Are Tennis Shoes Non-Marking?

The question if tennis shoes are non-marking or not comes up often, but the answer can vary. Ultimately, the answer to this question will completely depend on the type of tennis shoe that you purchase. So, let’s take a deeper look, shall we?

What Are Non-Marking Shoes?

Non-marking tennis shoes are, as the name suggests, designed to not leave marks on hard surfaces. These shoes are particularly important when you’re playing indoor sports.

If you have ever been to an indoor court for racquetball, then you will notice that most floors are wooden and incredibly smooth. However, you may also notice a wide array of short and long scuff marks across the surface of the wood.

Tennis shoes make these scuff marks as they scrape across the floor. Small amounts of material will tear off the shoe’s sole and be spread across the floor.

These marks can be incredibly tough to remove, and they can make the smooth and shiny floor look worn down and cheap. While it’s not likely to impact your game, they are certainly not going to impress the owners!

At most indoor tennis courts, you will not be allowed to wear shoes that leave marks. This will be for aesthetic reasons.

In fact, some indoor tennis courts will charge you if your shoes tarnish their pristine floors! Therefore, it is probably in your best interest to wear non-marking shoes.

How Can I Tell If My Tennis Shoes Are Non-Marking?

If you already have a pair of tennis shoes and you have no clue whether they’re non-marking, perhaps the best way to identify whether your tennis shoes are non-marking is to take a look at your pair on the manufacturer’s website.

Since the non-marking nature of shoes is a selling point, the product description should clearly tell you if they are non-marking.

Sneaker Analysis

If the product description says nothing, then you will have to physically investigate your shoes. The sole of your shoe should give you a rough idea of whether they are non-marking or not.

If the color of the sole is a darker tone, then it is more likely that they will leave marks. This is not a guarantee, but, in our experience, black soles are more likely to leave scuff marks than light brown soles.

You can also try the ‘pressure’ test on the soles. Take a fingernail and gently dig it into the sole of your shoe. Just make a little mark. No need to go crazy here. If you have a pair of non-marking shoes, then the sole will gradually return to its original place i.e. the sole of the shoe is soft [1].

If the dent doesn’t disappear, then it is more likely that your shoes will leave marks when playing indoors. You can also check under your fingernails. If there is material under your fingernails, then you have shoes that will leave a mark.

If you are still unsure, or you love a science experiment, then grab yourself a piece of white paper. Rub the paper, with a decent amount of pressure, on the sole of your shoes.

If you see marks on the paper, then you have shoes that will leave a mark. Do not use them indoors; your partner or the sports center may get upset with you.

How Do You Remove Scuff Marks From A Surface?

This is something that you should only be doing if you accidentally created a couple of scuff marks at home. Trust us, the owner of your local sports center will not be best pleased if you try to clean their courts without permission.

They will be able to remove the marks eventually and that means they don’t want you to provide a quick fix.

Cleaning Sneakers

To remove scuff marks on your own, you will need some baking soda and some water. Mix approximately two tablespoons of baking soda with a very small amount of water. You are trying to make a thick paste, not a cake batter.

Once you have your cleaning paste, grab a non-marking cloth (you don’t want to make those marks worse, do you?) and place a small amount of the paste on the cloth.

Then, gently run the cloth and the paste over the scuff mark. Do not press too hard as this will leave scratches on the floor. It may take a little bit of time, but that mark will eventually disappear.

Once the mark is gone, gently clean the area with a little bit of water and dry it up. Nobody will be able to tell you had been running around in your hard, dark-soled shoes.

Why Do I Need Non-Marking Tennis Shoes?

Squash court

As we said before, the only reason for wearing non-marking shoes is for the benefit of the floor’s aesthetics. Non-marking shoes shouldn’t really have a noticeable impact on your tennis game.

Sure, the shoes are going to be manufactured slightly differently, but unless you are playing professional tennis, this is probably not something that you will notice.

We recommend that the average tennis player purchases non-marking shoes. This applies even if you play most of your tennis games outdoors. Buying these shoes will give you greater flexibility, allowing you to use the shoes for both indoor and outdoor sports.


Since there isn’t really any negative impact of wearing non-marking shoes, it’s an easy answer if you plan to play indoors.

It is probably worth noting that there are potential advantages, for your feet and joints, of wearing non-marking shoes. Typically, non-marking shoes tend to have softer soles. This means that some people find them a little bit easier to play in and more comfortable.

The softer soles won’t make you play any differently, but they do mean more padding, which can lower the risk of new injuries and aggravating old injuries.



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