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Outsoles explained: hard vs. clay vs. grass

Posted on June 22, 2015 in Apparel, Shoes and Accessories

We get asked all the time if a hard court shoe will be suitable on a clay court or even a grass court. While you can get away with it, there is a reason why there are specific shoes for specific surfaces. Each surface plays a little different and your game and footwork can change depending on what surface you are playing on. So let’s take a look at what the distinctions are between these three types of shoes.

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Hard Court Outsole

Hard Court Outsoles

The most popular and common tennis court surface is a hard court. This court is also the most demanding when it comes to outsole durability. Depending on where you play, you may encounter a gritty, slower hard court or possibly a slick, more slippery, quick court. Either way, the soles of hard court shoes are usually built to handle the demands of this surface. Most often they feature a modified herringbone pattern to give you the perfect blend of grip and give on the court. Hard court shoes will often feature ample cushioning and a midsole that will help transfer energy into every step you take as well as absorb shock from the harder surface. They usually feature a tough upper that will aid in support and durability. The toe area is often built up and protected for the toe draggers out there, as a gritty hard court can really do some damage to your shoes. When choosing a hard court shoe, there are usually two types you can choose from – the first being a durable, stable option and the second option is a speed-oriented shoe. These are often lighter in weight and they have been made to have a faster feel. The outsole usually has a little less grab but more give and they have a tendency to wear out faster. Hard court shoes are the most versatile shoes and can be used on clay or grass courts.

Our Favorite Hard Court Shoes:
Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour  / Asics Gel Resolution 6 / adidas Barricade 2015 / Diadora Speed Star K 5 (more…)