A study of the discomfort associated with tennis shoes

J Sports Sci. 2002 Sep;20(9):671-9. doi: 10.1080/026404102320219374.


Subjective tests based on information gathered using 'discomfort questionnaires' have been used widely in ergonomics. In this study, we used a similar method to examine the discomfort associated with the footwear worn in tennis matches. A sample of 146 tennis players from a population of approximately 4000 completed the questionnaire. We performed a descriptive analysis of the study variables. The associations between discomfort and pain and between discomfort and design errors were evaluated using cross-tabulation and chi-squared tests. We found that 9% of players considered their footwear to be uncomfortable, 23% considered it to be acceptable and 68% regarded it as comfortable. Six design errors were identified and five body areas were reported as experiencing discomfort due to the footwear. Factor analysis identified four factors related to discomfort and six design errors. Subsequent correlation analysis identified several relationships among these factors. There was a strong correlation (r = 0.187, P = 0.022) between plantar discomfort and incorrect arch support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / etiology*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Shoes*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennis*