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Can You Use Tennis Shoes For Running?

Tennis shoes are known to be one of the most versatile options out there. In fact, tennis shoes became so versatile that people started calling any gym shoe a tennis shoe.

When looking at tennis-specific shoes for modern players, they are indeed very flexible as far as what sports they work for. Being able to play multiple sports with a pair makes sense. Does running work with these shoes?

Tennis shoes do a solid job filling in as running shoes. While they won’t be as lightweight or as forward-propelling as modern performance running shoes, they support the foot and allow for movement in all directions without running the fear of spraining an ankle.

The Main Differences Between Running and Tennis Shoes

When putting on tennis shoes and running shoes at a store, people will notice a few major differences right away. There’s a reason why the shoes are designed for a specific type of play and athlete.

Weight is something people notice in their hands right away. Running shoes try to aim to be under 10 ounces these days, while tennis shoes can be around 15 ounces. That might not seem like that much of a big deal, but with every step, that adds up.

Running shoes have relatively low stability, as they only go forward well. Meanwhile, tennis shoes have some of the best stability out there, as players need to move in all different directions.

Cushioning has seen some pretty big improvements over the years, as tennis players ask for this to be an improvement. With that said, cushioning is still much better with running, as they want to make sure that they are not getting worn out over long distances.

Overall, it’s much easier to find running shoes compared to tennis shoes. Tennis has become a very niche sport, and getting a top-of-the-line tennis shoe is sometimes hard to find in person. Shopping online is usually the best way to do it.

What are the Pros of Running In Tennis Shoes?

Using tennis shoes to run in is done every single day. Some people enjoy using them over anything else. Why is this the case? These pros all make it a lot more sensible.


There’s something to be said for having familiarity with a certain type of shoe. Athletes know it fits them and it feels comfortable. The break-in process doesn’t take much time at all, and it just makes running a lot easier.

People using tennis shoes for other activities opt for solutions they know work for them. Some tennis players have been wearing the same shoes and buying new ones every time they wear out.

Anyone who has a very weirdly-shaped foot might be more interested in doing this than others out there.


Shopping for tennis-specific shoes makes people understand quickly that they can be just as expensive as running shoes. They are often more than running shoes since they have a little bit more bulk to them and technology for movement in all directions.

Where price comes into play happens when buying two pairs of shoes, the same pair of shoes can be used for tennis and running.

This is mostly recommended for people who plan on running shorter distances instead of miles and miles. The added benefit of having running shoes won’t be there quite as much.

Working on running by doing sprints on the tennis court or other various practices might be better served with tennis shoes.

There are a lot of changes in direction when doing this, and running shoes work for more of a straight-line type of style. When doing sprints on the court, there’s less of a need for an actual running shoe.


Believe it or not, some people don’t like running shoes because they don’t offer the same type of comfort as other options out there.

For example, runners who find themselves constantly turning their ankles or not feeling stable on uneven terrain might opt for a shoe like one designed for tennis.

The extra stability keeps an athlete sure-footed. It might slow them down slightly, but it’s better than being injured.

When this is the case, a lightweight tennis shoe would make a better running shoe overall. While they lack in the durability department on hard courts in tennis, they should be more than fine with running.

Can Running Shoes Be Used for Tennis?

While it’s not recommended to do serious running with tennis shoes, it’s a lot better than playing tennis with running shoes. That’s because tennis shoes aren’t going to cause any serious injury threats, but running shoes don’t hold up on tennis at all.

The biggest risk a player takes when they put on running shoes for tennis is the change of direction. Every single time, they are running a chance of turning their ankle. Tennis players need to move all around the court, so it’s a recipe for disaster.

Running shoes are also not very durable, so they will tear apart after just minimal use on the tennis court. The sole probably won’t last long, but neither will the uppers since they’re so thin.

Finally, the entire structure of the sole is too different to have success in tennis. Stability won’t be there on shots, and slippage will happen time and time again on clay courts. 

How Versatile are Tennis Shoes?

It can be argued that tennis shoes are the most versatile option out there for athletes who want something that can work fairly well in nearly every setting. A lot of it comes down to the different aspects of tennis as it relates to other sports.

Tennis shoes translate to basketball pretty well, since the movement is the same. Some players love high-top basketball shoes, and tennis doesn’t have those in today’s game.

They work very well for outdoor courts, since basketball shoes seem designed for indoor courts only. Tennis shoes will have soles that last a lot longer when playing street basketball.

Specific tennis shoes also work for sports like baseball, soccer, and more to some degree. They won’t replace cleats, but they do a good job for indoor practice and training in general. 

They do a very good job of working for other types of racquet sports as well. The reason why the “tennis shoes” term is used a lot for any type of generic athletic shoe comes down to this.

Final Verdict on Running in Tennis Shoes

There’s nothing wrong with using tennis shoes for running. There are a lot of options out there that are much worse for a person’s performance. With that said, serious runners likely want to gravitate toward a true running shoe that fits their needs.

The great thing about running shoes and the companies producing them is that they are making more options than ever. There are road running shoes that look a lot different than trail running shoes.

Companies have listened, and they’ve added more stability in certain cases so that players aren’t running the risk of injuring themselves. In a roundabout way, they’ve borrowed some of what makes tennis shoes great and incorporated them with running shoes.