How To Choose Best Dance Movies Reviews In 2021

best dance movies

They say dance like nobody’s watching, but what if the whole world is in fact watching? Is that so bad? Is that a shame? I don’t think so.

I say dance like every human being on this planet catches a glimpse of your act and make it worth it for them (and for you).

Your Guide

Alexandra Romanmi   Alexandra Romanmi

Learn from the people who do that today, have done it for decades and will continue to do it for much longer than that. Who are those?

There are some dancers who enter your home through a screen and invite you to be their spectator (and why not, their dance partner) crossing the barriers of time and space. We call them movie actors.

In today’s busy world we tend to take things for granted, but if we pause for a second and think, we realize that some pretty amazing things are available at the tip of our fingers now.

How fantastic is it that we can watch Fred Astaire’s mad dance moves as if he’s performing right here, right now?

How crazy is it that we can fall in love with Patrick Swayze time and time again while watching him rehearse his routines in Dirty Dancing?

And how hard is it to try to hold those tears back when Al Pacino is gently killing the dance floor in the Scent of a Woman? There are no mistakes in the Tango, he says…

You probably guessed it. I am a dancer and I love dance movies.

They inspire me, they relax me, they take me on emotional roller coasters,  they help me dream bigger and bigger and ultimately they make me jump off the couch and dance in front of the TV.

Dance movies take us to a happier dimension where spontaneous dance sequences in the middle of the street or the cafeteria are perfectly plausible.

Who cares if you are in the office, in a car wash or in a park?

Suddenly, there’s music coming from somewhere and all the people surrounding you will leave whatever they are doing and join you in a crazy choreography.

Wouldn’t real life simply be better if that would randomly happen to us?

I think it would.

But when reality has other plans, watching movies is our best bet to escape it and create our own.

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[/tcb_post_list]West Side Story

West Side Story (1961)

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[/tcb_post_list]The Black Swan

The Black Swan (2010)

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[/tcb_post_list]Style Wars

Style Wars (1983)

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[/tcb_post_list]The Freshest Kids

The Freshest Kids (2002)

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[/tcb_post_list]Valentino (1977)

Valentino (1977)

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[/tcb_post_list]Chicago

Chicago (2002)

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[/tcb_post_list]Save The Last Dance

Save The Last Dance (2001)

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[/tcb_post_list]Swing Kids

Swing Kids (1993)

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[/tcb_post_list]Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

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[/tcb_post_list]Shine (2018)

Shine (2018)

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[/tcb_post_list]Broadway Melody of 1940

Broadway Melody of 1940

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[/tcb_post_list]Dhoom 2 (2006)

Dhoom 2 (2006)

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[/tcb_post_list]Step Up 3D (2010)

Step Up 3D (2010)

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[/tcb_post_list]Take The Lead (2006)

Take The Lead (2006)

“Nobody puts baby in the corner!”

Patrick Swayze (or his character from Dirty Dancing, Johnny) knows what he’s talking about.

Whenever you feel like you need someone to take you out from the corner you’ve been hiding in and gently push you into the spotlight of the centre stage, take a few hours, relax and watch a dance movie.

Nobody puts baby in the corner

They have a great effect on the low self-esteem moments each dancer encounters in their career and we all recall going through plenty of them.

Trust me, I am a dancer and I know!

I have shared with you the movies that made me feel better and inspired me along the way, now it is your turn!

What are your favourite dance movies and why?

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Dance Shoes Reviews For 2021

best dance shoes

Magic shoes or just dance shoes…or maybe both?

Puss in Boots asks for a pair of boots before helping his master become royalty.

Cinderella loses her glass slipper, only to find true love later on. Perrault’s Little Thumbling steals a pair of boots from an ogre and makes a fortune of off them.

   Your Guide

Alexandra Romanmi   Alexandra Romanmi

Dorothy travels all over The Wonderful Wizard of Oz land wearing her pair of ruby shoes. 

Hermes – the Greek God of trade – had a pretty slick pair of winged sandals.

So I sit here at my computer and wonder…What if I had a pair of magic shoes?

Then it hits me: I kind of do. They are not magical in the conventional sense of the word, but they sure did magic on stage and in the rehearsal hall.

After a long string of bad choices concerning my pointe shoes – which ended up with my feet getting hurt a lot – I had to make a better smarter (and more expensive) choice.

In 2011, I got my first custom made Gaynor Minden pair of pointe shoes and I honestly haven’t been happier with any of my teenage years’ investments. My feet still thank me every once in a while.

Ever since then, I stuck to my choice, with the colour as the only specification I change when I place a new order.

The model, vamp, heel, box and shank always remain the same. Dancing on the tip of my toes is still painful sometimes, but a good pair of pointe shoes makes all the difference.

There may be lots of other models and brands that work just as well, but I found the ones that fit me best and that is very important.

Whether you are a groovy hip-hop dancer or an elegant salsa champion, I will try to teach you how to pick the best shoes for your style and recommend you the ones I consider to tick all the quality boxes.

I have a pretty big collection of shoes for all sorts of styles, so most of my recommendations are based on personal experience, as well as online research.

Hopefully, with a little help from me, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

How to choose Sneakers for dancing hip hop & breakdance

Following a culture that was born in Bronx in the mid-1970s, rappers, DJs, beatboxers, graffiti artists and, of course, my fellow B-girls and B-boys out there, have been making the world a better place for a while now.

If you’re part of latter category of artists – following the (dance) steps of legends like Richard Crazy Legs Colon – then you are probably constantly wondering how to improve your technique and win those dance battles.

While part of the answer is obvious to you (practice, practice and practice again!), the shoes you wear to your rehearsals and contests count…a lot.

What To Look For

As breakdance is a highly complex and demanding dance style, there are a few things you might want to consider when choosing which pair of shoes will accompany you on the battleground:

their weight,

the soles & the support they offer to your feet

the price range ( from $30  up to $1000 a pair)

The weight of your shoes classifies them in three main categories: light weight, mid-weight and heavy shoes.

I won’t recommend the latter type from the start, as I noticed that bulky shoes tend to stay in the way of the dance flow.

While light shoes help you with your high jumps and knee lifts, making it easier for you to master a clean footwork, I personally prefer the mid-weight ones, as they seem more secure and steady on the dance floor. Speaking of steadiness, the sole is a crucial element.

From my experience, it needs to be flexible, medium dense and thick. The balance between these three elements should make stomping, sliding, toe spins, and shoe tricks a lot easier and seem more natural.

Stay away from extremely dense and thin soles, as they will limit your moves and mostly force you to keep your feet flat on the ground, i.e. no fancy tricks for you.

The support the sole offers to your feet, from low to high, is also important, especially if you train a lot or you teach long hours.

The cushion-like soles, with medium to high arch support prevent your feet from getting too tired after hours and hours of dancing.

The low support ones have a very flat bottom, minimizing the distance between your feet and the hardwood floor, hence hurting your feet more and they also wear out pretty quickly.

Recommendation For You – Ultraboost Shoes

Taking everything into consideration, after reading tons of reviews, trying them on myself and ripping a few pairs, I arrived to the one pair that seems to be doing the best so far: Adidas Ultraboost.

As they were primarily designed for running, they are very comfortable and they adapt to the shape of your foot.

Their thick foam sole, made from white energy capsules (constructed using a small granular material called Thermoplastic Polyurethane) helps you get super bouncy. Price-wise, they start from $90 a pair and can go up to a few hundred dollars.

They’re great for sliding, jumping, spinning and switching from heels to toes. Also, if you train a lot, you might like the Primeknit Technology that comes with these shoes.

Their upper is basically a whole piece of knitted fabric that keeps your feet very well ventilated. No sweaty feet sound good to me.

According to Dr. Howard E.Friedman. a board certified podiatrist from New York, every 100 gram reduction in shoe weight also reduces the amount of energy required to run.

This may as well apply to dancing, so this light to mid-weight pair of shoes could help you reduce premature fatigue.

Ultraboost Shoes

Ultraboost Shoes

How To Choose Tango Dancing Shoes

 “First there is desire

Then, passion

Then, suspicion

Jealousy, anger, betrayal!

(…)

Jealousy, yes, jealousy

Will drive you

Will drive you

MAD!”

If you read these lyrics out loud with the Argentinean’s low raucous voice, then you are probably a Moulin Rouge fan, like myself.

El Tango de Roxanne made me fall irrevocably in love with the mysterious and seductive art of tango dancing right around the beginning of high school.

Since then, I keep trying to perfect it and while doing so, I have realized that apart from the elegant thigh-high slit dresses, the fire in your eyes and painfully precise moves, there’s another key element that makes a tango night as authentic (and comfortable) as possible – the right dancing shoes.

What To Look For

As tango is a highly elegant dance style, the high heels are a must. They help boosting your confidence, your posture and, surprisingly enough, your balance.

The moves simply don’t look the same if you perform them while wearing socks, as they lose many of their graceful and alluring characteristics. However, if you are not used to dancing on high heels, start with lower ones!

You can increase the height of your heels as you get more and more accustomed to your routine, as they usually provide a more efficient weight placement.

Make sure your shoes have secure straps though. Nobody likes to play Cinderella on the dance floor.

Walking on heels can be very tiring for your feet and so is dancing, so be kind to them and choose shoes with high density latex memory padding. They feel comfortable and offer the adequate support for your foot arch.

