A solid pair of tennis shoes is essential to any tennis player looking to perform at their best. The right pair of shoes can really step up your game, allowing you to move quickly and confidently around the court while chasing down that ball.
However, once those tennis shoes begin to wear out, they can actually have the opposite effect. Your lateral movement and overall game may be compromised, leading to not only lost points but the very real possibility of foot-related soreness and injuries.
That’s why it’s so important to replace your footwear once you begin to notice signs of wear and tear. What are those signs, though? And when should you start looking? How long do tennis shoes last?
Unfortunately, due to a wide variety of factors such as playstyles, play times, shoe materials, and type of court surface, it’s hard to say an exact amount of time a pair of tennis shoes should last, as it depends on the individual. That being said, there are some general things to look out for when determining whether or not your tennis shoes are nearing the end of their life.
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What Factors Determine How Long Tennis Shoes Will Last?
There are many different things to consider when you’re trying to figure out how long your tennis shoes will last. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones when determining your shoe’s lifespan.
Individual Playstyle and Weight
If you’re an aggressive and/or professional tennis player, chances are your lightweight shoe will wear out more quickly than novice and/or casual players. The more you move around the court trying to chase that ball down and return it over the net, the more miles you’re going to put on your tennis shoes.
Heavier players may also find that their shoes show signs of wear and tear sooner than their lighter counterparts, regardless of playstyle. Again, this is simply because the additional weight puts more pressure on their shoes.
Frequency of Use
Those that play tennis for many hours a week will typically find that their shoes don’t last as long as those who play on a more casual basis. If you tend to sport your tennis shoes outside of practice as well, this will certainly be a contributing factor to any additional signs of wear.
This is less about brands and more about the kinds of materials used and general construction of the shoe. A shoe made with high-quality materials that have been put together well will certainly last longer than those made with flimsy materials and poor construction.
It is important to choose your tennis shoes based on the type of court you will typically be playing on, if possible. For example, don’t use shoes that are best for grass courts on a hard court if you’re trying to maximize their lifespan. Tennis shoe manufacturers often consider the type of court when designing their products and adjust the shoe’s durability accordingly.
How often you clean your tennis shoes, how they’re stored, and whether or not you dry them after each use all contribute to their overall lifespan. The better the shoe maintenance routine you have, the longer your tennis shoes will likely last.
How Can I Tell If My Shoes Are Worn Out?
There are three main signs that it may be time to replace your shoes: wear on the upper and interior, compression of the midsole, and wear on the outsole.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these in turn.
Wear on the Upper and Interior of the Shoe
Put your tennis shoes on a flat surface and get down at eye level – do they seem uneven at all? If the exterior of the upper seems to be leaning to one side or is showing a lot of signs of creasing, then your old shoes are probably no longer providing your feet with the proper support or shock absorption.
Next, check out the fabric lining of your old shoes, especially around the heel area. If you notice any holes or other signs of wear, then that’s another sign that it may be time for a replacement. Now, if you notice these signs and you’ve only had the shoes for about six months or less, they’re likely more than just the result of normal wear-and-tear.
There is a chance that the shoe isn’t fitting your feet correctly, so make sure to double-check your sizing when you purchase your next pair.
If you notice that your shoes feel less comfortable and seem to provide less support, this may be due to midsole compression. The cushioning in the midsole area is simply worn out, reducing the effectiveness of its shock-absorbing abilities. This may especially be an issue if you tend to walk with heavy feet, as the extra pressure on the midsole may prevent it from bouncing back over time.
Wear On the Outsole of the Shoe
This is typically the most obvious sign that your shoes are worn out. Take a look at the bottom of your shoe and see if you notice any kind of excessive wear. If you’re beginning to see signs of your midsole, then it is certainly time to invest in a new pair of tennis shoes.
Another way to check your outsole is to place your shoes once again on a flat surface and inspect them at eye level. If they tip to the side or appear to sit at an angle, then you know that the outsole is done.
How Long Do Tennis Shoes Last?
In other words, when should you start looking for signs of wear on your tennis shoes? Unfortunately, it’s hard to give an exact period of time due to the fact that people wear their shoes with varying amounts of frequency, so let’s look at how many miles tennis shoes may last you instead.
The average shoe should last you anywhere between 350 and 500 miles. Though this may be hard to keep track of while playing tennis, if you wanted to calculate it, you could estimate approximately how much ground you cover during matches and practices. A smartwatch or pedometer worn during playing could make this process much easier.
If you’re not sure about calculating by distance, you could also go by time, as the average midsole is supposed to last between 45 and 60 hours. So, if you’re only playing about an hour a week, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your shoes wearing out for nearly a year.
While these average estimates can help give you an idea of when it may be time to replace your tennis shoes, keep in mind that they may vary wildly depending on the different factors that determine how long a pair of tennis shoes will last.
How Can I Make My Tennis Shoes Last Longer?
If you find yourself dropping a lot of money each time you buy tennis shoes, then you may be wondering what you can do to increase the lifespan of this athletic shoe. It can certainly get expensive if you find you need to replace them every few months!
Fortunately, there are things you can try to keep your shoes looking and feeling like new for longer. Check out our tips below.
- Start a good shoe maintenance routine. Air them out between uses, clean them, and dry them on a regular basis. Note that it’s best to use natural methods when drying as the heat from the dryer may damage your shoes. For example, try drying the outsides with a towel and then putting a paper towel or newspaper inside to soak up any moisture from the sole.
- Use your tennis shoes only for playing tennis. When you have finished your game or practice, make sure you change your shoes before leaving the court. This ties in with the idea that you should only use certain kinds of shoes when playing on certain types of courts. A shoe made for a grass court will wear away much quicker if it’s also used on hard courts.
- To absorb excess moisture and reduce shoe creases, use shoe trees or cedarwood inserts in your tennis shoes. Of course, there are plastic options out there, but wood is better at soaking up moisture and even helps remove foul odors.
- Store your tennis shoes properly. Keep them away from extreme conditions, and even consider investing in something like a shoe carrying bag to make sure other items in your regular tennis bag don’t crush or otherwise affect your shoes.
Your Tennis Shoes Won’t Last Forever!
Though it may pain you to part with a particularly beloved pair of shoes, it’s important to both your game and your feet that you switch them out once they begin to show those signs of wear and tear. Once you do, you may notice that your game improves, and you have reduced soreness in your feet, ankles, and lower back – and who doesn’t want that?