The Prince T22 shoe was reportedly the number one selling women's tennis shoe at US tennis shops in 2013. On top, it has a mesh upper combined with synthetics for a breathable feel and the upper is also reinforced against toe drag. Inside the shoe there's a removable sock liner as well as a shock absorber in the heel. Prince offers a six month guarantee on the outsole which also features a herring bone pattern. Despite being only 13.8 ounces, I'm told the shoe offers great support and stability when running side to side.
The Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour has many of the same features as the Prince T22 but it's lighter at just 11.6 ounces. The shoe comes with a breathable mesh upper and excellent stability for side-to-side movement. The shoe generally fits exactly to size and is ready to go right out of the box. The tread is herring-bone style and durable but I've haven’t seen a durability guarantee. At around $135 a pair, the Zoom Vapor 9.5 is an expensive shoe so try out this high-performance shoe out first and then see if you want to use it for everyday practice or reserve them for those special matches when you want to feel like flying around the court.
The Head Sprint Pro comes in between the Prince T22 and Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour when it comes to weight at 12.8 ounces. That's pretty light for a shoe that also comes with a 6-month outsole guarantee and reasonable sale price typically under $80. The Head shoe is a bit wide in the toe box, which is a plus for many, but not all, players as well as having a lower arch than some other options. If you wear orthodics that's of no consequence, but otherwise here's a good option for you if you feel that other shoes offer too much arch support.
The Adidas Barricade series is probably the most popular series for men's tennis shoes, and it's popular with women too. The Barricade 5 is a classic style you can rely on for in-and-out day-to-day practice. It's very stable, weighs 13.8 ounces, and has a six month outsole guarantee. There's extra protection for toe dragging. Some women report that the shoe needs a little break-in time, while others say its good right out of the box. However, everyone's foot is different so you'll have to see for yourself.
K-Swiss Big Shot II Women's Tennis Shoe
The K-Swiss Big Shot II is another great compromise tennis shoe. It weighs 12.1 ounces and has a very durable outsole that comes with a six month guarantee. As with all the other shoes on the list, it offers a stable platform and breathable toe box, but provides a little less than your average arch support. K-Swiss incorporate an aptly called “Heel Grip” construction that reportedly grips your heel and keeps it in place. If you still want something lighter, have a look for the Big Shot Light, which weighs only 10.8 ounces.
Around most tennis clubs if you ask men which shoes they're wearing, you'll hear the word "Barricade" over and over. The latest edition to Adidas' Barricade line is the 8+ which has a breathable upper and superior heel cushioning. The tread is a traditional herring bone and the sole is extremely durable and comes typically with a 6-month durability guarantee.
Weighing 16.4 ounces (based on a men's size 10.5), you'll notice the shoes are little heavier than some other options. My sense is this shoe is a little less comfortable than the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 (also on the list), but you can grind the Barricade through all your practice sessions better. If you have the opportunity, compare the various versions of the Barricade. They're all similar but each has nuances that may fit your own foot and needs better.
The Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 features Nike's "Dynamic Fit" technology which incorporates a soft material that form fits to your midfoot and arch; you can relax the fit or tighten it by adjusting your laces. The shoe is stable on quick turns and offers a seamless upper design as well as being lightweight at 13.6 ounces (based on men's size 10.5).
The shoe's tread is a herring bone pattern of Nike's XDR rubber. The only drawback to this very comfortable shoe is many people report it's not as durable as prior versions. For in and out practice, you may want to go with a different shoe like the Adidas Barricade 8+ and save this one for when it really matters.
This is probably the most comfortable tennis shoe you'll find if you have normal feet as it’s flexible, conforms to your foot, and feels plush. They’re well ventilated and also lighter than many competitor's offerings, coming in at 13.1 ounces (based on a men's size 10.5). Durability is only average, but that's typical for lighter shoes.
The tread pattern is a modified herring bone, which I think offers about the same traction as a standard pattern, and once you start to wear out the sole, that pattern probably won't make much difference anyway. My only unfulfilled desire with these shoes would be more traditional color schemes as it only comes in primarily blue/orange, yellow/blue, or red/black combinations.
The comfortable Wilson Rush Pro is the choice of some ATP touring pros with sleek styling, along with superior durability on the toe/sole. It has a plush inner lining and the unique tread seems to hold the court just as well (and sometimes even better) than traditional herring bone patterns. It's a reasonable 15-ounce shoe (based on a men's size 10.5) so you can look for a lighter shoe if that's what you want.
The outsole is made from Wilson's Duralast, which has a six-month durability guarantee. The upper is a synthetic leather and mesh with a slight drop between the heel and toe (6 mm), which may give some players a feeling of being lower to the court.
The Asics Gel Resolution 5 comes in at 15.5 ounces (based on a men's size 10.5) but it has a lot of positives for serious players including stop-and-go traction which is about as good as it gets. The shoe relies on Asics' proprietary gel system to provide a comfortable feel while the outsole has a six-month durability guarantee, with reinforcement for those who like to drag their toe on the serve.
Unlike many other shoes on this list, the Gel Resolution 5 has better arch support but if you’re using your own custom orthotics, that may not be important. The shoe comes in many eye-catching color combinations so if you’re into self-expression, these shoes might be perfect for you.