Gym Shoes vs. Tennis Shoes: Complete Comparison

gym shoes vs tennis shoes

There’s a big debate in the fitness world over what’s better for your feet during a workout: gym shoes or tennis shoes? Both have their pros and cons, but which one is ultimately the best choice for you?

There are a lot of different opinions on what type of shoes you should wear when playing tennis. Some people say that gym shoes are just fine, while others think that tennis shoes are the only way to go. In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of each type of shoe when playing tennis.

I will also give our recommendation on which type of shoe you should wear when playing this sport.

So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, keep reading to find out more.

The Quick Answer

Gym shoes and tennis shoes are both designed for different purposes. Gym shoes are designed for general workouts, while tennis shoes are specifically designed for playing tennis. Although gym shoes can be used for playing tennis, they may not offer the same level of comfort and support as a pair of good-quality tennis shoes.

If you’re looking to buy a new pair of shoes to play tennis in, it’s best to invest in a good quality pair of tennis shoes rather than gym shoes.

Tennis shoes provide more ankle support and help you move around the court better than gym shoes. So if you’re serious about playing tennis, make sure to buy a good pair of tennis shoes.

Is There a Difference Between Gym and Tennis Shoes?

Is There a Difference Between Gym and Tennis Shoes?

Whether it is for running, tennis, gym or simply walking in the park, you need to know what the right kicks for the occasion are. There are people who wear the same pair of sneakers for everything, but they don’t realize that this is doing more harm than good.

If you are someone who like to play tennis and is looking for a great pair of shoes, then tennis shoes are what you should get. If you are heading off to the gym or any other activity, you also need a designated pair of shoes for that specific activity. If you are doing some athletic training, then it is preferable to have something with shock absorption capabilities and a cushioning sole. 

So yes, there are a lot of differences between gym and tennis shoes. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Quick Comparison Table

Tennis ShoesGym Shoes
Use for:Tennis solely.Weight lifting, running on treadmills, press on the ankles
Tennis appropriate:Yes.No.
Weight:300-400 grams250-350 grams
Cushioning:Cushioned for repetitive hitting against the ground.Less cushioning.
Foot support:Yes.Less. (usually)
Lateral support:Yes.Yes.
Traction on different surfaces:Yes.No.
Durability:Due to frequency of use, less durable.Can be used for light activities indoors only.
Materials:High-quality foams, rubbers, and meshes.Today’s variety is vast in materials.

What You Need to Know About Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are created to provide your feet with support when you are on the tennis court. They are built to withstand rigorous activities such as running and are made to prevent wear and tear on the court. They offer the sportsmen stability and physical support. Tennis calls for a great deal of moving side to side, running, quick sprints, and start and stop motions. Tennis shoes give the player the sort of mobility they need by remaining lightweight while offering incredible support to the sole.

Tennis shoes are made to protect the player’s feet from injuries and that is why they are best suited to the sport: they allow athletes to play their very best. For this reason, they tend to be sturdier and have flat soles that work best in a tennis court, since the floor either has a hard clay base or tends to be grassy. The design of a tennis shoe will have a herringbone pattern on the exterior because it gives the shoe good traction. It is very important for tennis shoes to have good traction and to be able to sustain a great deal of wear and tear on the court. Tennis shoes are durable and have midsoles that give the feet stability while remaining light and flat. 

What You Need to Know About Cross-Training Shoes

Cross-training shoes are great for when you are going to the gym. They are budget-friendly and can withstand rigorous workouts and training sessions at the gym. They have a good mix of sturdiness and style. Cross-training shoes will give you unmatched traction and support so that you can train without anything slowing you down or hurting your feet. 

Cross-training shoes or gym shoes have a wide base, which is great for a workout, aerobics, weight training, and even kickboxing; however, this can often slow you down when you are running. Cross-training shoes are also great for sports such as basketball and tennis. They are not professional shoes for the sport but you can practice in them and occasionally even play – this is because they provide moderate cushion and stability. Gym shoes have either leather or synthetic material used to create ankle support, which makes them breathable and avoids moisture build-up inside the shoes through ventilation. 

Gym Shoes vs. Tennis Shoes 

Gym shoes or cross-training shoes can be used for different sports and it is true that they perform well, but they are not professionally designed to meet the requirements of sports activities and they do not perform to the optimum under certain conditions. Needless to say, they have a high heel drop and cushioning at the forefront which makes them shock absorbent, providing free movement in all directions as well as great mobility. Here are some of the specific ways in which tennis shoes are different from gym or cross-training shoes:


Tennis shoes are designed to be heavier than cross-training shoes. This is because your feet need more stability playing tennis than during weight lifting or running. There are many tennis shoes out there that are designed to be lightweight, but they still have less endurance due to the thick outsoles as compared to regular gym shows.

Ankle and Heel Support

Tennis shoes have more weight because they take into account that sportsmen will be playing in a field or a concrete court over longer durations of time, and the manufacturers know how these environments can affect the players’ heels. Tennis shoes have to provide the heels and ankles with stability so that the player can make quick start and stop movements, run back and forth, and jump. The heel has to be reinforced so that the shoes don’t budge during the game. Hence, you cannot expect cross-trainers or gym shoes to provide the same stability. 


