If you are a fan of racquet sports like tennis or squash, then you would have found yourself wondering if you can wear your tennis shoes on squash court of vice-versa. In this piece below, we looking at the difference between the shoes for the two sports and whether one can be worn on the other’s court.
Even though the two sports are similar in a few ways – after all, they both involve hitting a ball with the racquet, there are several inherent attributes that make these two games drastically distant.
The same holds good for the shoes as well. In this article, we are finally going to clear the air and settle the debate as to whether you can use your squash shoes on a tennis court or tennis shoes on a squash court.
Squash Shoes: The Basics
There is no strict rule that makes it so that you cannot use your squash shoes for any other activity apart from playing the game. There is nothing stopping you from wearing your fancy squash shoes elsewhere, but it is not recommended.
Let me share a quick story.
I sent my squash shoes back to my parent’s place when I was moving.
My dad, not knowing the intricacies of the squash shoes, ended up using them for his own morning walk on concrete surfaces! I was not aware of this back then. When I visited my folks a week or so later, my dad told me that he had a constant ache in his knees and back and surprise surprise, it started when he switched to squash shoes.
Obviously, after telling him most of what you will read below and asking him not to wear those shoes anymore, his pain alleviated.
Coming back to the point, squash, being a fast-moving game, requires certain types of shoe that allows for swift player movement and acceleration. Hence, every pair of squash shoes must meet the following criteria:
- Non-marking rubber gum soles – this is non-negotiable
- Sole design must provide good traction and stability
- Good shock absorption to prevent heel or ankle injuries
- Ample cushioning and even distribution
- The shoes must have a sticky grip, that is, must be non-slipping
If you are wondering why a mere pair of squash shoes must meet so many different conditions, the answer lies in the game itself.
Squash Court and Game Fundamentals
For those who have never played the game of squash, here is a quick crash course. This is an indoor game that is played in closed four walls on a smooth, light-coloured hardwood floor. A key characteristic of squash court floor is to have wooden flooring – it could be solid hardwood or engineered – and it must be smooth.
Think of it as playing in a box with a very smooth hardwood surface. That’s why you may also notice a ‘shine’ on the squash court floor.
Coming to the game itself, it involves the two players taking turns to hit the ball against the front wall. The ball must hit the wall above the tin line and below the outline. After the first player hits the front wall, it is now the second player’s turn. The ball can hit the side walls or back wall any number of times, as long as it bounces on the floor only once.
All the while, the ball must remain inside the outline of the walls for the rally to remain valid.
You can squash as a version of tennis where you and opponent are on the same side of the court and the net is a big wall.
Now, the thing to remember about squash is that it requires very quick, constant movements. Unlike tennis where you can slow down the game by just playing long shots and rallies from the baseline, squash needs you to be on your feet all the time and run around the court to strike the ball.
That is where the squash shoes come into the picture.
The shoes allow players to enjoy the kind of agility and fast-paced movements needed to win the points. Lunges, sprints, and constant movement are a key part of the game. If you are accelerating from the back corner of the court to the front side to get the ball, it is only fair that your shoes support that.
This translates into excellent shock absorption, good cushioning, and non-slipping!
There is this analogy which I prefer to use: if tennis is a marathon, then squash is a series of 100m dashes. You should not use the same type of shoes for both of them.
It is also for the same reason that squash shoes are non-marking in nature and are not recommended to be worn anywhere else. Outside of squash courts, the shoes may track dirt and dust. If this is brought on to the courts, it may hamper with the flooring and make them more slippery and consequently, spoil the game itself.
That is why we say not wear squash shoes anywhere else but squash courts.
Tennis Shoes: The Basics
As we all know, tennis is played on three types of surfaces – clay, grass, and hard. Therefore, each of these surfaces warrants their own type of shoes.
Grass surface requires shoes that have a good grip to avoid slipping. Clay surface tennis shoes too require a good grip but with that, they also need excellent lateral support and stability. The outsole must be such that it can easily release the clay from its grooves.
Hard court tennis shoes need a tough, sturdy outsole and sufficient cushioning. Running and moving around hard courts require shoes that go easy on your knees and ankles.
Hence, it is quite evident that depending on where you are playing tennis, you may need shoes that provide more stability or traction than the others. In squash, this is not the case – irrespective of where you are playing, you need shoes that provide excellent grip so you don’t injure your ankles or knees.
Secondly, you can also choose your tennis shoes depending on what type of play you prefer. If you favour the baseline, then you need shoes that support lateral movement. Conversely, if you prefer approaching the net often and are a serve-and-volley player, then you need shoes with reinforced toecap and arch support that allow you to move quickly during a serve.
By contrast, squash shoes are designed for only one style of play.
So, Can You Use Tennis Shoes on a Squash Court?
No, this is a big no. Even if you try, chances are your coach or the court administrator will ask you to leave the court.
It is because tennis shoes are not non-marking and they do not have a rubber gum sole. Plus, tennis shoes are much heavier than their squash counterparts, thus restricting your mobility.
Secondly, the shoes are not designed for swift acceleration, constant running, and lunges that are needed to play a good game of squash. You will not only end up damaging the squash floor but you may also not get the shots right. Of course, there is also a real possibility of you injuring yourself.
Can I Use Squash Shoes on Tennis Court?
You can try but we recommend you don’t. Squash shoes are designed keeping in mind the nuances of the game and the kind of movement it warrants. There is a very high chance that you will hurt your knees or ankles if you play tennis in those shoes for a long time.
Where Else Can You Use Squash Shoes?
Squash shoes may work well on other courts which have a similar making, that is, indoor hardwood flooring. Badminton, racquetball, handball, and volleyball come to mind but we still recommend you buying the sport-designated shoes only.