The sole is also an important choice. Some people prefer suede soles as they offer a superior grip to the floor – yes, I am afraid of accidents too, but I personally prefer the leather soles because they are more resilient and they tend to slide better.

The suede sole is also significantly more flexible and it makes me feel a little unsteady, compared to the leather one that adds a greater sense of balance to my moves.

Also, try to keep the shoe model as simple as you can, avoiding unnecessary accessories such as bows, little chains or anything of the sort as they will bother you during your routine.

Your heels may get stuck and everything can fall apart from there. Trust me on this. I used to love bows.

Recommendation For You –  Comme il Faut – Nude Metallico

My recommendation for you comes, just like tango itself, from Buenos Aires.  The brand I chose for my practice classes, Milonga nights and competitions is Comme Il Faut.

My favourite pair is the Comme Il Faut Nude Metallico, open toe model with closed heel cage and of course, a double strap as I really don’t like accidents on the dance floor.

The heels height is 7,5 cm and I do not recommend you to go a lot higher than that.

I love the nude colour as it basically matches any colour you choose for your dress and it makes the shoes look like a natural extension of your own feet.

They have comfortable foot paddings and the sole is made of soft leather with a pretty good grip to the floor.

It might sound silly to you, but beware that the new shoes have a plastic protection layer on the sole that has to be peeled off before your first dance routine.

Comme il Faut - Nude Metallico

Comme il Faut – Nude Metallico

How to choose shoes for swing dancing

If you’re a little bit of a nostalgic and love the smell of vintage clothes, you’re also probably at least familiar with swing dancing. More probable though, you love it. And you dance it.

Whether you do it for fun on Sunday nights, or actually take part into national competitions, whether you do the Collegiate Shag or are more into Balboa, you are part of a sophisticated community who loves to boogie.

Sometime in early 2018, I discovered one of the loveliest dancer couples on the Internet, Kendall and Ronnie who own one of the most comprehensive YouTube channels focused on Swing Dance, Live Collegiate Shag.

From practice advice, to vintage hair tutorials or vintage dress restorations, everything swing is there.

I have never been an extraordinary swing dancer, mostly because I am afraid of aerials, but I did take classes for almost 6 months after watching them dance and tried to follow their advice when it came to choosing my shoes.

I used ordinary sneakers and tennis shoes for the first weeks of practice, but I’ve put suede on their sole before rehearsals time – never forget to do that! Here’s a short video on how to do it.

However, after you get an idea about the way you’re supposed to move, you kind of want to try your fancy moves on fancier shoes. Tennis shoes are not too vintage after all.

What To Look For

What you need to keep in mind when you choose your next pair of swing dance shoes is that your ankles have to be very secure.

The air tricks are a big important part of this style, but they are also demanding for your feet and joints, so you need to protect them by choosing shoes with straps.

For the same reason, I do not recommend a high thin heel. Swing was originally danced in street shoes, so you don’t want to overdo it.

You should look for wide heels, probably no higher than 4 cm. Also, beware of open toe shoes as they will make it easier for your toes to get stepped on.

When it comes to soles, the choice is usually made between rubber soles and leather ones, but I would recommend the latter as it makes sliding across the dance floor a lot easier, allowing you to spin with more ease.

Recommendation For You – AVA Shoes & Blucher Noruego

The brand recommendation I have for you comes from Barcelona and it is called Slide & Swing. In their 20 minute long video about their swing shoes collection, Kendall and Ronnie also mention this brand as their favourite, so we’re on the same page here.

The model I purchased is the Ava model, in a beautiful black and gold colour. They have a vintage inspired look combined with, what seems to me, a very secure strap around the ankle.

They are flexible, yet stable on a wide 4 cm rubber top heel. The shoes are 100% handmade with natural leather.

Despite the fact that they are lightweight, they are very durable, so I recommend them if you plan on dancing outside on hard surfaces such as concrete.

If you like these and would like to get a matching pair for your partner Slide & Swing also has a variety of models for men, with the Blucher Noruego as the model that caught my eye – partly because they would match my Ava model. You may want to check them out though.

AVA Shoes

AVA Shoes

Blucher Noruego

Blucher Noruego

How to choose tennis shoes for dancing

Whether you choose to master one dance style or focus on more at the same time, one thing is sure – you have to train a lot to become a better dancer.

As dancers, we all love the stage and the glamour of the spotlight, but before we enjoy them, we need to spend most of our time rehearsing. However, long sweaty hours pay off.

The structure of a dance class is a fairly complex one and it includes warm-up, cardio exercises, force training, performing combinations and finally rehearsing choreographies and cooling down.

The way you prepare for it is just as complex. You need certain training clothes, such as sports bras, leotards and leggings, and obviously the right tennis shoes to complete your outfit – stylistically and functionally.

First off all, for your dance rehearsals, it’s good to try and resist the urge to use the same pair of shoes you normally use for walking and running.

What To Look For

Dance is very demanding for our feet so we need to care for them a little more than usual, by choosing shoes that lend more support to the foot arch, muscles and joints.

The benefits of arch support are discussed by specialists on a website dedicated entirely to Plantar Fasciitis.

According to Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause for the stabbing pain occurring with the first steps in the morning. Dancers get it sometimes, especially as we get older.

Shoes that offer good arch support should have specifically designed mid and insoles in order to maximize shock absorption and should offer some sort of motion control in order to prevent injuries due to over-pronation or supination – this is how ankle sprains and shin splints happen.

One of the options I found out to work for me is the Women’s Dedication XT Training Shoes model from Rykä.

The brand creators define themselves as a fearless tribe of women who want better and that just worked on me.

Their creations are backed up by serious science and rely on the difference between a man’s and a women’s anatomy of the leg and foot.

For example they take into account the “Q-angle” or the quadriceps angle which is a measurement of the width of the pelvis.

It is 5 to 7 degrees greater in women and it is considered to be a risk factor for sports injuries, as women tend to shift more weight to the outside of their feet, leading to instability.

Furthermore, the customized shape with a narrower heel, wider forefoot and more secure insole addresses the complex biomechanics of our plantar region.

Recommendation For You – Dedication XT Training Shoe

The Women’s Dedication XT Training Shoes come with some special features.

The Anatomical Precise-Return insole that offers the extra heel and arch support is a Ryka trademark along with the External RE-ZORB LITE pod network placed between the midsole and outsole.

The latter refers to a special foam compound used for cushioning and further shock absorption.

Flexible, yet secure they help me during my training hours and they may become your best friends too if you give them a chance.

Dedication XT Training Shoe

Dedication XT Training Shoe

How to choose shoes for dancing all night long

Whether you are a professional dancer or not, you have probably been invited to a Social Dance Party at least once in your life.

This gatherings offer the perfect chance to show off your latest moves, to perfect the old ones and to socialize with people from your dance class.

All in all, a great night out! A great night out with tons of dancing, which means you need to prepare for it adequately.

Apart from a fancy outfit, the shoes you choose to wear will make the difference between a fun occasion and a long painful night on the dance floor.

I used to go to this kind of Latino dance parties almost every week in my first years of college and they usually turn out to be a nice experience, unless I went on wearing pretty, but supremely uncomfortable shoes. Disclaimer: It happened a lot.

But now I know better and I will try to help you too.

What To Look For

First of all, forget about stilettoes –they will immediately turn into your nightmare, no matter how flattering they are for your feet.

High thin heels will make you feel uncomfortable after a few moves and they will also prove to be quite slippery on the club’s dance floor, offering you little to no stability. Instead, you may want to try medium height thick heels with sturdier bases.

Secondly, make sure to get shoes with ankle straps. It is important to feel secure and to not fear that you’ll lose your shoes at the next fancy turn.

It is also important to have lots of cushioning for your insole. Expect to dance a lot at these parties, so make sure your feet will feel comfy.

It is worth it to even go a step further and actually insert some extra comfort in there, using orthotic insoles.

According to an American podiatrist, Grace Torres Hodges for health.com it is better to try the over-the-counter insoles available in all sorts of styles before getting the custom-made prescription-based ones, as they can get pretty pricey.

Recommendation For You – 2.5″ Heel Flex Character Shoe

It is hard to choose one single pair to recommend you, as there are millions of shoes I haven’t tried that are probably really great.

However, I will stick to my all-time go to brand – Capezio, an old and famous dancewear manufacturer founded by Salvatore Capezio back in 1887.

The model I recommend for this kind off “dance-all-night” kind of parties is the 2.5 “Heel Flex Character Shoe. They are elegant, yet comfortable with a foam padded footbed and a ¾ steel shank – the Capezio Signature Construction.

They feature a secure T strap with buckle closure, so you won’t play Cinderella at your party – unless you want to, of course.

The upper is made of leather and the forefoot comes in satin which adds a refined air you might like and use to complete your outfit.

They also come with a suede sole, so I advise you to only wear them once you actually got into the club, so you won’t damage them while walking on the street.

Designed with the dancer’s comfort in mind, they also feature an Achilles notch and a closed round toe box, which I usually prefer to the square and point ones, as they make my toes hurt a lot faster.

There’s also an identical model that features a 1.5 “heel, in case you want to be even comfier.

They are under $100 which seems like a reasonable investment if you plan on going out and dance a lot, without compromising your precious dancer feet.2.5" Heel Flex Character Shoe

2.5″ Heel Flex Character Shoe

How to choose shoes for line dancing

I have never tried to practice line dancing, but as a medical professional I have come across some interesting articles that prove me I might actually have to give it a try some day.

