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What’s the Difference Between Tennis Shoes & Running Shoes?

While it’s true that many types of athletic shoes look similar, the reality is this: Shoes for different activities have specific designs to maximize performance in a particular area.

One of the best examples of this is the difference between tennis shoes and running shoes—they may look the same, but there are some key differences that you should know about.

Below, we’ll highlight some of these differences, along with our verdict on whether you should wear one pair of shoes for the opposite activity. 

Primary Differences Between Running Shoes and Tennis Shoes

Sole & Tread Pattern

When it comes down to it, tennis does involve running, but the two activities are very different. Because of this, each shoe has a different sole and tread pattern.

The sole and tread pattern on tennis shoes are specifically designed to provide excellent traction on the court, which is essential for quick lateral movements and sudden stops. Tennis shoes also have a flat sole, which helps to keep the foot stable and prevent rolling. 

bottom of The Men’s Mirage 100 Speed

The Men’s Mirage 100 Speed—the tread and sole pattern is flat and helps provide stability on the court.

The tread on tennis shoes also depends on the type of court. For example, you’ll wear a different type of
shoe on a grass court than on a clay court.

The tread on the Men’s Mirage 100 Clay

The tread on the Men’s Mirage 100 Clay—note the difference in the pattern when compared to the normal Men’s Mirage 100’s above.

In contrast, the sole and tread pattern on running shoes are designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption, which is important for reducing the impact of each step and preventing injury. Running shoes typically have a curved sole to help with forward motion and a unique tread pattern to grip the road or trail.


No matter what activity you’re into, the weight of your shoes can impact performance—from basketball to running and beyond. 

In general, tennis shoes tend to be heavier than running shoes, as they need to provide more stability and support to the foot. There is some variation in weight, though—some tennis shoes sacrifice a little stability for a lower weight, providing easier movement. However, they’re still lighter than most running shoes.

The Women’s Mirage 300 Speed

The Women’s Mirage 300 Speed—a notably lighter option with all of the benefits of a normal tennis shoe.

Running shoes, as we mentioned, are typically much lighter, allowing the runner to move more quickly and efficiently.


Tennis shoes tend to be less flexible than running shoes. However, this design is intentional—all of the lateral and quick movements in tennis call for a more rigid shoe with ankle support. Tennis players will injure their ankles far more with un-supportive shoes.

On the other hand, running shoes are designed to be more flexible since no lateral movement is involved, allowing the foot to move more naturally and reducing the risk of injury.


Durability is important in any shoe—you wouldn’t want to invest money into a pair of shoes only to replace them two months later!

However, the design of tennis shoes allows them to withstand the wear and tear of the tennis court, which is notoriously tough on shoes. This also means they tend to be more durable than running shoes designed primarily for road or trail use. 

Running shoes often have a more breathable mesh upper to keep the foot cool while running, which can lead to less overall durability.

Can You Wear One for the Other Activity?

Unfortunately, as much as we would like to tell you that you’ll only need one pair of shoes for both activities, you shouldn’t use running shoes for tennis or vice versa.

Wearing running shoes for tennis could cause ankle injuries—you’ll lack the stability provided by a stronger upper and the tread. The added stress on the shoes would also have you replacing your running shoes in no time.

On the other hand, wearing tennis shoes for running wouldn’t be a great experience. Running shoes tend to be more breathable, flexible, and lighter—trying to go for a long-distance run without the proper padding and with a heavier shoe isn’t ideal. 

Find The Best Tennis Shoes From Lotto Sport

When you play multiple sports, you need the right gear for each activity, including footwear. Lotto has the footwear you need to perform at your peak every time. 

Shop our collection of tennis shoes today and find your next pair! 

Shop Men’s Tennis Shoes                          Shop Women’s Tennis Shoes

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