Best Tennis Shoes Reviewed & Tested for Performance
Tennis is a sport which is about control and performance and is one of the most popular individual sports worldwide. Whether you’re an enthusiast who likes to visit the court once or twice a week, an advanced player playing on a daily basis, a professional or the parent of a future tennis star, you are aware of the importance a good pair of tennis shoes. The correct footwear in a sport like tennis will not just mean looking the part, but even more, tennis shoes have the function of protecting you from injury and allowing you to perform at your maximum.
Tennis includes a lot of quick stops and starts, as well as fast lateral movement, all of which influence the type of shoe you need for this type of activity. While running shoes are made to accommodate forward motion, tennis shoes are more focused on the lateral movement and providing you with the stability you need so that you don’t roll your ankle or skid along the court. With a lower profile than most athletic shoes, the soles on tennis footwear are made to provide good traction on outside courts – either hard concrete or the softer clay. A good pair of tennis shoes will provide you with enough cushioning and shock absorption so that you don’t feel any discomfort or pain in the feet or joints, and they will be durable both in the upper as well as on the sole area.
- NikeCourt Zoom Air Prestige
- Zoom Air Heel Cushioning
- XDR Rubber Outsole
- Babolat Jet
- Memory Foam Insole
- Adidas Barricade
- All-Court Shoe
- Torsion System Support
This list looks at the best tennis shoes available for purchase in 2018, giving you a tool you can use to choose the pair of shoes that will work best for you. With brands such as Nike, K-Swiss, ASICS, and Babolat which are worn by some of the top professional players, you are bound to find a pair of tennis shoes that will suit you perfectly. For even more information on how to make the best choice, check out the Criteria for Evaluation and the Frequently asked questions sections which contain plenty of good-to-know info that’s sure to help you.
10 Best Tennis Shoes
1. NikeCourt Zoom Air Prestige
The outsole on the Prestige is made from XDR rubber that has been specially adapted to offer traction and durability on hard courts, thanks to the herringbone pattern that has been providing excellent results for decades now. Furthermore, this is an outsole that’ll perform adequately even on softer surfaces.
Dynamic Fit System
You want the best possible lockdown, with absolutely no movement inside your shoes. The Dynamic Fit System on the Prestige gives just that - the mesh in the front provides breathability and flexibility, while the middle of your foot is secured from the arch up in a secure fit.
Cost and Value
For a high performing shoe, the NikeCourt Zoom Air Prestige comes at a surprisingly affordable price. It’s an excellent choice for most players who will be playing on hard courts, or those who need a shoe with a bit more versatility. It’s breathable and lightweight, and comes in classic colorways that we’ve all come to expect from Nike.
Breathable Mesh Upper
Dynamic Fit System
Herringbone Pattern on Outsole
TPU Shank for Stability
Zoom Air Heel Cushioning
Snug Fit Reduced In Mesh Area
2. Babolat Jet
Most Tennis shoes will show signs of wear in the upper too fast, sacrificing the support and stability you need in order to make fast lateral movements without risking injury. Babolat incorporates Kevlar (the stuff bulletproof vests are made of) and high resistance polyamide threads into the upper to ensure maximum lifespan, no matter how hard you play.
The Jet includes a patented heel design by Babolat made to provide superior shock absorption in the heel, using a special TPR (thermoplastic rubber) tube compressing system. The insole is made by Ortholite and features memory foam for better cushioning and less damage on your feet and joints from those forceful impacts you’re bound to make during play.
Cost and Value
The Babolat Jet is a pair of Tennis shoes ranking average on this list, which means that for a price which is acceptable, you can get a high-quality pair of footwear that is both durable and performance driven. If you prefer aggressive play and need a pair of shoes that can keep up, the Jet could definitely be your perfect choice.
