While a player myself, I had started wearing Tennis specific Shoes (Non-Marking Shoes) and Dryfit T-shirts after being in the sport for some time, but I don’t really remember how it all had started, maybe my coach told me to or I just saw everyone else doing the same.
However, now I did a good enough browsing and read quite a few articles to provide satisfactory answers for the following two questions, to all those who want reasons (and that’s a good thing). I recommend reading the following 3 articles as well (for a better understanding) from where I have sourced my answers. These are good, important and small articles.
Question-1 : Why not wear a 100% cotton T-shirt while playing ? [We all have grown up learning cotton is the best absorb-er of sweat.]
Answer : “The primary concerns for any tennis player are moving freely and keeping cool. Try to avoid 100 percent cotton T-shirts, as they retain sweat and can stick to the body. Tennis shirts now are made predominantly from synthetic fabrics, which offer the comfort of the cotton without becoming wet with sweat. These fabrics are known by various brand names, including Dri-Fit and Climalite, but all enhance movement and have a lighter feel.” This is sourced from Article-1, I can justify this by my own experience, however the scientific reason being that these dry-fit and climalite fabrics are so designed that they have pores that allow a better handing of sweat.
Question-2 : Why wear a special Tennis shoe while playing ?
Answer : The scientific reason: Tennis shoes are designed for sideways movement, and general running shoes are only designed for uni-directional straight line movement.
A detailed answer sourced from Article-1 and Article-2: “Selecting proper shoes for tennis is crucial. It is arguably the most important decision, apart from the racket, you will make. Tennis players constantly move–running, stopping quickly, sliding, diving and dragging the toe across the ground when serving. The major considerations are durability, comfort, support and ventilation. Some players require greater ankle support, which can be accomplished with a brace. Certain running shoes or athletic shoes can do an adequate job for playing tennis, but if you take the sport seriously, footwear designed specifically for tennis is an important investment. You’ve seen those signs on courts that tell you to wear non-scuffing shoes. This might lead you to the false conclusion that tennis shoes are simply a fashion statement or a way for clubs to keep courts scuff-mark free. The real reason that there are shoes specifically designed for tennis is the same reason you shouldn’t wear running shoes onto a basketball court unless you really want to twist your ankle. Running shoes, you’ll notice, are designed to rock back to forward; the soles are not flat, and they are narrow. Tennis shoes are very low profile, flat shoes providing more contact with the ground. They are designed for stop and go movements side to side. If you’ve ever tried running in a straight line for a mile wearing tennis shoes you will see how uncomfortable they are in that capacity. But, the same goes for wearing running shoes while playing tennis – very uncomfortable.”
Wish the post is helpful, please feel free to leave comments for doubts or anything 🙂