Disclaimer: This article will discuss court-specific athletic tennis shoes. Check out our tennis-inspired sneakers if you're in the market for a laid-back pair of sneakers.
When you first start shopping for tennis shoes, everything looks the same. When they step foot on the court, however, their emotions and performances can vary greatly. To assist you in finding the ideal pair of tennis shoes, we have evaluated over 40 different models.
Depending on the player's preferred style of play, tennis footwear can range from lightweight and flexible to heavy and stable. If you're not sure, pick the best option overall.
Below is a guide to help you select tennis footwear suitable for the surface of the court and your preferred playing style.
Tennis shoe drops are never ignored here at RunRepeat. Our specialists examine each model thoroughly. As a result, you can learn not only what kinds of enhancements the shoe provides, if any, but also how its actual users feel about it.
- Over 130 professional reviews were compiled to help us learn the ins and outs of each shoe on our list.
- Summarized feedback from over 12,000 customers has identified the top tennis shoes.
Court surface determines which tennis footwear is best suited to play on. Today, tennis shoes for use on hard courts and clay courts are the most popular. There are also flexible all-court trainers available for players who are new to the sport or who are simply looking for a shoe for casual use.
Usually, brands will release two versions of the same model: one for use on hard courts, and another for use on clay.
Court System / System of Courts
constructed with asphalt or concrete and an acrylic covering
Features: higher traction, faster game, and greater wear and tear on the body and shoes
consisting of pulverized masonry materials
Features include a softer surface, a slower pace of play, reduced traction (which can lead to slipperiness), and less wear and tear on feet and bodies.
includes courts made of both hard and clay
Assumed Audience: Experts
The most durable outsole lugs and a tread pattern that allows for both gripping and sliding.
Complete herringbone lugs facilitate sliding and keep the court surface clean.
The outsole features a hybrid design that can be used on a variety of surfaces.
has extra padding to keep your feet safe while walking on hard surfaces
light and low to the ground because it has less padding.
Variations in padding are seen from model to model.
Stable materials are better for the foot's balance.
constructed with dust-proof materials; extremely snug to prevent foot or ankle slipping
material options are varied and plentiful.
This is useful information to have.
- Tennis shoes designed for hard courts should not be worn on clay, and the inverse is also true. While this may not be a major issue for one or two games, a more permanent solution would be to invest in a pair of court-specific or all-court trainers.
- Wearing shoes designed for use on clay courts indoors will cause your feet to wear out faster and cause you more pain because of the increased grip.
- When playing on clay, hard-court shoes are not only ineffective because they lack traction, but also because they quickly become soiled with the dust of the court.
- Should one not wear asphalt shoes when playing on grass? In the past, tennis shoes with specialized pimpled outsoles were also available to players who regularly competed on grass courts. However, these are not as common as they once were for a couple of reasons: (1) grass courts are uncommon, and (2) it is prohibitively expensive to repair lawns damaged by knob lugs. Tennis shoes designed for use on grass include hard court, all court, and clay court styles.
- Some models of tennis shoes from every major brand come with a durability guarantee of 6 months. All tennis shoes with significant outsole damage within 6 months of purchase will be replaced free of charge.
Different playing styles necessitate different tennis shoe types.
It's possible to classify every style of tennis shoe into one of three broad categories: shoes that prioritize speed, shoes that prioritize cushioning, and shoes that prioritize stability. Which one is best for you depends on your playing style and personal preferences for shoe comfort.
The differences between the footwear are broken down in greater depth in the table below.
There are different styles of tennis footwear for different playing techniques.
- Great for fast, aggressive players who slide frequently.
Among the three weight classes, this one is the lightest.
Uppers with simplified patterns allow for improved foot flex.
Low to the ground and moderately cushioned in the midsole.
Not as long-lasting an outsole as you'd find on a pair of stability tennis shoes.
- Favorable for those who frequently change positions on the court.
Normal body mass
Upper: can be found in a wide range of designs
Cushioning in the midsole should be more substantial and springy.
The Outsole is Robust
- The best option for those who play at the baseline and value stability and durability.
Heavier than average
Upper: built to last with added reinforcements (typically TPU overlays).
Cushioning should be plentiful in the midsole, and supportive structures, such as shanks, should be incorporated to ensure the foot remains stable.
The outsole is the toughest part of a shoe and usually has a warranty guaranteeing its longevity.
How to find the perfect tennis shoe size
The player's level of grip, stability, and surefootedness on the court is directly related to how well the shoe secures the foot. When shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes, keep an eye out for the following features that indicate a snug and comfortable fit:
Front of the foot: Allow about a thumb's width of room in front of your longest toe. 1.5 inches (5 cm) It gives you some wiggle room in every step, and it's great for long games when your feet tend to swell.
The ball of your foot shouldn't be squished either. Wide or Extra Wide tennis shoes can provide extra room if you need it.
There must be a secure grip at the midfoot. For optimal side-to-side stability on the court, your foot should feel brace-like containment.
The heel should be securely fastened within the shoe's heel counter.
Substituting non-tennis footwear for use on the court
Regular running shoes may look like they can handle any sport you throw at them. However, it does not work well with tennis because of the sport's abrasive surface and quick movements.
Basketball shoes are the only other type of sports shoes that can be compared to tennis shoes. They are not perfect, however, for the reasons discussed below.
Explanations why you shouldn't play tennis in anything else
They are NOT suggested because:
- not tough enough on the outsole to withstand regular court use
- The treads on my shoes aren't designed well enough for traction and slipping.
- provide less stability on the sides
- There is no safety net to prevent heel-toe walking.
can be worn because of this reason
- can hold its own on asphalt courts
- made to accommodate quick starts, stops, and lateral maneuvers
- Fashionable low-tops won't restrict your foot movement.
They are NOT advised because:
- wear down quickly due to constant sliding and toe dragging, and therefore lack a durable outsole.
- become slick and dirty quickly on clay courts.
- Many common tennis footwork strategies will be hampered by the higher ankle collars.
- possibly too cumbersome and unwieldy for tennis