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It’s your game and every piece of equipment counts. If your feet hurt, I doubt your performance on the court will be as good as it could be. The best tennis shoes make a much larger impact on your overall performance than most tennis players realize.
We all know the importance of finding a good running shoe, walking shoe or bowling shoe as they have attributes that directly relate to their primary sport or function.
Tennis shoes have an even more difficult set of criteria to meet and it’s hard to nail it down as shoe manufacturers don’t always stay true to their designs from year to year.
Are you looking for a lightweight shoe, shoes for a specific foot type (flat feet or wide feet)? Do you need excellent traction and sufficient shock absorption because you play mostly on hard courts? Or do you need shoes for clay court playing?
If you’re a female with a wide foot, consider looking at men’s tennis shoes as they tend to run wider than women’s shoes.
Tennis requires lots of lateral movement, so it makes sense that your shoes must provide lateral support. They also must be durable and have the correct outsole for the court you’re playing on.
Most people prefer a lightweight tennis shoe. Running around feeling like you have bricks on your feet won’t help you get to that drop shot…
This list of the best tennis shoes was created to provide insight into what characteristics these shoes provide and if any of them are the right shoe for you.
Check out our picks in this comprehensive buying guide so you know what to look for. We’ve made suggestions based on overall performance, shoe weight, budget, and comfort.
Once you’ve picked your shoe, get out on the court and put them to the test!
Our Reviews Of The Best Tennis Shoes
Asics is known in the shoe world, but they aren’t as well-known in the world of tennis. There are starting to be more players sponsored by them and thus we see more of their offerings on tv. Asics makes high quality shoes and have good options for tennis as well.
Featuring DYNAWALL, you’ll have tremendous stability during lateral movements as well as when chasing balls along the baseline. Stability and cushioning don’t always go hand in hand, but they do with this shoe.
The gel cushioning system in both the heel and midfoot of these Asics shoes act as a shock absorber. Through long tennis matches you’re going to put any shoe you wear through the ringer. They must be built to last or you’ll be buying new shoes every other month.
With the Asics Gel-Resolution 8, you’re babying your feet and reducing strain with extensive cushioning.
This Asics shoe has a large range of shoe sizes: from a men’s 6 all the way up to a 15. If you have a large foot, you can sometimes find yourself out in the cold with a manufacturer not making your size. Not so with this model!
They’re comfortable, durable, and will look good on your feet while you’re running around the court.
#2 Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 2
Adidas makes some of the best athletic shoes out there. In the tennis world, they are often considered the manufacturer that makes the best men’s tennis shoes. They’ve been around for many years and are a trusted tennis brand.
This Adidas shoe is made with a combination of a synthetic and textile upper. The mesh component of the upper allows for great breathability.
Adidas crated these shoes with Adizero – technology designed to minimize the weight of each shoe. The combination of Adizero and the sock-like feel — You’ll be so light you’ll by flying around the court.
They also did something unique to these shoes that aren’t in all Adidas tennis shoes: Adituff, a better toe box and outsole near the toe box for increased durability.
You won’t be skidding around or damaging your toes in these shoes. You’ll have plenty of traction as you’re running around the court.
#3 Nike Air Zoom Vapor X
Nike has put out a great men’s light weight tennis shoe. These shoes are very versatile and rank high for usage in racquet sports.
Though light weight, Nike uses a Dynamic Fit system to wrap completely around your foot for increased comfort while simultaneously retaining breathability due to the the mesh upper.
If you’re a fan of having as little weight strapped around your feet as possible, the blend of mesh and textile keeps it comfortable, lightweight, and most importantly, aerated.
The main concern with lightweight shoes is that they’re not going to hold up against the test of time.
These shoes are great while they last, but are not as durable as other shoe options.
#4 K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2
Tennis isn’t a cheap sport. A racket and shoes are your primary needs in order to walk out on the court and enjoy the sport.
If you spent all your money on a quality racket, you may not have as much money left over for a pair of shoes. If that’s the case, these are the shoes for you.
K-Swiss has been in the tennis world for years but remains one of the smaller players. This shoe is available for the more budget-minded player allowing you more bang for your buck.
These shoes might not be the best rated tennis shoes, but they are reasonably priced and are a great shoe for beginners who aren’t sure if they will love tennis.
Introduced in this model is Durawrap Flex which gives the shoe flexibility right out of the box while still offering support.
Generous sizing in the forefoot, but more snug in the heel with plenty of traction and stability.
If you have a wide foot, these are a great option for you. If you have a narrow foot, you might need an extra pair of socks for these shoes.
This is a good tennis shoe that places greatest importance on stability and support. They aren’t a high-end name brand, but you won’t pay for that name either.
#5 New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam Lav v1
Just like Asics, New Balance isn’t necessarily known for tennis gear. They make super high-quality shoes and have tennis offerings that are worth considering.
