What to Wear When Playing Tennis

Young woman playing tennis
Female tennis player hitting a backhand (Image: Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Tennis fashion has changed dramatically since the early 20th century, when trousers, cotton shirts and full-length dresses were the norm. Now, players can choose from a variety of technologically advanced clothing to help manage weather conditions. When deciding what to wear when playing tennis, players should consider the practical over the fashionable.

Men's Clothing

The primary concerns for any male 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. Shorts have a more practical element to them. While the material is important, players should always select shorts that have pockets or somewhere to store spare balls when serving.

Women's Clothing

Many women choose to wear shorts while others prefer tennis skirts. Whether you choose one of these options or a specially designed tennis dress, the key factors are comfort, practicality and freedom of movement. If you choose a tennis dress or skirt, you will need a ball clip to attach to the waistband. A sports bra is another essential item for women, as it provides support and comfort.

Footwear

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. Men and women should choose cushioned socks. This, again, increases support and comfort. Because tennis is a high-impact sport for the feet and ankles, having a spare pair of socks is a good idea. Socks that become sweaty or lack cushioning can increase the likelihood of blisters.

Accessories

Sweatbands on the wrist or forehead can be helpful. The wristbands help to wipe away perspiration from the eyes when serving or preparing to receive serve. Some players wear hats or caps, although these should be restricted to players with longer hair to reduce the chances of it impeding their vision. Caps or visors are primarily worn when the sun is low.

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