Tennis vs. Racquetball shoes
Although tennis and racquetball are often compared to each other, the two sports are actually quite different. For one, the playing surfaces of the sports are different - and very specific to each sport. Certain skill sets and equipment may be suitable for tennis that would put a racquetball player at a disadvantage. Different rules, styles of play and even types injuries necessitate different types of shoes for each sport.
Importance of Court Surfaces
The biggest difference between tennis and racquetball is the type of court used in each sport. In tennis, a good pair of shoes might provide stability and an additional rubber piece at the front of the shoe for toe protection on the hard surface. On the traditional wood court of racquetball, by contrast, players are constantly starting, stopping and changing direction, so shoes that allow for extra control and movement are the optimal.
One of the first things to look at when differentiating tennis from racquetball shoes is what the individual sports require players to wear. In tennis, athletes are often required to wear shoes without a dark sole to protect the court from being scuffed. For racquetball, the rules require players to wear gum-soled shoes that won't damage the court by leaving black streaks.
Related Reading: Pressurized vs. Non-Pressurized Tennis Balls
Despite the fact that tennis and racquetball shoes may look similar, the subtle differences between the two are very important. While tennis shoes are sometimes confused with running shoes, they have stronger edges for lateral movement and a blunter toe for charging the net and stopping. Racquetball shoes provide breathable rubber on the sole to provide athletes with sufficient traction on the slicker and smoother racquetball court, as opposed to being designed for speed.
As in all sports, injuries are a part of the game. However, the distinct injuries in tennis and racquetball force players to wear specific kinds of shoes. In tennis, the most common types of injuries are to the knee and ankle, because of the quick side-to-side movement, causing athletes to wear shoes with more lateral support. For racquetball players, cushioning the heel and forefoot is imperative for preventing common joint damage.
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