How Should Tennis Shoes Fit?


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There is nothing worse for a player than wearing a pair of ill-fitted tennis shoes that make him be in constant pain and discomfort while on the court. You’ll be surprised how many people face this problem, even after spending hundreds of dollars on the best tennis shoes, simply because they don’t know how to measure and pick the right size. How should tennis shoes fit, you might wonder? 

In this guide, I will explain everything you need to know so you’ll never again waste your money on a pair that isn’t the right fit for you. Please, pay close attention to these tips and make sure to apply them, especially if you are a beginner. You might not notice right away, but that annoying feeling of discomfort on your feet might grow into something much more serious and threaten your health and wellbeing. Yes, it is that serious, so keep scrolling! 

How Should Tennis Shoes Fit?

First and foremost, your tennis shoes must be comfortable. I know, it sounds like a no-brainer, but this is a non-negotiable standard when picking up your shoes. Your ideal shoe of choice should be a pair that fits you like a glove; not too tight, but not loose either. 

Your foot comprises 26 different bones, muscles, joints, and soft tissue, creating a complex biomechanic system. At its core, this is a matter of health because a pair of ill-fitting shoes might cause discomfort and many other issues such as blisters, injuries, ingrown toenails, pain, etc. 

If you are wondering how should a tennis shoe fit, here’s how

  • Proper toe fit – the space between your toe and the end of the shoe should be the size of the width of your thumb. 
  • Midfoot and heel fit – the fit must be secure but not too tight to the point that makes you uncomfortable. This is up to you to decide. That’s why it’s better to try the shoes on before making a purchase.

My best tip is to put the shoes on trial even after you buy them. Yep, you read that right! Most of the brands allow their customers to return the purchased items, so take that to your advantage to decide if the tennis shoe fit is right for you. 

Try walking with them inside your home, and if possible in the court too. Consider this a small experiment for you to decide your exact shape and size, so next time you’ll go shopping for footwear, it will be easier to pick what you need best.

 Here are the red flags you shouldn’t ignore because there is a signal of ill-fitting. 

  • Blisters – if you have blisters on top of your toes or in between them, it means that the shoe is too small. But if you have blisters on the ball of your foot, the shoe is too wide. 
  • Bruises –  signal that the shoe is probably not long enough for your foot size and shape. 
  • Numbness or tingling – might indicate that your shoes are too narrow, too short, or both of these things. Your foot doesn’t have enough space, which can lead to serious long-term complications if you keep ignoring this symptom. 

Tips for Getting a Great Tennis Shoe Fit

Now that you know how should tennis shoes fit, you must know some tips on buying the best ones. Preparation is the key to a successful purchase that will keep your foot comfortable. Keep in mind these extra tips the next time you go shopping. 

  • Pick the right place – go to the right stores that provide their clients with wide footwear options and have properly trained staff. It’s always better to ask a specialist that will help you understand how tennis shoes should fit. 
  • Pick the right time – If your store of choice is full of clients, the staff will pay a shorter span of attention. Visit them at a time you know they are less busy to ensure that you’ll get all the help and directions you need. 
  • Fit your largest foot – the size of your foot might be slightly larger than the other, which is perfectly normal and common. When picking your tennis shoes, always find the right size for the larger one, or else one of the shoes might feel too short. 
  • Adress your medical issues – Let the foot specialist know whether you suffer from hammertoes, bunions, plantar fasciitis, or some kind of injury. 
  • Wear the socks – it will help you know how your foot will feel when you hit the court. 
  • Do you use orthotics? – if yes, bring them on. It’s important because they impact how the shoe fits. 
  • The hour matters – during the afternoon, your foot might be swollen after a long day at work, school, at the court or gym, or just running errands. Make sure to get the right fit when your foot is at the largest to ensure that you’ll be comfortable throughout the day. 
  • Re-measure your size – our bodies change with time, and so does the size of our weight. A lot of factors also come into play, such as weight gain or loss, pregnancies, surgeries, etc.
  • Brands fit vary – different brands might go with completely different sizes, which can be very confusing. Seek the help of a specialist to guide you on how should the tennis shoes fit in this case.
How to measure tennis shoe size

How to Measure your Shoe Size and Fit

When picking your tennis shoes, add half of the size to your regular measurements. It’s not the same as buying regular shoes because, on the court, your foot will be swelling a lot due to the game’s intensity. You can measure the foot size at home in a few simple steps.

You’ll only need a cupboard or paper (bigger than your foot), measuring tape or a ruler, and a pen. 

Here is the step-by-step process on how to measure your foot size. 

  1. Place the paper (or the cupboard) on a flat, hard surface. 
  2. Wear your usual tennis socks, and step one foot on the paper. 
  3. Put all your body weight on that foot and draw a thin line around it while holding the pen perpendicular to the ground. 
  4. To determine your shoe length, measure your foot’s vertical length. 
  5. To determine your foot width, measure the distance between your foot horizontally, tracing the largest parts. 
  6. Repeat the same process with the other foot, so you can make sure that next time you go shopping, you can determine the right feet for your largest foot. 
How Should Tennis Shoes Fit: Foot Type

Choosing The Right Tennis Shoes For Your Foot Type

There are three different foot types that play an important role in tennis shoe fit. 

  • Neutral feet – this is the standard type and the most common, so you’ll probably have more options in the markets. Your foot lands on the shoe heel and rolls forwards without putting the weight pressure on the inside or outside of your foot. 
  • Pronated feet – the feet are flat and tend to roll forwards, while your body weight pressure goes inside the foot. You need tennis shoes with enough arch support to keep you comfortable and extra-durable so that they won’t wear out soon. 
  • Supinated feet – you have high arches, and body weight pressure goes outside the foot. That’s why you need shoes with high arch support and extra cushioning because people with these foot types are more prone to ankle pain, calluses, and shin splints.


Finding the right tennis shoe fit can be very confusing to any tennis player. We have answered some of the most frequently answered questions, so you learn how should tennis shoes fit.

Q: How do you know if tennis shoes are too big?

Tennis shoes that are too big will cause blisters and will make your feet slide inside the shoes. You can tell that the shoes are too big if you see any wrinkles on the sides or if your heel slips out when you walk.

Q: How much room should be at the end of a tennis shoe?

You should have about a thumb’s width of space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe. This gives you enough room to wiggle your toes and also prevents blisters and calluses.

Q: Should tennis shoes be a size bigger?

It is recommended to buy tennis shoes that are half a size bigger than your regular shoes. This is because when you play tennis, your feet swell due to the intensity of the game and you don’t want to feel cramped inside your shoes.

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I am Mario, a tennis player passionate about encouraging others to join the sport.

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