Can You Use Tennis Shoes for Racquetball

by | May 1, 2022 | Shoes, Tips

Every sport needs the right equipment, and footwear is an essential piece. The most fitting racquetball shoes are designed explicitly for safety and to boost performance. For example, special shoes are used in racquetball that allows fast movement around the court while protecting your feet.
So can you use tennis shoes for racquetball? The question comes to mind because of the many similarities between both sports. Although both are court sports, a tennis racquet, ball, or even shoes are uniquely made for tennis, while those are also made for racquetball separately. Therefore, you shouldn’t or can’t use a tennis racquet or shoes for your racquetball sessions.

Shoes used in racquetball and tennis serve entirely different purposes. You need speedy, quicker movements on a racquetball court compared to a tennis court. As a result, a player wearing tennis shoes on such a surface may slip, leading to severe injuries and damage. 

Why Right Footwear is Important in Racquetball

Footwear is a vital requirement in racquetball and for a reason. A racquetball requires skills and movement that a player can achieve with specific footwear.

There are many reasons why proper footwear in racquetball is essential. 

  • One of the main reasons is preventing injuries, as in all sports. Since racquetball entails quick movements, players are prone to getting foot and ankle damage.
  • Racquetball shoes allow players to have sufficient traction to keep up with speed. 
  • Plus, they are specifically designed to protect the court from black streaks.

What Shoes Should You Wear for Racquetball

Racquetball shoes have different features and designs. For a great one for your practice and outdoor games, focus on the shoes’ sole and ankle support.

  • Shoes with gum soles are the best for racquetball. Since racquetball courts are molded with a polyurethane sealer, they require such shoes to get traction. Plus, they will keep you from slipping during the game.
  • Racquetball courts are shared spaces that will need to be maintained in good condition for every subsequent game. Wearing the wrong footwear may otherwise leave unattractive skid marks and little trails. In such a messy court, players can sustain severe injuries from slips during the play.
  • You will also appreciate a shoe with good midfoot cushioning. It allows forward energy transfer during the fast movements to reduce footfalls affecting your techniques.
  • It is these features that keep racquetball shoes strictly for racquetballs. Most players focus on shoes with good sections for the toes and heels. But for racquetball, the middle part of the shoe determines the play.

Now you know what makes an excellent racquetball shoe-

  • Ankle support
  • Midfoot support
  • Gum soles

But these elements won’t suit you if you don’t find your preference. For example, you may choose a heavy shoe to boost stability and a lighter one for maneuverability. 

Some players may prefer shoes with a narrow toe surface, while others prefer a wider one to avoid jamming. Some may go for shoes with high tops or low tops.

The good thing is that manufacturers are making footwear that accommodates different playing techniques and foot sizes.

a pair of tennis shoes

Why You Should Not Use Other Sports Shoes, Like Tennis or Running Shoes in Racquetball

While most sports shoes may seem safe for racquetball, they significantly differ when competing in fast movements. As rules and equipment vary in racquetball and other sports, so does footwear.

  • Tennis, for instance, are outdoor courts that are typically clay, grass, concrete, or asphalt. That means the tennis shoes are designed to grip such surfaces. On the other hand, hardwood racquetball courts are slick, smooth, and shiny. That said, tennis shoes cannot grip such a slippery surface as racquetball shoes. 
  • Both racquetball and tennis shoes affect performance. Though a tennis shoe has ankle support like the racquetball shoe, it doesn’t have enough padding for the forefoot and heel. That may result in joint injuries due to quick movement changes.
  • Running shoes could be your last option for a racquetball court. Unlike racquetball shoes, they are designed for forward movements. That means they will provide less ankle support, which every racquetball player needs.

So, when you’re deciding on the proper footwear for racquetball, you will want to choose one with sufficient ankle support, cushion, and traction.

Tennis Shoes vs. Racquetball Shoes: Difference That Matters

Racquetball and tennis shoes have a specific purpose for each sport. Note that, playing techniques, rules, and injury types vary with the type:

Type of Court surface

It is the most significant difference between racquetball and tennis sports. A tennis court has hard grass or clay surface that will need stability. Tennis shoes will also protect your toes against the hard surface.

A wooden oil-based racquetball surface is slick and smooth. Unlike tennis shoes, racquetball has a good grip on a slippery surface while providing extra control during the movements.

Different Designs & Soles

Tennis shoes and running shoes are similar but slightly differ in edges. Tennis shoes have stronger edges that boost side-to-side movements. They also have a small toe surface that allows players to stop and charge a net.

In contrast, racquetball shoes have rubber soles that allow sufficient traction on a slippery surface. In addition, they are designed to allow movement in all directions while keeping your ankles and feet safe.

Performance & Playability

The type of shoes highly impacts your game performance. Such as, tennis shoes provide high speed since the players cover a large distance during play. On the other hand, racquetball courts are smaller, so players will only cover a shorter distance but with quick moves.

So if you wear tennis shoes on a slippery court, you are likely to slip when returning the ball. Racquetball shoes are also unfit for moving on a large court since they are incredibly light.

Prevention of Injuries

Injuries sustained in racquetball differ from those sustained in tennis. This is because the type of shoes you wear are designed to sustain injuries in a particular sport. Common tennis injuries include knee and ankle damage. So tennis shoes should provide lots of lateral support for lateral movements. Racquetball shoes have sufficient forefoot and heel cushioning to prevent joint damage.

Anti-Scuff shoes

When choosing racquetball shoes, choose the type that will not scratch the surface. Tennis shoes should not have dark soles to avoid scuffing the tennis court surface. Racquetball shoes need gum soles to protect the court from black streaks.


Lastness does also matter between tennis shoes and racquetball shoes. Your racquetball shoe goes under more abrasion from sudden moves and falls than a tennis shoe, and therefore racquetball shoes might have a less lifetime.


Are racquetball and tennis shoes the same?

Both shoes have similar significance, but they serve different purposes for each sport. For instance, tennis shoes are heavier and don’t allow sufficient grip as racquetball shoes.

Final Thoughts

Can you use tennis shoes for racquetball because you know what it takes for the proper footwear? It is not recommended to use tennis shoes for racquetball or vice versa. From an injury prevention perspective, it is important to opt for the proper footwear. You would also want maximum comfort and epic performance.