Best Tennis Shoes
If you've ever tried to play tennis barefoot, you’ll know it's something people only do once. Tennis shoes are a mandatory part of every tennis player's equipment and today’s modern offerings give you wide range of performance capabilities. Some shoes are great for everyday practice while others offer nimble maneuverability on the court. Some come in various widths and others have specific arch support for your foot. Check out our list of the best tennis shoes if you’re seeking a new pair and take a look at our tennis shoe buyer's guide for more information for choosing the best shoe fitted for you and your game.
Best Tennis Shoes for Men:
When you are stopping, starting, jumping lunging, sliding, and skidding around on a tennis court, your feet are going to take a lot of punishment so it's critical to have good footwear. The right shoe for you depends on your game and certainly the shape of your foot as it interacts with the inside of the shoe.
If you do have specific foot issues, keep a few things in mind. First, if you need wide shoes, look for the 2E or 4E size. You may also find that a lighter shoe may not provide enough cushion between your feet and the court. If you have any persistent foot issues, I highly encourage you to see a podiatrist who may be able to offer some simple, customized orthotics which can offer substantial relief.
It's always possible a great tennis shoe which works for a lot of people may not be the shoe for you because of some particular nuance about your foot. Maybe your pinky toe is right on a seam and feels uncomfortable. Perhaps you have feet that are slightly different widths or lengths. You have to try a range of shoes to really know which one works best for you.
Our following list of best tennis shoes for men exemplify the five criteria points for selection including comfort, stability, breathability, weight, and traction. However, there are some trade-offs to be made with these criteria. For example, the more stable the shoe is, probably the heavier it's going to be even if it's made with state-of-the-art materials.
The Barricade is one of the most popular tennis shoes with club players. It offers extensive durability, stability, as well as quick traction and good breathability. Read Full Review
The Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 incorporates the best shoe technology that Nike has to offer. This shoe form fits to your foot makes for very comfortable wear and its stability offers tennis players easy maneuverability on the court. Read Full Review
This is a very comfortable tennis shoe for your feet. The Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 is lightweight and provides great ventilation even though the sole likely won't last as long as some other options. Read Full Review
The Wilson Rush Pro is Wilson's top-of-the-line men’s tennis shoe. It's very comfortable, guaranteed to last, and overall this shoe offers a really good balance of stability and weight along with a unique tread pattern. Read Full Review
The Gel Resolution 5, Asics' latest model in a long line, offers superior traction, great comfort, and a six-month outsole guarantee. This shoe also comes inreally vibrant color combinations for those looking to stand out from the crowd. Read Full Review
Best Tennis Shoes for Women:
One look at my profile and you'll know I'm not a woman. Regardless, I've checked with several female players and read up on many different shoe options for women in order to compile this list of best tennis shoes for women.
All the shoes on the list are durable and almost all come with a six month durability guarantee. These shoes also offer good stability and support; some come with a little less arch support than average in case you find that most shoes provide too much for you. While you can always add support using orthodics but reducing arch support is another matter.
Quality women's tennis shoes run generally from $80 to over $130 with the shoes on the list falling within that range. At the upper end you have to be a dedicated tennis player and wanting to get the very most out of your performance. Note that you may find the highest-priced shoes also need to be replaced more often. If that's the case, you might think about purchasing two different brands or products: one pair for practice, the other for matches that matter.
Every tennis shoe manufacturer strives to provide a comfortable fit, but everyone's feet are different. So you really do need to test shoes to arrive at a best choice for you. The list here offers a good starting point, and possibly a good ending point too as you'll find a lot to like for comfort, support, style, and price in the options that are available.
