Choosing the best tennis shoes isn't an easy task, especially since the type of court you play on will affect the type of trainers you choose. For instance, hard court shoes typically come with classic herringbone patterns for traction on what's already a fairly grippy surface. Therefore, you may need something with a little more grip to keep you balanced on grass.
With this in mind, we've rounded up a selection of top tennis shoes for both grass and hard court matches based on their price, reviews, and any unique features that set them apart from their competition.
As a result, there's no shortage of great options for us to choose from. However, we've narrowed things down to a handful of trainers that, we believe, can take your game to the next level.
Stick around too because we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about tennis shoes to help you come to a more informed decision about which shoes are right for you and your play style. Before that though, let's get into our list...
Best tennis shoes
- ASICS Gel-Resolution 9
- NikeCourt React Vapor NXT
- HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5
- K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2
- NikeCourt Zoom Lite 3
1. ASICS Gel-Resolution 9
Best tennis shoes overall
While tennis shoes come in an array of different shapes and sizes, we feel you won't find many as well-rounded as these ASICS Gel-Resolution 9s.
Its design helps provide a responsive stride with a close-to-the-court feel thanks to DYNAWRAP technology securing the foot in place. This is particularly the case during side-to-side movements which, if after watching a game for a few seconds, you'll quickly realise are crucial to the sport.
Moreover, the shoes feature what ASICS' call a DYNAWALL construction, which has been designed to deliver more midfoot stability during lateral movements and coast-to-coast coverage to help make returning shots that bit easier.
It's also worth mentioning the full-length outsole that provides you with contact with the ground at all times, ensuring you stay gripped and in control every step of the way.
2. NikeCourt React Vapor NXT
Best hard court tennis shoes
For hard-court games, we believe these NikeCourt React Vapor NXT is well worth considering.
What we like about these shoes, in particular, is that Nike has used data to inform its design, resulting in features such as herringbone outsoles that are engineered to provide optimal grip without impacting your ability to slide.
The data also helped decisions like placing the soft foam near the arches of your feet as it seems to work best with the firmer foam along the outsides which, in turn, should make it easier to get closer to the ground.
On the whole, React Vapor NXTs are strong contenders and a great example of Nike's expertise in sportswear.
3. HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5
Best grass court tennis shoes
Stability and balance are crucial elements when maneuvering on grass, and the HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5s excel in both aspects.
With TPU heel counters strategically placed by HEAD, these shoes promise enhanced stability during gameplay, particularly on the court. Moreover, the assertive herringbone traction pattern has been designed to deliver superior grip, catering to various surfaces including hard and grassy terrains.
Considering these features, it's difficult to ignore the HEAD Sprint Pro 3.5s as great tennis shoes, especially for those who predominantly play on grass courts.
4. K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2
Best tennis shoes for wide feet
If you're struggling to find tennis shoes that offer a comfortable fit, the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2s might be the solution you need.
K-Swiss emphasises that these shoes feature Durawrap Flex, which provides extra support without requiring a break-in period. The Surgelite midsole technology then ensures all-day comfort.
Additionally, the sneakers are designed with a lightweight and breathable frame, allowing flexibility to accommodate various foot sizes. So, if you're searching for tennis shoes specifically tailored for wider feet, these sneakers appear to be a compelling choice.
5. NikeCourt Zoom Lite 3
Best tennis shoes for beginners
While tennis shoes can often be costly, the NikeCourt Lite 3s present an excellent option for those seeking high-quality footwear without breaking the bank, especially for beginners.
Despite their lower price, these shoes incorporate advanced technology. The outsoles feature a data-informed outsole that places durability and grip where you need them the most.
Moreover, the Lite 3s are equipped with Zoom Air units in the forefoot for springy, responsive cushioning to aid your pace off the mark when chasing down powerful shots and backcourt lobs.
In short, these shoes have the potential to significantly elevate your tennis game, making them a valuable and budget-friendly choice, particularly for those starting their tennis journey.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
With so many tennis shoes available, you may have a few questions about what makes each of them stand out. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most common queries right here.
