically zero costs at the start. It really does not make sense to buy special tennis shoes at the start.
My kid is playing tennis regularly.
At the time when it is clear, that tennis is not a short-lived time killer, you should consider investing in good tennis shoes. Tennis is a sport when footwork is very important and foot injuries can happen. Kids tennis shoes can prevent unwanted slips, falls and resulting injuries.
Tennis shoes provide stability on the court, good traction, help in controlled sliding and improve the overall play. You can play tennis in any shirt and shorts, but I would not underestimate the impact of good tennis shoes.
How to choose the best kids tennis shoes for different surfaces.
The most important factor in choosing the best kids tennis shoes is the surface. Every surface requires a different set of parameters from shoes.
Generally, there are three different basic surfaces: grass, clay and hard courts. The most used surfaces are clay and hard (flex or carpet) courts. There are not so many grass courts, as their maintenance is very difficult.
You can check with your local club what court surface they have. Fortunately, kids are usually playing all season long at the same courts and even tournaments are organized at the prevailing surfaces in the region.
Grass Kids Tennis Shoes
It is very rare to play on grass tennis courts these days. We will put here a few notes you should have in a mind just in case your kid is going to play on grass.
Playing style on grass consists of strong serve and fast volleys. Players need to move quickly on the baseline and to the net and back on the grass.
Grass tennis shoes should have flat and thicker outsole. The grip should be good to prevent slips and shoe form should be flexible and durable to withstand a lot of short runs.
Clay Kids Tennis Shoes
Clay is one of the most used surfaces. Playing style on clay consists of a lot of slides to the sides and long baselines exchanges combined with effective use of stop balls.
Clay tennis shoes should have the best possible grip on the outsole to help with sliding. The grooves should release the remains of clays easily. Clay shoes should have increased angle support, as kids can sustain ankle injury very easily. The form of the shoe should be durable to hold on during slides.
Hard Kids Tennis Shoes
Hard is probably the most used surface in tennis clubs. It has higher construction costs, but its maintenance is easiest. The hard surface can be either concrete with carpet on it, or some kind of rubber surface (usually with a word with -flex at the end, e.g. Taraflex).
You will need durable outsoles for hard surfaces, as abrasion is the largest here. You also need good heel cushioning to ease the pressure on your foot (especially heels). There are almost no slides on hard courts, so you do not need to think about side durability.
All Court Kids Tennis Shoes
All Court Tennis Shoes have a combination of parameters from Clay and Hard Tennis Shoes. It is a good middle choice if you play on both surfaces, and want to be on the safe side on both.
To pick the right size is most important but also the most difficult task. I recommend starting with the size of casual shoes your kid wears. Be aware, that shoes should have enough space in front to move fingers freely. Thumb and pinkie should not be pressed against the shoe wall. The heel should hold on in the shoe and should not to shuffle during the run.
Later, you will know if you need to buy a size or half a size bigger shoes for tennis, but at the start, there is no better advice than start with casual shoe size. Keep in mind, different brands have different shapes of shoes (for example the size 5 for Adidas can be different than size 5 for Nike). If you find a comfortable shoe for your kid, then stay with the brand and type, just move to larger sizes as your kids get older.
Laces or Velcro strips
There two basic shoes fastening possibilities for younger kids. Shoes can have either velcro strips or standard laces.
Velcro strips are easier to use and therefore will be a number one choice for youngest tennis players. However, velcro strips wear away much quicker than laces.
I would recommend choosing kids tennis shoes with standard laces as soon as your kid know how to lock them. Laces can adjust the fit of the shoes and fix the toe much better than velcro strips.
One or two pairs?
It is always good to have two pairs of shoes and changed them regularly during the season. However, I know that kids grow really quickly and it is not very money wise to buy two pairs instead of one.
In case, your kid play on one specific surface, e.g. hard, I would pick hard tennis shoes. Later, as his or her tennis skills improve enough and starts playing on different surfaces regularly I would move to two pairs of shoes or invest in All Court tennis shoes.
If your kid really likes tennis and play regularly, I would not hesitate to invest in good kids tennis shoes. Tennis shoes provide your kid with additional comfort and stability. Additionally, it will prevent possible foot injury from bad movement, slipping or increased pressure on heels. And the health of your boy or girl is worth to invest.