The bestselling Prince T22 is lightweight, sturdy, and offers a comfortable fit. The outsole is durable and guaranteed, and the price of the shoe is quite reasonable as compared to many other choices. Read Full Review
The Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 is a top-of-the-line, lightweight, stable shoe that can support tennis players of all skill levels. The shoe comes in a variety of colors so you can coordinate your look with your other tennis apparel. Read Full Review
The Head Sprint Pro is a compromise in terms of weight - not too light, not too heavy - but still offers options for lower arch support while still providing a guarantee against outsole wear and tear. Also, you can usually find these shoes for a very reasonable price. Read Full Review
The Barricade is a very sturdy and stable shoe. While it's not lightweight compared to other choices, it can provide a great shoe for everyday practice. If you play four or more times per week and don't want to wear out a lighter shoe really fast, the Barricade is a good option. Read Full Review
Tennis Shoes Buying Guide
Tennis shoes offer a range of features which involve varying degrees of trade-offs including durability versus maneuverability, stability versus flexibility, sizing by length and width, as well as cushioning and support. There’s also materials to consider such as a leather versus mesh upper as well as the type and tread of the sole. Tennis shoes are also offered in a range of fashionable colors, which for many people is really important. Regardless of your needs, all quality tennis shoes must be non-marking as you can’t go out on a tennis court and leave skid marks all over the court. Below is a list of fundamental tennis shoe information to help you find the pair right for you.
Durability versus Maneuverability
A heavier tennis shoe is more durable but may also be less maneuverable on the court. Alternately, lighter shoes may feel great but they’ll wear out much faster because of less tread and total material on the sole. For the casual tennis player this might not matter, but if you’re on the court three to four times a week you’ll burn through light tennis shoes very quickly. It’s recommended you keep a light pair of shoes for match play and a heavier, durable pair for everyday practice.
Stability versus Flexibility
Tennis shoes must offer the stability to quickly start, stop, and change direction many times in a single point. A flexible tennis shoe may feel good standing still but it won’t respond well when you start to move and cut on the court. Alternately, a very stiff shoe can supply a lot of stability but prevent you from making you next dynamic move. The tradeoff between stability versus flexibility is something you will have to feel out for your specific style of play.
Modern tennis shoes already incorporate a footprint design that amplifies the toebox and heel. However, if you have weak ankles or prone to rolling your ankles, look for a wider toebox footprint with a little extra roll guard on the side.
Sizing by Length and Width
It’s important you choose a comfortable tennis shoe. Keep in mind your feet will expand as you play so what feels perfect on a cold dry day may actually be too small on a hot humid day in the third set. Tennis shoes run true to size and a little experimentation will help you find the right size; remember, in some cases different products run long or short.
Wider sizes are shown in either a 2E or 4E, with 4E being wider. If you have a wide foot, look for a wide shoe as narrow shoes can chafe feet and lead to injuries. On the other hand, shoes which are too wide give the feet room to roam which also can lead to chaffing and possible injury.
If you play a lot of tennis you’re going to get calluses which is normal. However, it’s not normal for you to get blisters so double check your shoe size as blisters can come from a shoe that’s too narrow or too wide.
Cushioning and Support
It’s no surprise tennis is very demanding on your feet because of all the starting, stopping, and directional changes, so a good pair should provide you with ample cushioning. While very soft cushioning may sound and feel great, it may not provide you with enough support. A good tennis shoe should firmly support your foot including your heel and arch.
If you have special foot conditions such as a low arch, you may benefit from custom orthopedic shoe inserts to support each foot properly. In that case, it’s important to know the cheap insoles provided with the shoes can be removed easily.
Some shoes offer a more cushioned feel than others which may not translate to shock absorption during play. When in doubt, ask other players, review our recommendations for best tennis shoes, as well as consulting other online shoe reviews.
Materials and Tread
The typical tread pattern on the sole of a tennis shoes is called “herring bone”, a pattern which looks like a series of zigzags with manufacturers offer subtle variations. Regardless of whether you’re playing on clay or grass, double check to ensure the shoes tread pattern will help you on those surfaces if it’s other than a herring bone style.
Apart from the sole, tennis shoes are constructed mainly of leather or synthetic leather with the upper part of the shoe available as a breathable mesh as well as a solid piece of material. Preference over one material over another is something you’ll just have to see what feels best over the course of many matches.
Some soles are guaranteed by their manufacturers to last you a certain amount of time or the manufacturer will provide a one-time replacement for a new pair of shoes. Some tennis shoes are designed with additional material under and around the big toe so if you’re a “toe dragger” the shoe will hold up longer for you.