- Kompressor Heel System
- Ortholite Memory Foam Insole
- MatrYX Upper
- Very Lightweight
- Durable Rubber Outsole
- Runs Narrow
- Not For Slippery Conditions
3. Adidas Barricade
One of the things that makes these shoes so good is the ADIWEAR Outsole which works great on all surfaces. The midfoot features the 3D TORSION SYSTEM which provides additional support and stability which are so important for fast lateral movement, while the forefoot is covered by the abrasion-resistant ADITUFF which is a good addition for players who drag their feet.
Barricade Mesh Upper
The upper of these shoes is made with Barricade mesh which is highly breathable thanks to the perforations which allow airflow. The synthetic overlays provide a snug fit for better stability and support.
Cost And Value
The Adidas Barricade rank average on this list when it comes to price, which makes these shoes the perfect purchase if you want good quality, but isn’t ready to spend too much for a pair of court shoes. The high-quality outsole and Adirprene cushioning definitely make these worth the investment.
Abrasion Resistant ADITUFF
Torsion System Support
- Runs Narrow
- Upper Durability
4. Babolat Propulse Fury
One of the best features of these shoes is the Ortholite insole which provides excellent cushioning underfoot, and good arch support, best suited for players with medium and low arches. The upper breaks in fast, making these shoes flexible and very comfortable for wear, even for players who have a wider foot and need more room in the toe area. The higher shoe collar improves lateral support.
Excellent Stability Features
This pair of shoes will have you riding low to the ground, enabling to get a better feel of the court while maintaining a high level of stability through the TPU cage which wraps up around your foot. This is especially important for aggressive and fast changes of direction when you need your shoes to securely hold your feet in order to prevent any slippage or even injury.
Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, the Babolat Propulse Fury is a pair of Tennis shoes that will offer you a good fit in the upper and a durable outsole, no matter what type of surface you play on, or how aggressive your style is. They’re a good choice if you are looking for stability and cushioning, as well as lateral support.
- Durable Michelin Rubber Outsole
- Ortholite Insole
- Stabilizing TPU Cage
- Wide Toe Box
- Low To Ground Feel
- Lacks Traction
- May Rub Ankles
5. K-Swiss Hypercourt Express
The best feature of these shoes is the upper which was constructed with K-Swiss specially developed Seamfree technology which bonds layers of a TPU cage on a breathable mesh, creating a completely seamless, lightweight and breathable upper that will perfectly wrap around the foot, providing a flexible, but very stable fit. The ankle collar and tongue provide plenty of padding, eliminating any pressure points or hotspots that might appear with other shoes.
Die-Cut EVA Sock Liner
The die-cut EVA foam sock liner found in the Hypercourt Express provides the perfect combination of cushioning and arch support and is a good choice for players who wear custom orthotics, seeing that when the insole is removed, plenty of space will still be left for their own inserts. The heel is lined with a non-slip material, preventing any heel slippage inside the shoe.
Cost and Value
Depending on size and color, these tennis shoes rank average to high on this list regarding price. The Hypercourt Express by K-Swiss is one of the best choices for players with wide feet who want a comfortable and cushioned pair of tennis shoes. They’re breathable, lightweight and stable. However, the outsole, although it provides good traction, isn’t the most durable on this list, so these shoes might not be suitable for players looking for a long lasting pair of footwear.
- Seamless Upper
- Perfect For Wide Feet
- Non-slip Lined Heel
- Padded Collar And Tongue
- Herringbone Pattern Traction
- Lacks Durability
- Unsuitable For Narrow Feet
6. ASICS GEL-Speed Solution 3
Much like the GEL-Resolution 7, the GEL-Solution Speed 3 also features a FLEXION FIT upper for a flexible but stable fit around the entire foot. The Personal Heel Fit collar is another great addition for maximizing comfort and support throughout the upper, while locking the heel, thus preventing any slippage and lowering the chance for injuries or painful slips.
ASICS High Abrasion Rubber Outsole
The outsole of the GEL-Solution Speed 3 features a High Abrasion Rubber outsole with a herringbone tread pattern made for excellent traction on all types of courts, while the PGUARD toe protector reduces the wear in the toe area which is a great feature if you are a player who tends to drag their toes while playing.
