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History Of Tennis Shoes

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Hello everyone and welcome to Tennis Shoes This is the place where we talk and breathe tennis shoes. We tennis fans sit by the sideline and admire what shoes and clothes tennis players wear as they grand on the court.

Has it ever occurred to you what is the history behind tennis shoes? How was tennis shoes first made? Who invented them? If you have thought about it and you couldn’t find any answers to them, then you are in the right place.

This post is going to give you a thumbnail sketch about the overview of the history of tennis shoes. Prepare for some surprises as you are about to dive into the history of tennis shoes.

What Is The Difference Between Tennis Shoes And Sneakers?

When tennis fans dive into the history of tennis shoes, they get confused about what’s the difference between tennis shoes and sneakers?

The hardcore truth is tennis shoes are basically the same as sneakers. In other words, tennis shoes are classed under sneakers.

The reason why this is the case is that tennis shoes can be used for everyday casual wear. This includes walking, running, or even going to the gym with it.

The Origin Of Tennis Shoes?

In 1800 there were people who walked around in wooden shoes. The wooden shoes were not very comfortable to wear because their feet would normally get wet and muddy when it rains. One young man named Norman decided to do something different.

He decided to put some rubber under his shoes to prevent his feet from getting wet and muddy. This approach was very successful and everyone started to follow his footsteps. This method of making shoes was called Plimsolls because it looks like a Plimsoll line on a ship’s hull. How fascinating is that?

However, the caveat to the Plimsolls is that they didn’t have what we consider as right foot shoes or left foot shoes. But it was a great step in making what we call sneakers today. In the year 1892, sneakers were finally designed and brought on to the market.

People at the time loved it because it has a rubber sole on the bottom and canvas at the top. The sneaker name originated from the idea that the shoes were very quiet when you walked with them. This allowed children to sneak up on people and play without being caught up. That must be very cool to have as a kid if you love playing tricks on people.

Why Do We Call Them Tennis Shoes Instead Of Sneakers?

Another question that people tend to ask is why is it called tennis shoes instead of sneakers? The reality is sneakers which was commonly called at the time was specifically made for the British Navy.

This is because they wanted something they could wear on deck to prevent them from slipping and sliding on the wet surfaces.

The shoes became popular with the rich aristocrats who started using them to play a popular sport of the day, tennis, which originated the name tennis shoe.

Moreover, when rich people used this type of sneakers on the tennis court they noticed that it didn’t damage the court. And it was super comfortable to wear as they play the sport.

Tennis Shoes Timeline Over The Decades

Let’s look at how tennis shoes have evolved over the decades.

18th Century –  Rubber soles and canvas uppers were designed for British Navy

Arrow going down - History Of Tennis Shoes

1892 – Is when the term Plimsolls was coined

1916 – The United States Rubber Company got into the tennis market and started making their own brand of tennis shoes which they called Keds

1917 – The United States Converse  Rubber Company made their own tennis shoes vision and they called it All-Star Shoe

After WW1 – Adolf “Adi” Dassler started to produce sports shoes from his mother’s wash kitchen. He was the founder of Adidas

In the 1950s until the early 1970s – Pupils who studied P.E. also wore Plimsolls for their sport activities

1986 – Nike releases the Air Trainer 1 in the market and it became popular with the tennis community. This captured Nike into the tennis market

The 2000s – We all know how tennis shoes are lately. They are stable, comfortable, awesome looking and easy to play on the courts


In conclusion, I hope you have truly enjoyed the history of how tennis shoes have evolved over time. It is fascinating how tennis shoes started off as Plimsolls and being used by the British Navy.

And now it has become a sensation hit with their elegance and stylish design. We have even seen iconic superstar tennis players such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Rafael Nadal partner with Nike to create their own style of tennis shoes.

If you enjoy this post, please feel free to comment below. And if you have any questions regarding tennis shoes feel free to contact me.

With that said have a good day.

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