One of them, states that life without line dancing and other activities would be too dreadful too imagine.

It was published in the prestigious Ageing International journal and it focuses on social dancing and its effects in older adults.

It showed that as opposed to a normal dance class, social dance promotes a playful and spontaneous atmosphere, while adding a positive reconnection and continuation with one’s memory, youth and history.

With this in mind, I encourage you to try it yourself or further recommend it to your older relatives at the next family dinner and, why not, try it along with them. It seems like a lot of fun.

What To Look For

After you signed up for your class and once you get into this style (which will probably happen sooner than you expect), you will need to invest some money in proper dance boots.

They will offer you good ankle support, good foot support and they will make it easier for you to spin around the dance floor, while giving you that full-on cowboy/cowgirl look you’ll be craving for.

Most of them feature a flat or a low Cuban style heel at most, as line dancers keep comfort and quality as their highest priorities when choosing their footwear.

After doing my research and reading lots of reviews I came up with what I consider to be the best recommendation for you, my fellow dancers – The Ariat Brand, a performance footwear and clothing brand from California.

Recommendation For You – Heritage R Toe Western BootDahlia Western Boot

The models I chose for you are are the Ariat Men’s Heritage R Toe Western Cowboy Boot and the matching Ariat Dahlia Western Boot for Ladies.

With an overall score of 4,6 out of 5, based on over 400 reviews on Amazon, The Ariat Men’s Heritage Boots seem to be a very good choice for your line dance classes.

They are lightweight, yet they offer good stability and good arch support. The R toe means they are tapered, but rounded at the tip.

They are 100% full grain leather and they feature the ATS ®Technology, the Advanced Torque Stability Shank – which offers support and cushions your foot during movement.

It also helps you maintain your posture and reduces fatigue. The gel-cushioned footbed is moisture wicking which will provide you a cool and dry experience.

The ladies’ choice, the Ariat Dahlia Western Boot will probably become your best friend on the dance floor.

These are short cowboy boots that allow you to easily tuck your jeans in. They are made of 100% full grain leather and benefit from the same ATS Technology, as the ones for men.

Their toe box is beautifully crafted with elegant embossed leathers. They feature a D toe which means they are tapered toward a point, but have a flat tip. The 2,5 “ heel is leather-wrapped, thus sturdy, so your long dance nights won’t damage them too much.

On Amazon, they have a high 4,2 out of 5 score, with 61% 5 star reviews, out of a total number of 573 customer ratings, which sound very promising too me.

Heritage R Toe Western Boot

Heritage R Toe Western Boot

Dahlia Western Boot

Dahlia Western Boot

How to choose shoes for dancing on concrete

One thing is sure. Dancers don’t like concrete. It feels like it restricts our moves and it makes us more vulnerable to injuries.

Its high friction limits pivots and fancy turns, making it hard for choreographies to be extremely spectacular.

However, sometimes, the occasion demands it and we need to say goodbye to our beloved sprung floors and rock the tough concrete ones…

What To Look For

One way of dealing with concrete is by using low-friction stick-on soles. They are cheap and they promise to help you pivot and slide with ease on high friction surfaces such as concrete.

However, if you are like me and your craft skills are at kindergarten level, you’ll probably want to skip gluing soles on to your shoes, along with and any other handmade tricks.

So what is there to do?

The answer is simple. If you’re going to dance outside, on concrete, then the safest thing to do is to replace your indoor dancing shoes with outdoor footwear.

You’ll have to choose it carefully as it will still need to carry some of the characteristics of the shoes you normally wear for rehearsals, such as high flexibility and good ankle support.

On top of that, the concrete floor imposes a few more demands: the sole needs to be adapted for shock absorption, which means a lot of cushioning and it also needs to successfully deal with high friction surfaces, while preventing injuries.

Your best bet will most likely be the running sneakers –they are flexible, comfortable and safe for your joints.

Recommendation For You – FOREVER FLOATRIDE ENERGY SHOES

Runner’s World  veteran biomechanist Dr Martyn Shorten has performed lab tests to determine which new running shoes best suit the needs of the modern sportsmen.

He measured shoe characteristics such as cushioning, flexibility, height and weight, figuring out the role they play in the performance of their wearer.

Among his choices, there’s the pair that won Runner’s World Best Value 2019 – the Reebok Floatride Energy.

This pair of shoes also made its way on my wish list. It is fairly cheaper than similar models from other brands, yet it seems to tick most of my checkboxes.

The Floatride term points to a light and bouncy midsole cushioning which grants a good energy return from the surface you’ll be dancing on.

The upper features a simple design, nothing too fancy, which is great since it won’t bother you during your performance.

According to Doctors of Running, the upper material supports the foot well and it is also breathable –another characteristic I like in dancing shoes, since sweaty feet are simply not as reliable as dry ones.

According to Dr Nathan Brown PT DPT MS from Doctors of Running who tested the shoes, they are very durable.

He mentions that he used them for running over 120 km in total and they only shoed minor changes in foam, with any other real damage, so I’d say they can take our outdoor dance training just fine.

The doctor also mentions their ability to pick up the pace, which I believe is important for our routines.

He gave them an overall score of 91% which sounds perfect to me taking into account their comparatively smaller price.

FOREVER FLOATRIDE ENERGY SHOES

FOREVER FLOATRIDE ENERGY SHOES

FOREVER FLOATRIDE ENERGY SHOE

FOREVER FLOATRIDE ENERGY SHOE

How to choose pole dancing shoes

Pole dancing used to be one of those taboo subjects people would whisper about, especially in the dancers’ communities.

However, in the last decade or two, it became less of a taboo and more of one of these things that you got to try out at least once in a lifetime.

And I myself did. There are a few spots in the city I live in where they offer pole dance lessons as fitness training and I am telling you – it is a lot harder than it looks like.

No surprise they want to turn it into an Olympic sport – they should.

Now, I went to these lessons either barefoot or wearing my soft ballet shoes, but that is just because I was a newbie and honestly not very good at it.

If you are on the way to becoming a professional pole dancer or want to enjoy the full experience of pole dancing you will need the special super high heel shoes you see in the movies.

The moves look completely different in those, they are a lot more sensual – which is the whole point and they help you improve your performance by clinging to the pole and making attaching to it and climbing it a little easier on your body.

Saving energy is important and you won’t notice it until you try it.

What To Look For

My teacher came to class one day wearing a pair of fancy professional high heels and asked if anyone would like to train using them. I did and the experience was worth it.

The brand she chose is called Pleaser USA and after doing my research I found out that they are the most popular among strippers and pole dancers, as they’ve been in the business for almost twenty years.

Among other shoe lines of the company such as Funtasma, Demonia or Devious, Pleaser is the number one choice for dancers due to the high quality craftsmanship and comparatively good price.

Here is a helpful guideline telling you the difference between a few models from Pleaser.

Recommendation For You – ADORE-708

The pair I tried and fell in love with was the ADORE – 708 Pleaser sandals. Their signature Stiletto Heel is 17.8 cm high and the platform is 7 cm high. They feature a secure ankle strap and a clear upper made from PVC.

If I were to choose between ankle boots, thigh high ones and sandals, I’d go with the latter ones. The boots feel like they are restricting the movements, keeping the legs from bending freely.

These comfy sandals come with a chrome plated bottom, in lots of colours, so you can easily fit them with any of your fabulous outfits.

The rubber sole has good adherence to the ground, offering good stability. Another good thing about these sandals is that they are very simple in design.

They do not feature any glittery diamonds or any other accessories that may break off and inconvenience you while you do your routine.

Also, since they are transparent, they will show off you’re pedicure, so go ahead and paint those nails crazy colours.

ADORE-708

ADORE-708

How to choose shoes for club dancing

Tired of going barefoot on the dance floor? I sure am. Going out to dance with your friends, especially if you are known to be a professional dancer is a demanding task.

They all expect you to rock the clubs you’re going to, so you cannot disappoint.

What To Look For

This means, choosing normal shoes for your night outs is not always a good idea. Sticking to your dear dance ones might make difference.

Although they are not always the fanciest looking, they do help you protect your feet from getting too tired and to me that’s worth a lot.

My go to choice is usually a fairly priced pair, the Ellie Shoes Women’s 254 Lucille Dress Pump.

They get a nice 4.3 out 5 score on Amazon, with almost 1300 ratings from people sharing my opinion. They are 100% satin with 1920’s Vintage inspired design, adding elegance to your outfit.

The leather and rubber sole make spins and slides easy, yet secure. Unlike most dancing shoes, these have non-suede sole, which means you can easily wear them directly on the street –no need for an extra pair of shoes in your bag.

They feature a comfortable round toe box that protects your toes, preventing ingrown nails. We all know how painful and uncomfortable these can get.

Recommendation For You – Ellie Shoes Women’s 254 Lucille Dress Pump

If you have a few too many drinks and you worry about losing your shoes on the dance floor, you might like the adjustable buckle strap, the T-strap design and the stable sculpted heel.

They provide the appropriate support and security without getting too tight on the skin. Blisters are my worst nightmare on a dance night out, so I always look for ways to prevent them.

They are comfortable and they fit very well, accommodating your tired feet if they swell after hours and hours of showing off your moves.