Tennis shoes tend to have narrower and thicker outsoles that increase the durability of the shoes, especially on the gritty court surface and thus these shoes make it easier to maneuver around the court. However, cross-trainers tend to have wider outsoles that are good for lateral stability, but this can also complicate your lateral movements on the hard tennis court and sliding can be even more difficult.

Tennis shoes have more intricate tread patterns than cross-trainers and the thin herringbone pattern provides excellent traction, while the large treads on cross-trainers help with grip on most surfaces. The soles of tennis shoes are designed to be non-marking. Cross-trainers will leave marks and lines on the court, which is why they aren’t recommended for playing tennis.

Lateral Support

When playing tennis, you need a great deal of lateral support because of the movements you make, such as the intense side-to-side movements. This can put intense strain on the ankles and can cause injuries. Tennis shoes are designed to prevent that from happening and they are manufactured with strengthened sides that are rigid, especially in the forefoot areas. Cross-trainers will have less lateral support as compared to professional tennis shoes. 

Are tennis shoes and gym shoes the same?

Tennis Shoes
Lateral supportMuch more than in regular shoes.
Court CompatabilitySpecifically catered towards specific types of tennis courts.
PriceVaries between manufacturers, usually around $100
DurabilityDepends on the surface, the player, the weight, and the frequency of use.

There are differences between tennis shoes and cross-training shoes such as the amount of lateral support, stability, weight, etc. So if you want to play tennis then buy a proper pair of tennis shoes designed specifically for that sport whereas gym shoes are better suited for heavy workout classes or running on tracks and roads due to their lower drop and lighter weight.

A little more about gym shoes:

Walking on treadmills is more like wearing flat shoes with less cushioning. So, gym shoes are designed for this purpose only since they have a minimal drop and good flexibility due to the extra room in the toe box.

Also, if you play different sports then it is better to buy different shoes for each sport as they take into account the weight of the body, impact on joints, and other factors that will be helpful during gameplay.

Can you use gym shoes for tennis?

Gym shoes are better suited for lifting weights or doing cardio in the gym, but they are not suitable for playing tennis. They have a low drop which is good for running on treadmills, but it can be problematic when you play outdoors because your feet are closer to the ground and thus your legs are working harder to push off from each step. The lack of lateral support in cross-trainers can lead to ankle and knee injuries which is why they are not suggested for playing tennis.

If you love playing different sports then it’s better to invest in two shoes that suit each sport rather than a single shoe that you use for multiple sports. It will provide the player with optimal support and enhance performance while reducing the risk of injury as well as the chances of blisters form due to friction.

Are gym shoes called sneakers or tennis shoes?

While sneakers are a more generic term, tennis shoes are specific to the sport while gym shoes are for general workout purposes. So if you want a tennis shoe then buy the one designated as such, but sneakers are good for all sports and indoor/outdoor activities.

Gym shoes or cross-trainers?

For tennis, neither. But generally speaking, for workout purposes, gym shoes can be used for a variety of different types of activities and training. The cushioning in the heel helps with high-impact runs, as well as weight lifting to squats which are easier when wearing them versus not having them on your feet at all times during these workouts because they provide extra support while standing up from sitting down too long between reps or sets.

But make sure you’re getting regular runners (5K+) if this isn’t just an occasional run outside – otherwise, there’s a potential risk of injury caused by uneven terrain/pebbles, etc.

Are running shoes the same as gym shoes?

Running shoes are very different from both tennis and cross-trainers.

Heel drop is the distance from your heel to where it meets with your toe. Running shoes typically have higher heds because they’re made for comfort and support during long distances, but gym shoes will be more flexible than this type of footwear so you can move around easily in different directions while still feeling connected every step of the way.

Gym shoes have a different sole than running sneakers because they’re designed to be more flexible and allow side-to-side movement. This means that if you want the best of both worlds, go for the gym or training footwear instead.

What are gym shoes called?

Gym shoes are called cross-trainers, but they are also sometimes referred to as sneaker/sneakers or training shoes.

Gym shoes, sneakers, and tennis shoes are all acceptable terms to call this type of footwear.

Are tennis shoes only for tennis?

Tennis shoes are primarily for playing tennis because they usually have a high level of lateral support while also being lightweight and having plenty of room in the toe box. The tongue will be stitched to the front of the upper, which is another feature that makes it easier to wear without having your foot slide around inside during play.

How do you tell if a shoe is a tennis shoe?

One way to identify a tennis shoe is that it will typically have a higher level of lateral support compared with most other athletic shoes. Also, they’re usually very light and comfortable and the tongue will be stitched on to the front end of the upper which allows you to wear them without your foot sliding around inside as there’s ample room for your toes.

What do sneakers have more of?

Typically, there will be more cushioning in the heels of sneakers because this extra padding provides comfort while running on softer surfaces. Sneakers are also typically lighter than cross-trainers which allows your feet to move around more easily while doing other sports too.

Is converse a gym shoe?

A lot of people think that Converse is just a shoe for casual or sporty occasions, but the flat soles and flexibility make them great when it comes to doing aerobics and multidirectional workouts. For those looking get stronger quickly though- save your old pair because they won’t hold up well under heavier weights!


Cross-training shoes are designed with the average Joe in mind. They provide good support and cushioning, but they aren’t as versatile or professional as tennis shoes and therefore, if you want to play a sport such as a tennis where you need more stability and durability with lateral support, go for tennis shoes.

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