Despite many of the improvements in lightweight footwear for tennis, there are still drawbacks worth keeping in mind, which often stem from a reduction in the amount of material.
Here are some of the top complaints that tend to bubble up.
One area where lightweight tennis shoes tend to suffer most is with regards to durability. To keep the weight of footwear down, companies will reduce the amount of protective material available.
The outsole, which is the dense, durable, and heavy rubber at the bottom of a shoe, tends to be part of a shoe where less material helps reduce weight but results in players wearing through the shoes faster.
Similarly, many tennis shoes provide protective materials that wrap or cover a shoe’s upper to help resist abrasion. In some cases, these materials are minimized or dropped entirely to decrease weight.
The net result is that a shoe’s durability tends to decline as the weight of the shoe decreases.
For this reason, you’ll typically find many of the lightest weight tennis shoes don’t come with durability guarantees.
To a degree, added material in a shoe’s sole and upper can help increase its overall stability. Therefore, as companies reduce the amount of material throughout the shoe, they tend to lose a bit in this department.
Creative shoe design has enabled less material to provide adequate stability, but most players agree that the most stable shoes typically aren’t the lightest.
The majority of a shoe’s comfort will stem from the midsole, which is usually a lightweight EVA foam. However, to an extent, if the thickness of a midsole decreases, so does the comfort and shock absorption.
Some shoes will reduce the amount of EVA foam or substitute it with alternative technologies, such as Nike Zoom Air, to reduce weight, but many argue it doesn’t provide the same level of comfort.
Compared to other disadvantages, this is arguably the one where advancements in technology have allowed lightweight tennis shoes to be as comfortable as any other, but it ultimately depends on the shoe.