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit Sunset

Ellie Shoes Women’s 254 Lucille Dress Pump

How to choose Nike shoes for dancing

Nike is already a well-established brand and dancers around the world make them their number one choice every day.

But with such an astonishingly big number of models available, sometimes we may feel overwhelmed when trying to pick the best one to fit our dancer needs.

What To Look For

Here are a few things to take into account when buying a pair of dancing Nikes:

A good grip, adequate support for the foot, good cushioning, a comfortable toe box, a non-slippery sole and a high quality upper made from lightweight, breathable and durable materials. Nike’s got our back.

When it comes to shoe-making technology, we’ve come a long, long way from the old wooden shoes in the Celtic lands.

A good example which embodies that exact amazing advancement in shoe tech and my latest acquisition from Nike are the Joyride Run Flyknit shoes.

They are like a tiny hug for my tired feet, as they have a soft sock-like feel to them and little foam beads placed in four strategic points under the plantar region of the foot.

These provide good shock absorption, protecting your joints whenever you do your fancy jumps.

They offer a personalized kind of response. It feels like my shoes know me and that’s important, especially on long training days.

The TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) bead system is also really dynamic as it shifts during movement, contouring your sole and supporting it in every position.

To me, this was a very helpful trait while training as they gave me a springy response, saving energy during difficult routines.

Apparently, after years of studies, Nike came up with this joyride system which offers 14% greater shock absorption the other foam cushioning technologies in their running shoes, e.g. the Air Pegasus 36 – which I have not tried yet.

Recommendation For You – Nike Joyride Run Flyknit Sunset

They are extremely lightweight, yet secure with a very useful built loop, making it very easy to put the shoe on.

Thanks to the high quality materials, they seem very durable so far, although I have only had them for less than two months now. I guess time will tell if that is the case or not, but so far it all seems promising.

I got them in pink, but they come in a varied palette of colours and you can also design your own if you’re not happy with the available options.

The internet famous Industrial Designer and self-entitled Sneaker Enthusiast Seth Fowler does a pretty good job reviewing this pair of shoes, focusing on the new cushioning technology from Nike and you can watch it right here.

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit Sunset

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit Sunset

How to choose Salsa dance shoes

When it comes to salsa, there are two types of people in the world:

The ones who think of it as a delicious spicy dip for their tortilla chips

And the ones whose eyes lit up and whose hips start moving to an imaginary Latino rhythm every time someone mentions it.

If you’re part of the latter category, then you’re probably a salsa dancer.

Whether you go to salsa classes a few times a month to escape your mundane and stressful day to day life or you have actually dedicated your entire existence to salsa and became a professional, we’re all salsa dancers in the end and we all love our salsa shoes, don’t we?

Well, I do, but I’ve also hated a couple until I managed to choose the right ones to suit my needs.

What To Look For

As an occasional salsa dancer, I did not want to spend a fortune on a pair of dance shoes, but I also did not to skip any of the important features that make a good shoe good.

First of all, when you think of buying your salsa shoes, go for heels.

The sensual Latino movements simply look better on a lady with heels and they make you feel a lot more confident on the dance floor.

If you believe it is easier to first learn the steps wearing flats, you might actually need to relearn everything once you decide it is time to switch to heels.

Secondly, pay attention to the flexibility of the shoe, its cushioning, the ankle strap system and the support they offer to your foot arch.

Recommendation For You – TTdancewear Women Rhinestone Ballroom Dance Shoe

My recommendation for this section is probably the most popular pair of Latin Dance Shoes available on Amazon, the TT Dancewear Rhinestone shoes. With an overall mark of 4,5 out of 5, based on 377 ratings, they won my heart  (and got my money) too.

They are a valuable addition to your dance shoes collection as you can wear them to most of your Latino dance classes, not just for salsa.

They are very flexible, showing off that beautiful pointed foot arch you’ve been working on since lesson no 1. They’re made from satin and come with smooth suede sole which proves to have a pretty good grip to the floor.

If you like light shoes that make you feel as if you are dancing barefoot, these may be a good option since they are really comfortable and weigh almost nothing.

I am also obsessed with stability, so the double ankle strap comes in handy. They also feature a quick release buckle – really useful in case of fast changes at competitions or shows. T

They come in lots of colours and have delicate rhinestones applied on the upper straps and heel, which in my opinion, make them very feminine.

TTdancewear Women Rhinestone Ballroom Dance Shoe

TTdancewear Women Rhinestone Ballroom Dance Shoe

How to choose wedding shoes for dancing

The big day has finally arrived. You’re marrying the man of your dreams and everybody’s eyes are on you two.

Among a hundred other things you have to worry about, the Bride & Groom First Dance is a big one.

Not only you need to practice for this one beforehand, but you will also need to be able to continue dancing all night long, mostly with every guest, friends, family members and long lost relatives who show up at your wedding (potentially uninvited).

I haven’t taken the big step yet, but I did go to lots of weddings, most of them involving professional dancers as protagonists, because apparently dancers tend to marry their kind.

When it comes to wedding dance shoes, we do not only take into consideration the basic features of a normal dance shoe, such as flexibility, good grip to the floor, cushioning, an ample toe box, shock absorption, etc., but also the way they fit with probably the most expensive one-wear dress we’re ever going to buy in a lifetime – the wedding dress.

What To Look For

Although some wedding shoes look really pretty and match your dreams since you were a little girl imagining yourself to be a princess-bride, the truth is most of them are ridiculously uncomfortable after only a couple hours of wearing and a few spins on the dance floor.

You don’t want that, I don’t want it, nobody does, so here comes my recommendation, based on some of my closest friends’ experiences with their wedding shoes and on the podiatrists’ advice.

According to Dr Nicole Freels a podiatrist from Lexington Podiatry in Kentucky, the trend of brides who tend to choose more comfortable and practical shoes that can be worn more than once is currently increasing. Way to go, girls!

Recommendation For You – Badgley Mischka Giona II Evening Sandals

The winner in my opinion is the luxurious, yet affordable Giona II Sandal from the Jewel collection by Badgley Mischka.

They come with a 2” stable block heel that will take the place of an otherwise uncomfortable stiletto.

The round open toe d’Orsay sandal features really elegant laser cut detail, adding style to your bride outfit, while the crystal stones embellished over the crisscross straps add a note of refinement. They’re beautiful shoes indeed.

Made from metallic leather that complements its fancy accessories, the sandal has a cushioned footbed and ankle straps you can easily adjust, so they don’t go missing on the dance floor.

They feature high quality material and craftsmanship with man-made lining and sole.

Badgley Mischka Giona II Evening Sandals

Badgley Mischka Giona II Evening Sandals

How to choose shoes for contra dancing

Contra dancing is not just dancing. It is a social event and it brings people together.

To me, it is a wonderful cultural phenomena we should all expose ourselves to at some point.

Here’s a video full of people who are all about contra dancing and will have you fall in love with it too.

There are no fancy moves, no prior experience is needed so all we really need is a pair of good shoes and we can hit the dance floor.

What To Look For

According to Jeff Kaufman, a contra dance organizer we need to answer a few questions when trying to pick the most suitable pair of contra shoes.

How slippery the sole should be? How much cushioning do you need? Do you want to join the entire hall and make noise with your feet on balances? How flexible would you like your shoes to be?

The best choice for both men and women will be a pair of low heeled character shoes.

They are light, not too flexible, so your feet will feel stable. They are also good for making the balances noise, so if it is important to you to blend into the crowd, they will help you do it.

Recommendation For You – K360 – Character Oxford Shoe

My recommendation for this style of dance is the K360 Customizable Oxford Character Shoe from Capezio.

Made from high quality full grain leather upper, they are a comfortable option featuring foam padding in the heel and arch area.

In contra dance, you need to avoid rubber soles, as they will prevent you from sliding smoothly.

These shoes come with hand stitched leather sole to solve that problem. The shoes also have folded edges and the Achilles notch for some extra comfort. The stacked heel is low, measuring only 1”.

There’s an extra option Capezio offers with these shoes: if you want, they can attach the Tele Tone® toe and heel taps, but you will need to contact their Theatrical Department at 1-(877)-300-1887 in advance and let them know.

Their recommendation is that men begin with their street shoes size. However, for women, they should start 1.5 – 2 sizes down from street shoes size.

Capezio also has a good return policy that states that they offer free return on all their products within 30 days if you buy directly from their website. Of course, the products do not have to show signs of distressed use.

K360 - Character Oxford Shoe

K360 – Character Oxford Shoe

How To Choose Ballroom Dance Shoes

Derived from the Latin word ballare, meaning to dance, the term ballroom dance used to define the type of dances reserved for the privileged, the aristocrats from royal courts, leaving the folk dances to the commoners.

It is from this style that my beloved ballet was born from. But not only ballet, since ballroom dancing encompasses a wide range of social dances such as Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep or Swing.

It is one of the most sophisticated and refined types of dance, transporting you across the centuries back to the 16th century at King Louis XIV sumptuous parties.

You can imagine that the outfit and shoes you choose to attend such an event are pretty much the same you’d choose for a ballroom dance competition or even a class – very fancy.

What To Look For

When it comes to footwear, just like with everything in life, there are very cheap, cheap, mid-range and high-end options we can pick from.

However, it is not always easy to choose the ones that better suit our needs and pockets, when there are so many available.

