Despite many improvements in lightweight footwear for tennis, there are still drawbacks worth keeping in mind, which often stem from reducing the amount of material.
Here are some of the top complaints that tend to bubble up. As you review these, keep in mind that I’m discussing these disadvantages relative to the performance of the best shoes with a bit more weight, so it doesn’t necessarily mean lightweight shoes are awful in these areas.
One area where lightweight tennis shoes tend to suffer most is 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 resist abrasion. These materials are minimized or dropped entirely to decrease weight in some cases.
The net result is that a shoe’s durability tends to decline as the shoe’s weight decreases.
For this reason, you’ll typically find many of the lightest weight tennis shoes don’t come with durability guarantees.
Although durability may not always be the strong suit for many lightweight tennis shoes, if you go with an affordable pair that costs less, you may be able to justify purchasing shoes more regularly.
In some cases, you’ll be able to purchase two inexpensive shoes that are lighter weight for less than the cost of a premium offering.
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 EVA foam or replace it with alternative technologies, such as a Nike Zoom Air unit, to reduce weight, but many contend it doesn’t provide the same comfort level.
Compared to other disadvantages, this is arguably where advancements in technology have allowed lightweight tennis shoes to be as comfortable as any other, but it ultimately depends on the shoe.