Cost and Value
These tennis shoes by ASICS are a great choice if you want a pair of equipment that will provide good durability, excellent traction and offer good support throughout the entire foot. The rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning provides some of the plushest shock absorbing fits available for purchase, and you will find that this model comes at a price which ranks average on this list, making these a good option both for enthusiasts as well as professionals.
- Comfortable GEL Cushioning
- Low Profile
- Personal Heel Fit
- Flexion Fit Upper
- Runs Narrow
7. Prince T22
The Prince T22 features a PRC 1000 outsole which is made out of rubber and has excellent traction on all types of ground thanks to the herringbone tread pattern. The RASH toe cap increases the lifespan of your shoes, preventing damage from dragging that happens during serves and volleys.
RASH Toe Cap
The Prince 22 features a shank that is injected into the sole of the shoe in order to increase the stability needed for lateral movement that is so common in Tennis. The inside of the shoes gives plenty of forefoot and rearfoot cushioning, which work together to eliminate the shock of the forceful landings you take during play.
Cost And Value
These Tennis shoes rank average on this list when it comes to price, and are a great investment for players who want their equipment to be made with high-quality and by people who know the sport well. Featuring an excellent outsole, good cushioning and stability features, and a classic upper, these shoes could very well become your next favorite pair of Tennis footwear.
- Synthetic And Mesh Upper
- Herringbone Outsole
- Wishbone Midfoot Stability Shank
- Cushioned Forefoot And Rearfoot
- RASH Toe Cap
- Runs Narrow
- Longer Break In Period
8. Wilson Rush Pro 2.5
The Rush Pro 2.5 gives you great responsiveness, so that your feet can naturally adapt to any step. Additionally, you’ll find that the 6 mm drop is the perfect amount for when you want to build speed, providing more effective acceleration than most other models on this list.
Pro Torque Chassis
Using specially developed technology that provides stability from the arch, the Rush Pro 2.5 gives you torsion control so that you can remain certain that even during fast lateral movements, your feet will remain supported.
Cost and Value
With a price that’s above average, the Wilson Rush Pro 2.5 comes at a cost that’s expected from a product of this quality. It’s an excellent investment for players looking for an all surface shoe, as well as those who like a really locked in feel that still gives a good amount of energy return and won’t weigh them down.
Pro Torque Chassis
Soft Toe Guard
Slow To Dry
9. New Balance 806
These shoes are made so as to cushion each of your landings, minimizing the force of impact your ankles and knees would otherwise take from the hard concrete court. ABZORB cushions made of foam and rubber can be found at the front and back of the MC806, while the compression molded EVA C-CAP midsole offers support that some people love so much they even wear these shoes as a pair of casual sneakers.
These New Balance tennis shoes feature the specially developed ROLLBAR, a posting system found at the outsoles on the back of the shoes to help minimize movement of the heel. This helps maximize control of your feet and minimizes the chances of rolling your ankles. In addition, the NDURANCE rubber outsole gives excellent traction and wear time on all surfaces.
Cost And Value
The MC806 by New Balance ranks high on this list when it comes to price, and it’s understandable that this is a shoe made with performance in mind. With no corners cut that would help bring the cost of these shoes down, they’re a great pair of shoes for the more advanced players who need stability and comfort that will last.
- EVA Foam C-CAP Midsole
- NDURANCE Rubber Outsole
- Lightning Dry Lining
- Rollbar Technology
- Run Slightly Small
10. Asics GEL-Resolution 7
This shoe gives you excellent flexibility, this means that athletes will no longer have to sacrifice stability or support. In the front of the shoe the toe protector has a high abrasion rubber sole which ensures long use. This product is even covered by a 6 month warranty for excessive use.
One of the things that distinguish ASICS athletic footwear from other brands is the gender-specific forefoot and rearfoot GEL cushioning that is there to absorb shock from forceful impact and to allow the best possible for your foot to move over multiple panes all throughout the gait cycle. All this comes with the added benefits of a SOLYTE midsole which is supportive, but lighter than EVA and SpEVA foam midsoles.