Honestly, I believe in investing in a really good pair that will last a lot longer, rather than in buying multiple cheap ones, as they tear apart and wear out so quickly.

The popular professional ballroom dancer and instructor Michael Litke, guides you through the process of choosing the right pair of shoes for ballroom dancing in this short video.

He insists on paying attention to characteristics such as the type of heel, the closed toe box and the secure straps for women and such as the flexibility, type of sole gliding features and durability.

This time, my recommendation for ballroom shoes comes from a deluxe shoe manufacturer – Aida Dance. They are a bit expensive, but they are designed with the dancer’s needs in mind.

The shoes are handmade, from very high quality materials, leading to you enjoying them for a long period of time. They have a 5 out of 5 score on their official Facebook page, based on 81 reviews.

If uncertain about what pair to invest in, they also offer a free consultation from one of their experts.

As a very professional brand, they also have a short video explaining you how the shoes are supposed to fit. However, all orders are refundable if you are still not satisfied with what you have received.

Recommendation For You – TAYLOR (040C) MIRKO (119F)

For women, I chose the Taylor 040C model, a variation of the 040 Standard model. The ones I recommend come in Flesh satin and feature a 2” Flare Heel with added heel protectors.

They have a comfortable closed round toe box and a soft padded insole to support you during your long dancing hours.

If you are worried about balance on the dance floor, these shoes might be the ones to have your back, as the signature design aims to offer very exceptional stability and the sole creates a good connection to the floor, allowing you to slide in peace.

The strap keeps the shoes securely tied to your feet, so you cannot use the missing shoes Cinderella trick to find prince charming at the ball you are attending.

When it comes to shoes for men, the website has it clear: they offer unsurpassed quality, through ergonomically correct shoes that perform, last and impress. May it be so!

My choice for gentlemen is the 119F – Mirko model, rebranded in the honour of former WDC World Champion Mirko Gozzoli.

They feature a full patent leather toe box mixed with a crepe satin arch support that makes them very flexible.

If you like the freedom of the split sole, these shoes might be the ones you are looking for.

Make sure you like them, since they are durable and you’ll be stuck with them for a while.

In my opinion, the website excels in customer service and also offers a very wide range of customization options, so you are free to choose the heel height, style, the width and shape of the toe box, the sole colour, and even the material of your new pair of shoes, making them fit perfectly to your tastes.

TAYLOR (040C)

TAYLOR (040C)

MIRKO (119F)

MIRKO (119F)

Final Conclusion

As Leonardo da Vinci said “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”

We need to respect our feet and value them as our most precious asset. We cannot ignore our feet needs and hope they will work just fine on the dance floor.

The shoes we choose as dancers are a sign of how much we care about our performance on stage and about our health in the rehearsal hall.

So anytime you need to buy a new pair of shoes for your routines, take your time and make an educated choice.

It does not matter whether you are a newbie in the world of dance or you are already an established authority in this field.

Go ahead, pick a pair of magic shoes from the list above and write your own fairy tale on the dance floor. The whole world will be there to watch.

As dancers, we all have a magic shoes story. What’s yours?

Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Tennis Gear Reviews In 2021

best tennis gear

Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis has been a major influence in my life now for over 20 years.

Having played the sport for this length of time, it’s safe to say that I have had my fair share of good and bad products over the years.

I have followed trends and ridden the waves of popular products many times throughout my playing career, and it hasn’t always worked out how I expected.

After hours of research and from my personal experience using the products here are my best tennis gears guide for you:

Tennis Shoes

You could be the fastest player alive, but if your tennis shoes do not facilitate what is necessary to cover the court, you are going to have a hard time.

And besides your own natural ability for each of these, there is a key element that will improve your performance: what you have on your feet.

OUR RECOMMENDATION- Asics Court FF 2

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR BEST TENNIS SHOES

tennis racquet

Choosing a tennis racquet is probably a bit easier than choosing the right tennis shoes, since there are a few brands that lead the industry.

You have to find the right head size, the right balance, the right string pattern, the right weight – it really can be information overload when trying to choose the right one for you.

OUR RECOMMENDATION- Pure Drive Blue Black

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR BEST TENNIS RACQUET

How to choose the best tennis racquet

As one of the main tools used in the tennis trade, the ability to choose the right racquet that suits you is of paramount importance.

I guess this is no surprise really, since the tennis racquet is behind each and every ball that you will strike in practice and in competition.

Choosing a tennis racquet is probably a bit easier than choosing the right tennis shoes, since there are a few brands that lead the industry.

But with this said, there are loads of different racquets within these brands that meet different specifications across the board.

You have to find the right head size, the right balance, the right string pattern, the right weight – it really can be information overload when trying to choose the right one for you.

But fortunately (and to keep with the theme of this article), I have narrowed things down and made this choice considerably less overwhelming.

What to Look For

Tennis racquets are always designed to fit a certain playing style. For example, those that are heavier and have a tighter string pattern are designed for players that can generate their own power but want more control.

Racquets that are lighter and have a wider string pattern are designed for players that have the control but need assistance in the power department.

And there are other specifications too. Racquets where the frame is quite stiff is ideal for players who enjoy serving and volleying, but this isn’t necessarily a good fit for baseline players.

The opposite is true for racquets that have a lot of flexibility in the frame. These racquets are well suited to players that prefer the baseline, although they aren’t quite as efficient when coming to the net or serving.

These are all considerations to think about when choosing the right racquet, and there are certain brands that definitely manufacture racquets better than others.

Some of the better racquets on the market come from brands like Babolat, Head, Wilson, Tecnifibre and Yonex.

This statement is also supported by the fact that many top tier professionals have signed with these brands.

The top 3 players in the men’s game (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal) play with Head, Babolat, and Wilson racquets.

The top 3 in the women’s game (Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka) play with Head, Yonex, and Babolat racquets.

Safe to say, these brands are dominating the field right now and there are strong reasons why.

Without a doubt, the available racquets within these brands are some of the best out there. But there is one particular racquet that rises above all others.

It offers the perfect mix of power, control, and spin. And this holds true whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced player.

Recommendation For You – Babolat Pure Drive

As used by players such as Fabio Fognini (men’s world number 12), this racquet offers the chance for enormous power, while coming from a relatively lightweight frame.

The best part is that this power comes easy, thanks to the wider string pattern seen with the Babolat Pure Drive. However, this power does not come at the expense of reduced control – which is a major reason that I love this racquet.

The racquet itself weighs in at just 300g. It also boasts a head size of 100 square inches, as well as being a majorly head light racquet, which facilitates racquet head speed.

These specifications allow for a huge sweet spot on the racquet too, meaning that you do not need to contact the ball exactly in the middle to get full access to this racquets power.

This is what makes it so easy to use, and is just another reason as to why this racquet is so hugely popular.

The Babolat Pure Drive is undoubtedly more suited to baseline players, since it is primarily a power racquet.

But what I have found with this racquet compared to others out there is that it doesn’t lose the feel or the control when it comes to serving and volleys.

It has just the right amount of flexibility in the frame too, which essentially provides a ‘meet in the middle’ solution for those looking for baseline and net play action.

And for further specifications and professional players opinions (including Fabio Fognini) on the Babolat Pure Drive, take a look at this highly informative YouTube video:

Pure Drive Blue Black

Pure Drive Blue Black

How to choose the best tennis elbow brace

This is probably one of those categories that we all think less of when it comes to choosing the right tennis equipment.

But I cannot help but think of a specific quote that summarizes just how important this category is for tennis players, “prevention is better than the cure”.

Many don’t realize that using a tennis elbow brace is often a great preventative measure to protect your elbow in the first place – it shouldn’t just be used if you are already suffering from ailments such as tennis elbow.

Trust me, I’ve been there and it isn’t something that you want to suffer from.

What to Look For

Of course if you are young, fit, and healthy it is less likely that you will develop tennis elbow as rapidly as those who may be slightly older. But for those that are suffering, it is critically important to deal with the problem now rather than later.

And this isn’t just me preaching to you either; professional doctors are stressing great caution – especially for tennis elbow (the most common elbow problem in tennis).

And while it may not be the ‘cool’ thing to do, wearing a tennis elbow brace is important even if you feel just the slightest twinge in your elbow when playing.

I know first hand the pain and frustration that tennis elbow (and even golfers elbow) can cause, so choosing an appropriate elbow brace is still an important factor for your overall equipment selection.

But the specifications are not quite as obvious for this category as some of the others.

There are certain aspects that the elbow brace needs to have before you even consider buying it, and you have to know what to look for.

In my experience there are four characteristics that need to fit the bill before I will even consider the purchase.

It has to be stable, it has to be comfortable, it mustn’t restrict movement, and most importantly it has to help the pain suffered with tennis elbow and other elbow injuries.

As is the case with many sports injuries, if you feel pain in a joint you will typically feel weakness too.

This is why first and foremost the elbow brace has to provide stability for the joint. But leading on from this, what use is stability without comfort?

I tend to prioritise comfort quite highly when choosing an elbow brace, since any piece of clothing or accessories have to feel comfortable so you concentrate on playing instead of adjusting your accessories!

As you probably know, elbow braces come in all shapes and sizes.

And if you come across one that restricts your movement too much, it has to go right back on the shelf – for there is no use having great support if you cannot even extend your arm to hit the ball.

Finally, your chosen elbow brace has to help with pain.

