A Tennis Shoe Story: Run Down Memory Lane

What can I say about tennis shoes that has not already been written? There are articles about the construction, style, fit, best brand, which celebrity wears which shoe, and yes, even the history of.

If you are one of the athletic types, I have no doubt your closet floor, or the pile of shoes near the front door- depending on how you roll – is consumed with various styles, colors, and brands of tennis shoes. Not because you need to tie on a different pair every time you grab your racquet and hit the courts, but because the name tennis shoe no longer designates the pair you wear only when you play tennis.

Gone are the days of our youth when our closet floors housed only two pairs of shoes. That’s right, closet; in your room, in your mom’s house, where you put things where they belonged.

We had our Sunday go to meetin’ shoes for church, big people parties, and the first day of school. Then, we had our tennies, Ked’s, PF Flyers, or sneakers for pretty much everything else; Capture the Flag, Hide-and-Go-Seek, playing cops ‘n robbers while riding our bikes or splashing in the ever irresistible rain puddles, while hunting for pollywogs.

As we grew, however, so did our shoe collection and eventually, we graduated to pair number three when we started P.E. – gym shoes. They looked just like our sneakers, but we were not allowed to wear them outside of gym class. Bright white Keds, white sox, black shorts, and a white, snap down the front shirt completed the, very attractive, ensemble; all schlepped from home to school to home again in the drawstring bag we had to make in home-ec. We were stylin’, were we not?! Ah yes, P.E., the class most of us ditched.

Not only has our attitude about exercise changed as we tumbled into adulthood, the number of shoes in our collection has increased considerably, as have our reasons for buying them. Yet, only one name remains the same – the all-encompassing, tennis shoes.

Whether they are worn to participate in sports, wash the car, attend a football game, or go shopping, our tennis shoes are the ones we grab on the way out the door, and each event must have its own pair.

We’ve progressed from riding bikes on our neighborhood streets to cycling miles on end; from seeking our hidden friends to seeking gold medals; and from hitting a tennis ball against the garage door to playing ‘real’ tennis, on a court, with a net and everything; all of which, today, require specialized tennis shoes.

Wearing the appropriately constructed tennis shoes for your game of choice will protect your feet and ankles from injury, and help keep your bones healthy and unbroken. Choosing the right shoe may also improve your game, increase your playing power, help you win more trophies, and you will look pretty darn cool doing it!

Tennis shoes jumped on the scene in the late 1800’s and are here to stay! In a box, on the closet floor, hanging in a shoe bag, in a pile by the door, or in your dog’s mouth, I guarantee you there isn’t a home in America that does not have a pair of tennis shoes living within. 


Suzi Martel, founder of ‘In Suzi’s Words’, is a freelance lifestyle writer, from Southern California, who has a passion for writing informative, entertaining copy on a variety of topics, such as, cooking, all things tennis, healthy living, and caring for others.

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