If ever there was a game designed for social distancing, it’s tennis. A huge court (23.7 metres by 8.23 metres), nicely sectioned off so you know where to stand, and an opening serve specifically designed to make the other player move as far away from you as possible; little wonder it’s fast becoming the covid friendly game of summer. Wimbledon’s famed grass courts may sadly still be a year away from opening, but with Wales, Scotland and England all removing the padlocks from public tennis courts, now is the time to get shopping and make sure you are match ready for the inevitable summer game. And if there’s one thing we know here at The Sportsman, all good shopping starts with the feet.
While running shoes are designed to be light, make you bounce through the air and keep drag down to a minimum, tennis shoes are built to last. Heavier than their running counterparts, and without the ankle support of their high-flying basketball cousins, tennis shoes are designed to allow you to traverse sideways, backwards and forwards in small, fast movements, without falling to pieces (which your expensive running shoes will do after relatively little game time).
But to be the king of the weekend court, even if this is your first game, you need shoes with that talkability factor. Something that stands out from the crowd. Something you can look at and admire while your partner tries to get the ball out of the tree (seriously, if this is your first game take lots of balls, they are going to go everywhere). Here then, are our top five weekend court killers.
Recycled from plastic trash collected from the ocean, these slip-on options have an internal locking system designed to stop the shoe flying off whenever you change direction. Light and durable, the herringbone grip also provides insane grip on hard courts.
Fila Axilus 2 Energized
The nylon lining is ‘anti-slide’ which essentially stops your feet moving around between sock and shoe. Light enough to get you across court quickly, but cushioned enough to stop your ankles snapping when you stop, these are perfect for heavy-on-the-feet novices
Babolat Jet Terre
The jet, as its name suggests, is lightweight and built for speed. The memory foam inner means it’s extremely comfortable after a few games, while the Michelin sole allows you to change direction quicker than a racket-carrying fruit fly.
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor X Knit
Basically, the idea of this shoe is you don’t actually feel like you’re wearing one. The knit upper lets your feet breath while locking your feet into place, making it perfect for those who like to use every inch of the court.
Stan Smith Slip On
Ok, not all of us are going to use a tennis shoe to actually play tennis. Some of us are going to enjoy tennis benefits - strawberries and cream, fizzy wine, sitting on the sofa for an entire weekend - without going through things like sweat, and fatigue. The Stan Smith is the show for just such occasions. Slip it on, sit back, enjoy.