Why do you need tennis shoes?
Tennis shoes are specifically designed to provide support and traction on the court during tennis matches. Unlike other athletic shoes, tennis shoes usually have a flatter and wider sole that provides a stable base for quick lateral movements, which are essential in tennis.
The sole of tennis shoes also often features a herringbone pattern (or similar) that provides excellent grip on the court, allowing players to change direction quickly and maintain balance during play.
In addition to the unique sole, tennis shoes also have other features that make them suitable for tennis, like reinforced toe areas in some instances to protect against abrasion during serves and volleys, and supportive cushioning to help absorb the impact of running and jumping on the court.
Wearing proper tennis shoes not only helps to enhance performance but also helps to prevent injuries such as ankle sprains and blisters. Therefore, we'd highly recommend wearing tennis shoes while playing tennis to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
What should you look for in a pair of tennis shoes?
As mentioned, one of the first things you'll need to consider when trying to pick the right tennis shoes for you is the type of courts you play on.
Hart court shoes tend to classic herringbone traction patterns and come with tons of cushioning to help absorb shock upon impact with the harder surface.
By comparison, grass court shoes often come with "pimples" or more aggressive traction across the outsoles to improve grip on what is typically a more slippery surface.
Other factors you might want to consider include the weight of the shoes as well as the size in order to remain comfortable during a game or practice. To help you get the size right, make sure you check out our guide on measuring your shoe size right here.
Speed and stability are also factors to keep in mind, according to ASICS, as you'll want to strike a nice balance between the two in order to make and return shots with ease.
How much should you spend on tennis shoes?
This will really depend on how seriously you take and invest in the sport, plus your available budget when it comes to buying a new pair.
As shown in our list, tennis shoes can sometimes cost a fair bit; however, you don't necessarily have to spend loads to pick up a top set.
We'd suggest figuring out what exactly it is you're in need of from a pair of tennis shoes, then using that information to inform how much you'll need to spend to get exactly what it is you're after.
What are tennis shoes made of?
This depends on the shoes in question, although most tennis trainers these days are made from either leather or mesh and feature flexible rubber outsoles to deliver comfort, grip, and breathability.
Some may also come with plastic sections designed to encase the shoes to provide better lateral stability and support. This is vital in tennis, in particular, as you'll find yourself running along rather than to and from the baseline more often than not.
How do you clean tennis shoes?
We'd recommend regularly cleaning your tennis shoes, particularly their soles, in order to maintain their performance and lifespan.
To do this, simply use a soft-bristled brush to remove surface dirt, then take a damp cloth and some shoe cleaner, like Angelus Easy Cleaner, to remove any remaining stains.
As mentioned in our guide to cleaning tennis shoes, make sure you leave them to dry naturally and away from direct sunlight to avoid permanent damage.
How do you lace tennis shoes?
One of the most commonly used methods of lacing tennis shoes is actually one we've covered before in our guide to lacing football boots.
Start by creating a bar across the first row of eyelets (the holes you thread shoelaces through), then weave the two ends through the next eyelets up on the opposing sides until you reach the top.
There are a few alternative methods you could try; however, this cross-over approach seems to be the most common.
How long do tennis shoes last?
There's no set rule on how long tennis shoes last as it all depends on how often you play wearing them, your play style, and the type of courts you play typically on as hard courts tend to wear out your shoes faster.
That said, the USTA says that, on average, a pair of tennis shoes will last around 45-60 hours of playtime before the midsoles become worn out.
Therefore, if you play once a week for an hour at a time, then you may find it beneficial to replace shoes at least once a year.
Can tennis shoes be used for running?
The simple answer is yes, although they may not be as effective as a pair of the best running shoes.
Most notably, tennis shoes tend not to feature as much cushioning as running shoes because you need a certain degree of stability and feel on the court.
Tennis shoes also come with significantly more lateral stability than needed for running thanks to the back-and-forth nature and the side-to-side action of the sport.
That being said, tennis shoes are definitely not the worst shoes you can wear to run in, and if they work for you then there's little point changing.