Personal Heel Fit Collar Lining
The 7th edition of the ASICS GEL-Resolution saw most of its improvements in the way the upper fits your foot. The upper is updated to include the FLEXION FIT UPPER which provides form-fitting comfort and gives a good amount of support throughout the entire foot. The heel is fitted with 2 layers of memory foam which line the collar in order to provide a fully customized heel fit that molds to your foot.
Cost and Value
The price of the ASICS GEL-Resolution reflects the level of quality that goes into making these shoes, so if you’re ready to invest a little bit more than what an average pair of tennis shoes cost, you are bound to be happy with your purchase. If, however, you are on a budget, you might want to look into the previous model, the GEL-Resolution 6 which you’ll be able to find at a lower price but which still offers good quality without the latest tech improvements.
- Flexion Fit Upper
- GEL Cushioning
- Extremely Lightweight Midsole
- Memory Foam Lined Collar
- High Abrasion Rubber Outsole
- Small Toe Box
- Lacks Breathability
A good pair of shoes for tennis needs to have a good grip of the ground, it needs to absorb the shock from hard landings, and it needs to fit comfortably and be in the right size. A great pair will also last long, especially when it comes to the tread pattern on the outsole and the upper which takes a rough beating quite often.
When making your choice it is crucial to consider the features that will make a pair of shoes perfect for you. In addition to size, width, and type of fit, you also need to consider your style of play, as well as some unique necessities you may require such as custom orthotics, toe guards, removable insoles, special lacing systems or a specific type of cushioning. To ensure that you are making a good choice, you can read up about how we compiled our list of the top 10 tennis shoes available on the market in the Criteria for Evaluation and Frequently Asked Questions sections, which include plenty of useful information that will help you make the best-educated purchase.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Tennis Shoes
Make the tennis court your personal empire and domain using our buyer’s guide to help you select the perfect pair of tennis shoes. Requiring excellent traction, tennis shoes need to grip surfaces and protect ankles and soles, all while offering a wide range of lateral movement. This type of footwear needs to be able to keep up with your court game, the ultra-quick pivoting, stopping, starting – with sprints thrown in for good measure. In addition, like in any pair of athletic footwear, you need to have plenty of breathability, cushioning and shock absorption in order to prevent possible repetitive use and impact-related injuries that happen with all rigorous physical activity.
When making our selection for the 10 best models available for purchase, we placed much emphasis on quality and features but also took into consideration customer reviews and expert opinions. All styles on this list can be a good choice of footwear to purchase if you are considering getting onto the court, but reading about their distinctive properties can ensure that you get the full picture and make the best possible choice for you, depending on playing level, style and frequency.
Tennis is a sport which requires fast thinking and lightning fast reflexes. Quickly starting and stopping, moving at a high speed in one direction only to change that direction in a millisecond requires you to have an outsole which is sturdy and provides you with a good grip of the surface underfoot. It is the soles of your shoes which can protect you from injuries such as sprained ankles or Achilles tendon injuries, so this is the aspect of the shoe you will need to consider the most before making your purchase.
Tennis shoes will have hard rubber outsoles with a wide footprint in order to provide a stable and secure grip, while the traction is usually given by the tread pattern. You will see that most tennis shoes have a herringbone tread pattern as it performs excellently on all types of surface, both concrete, and clay.
Second, you need to look at the type of rubber used on your tennis shoes, as harder surfaces will take a bigger toll on the outsole. Some manufacturers such as ASICS and Adidas use high abrasion rubber which is supposed to last longer and be able to take more of a beating, ultimately providing you with a long time of wear. Other manufacturers will use their own rubber compounds which are just as effective in giving you the required traction and durability.
Some manufacturers take into consideration the parts of the shoe which deteriorate the fastest and add stronger elements in order to ensure an even wear on the whole of the shoe. Toe guards are such a feature and are inserted into the shoe in order to prevent the uneven wear which happens when players drag their toes during serves and volleys.
