If you're starting to dabble in tennis, you may be wondering if you need specialized tennis shoes. Growing up, I called all athletic shoes "tennis shoes," but there is a reason we have different shoes for different sports. Tennis shoes have a blunter toe than running shoes and are designed for sharp cuts and forward charging. Though running shoes offer a cushioned sole, they are designed for steady, forward motion and don't offer enough support for all that side-to-side movement. Not wearing the right shoe could lead to injury.
If it's your first lesson, you probably don't want to splurge on a new pair of tennies, but check the regulations at the court where you'll be playing, since many don't allow dark-soled shoes that could scuff the court. If you own a pair of cross trainers, wear those instead of running shoes, as they offer better support. And once you've decided to give tennis a serious shot, it's definitely worth it to buy a pair of tennis-specific shoes.