There is nothing worse than having to miss playing tennis because of a niggling injury, so your elbow brace has to allow you to get back out there on the court and play, ideally without pain!

Recommendation For You – Simien Tennis Elbow Brace 

I must admit, I already had a few brands and tennis elbow braces in mind when making my recommendation, but it is the Simien tennis elbow brace that wins the contest for me.

As you can see from the image, this brace offers support without too much bulk, so it won’t restrict movement. For me it provides everything you could want in a tennis elbow brace, and it provides the perfect blend of the criteria outlined above.

There are two main reasons however that this won the contest, besides the fact that it contains all the necessary characteristics. I like that when I have used it in the past, I didn’t even notice it was there after a few minutes.

I also like that you can adjust the pressure simply by tightening or loosening the Velcro strap.

If you prefer more pressure on the tendon you can of course pull the Velcro tighter, but it truly is adjustable so that you can find the right mix of pressure needed vs. pain relief.

SIMIEN 2 Count Golfers Compression Sweatband

SIMIEN 2 Count Golfers Compression Sweatband

How to choose the best tennis strings

It is one thing to choose a racquet that suits your game, but your choice of tennis string is undoubtedly the second most important category when choosing your equipment.

And just like tennis racquets, tennis strings come with a whole host of specifications that can seem overwhelming at first.

Do you want one that is purely for durability?

Do you want a string that is for feel?

Do you want a string that is going to give you more power?

These are all common considerations that come to mind when choosing the right tennis strings.

What to Look For

There is such an intricate relationship in tennis between the racquet, the strings and the actual contact on the tennis ball.

String types are often related to a particular game style too, much like the tennis racquet discussed earlier.

If you are a baseline player you will be on the hunt for a nice blend of durability and power. If you are a player who chooses accuracy over power, you might be on the lookout for a softer string with more feel.

But just like the other categories, I believe that there is a blend of characteristics that will suit all players.

Ideally, you want a string that suits all of the criteria identified above although it isn’t easy to find.

You want a string that is highly durable, and has great power without compromising your feel on the ball. Trust me, there are plenty of tennis string types out there are that are amazing for one of these criteria, but terrible in another.

In my time, I’ve used strings that provided amazing pop on the ball, yet I felt like I was hitting the ball with a cricket bat rather than a tennis racquet!

I’ve also used strings that provided unreal feel such as natural gut, but then my bank balance was emptied almost weekly due to the poor durability!

So this is why you need to find a good blend of all three, and I truly think that I have managed to find a string that is a perfect match.

Recommendation For You – Babolat RPM Blast

I have honestly never used any other string that even comes close to this quality or this power scale.

This is my string of choice 7-days a week, 365 days a year. Not only does it give me probably 15 – 20% extra power, but also it is durable and has an awesome feel on the ball.

But please take note that this is a higher end string, meaning that if you are still in the beginner to development stage this string probably isn’t suitable for use in the whole racquet.

You can still use it if you are a beginner, but I would highly recommend blending it with a softer string in the crosses such as synthetic gut string.

With this string I find that my ground-strokes are significantly more penetrating, thanks to the added power and increased spin that you can get on the ball.

And the best part is that this added power and spin comes without any added effort, so you can still conserve energy throughout the game or practice.

It is also an effective string for those that may like to slice the ball, thanks to the octagonal shape naturally biting the ball surface more than a circular string.

To solidify my choice, Babolat RPM Blast is the string of choice for none other than 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

No I’m not promising that this string will make you play like him, but it’s clear to see the power and spin that he is able to get. And it seems to be working just fine for Nadal!

If you’re still not too sure, check out this play-by-play instructional piece from the e-commerce tennis guru site, Tennis Warehouse.

Babolat RPM Blast 16 String

Babolat RPM Blast 16 String

How to choose the best tennis balls

Tennis ball selection is another category that is often overlooked by many players, but depending on the balls used it can greatly impact the way that you play.

Tennis balls are typically manufactured to be suited for either clay court tennis, hard court tennis, or grass court tennis.

And the specifications for tennis balls do not actually vary all that much, since they are all the same shape and size.

However, scratch beneath the surface and there are some finer details that can have a major impact on the way you perform.

I’ve been fortunate enough to play with many different types throughout my career, and I like to think that I know the difference between a bad ball and a good ball!

What to Look For

Some of the most popular brands for tennis balls include Wilson, Head, Dunlop, Babolat, and Slazenger.

You’ve probably played with at least one if not all of these brands at some point, and there are some subtle differences between them that often go unnoticed.

Wilson balls are typically much livelier than the others, meaning that their speed and reaction to the court is quite substantial.

Head tennis balls and Dunlop balls are actually less ‘fluffier’, meaning that you do not get as much feel on these tennis balls as others.

In contrast, Slazenger balls are extremely ‘fluffy’, meaning that you’ll get great feel on the ball – yet they aren’t quite as bouncy as others.

And Babolat balls are usually manufactured for clay court tennis, meaning that they are incredibly bouncy!

Well, it would appear again that we are spoilt for choice!

Of course the specifications above provide just a brief overview of the performance for each different brand.

And when you actually get on court and use each type of tennis ball, the difference is subtle yet powerful.

You will start to notice how the ball feels when it connects with your strings. You will begin to notice how the different types react to topspin, slice, and flat play. And you will notice how the ball reacts when it hits the court surface.

These are all factors that can prove to be positives or negatives depending on the ball you choose.

Furthermore, these factors may also be suited or not suited to your game style.

So in the interest of finding a balance for the ball characteristics as well as how they perform regardless of the court surface, I have narrowed down my selection and provided my recommendation below.

Recommendation For YouWilson US Open

The prestige of this ball is kind of given away in the title here, but my personal tennis ball of choice is the Wilson US Open tennis ball.

I’ve used this tennis ball on all surfaces, and I have to say that it performs the best on average out of all the options listed above.

It has great feel, solid durability, and it is an incredibly lively tennis ball.

This means that it reacts well to the court surface, regardless of external factors such as temperature, spin, or speed of shot.

I guess there is a reason that this is the ball of choice for the US Open Grand Slam!

One of my biggest determining factors for this recommendation is how the ball performed after a good amount of usage.

To be honest, Babolat tennis balls perform just as well as Wilson initially, but the deterioration and dip in performance is much faster with that brand.

The Wilson tennis ball remains lively after hours of play, and it doesn’t seem to lose as much fluff on the edges as some of the others. It is this fluff that gives the ball a good feel, and the fact that it doesn’t fade away after an hour of play is a credit to the balls quality.

If you’re still fascinated about the specifics of tennis balls including how they are made, further product specifications, and professional insights – have a look at this incredibly interesting piece featured in the Wall Street Journal.

They even talk about how tennis balls play differently for both men and women! It is truly an intriguing article.

Wilson US Open

Wilson US Open

How to choose the best tennis ball machine

Are you sick of not having a partner to play against? If so, you might want to consider getting a tennis ball machine.

Or if you’d rather just have a good workout while practicing a few strokes, it is also a good option.

Some criticise the effectiveness and ‘unrealistic’ aspects of a tennis ball machine compared with real play, and to be honest – it is understandable.

Of course it isn’t going to be quite like the real thing, but using a tennis ball machine can still be a great way to develop your game.

Let’s face it, sometimes schedules clash and life gets in the way of playing tennis with other people – so it isn’t a bad idea to have a tennis ball machine as backup.

What to Look For

While it isn’t my preferred method of practice, I still know a thing or two about selecting a high quality tennis ball machine.

Like other categories, there aren’t too many variations in terms of the specifics for tennis ball machine performance.

So really it just comes down to how many features the machine does possess, as well as how easy it is on your wallet!

Firstly, you are looking at over $1,500 for a quality and reliable tennis ball machine. So with this said, you want to try and get a machine for as close to $1,500 as possible – otherwise it can become incredibly expensive.

Secondly, you want a machine that is battery powered (ideally with 2-4 hours battery life) since you will set up the machine in the middle of the court, and the nearest mains socket could be some distance away.

Thirdly, you want a machine with a considerable ball capacity. This allows you to hit plenty of balls before needing to go and pick them up to reload the machine. And finally, you want a machine that you can wheel around the court easily.

That seems like a lot to ask for, right?

I agree, but if you’re going to make the investment you want to make sure that you do it right.

There are plenty of ball machines out there that promise the world and fail to deliver. And let’s be honest, it’s not like you are buying a can of tennis balls where if they are poor quality you won’t be too upset.

This is a big investment, and it’s one that requires care and attention. I don’t want you to make any mistakes if you are thinking about this purchase, which is why I have taken the liberty of providing my personal recommendation for this category below.

Recommendation For You – Lobster Elite Freedom Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machine

On the market at just over £1,000 is the Lobster  Elite Freedom tennisball machine.

While I haven’t experienced this machine first-hand, I have done extensive research in order to make my recommendation.

This is by far the most cost-effective machine, while including as many key features as possible.

It is battery powered, has an adjustable handle for ease of mobility, can hold up to 150 tennis balls, and can fire balls your way at 70mph!

These speed settings can be adjusted, and you can have the ball fed to you at anywhere between 10 and 70 mph.

While the ball machine can’t put spin on the ball, reviews indicate that is highly accurate in feeding to a certain part of the court. This is ideal since you can specifically practice any given shot thanks to precise feeding capabilities.

And to top it all off, this machine has a battery life of up to 4 hours.

So if you have the staying power to go through a 4-hour practice session with a ball machine, then this could well be the machine for you.

If you would like a full review complete with the pros and cons for this particular ball machine, have a read of this highly informative piece on the website: Tennis Guru.

Lobster Elite Freedom Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Elite Freedom Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machine

How to choose the best tennis overgrip

As the main piece of equipment attaching your hand to your racquet, choosing the right tennis overgrip is critical.

So many things can go wrong with this category. You could choose a grip that is too slippery, you could choose a grip that is too rough and gives you blisters, or you can choose a grip that is just generally uncomfortable.

But so many things can go right to, as long as you have the necessary knowledge and information to make an informed decision. Well, you are in the right place for that!

I am well versed in the topic, and have used several different types through my many years of playing.

What to Look For

Many people think a tennis grip is just something that goes around the racquet handle so that you do not hold the wooden surface underneath. But there is so much more to it than just this.

You need to know the specifics and understand how this can impact your game.

Firstly, let’s identify a key difference between an overgrip and a replacement grip – since these are often confused.

A replacement grip goes directly over the wooden surface on the racquet handle, and it is typically much thicker than an overgrip.

Whereas an overgrip is a type of grip that goes over the replacement grip, and it is usually very thin and tacky – or at least this is what it is supposed to be.

The Invention of the overgrip came about thanks to one fundamental reason. Players wanted a way to get more comfort on their handle, without increasing the grip size.

And a good overgrip does exactly that. It needs to be thin but strong, tacky but comfortable, quality but not extortionately expensive, and it just needs to get the job done right!

Tennis has come an awfully long way since the early days of carpet style tennis grips that would carve up your hand like no tomorrow!

Nowadays the grips are much more advanced, as well as being much easier on the palm of your hands and the tips of your fingers. But this by no means indicates that they are all perfect.

Some of the better brands for overgrips include Wilson, Babolat, Tournagrip, Head, and Tecnifibre. But I believe that one of these brands has a particular product that stands well above the rest.

Recommendation For You – Torna Tac Overgrip

In my opinion, this is the Godfather of all tennis overgrips. The brand Tournagrip originally came onto the scene thanks to the likes of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. But the grips that they use still followed a kind of carpet texture – not ideal for the modern day tennis player.

In fact, the demands and requirements of over grips in this day and age have changed considerably.

The team at Tennis Express have managed to debunk several myths about the over grip, and they have identified some of the most popular features that the modern day player looks for.

Tournagrip obviously took note of the changing requirements for overgips, and they drastically modernised their range of grips. And the release of the Tourna Tac overgrip gave me something that I had never experienced before.

To start with, it is one of the tackiest grips I have ever used. Even when competing in hot climates, where of course your hand will sweat a lot.

I still practically had to peel my hand off the grip at the end of matches. Now that is tacky!

I’ve never really been someone who focuses on colour, but the striking purple of the grip also matches well with a variety of tennis racquets.

Aesthetics aside, the grip is very comfortable and is extremely sweat absorbent. Finally, while the word durable is not often use with overgrips, I feel it is appropriate in this instance.

The grip doesn’t lose its colour quickly, and it is slow to wear out on the high impact areas like the bottom of the grip. This makes it one of the most durable overgrips that I have ever used too.

To build on an already impressive resume for the Tourna Tac overgrip, it is incredibly cost-effective compared with other brands like Wilson and Babolat.

Unique Tourna Grip Overgrip Tour

Unique Tourna Grip Overgrip Tour

How to choose the best tennis socks

Padded in the right places, strong, breathable, durable, thick, and comfortable – this is what you are looking for in an appropriate pair of tennis socks. That’s not too much to ask, right?

You’d think that all of the top brands manufactured socks of this quality, but this isn’t the case.

As we have already seen throughout this article, different brands specialize in different categories. And for tennis socks, the leading brands are unquestionably Nike and Adidas.

These two clothing brand giants have been wildly successful across a whole range of sports, yet their quality has spilled over into the tennis socks category as well.

What to Look For

Now that we have the primary features laid out, we must delve deeper and see the specifics needed to be a great pair of tennis socks.

We will address each feature one by one, and identify exactly why this is needed.

Tennis can be extremely high impact around the ankles, heels and toes.

Therefore the padding on the socks has to be reinforced around the heels, ankles and toes to prevent friction and subsequent blistering of the feet.

Another feature that goes hand in hand with reinforced padding is the strength of the socks.

They need to be flexible enough to stretch out fully over your arches and above your ankles, but they must be strong enough to ensure that the material does not become weakened due to washes or playing time.

We can couple the next two features together (durable and thick) since the two typically go hand in hand. Each time you take to the court, your socks will inevitably move across your feet and rub on the inside of your shoes.

Therefore they need to be thick to prevent rapid breakdown, and they need to have several layers of fabric so that they last as long as possible while staying comfortable.

Our final two features can also be coupled together (breathable and comfortable).

By being breathable your feet can actually ‘air out’ even while still wearing them, and this helps to prevent moisture build up.

And by preventing moisture build up, your feet will remain fresh and the nice dry feel should stay intact – therefore ensuring that you have a comfortable set of socks on even after several wears.

So now that you know what to look out for, I will give you my recommendation on what the best socks are on the market today.

Recommendation For You – Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Cotton Cushioned Crew Socks

This has been my favourite pair of socks now for several years, for all the reasons you might expect.

The padding around the heel and toes is awesome, especially for someone who is a bit prone to blisters and even toenails falling off like myself!

This protective barrier has proved highly effective for me, and I suspect it can do the same for you.

On top of this, the fabric over the arch of the socks has really been woven tightly. This makes it fit your feet like a glove, and also prevents the sock from sliding around too much.

The icing on the cake for me is the choice of material used on the arches and the upper sock.Nike has chosen to use mesh fabric for these areas, which greatly helps to reduce sweat build-up – even after practice sessions lasting for several hours.

I’m sure there are other socks out there that contain some of these important features, but this is my personal preference by a long way.

This pair of socks isn’t exactly rough on the eyes either. But of course it is far more important that they basically meet all of the prerequisites needed for a solid pair of tennis socks.

Nike Court Essentials Crew Tennis Socks

Nike Court Essentials Crew Tennis Socks

How to choose the best tennis dampener

There is nothing worse than striking a tennis ball and repeatedly hearing that annoying ping sound, not to mention the subsequent vibration that rattles up your arm.

And if you miss the strings and hit the ball hard off the frame of the racquet, the vibration can actually be quite painful.

Welcome to the world of tennis dampener’s (sometimes called dunby’s / shock absorbers in certain corners of the globe).

These little gems are fixed just below the bottom string of your racquet, and as long as you buy a good one you will not feel any vibration when hitting the ball. But then the question beckons, just how do you pick the right one?

What to Look For

99% of tennis dampeners are made out of a rubber material, since this helps to absorb the shock that results from striking a tennis ball.

They come in all shapes and sizes really, and there are multiple brands that offer these to players.

The interesting thing about this product is that it isn’t actually necessary to have one, but rather it is a personal choice whether you like to play with one or not. I like to use one at all times, and there are certain specifics that I look out for before buying one.

First of all, I prefer the smaller tennis dampeners that can be fit between two strings.

This is mainly because it takes up less space on the racquet, and if you don’t quite catch the ball in the middle of the strings there is less chance that you will hit the dampener.

Those that have mistimed the ball and hit the dampener before know what I’m talking about!

But if you are fortunate enough that this hasn’t happened to you yet, be ready for your tennis dampener to fly off the racquet and bounce off to whatever region it chooses – highly annoying!

There is also a little rubbery piece in the middle of the tennis dampener that connects the two sides together.

I prefer that this rubber piece be as close to the top of the dampener as possible, since then you can push it up tight onto the bottom string and it basically eliminates all vibration.

These are the only two specifications that I look for really. I know, it is significantly less than the other categories!

These are simple to check for in the product specifications, but I do prefer one particular tennis dampener to the others.

Recommendation For YouWilson Emoji Dampener’s

While it may seem silly, I absolutely love the smiley face vibration dampener’s by Wilson.

Not only are they compact and can be fitted tight onto the bottom string; they are not branded by a particular racquet manufacturer like Head or Wilson.

This means that even if you change your racquet at some point down the line (which is highly likely), you can just switch this dampener over without feeling too ‘brand conscious’.

And for all you tennis players that are a bit prone to getting angry on the court, this gives you something soothing to look at. Trust me (as strange as this sounds), it actually works if you are having a bit of a rough day and not playing too good.

You can get these smiley’s in a whole range of colours including yellow, green, blue, red and many more.

And if a smiley face isn’t quite your style, you can change it to get a winking face, an angry face, a laughing face or essentially whatever you want.

The Wilson range is really extensive, so go ahead and choose whatever emoji you would like sitting on your racquet!

Wilson Emoji Dampener's

Wilson Emoji Dampener’s

How to choose the best tennis books

While tennis is more of a ‘learn by doing’ game; there is still an awful lot of valuable information that can be found in the right tennis books.

There are books that cover all sorts of categories such as the mental side of the game, the loneliness of the professional circuit, and of course biographies of some of the games greatest.

However, I feel like the most practical information can be learnt through the ‘how to play’ books out there. I particularly enjoy books that discuss technique, strategy, and above all just how to win tennis games.