Overall, you can expect a pair of tennis shoes to last you about 60 hours of play, after which you will start seeing signs of wear, flattening of the tread and a decrease in the level of grip you get from your shoes. Once these signs of wear start to show, it’s important that you replace your shoes. Playing with worn out soles is not just going to make your play less effective, it can lead to serious injury which could prevent you from playing for weeks or even months.
Midsole and Cushioning
The midsole of your shoes is the part which ensures that you get the required stability, support, and cushioning that allows you to play at the top of your game.
What to look for:
- A good pair of tennis or court shoes will have plenty of shock absorption to help when landing with lots of impact prevention, helping to keep you from putting too much stress on your ankles and knees.
- You can look for shoes with EVA foam midsoles, as this is a material which is lightweight and excellent at shock absorbing and is most often used in all types of athletic footwear. Additionally, EVA won’t weigh you down, which will allow you to develop greater speed without developing fatigue due to a bulky shoe.
- You want to protect certain parts of your feet, adding cushioning which can not only improve your comfort levels but can help your spring and even prevent injuries to specific parts of your foot. Depending on what you like to have in your shoes, there are plenty of options to choose from. From ASICS’ GEL cushions which are located in the forefoot and rearfoot to the Nike Air Zoom heel insert or the Adidas Adiprene insole.
- One more thing you may want to look into before purchasing a pair of shoes is the type of arch support they provide. A player with low or weaker arches or those who suffer from plantar fasciitis will need shoes that can give them better support features, or have removable insoles so they can insert their own custom orthotics. The ASICS GEL-Resolution 7 or New Balance 806 will both do great when it comes to arch support, and are worn by players who need to ensure they don’t put too much pressure on the tendons on the bottom of their feet if they want to avoid pain at the end of the day.
- Other places where you might want to have cushioning, are the tongue and collar of your tennis shoes, which can ensure that you don’t injure your Achilles, don’t experience any rubbing around the ankle, and can tighten the laces on your shoes without experiencing any discomfort.
The upper material of a tennis shoe needs to be both supportive and flexible, so as to allow you to freely move, without letting your foot slide around, especially during fast cuts. Tennis shoe manufacturers are aware of the demands of the game and have taken up the task of creating uppers which are both strong and supportive, keeping the foot steadily in place, but also soft and flexible so as to prevent any rubbing or discomfort inside the shoe. In addition, with difficult physical activity comes perspiration, so it is important that your chosen tennis shoes are able to breathe well without making your feet feel like they’re in a pot of boiling water.
Sports shoes today will usually feature perforated uppers, and this is the case for most of the items on this list. You may also look into the lining material of the shoe, as you will be wanting a mesh-like textile or synthetic which will wick away moisture and feel soft to the touch. Some of the shoes on this list have linings which have been treated to prevent the development of odors, which is a great addition to have in your next pair of athletic footwear.
Materials to look for:
- Perforated Leather
- Perforated Synthetic Leather
In addition, you want to pay attention to what type of socks you are wearing. Sweaty feet from hard practices lead to a plethora of problems for your feet. From itching and burning athlete’s foot to that awful odor that always seems to creep in. Merino Wool is one of the best moisture wicking materials for socks, and it does an excellent job of keeping your feet nice and dry.
When selecting Tennis footwear you also need to consider the sole material. Different courts require different shoes. You may only play on hard courts, such as concrete, but if you’re going to be making your way across grass and clay as well, then you’ll most likely need a couple of pairs of shoes.
- Dirt or Clay: This type of court requires a lot of traction. This is due to the fact that what you are on is soft and shifts under your shoes. Slick bottoms can lead to injury on this type of surface. In addition, you want a shoe that offers lateral support when playing on a soft surface. You want to look for a zig-zag tread. This pattern doesn’t allow build up in your shoes which in turn helps you to move easier throughout your games or practice.
- Grass: Grass courts are not as common as the other types, therefore, you don’t find as many options for this type of shoe. Like most sports played on grass you need a cleat type shoe that will dig in for fast movements. Grass courses play very quickly which means you will need to react quickly and make quick turns and movements without slipping. While it is possible to use a hard court shoe for a soft court, when it comes to the shoes you wear on a grass field you are not going to be able to transition them onto another surface.