Their shoe lines are known for generous sizing (especially in the toe box) and extreme durability.
Starting at the bottom of the shoe, you’ll be playing on a non-marking rubber outsole that acts as a great shock absorber. These shoes are best used on hard courts, but can be used on other court surfaces as well.
If you’re looking for a super comfortable tennis shoe with good arch support, look no further. These New Balance shoes were designed with a synthetic insole especially for comfort.
Light weight and built to last, they also come in a variety of sizes for both medium and wide feet.
Due to the Fresh Foam midsoles these shoes are extremely comfortable. They can be on the warm side as breathability isn’t the focus.
Tennis Shoe FAQ
What is the Difference Between Tennis Shoes and Sneakers?
A sneaker doesn’t really have any requirements or attributes specific to athletic performance. For the most part a sneaker must cover your feet and have a rubber sole beneath.
Standard sneakers are designed for comfort and often, fashion.
Sneakers need to last the wearer a long time to build brand trust and have them feel like they got a good value, but they’re just footwear.
Tennis shoes feature lateral support and contain more shock absorption materials than normal sneakers.
Tennis shoes also have non-marking outsoles so that you don’t leave an imprint on the court when playing.
Oddly enough tennis shoes are generally thinner than standard sneakers, but they cost a lot more.
Our recommendation is to save the tennis shoes for the courts and use your sneakers for other activities.
Can I Wear Hard Tennis Shoes on a Clay Court?
It isn’t recommended. Clay is soft and malleable and is considered to be a premium surface because it’s a surface that is quite expensive to maintain.
Wearing a hard court tennis shoe on a clay court can ruin the court. Even the smallest of divots can greatly mess up a ball when it bounces on or near it, so you really do have to be careful with what footwear you use on them.
Some courts may strictly state that you cannot use hard court tennis shoes when playing.
For a concrete or asphalt court, you actually need to have harder shoes to combat the impact and vibration that you’re going to encounter.
But even with a hard court, you must be mindful of the sole of your shoes so they don’t scuff up the courts.
Do You Need Expensive Tennis Shoes to Play Tennis?
No, you do not need expensive tennis shoes to enjoy a game of casual tennis. You will run into problems if you try to go into a club or a private tennis court wearing a pair of running shoes.
The main reason for requiring the use of tennis shoes rather than regular athletic shoes is that they can damage the court by leaving scuff marks.
Your feet will also suffer as non-tennis sneakers are also not built to withstand shock as well as tennis shoes.
To enjoy tennis, you don’t need them. To play properly and regularly, you definitely do. They’re a bigger investment upfront but if you have the ability to invest in them, it’s worth it.
Tennis shoes do make playing a lot more enjoyable because of the dedicated attention to detail that shoe manufacturers take to suit the game of tennis.
They’ll support your quick lateral movements, absorb more impact, and move with you a lot better than standard sneakers would.
How Long do Tennis Shoes Last?
Tennis shoes can generally last you for a season or two. That may not seem like a long time, but they take a beating when you’re competing hard. Couple that with the cycle of them being sweat in and dried repeatedly and they only last so long.
It is recommended to only wear them for tennis – don’t wear them for a long run as they won’t be as comfortable for running and they’ll break down sooner.
How to Stretch Tennis Shoes?
Even if you end up buying the best tennis shoes for arch support, they’re still brand new off the assembly line and may be tough to get on your feet or just a little more snug than you’d like them to be.
If you need to stretch them out a little before taking to the court, here are a few ways to do so.
1. Wear Them
Wear them around the house. They’re okay to wear on carpet or hardwood, just try to keep usage indoors for now.
Whenever you believe you’ve adequately stretched them out, you can take them out for a spin on the court.
2. Use a Shoe Stretcher
Shoe stretchers can be bought for just this purpose. They’re meant to mimic the human foot, and create tension and pressure on the inside of the shoe that stretches it out properly.
3. Freeze Bag
Yeah this one sounds odd, but it works.
Get a double duty Ziploc bag, fill it up with water, and then put it inside of another Ziploc bag (double bagged).
Put the double bag inside your tennis shoe and then put it in the freezer. The 10% water expansion when it forms into ice will do the expanding for you. Leave it in the freezer for 24 hours and they should be good to go.
(Just make sure you’ve sealed your Ziploc bag correctly or you may not be happy with trying this suggestion!)
They're Your Tennis Shoes, Wear Them!
Tennis shoes serve a much bigger part of your overall strategy and gameplay than most people realize.
Whether you have a flat foot or a wide foot or a pronated foot, tennis shoes for YOUR feet are out there. You just have to find what works best for you.
Follow the guidelines of using tennis shoes only on a tennis court and you’ll match or exceed your opponents as they desperately attempt to defeat you.
Find a pair that fits both your feet and style of play and you’ll enjoy hours of pain free tennis time.