What to Look For

You will hear people talk about how tennis is such a mental game, and while I agree, I don’t believe that this is the most important factor unless you are playing to a very high level. I believe that the ability to get a full grasp on the fundamentals of the game is so much more important before addressing the mental side.

Tennis really is a sport that is so much more technical than others. Not only do you need to know how to hit the ball, but you also need to understand the various spins, how to apply them, and just where exactly to hit the ball. That’s a lot to think about, and to access that valuable information you of course want to access the most valuable minds (coaching minds that is).

There are some truly amazing coaches out there, and thanks to tennis books you do not need to try and get in front of them personally to access their knowledge. Some of the most prestigious coaching figures of the game today include the likes of Uncle Tony (Nadal’s coach), Marian Vajda (Djokovic coach) and Patrick Mouratoglou (Serena Williams coach).

While these are all incredible coaches, and some do have their own books available for purchase – none of them even come close compared to one particular man. I did some major digging into this category, looked at so many books, and still this man continued to rise above the rest for his information and his inspiration. He will forever go down as a legend of the coaching game, and he has been responsible for so many players reaching the top level.

Check out my recommendation below for his phenomenal book!

Recommendation For You –Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Handbook-2nd Edition

Nick Bollettieri has been a legend of the game for many years now. So many top-level players credit their success to this man’s teaching methods and techniques. And now he shares them with the world through this book, that is available both online and through any major bookstore.

The reason I particularly like this book is because he has blended all aspects of the game into one complete manuscript. He talks in-depth about technique, how to deal with the mental side, how to find opponents weaknesses, fitness drills, and so much more. This man provided the platform for some of the games greats to emerge including Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Boris Becker and many others – so it’s fair to say that he knows his stuff.

His track record really speaks for itself, and after reading even just a couple of chapters in his book it is clear why Nick Bollettieri has such a reputation. He breaks the game down in such a clear way, and identifies complicated concepts into an easy-to-understand manner. Regardless of your current playing level, you will stand to learn something from this book.

Even if you already know most of the technical side of things, keep the book with you and look back over the pages to refresh your memory and gain a different perspective on things. It truly is a masterpiece.

To get a quick glimpse into the teachings of Nick Bollettieri, check out this YouTube video where he discusses attitude and the mindset required to become a champion. It’s truly awesome:

Nick Bollettieris Tennis Handbook 2nd Edition

Nick Bollettieris Tennis Handbook 2nd Edition

How to choose the best tennis bags

As the item that keeps all your worldly tennis goods together, it is rather important that you know how to choose the right tennis bag. Here you keep your racquet, shoes, towels, change of clothes, snacks, fitness equipment, and whatever else you like to carry around with you onto the court.

Since you will be carrying so much stuff around, why not take the time to source a really good bag? You will be glad that you took the time and effort to research this category each and every time you travel for practice or events.

So keep on reading, and I will show you how you can make a more informed decision for your tennis bag selection.

What to Look For

Personally, I always go for the 12-racquet tennis bags. Do I always have 12-racquets on me? Of course not! In fact, I’m not sure if I ever had 12 tennis racquets on the go at any one time throughout my career. But there is a sound reason for choosing a 12-racquet tennis bag.

As mentioned above, you will be carrying so much equipment in your tennis bag that you absolutely need adequate space. So if you are like most people and you only have two or three racquets, the rest of the space can be used for all of your other equipment. After all, if you can carry everything in one bag rather than two, this is surely beneficial and easier to manage.

Besides having adequate space, you will want your gear to be protected. Therefore the last thing you want is a bag that has flimsy external material. You want a firm and solid outer shell on the bag for maximum protection. This is even more important if you are travelling for competition. Believe me, there is nothing worse than arriving to an international tournament and finding that your racquets have been damaged on the plane!

The two final specifications that I always look for is how breathable and sweat resistant the inside of the bag is. Since you are constantly putting sweaty shoes and clothing into your tennis bag after playing, this is a hugely important factor. I usually look for bags that have mesh material on the inside, as this helps to absorb moisture in the air and remove any unpleasant smells that are inevitable from sweaty clothes and shoes.

If there is a separate compartment to put your shoes in away from the main compartments, then this is an even bigger bonus.

Recommendation For You – Wilson Federer DNA 12 Racquet Bag

Besides the fact that this racquet bag is endorsed by one of the best players to ever live, it ticks all of the boxes that I look for in a bag. It even has an extra feature that I prefer, which is the fact that it is completely black in colour. Given that we constantly throw our bags down onto grubby hard courts, clay court, and even grass courts, it is inevitable that the bag will get dirty. So for me, having a dark colour across the whole bag is a positive thing.

I love that this bag has Wilson‘s thermo guard material on the edges of both racquet compartments too, so you will not need to worry about racquet damage when travelling. The bag also uses mesh material in the compartments designed for equipment and clothing, which again ticks a very important box. And as shown in the name, this bag is a 12-racquet bag meaning that it has more than adequate space to fit in all of your equipment.

To confirm my decision for this bag, it also has adjustable and padded straps for carrying the bag around. It’s rare that you will need to carry the bag for a huge length of time or for a considerable distance, which is why I didn’t put this as one of my critical features. But the fact that it does have this feature only affirms my decision to recommend this bag.

Wilson Federer DNA 12 Racquet Bag

Wilson Federer DNA 12 Racquet Bag

How to choose the best tennis knee brace

For our final product category, we will be taking a look at how to choose an appropriate knee brace. Wear and tear on the body is unfortunately an unavoidable side effect with tennis, as discussed within the tennis elbow brace category previously. All of that hustling across the baseline, charging down drop shots, and those fitness sessions for the sport of course takes its toll on the body.

So just like the elbow brace, if you start feeling a bit of pain in the knees you may want to consider looking into a tennis knee brace. Sure it may not be cool to wear one, and can even be a sign that you aren’t as young as you used to be, but it will keep you on the court and keep you enjoying this awesome sport.

What to Look For

You don’t need to go and see a physician to know if you are having some knee problems because of tennis. It is a perfectly common thing for people to experience some pain who are playing a lot, since the strain on the body can be quite significant. So now that we have accepted this is a fact, let’s address exactly how we can counteract this pain and keep you on the court.

There are so many problems that you can get such as tendonitis and other unwanted issues with the knee joint. It’s a hot spot for injuries, so you are going to want something that provides stability, comfort, and most importantly reduces the pain that you feel when playing.

Unlike the elbow brace where you can get just one strap that goes tightly around the ligaments, the knee brace requires slightly more reinforcement. Of course your legs are the limbs responsible for carrying the rest of your body around the court, so they are the joints that take on the most pressure out of all them all. This is why I feel that it is important to look for a brace that offers protection both above and below the knee.

All of the ligaments are connected around this joint, so finding a brace that provides stability for all is the golden ticket. Finding a brace that offers support around the entire joint will reduce the efforts required from your ligaments to try and stabilize the joint themselves. This of course reduces pressure, stress, and will subsequently reduce the pain.

You also want to find a brace where you can easily adjust the tightness, since this then contributes to your general comfort with the brace itself. I prefer flexible but strong material, and an adjustable Velcro strap to adequately meet these criteria.

Recommendation For You –McDavid 425 Knee Brace

McDavid really is one of the best brands out there for injury support equipment. And while I haven’t needed to use this knee brace before (touch wood), I have had multiple friends who absolutely swear by this knee brace. Of course I looked into it myself, and this knee brace offers a remarkable range of features.

McDavid has even provided a whole write up on their website for who should wear a knee brace, how to use it, and lots of other important information.

Just by looking at the picture you can see that it offers huge support across the entire joint. It has adjustable Velcro straps, very flexible material, and it is even ventilated to prevent excessive moisture build-up.

The material does not use any latex either, so you needn’t worry if you have a latex allergy. And there are also elasticised straps to provide additional support at the side of the knee, therefore stabilizing the joint further.

Better still, this knee brace has not been manufactured specifically for the right or left knee.

So this means that you can buy one, and fit it to either knee depending on where your pain is.

With all of this said however, it is highly advised that you seek medical attention if your pain does not improve or gets worse.

The last thing you want is to take time away from the court, when it could have been prevented.

McDavid 425 Knee Brace

McDavid 425 Knee Brace

Conclusion

I really hope that you have found these product reviews and specifications helpful in your search for finding the best tennis equipment.

While I have provided my own recommendations for each category, I still advise that you conduct your own research before rushing into any purchases.

Tennis is such a vast sport that it is very difficult to find one particular product that will suit every type of player. In fact, it is nearly impossible since there are so many factors to consider.

I have recommended the products that will suit the majority of players, but of course these products won’t suit all of you. And you will also have personal preferences for each of these categories.

For example, you may find that you want to reduce the amount of power on your shot, in which case a string that produces power may not be the one for you.

It is all relative, and again I would encourage all of you to conduct your own research based on your own personal preferences.

Regardless of your playing level and what you want to do with your tennis, I really hope that you have found some value in this article.

And if you have, please feel free to share it with any friends that you feel might also benefit from this information.

We all share one common motivation here, which is to facilitate fun and enjoyable tennis playing for all. It really is a sport for life, and I hope that you will continue to enjoy this incredible sport as much as I currently do.

I wish you all the best with your product selections, and with any future plans you may have with your tennis game.

Thank you.

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