- Concrete: Concrete surfaces are most commonly seen in the world of Tennis. There are definitely different feelings when it comes to hard surfaces. Some may be rough and play a bit slower others may be quite smooth, fast, and slick. Shoes built for a concrete or hard surface will have more cushioning in them to absorb shock and keep your ankles, feet, and legs feeling great. You will also find that these shoes have a sturdy toe area as hard surfaces really tear shoes up. You need durability within a hard surface shoe. There are two main types of hard surface shoes, one is for speed and the other is focused a bit more on durability and comfort. Concrete shoes are also the most versatile and can be worn on clay surfaces quite easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some of the differences between tennis sneakers and any other kind of shoe or sneaker?
A: Because tennis sneakers are intentionally designed for multitudes of starts and stops, they are typically flatter. This allows for enhanced agility. Additionally, the outsoles are fortified with developed patterns designed for optimal surface grip, these will vary depending upon the court type that is being played on.
Q: If I am a Baseline Player, what type of sneaker should I consider?
A: Since baseliners usually frequent the back of the court, you would need heavy-duty lateral support. Look for sneakers which emphasize stability, such as the Prince T22, ASICS GEL-Speed Solution 3 or K-Swiss Hypercourt Express.
Q: If I am a Serve and Volley Player, what type of sneaker should I consider?
A: Because these players have constant back-sliding foot action (during the serve) along with a love of charging the net, a sneaker with a reinforced toe (toecap) would be optimal.
Q: What are tips for purchasing sneakers based on court surface type?
A: Many readers may be interested in purchasing a sneaker based on court surface type. There are traditionally three main options:
For the typical hard-court player, one would benefit from more rugged materials like a leather or vinyl, integrated into either the outsole of the uppers. These uppers should be ultra-supportive, have the ability to “bounce back” and endure the test of time with unmatched resilience.
Softer courts are all about the traction, this portion of the sneaker is where details count. It will come down to the design and materials used to create the ridges and valleys engraved in the outsoles of the tennis sneaker, these will have to be non-damaging, the lightest and most delicate of traction surfaces possibly designed. They have to grip the court – yet do so with a softest of caresses.
Multi-court players want a sneaker that will stand up to all court surfaces. There are specially designed tennis sneakers especially created to withstand both hard and soft court surfaces, wearing the same pair and not having to switch to another pair of tennis shoes.
Q: Is there a physical (and simple!) test that I can take that will help me in the pre-selection phase of my future tennis sneaker?
A: Yes, it could help to determine the type of foot you have – this will ensure a sculpted fit and also identify which areas of your foot need support. Make your foot wet and step on a concrete pathway or a piece of paper. The resulting footprint will leave an outline and you will be able to identify if you are one of the following types:
- Overpronator – wide footprint, not much narrowing toward the middle of the sole
- Neutral – hourglass silhouette, wide near toes, narrower sole, slightly wider heel
- Under pronator – Odd uneven shadow, where the middle is a “wisp”, thin and narrow with a wide toe and fairly narrow heel
Q: Could you recommend which types of sneakers to look for and what types of health issues and tips there are regarding overpronators, neutrals and under pronation?
A: If you tend to overpronate, then you might want to consider a tennis shoe that stabilizes your stride and steps, you tend to roll your foot towards the inside with every step, a thoroughly developed support system will help to stabilize your motion.
The neutrals are fortunate, any tennis players or sneaker wearers with this sneaker type can wear and adjust to almost any tennis sneaker. The foot is flexible and adaptable enough to conform to all structures.
The under pronators will do the opposite of the overpronators, with every stride they talk, the outward roll of the foot is highly-distinguishable. By selecting an extremely flexible sneaker, they can have greater chances of avoiding pain or raw patches by uneven wear. A sneaker with give will also help to provide a form of shock absorption, providing support when the feet head outwards.