Any tennis player knows that things like consistent groundstrokes and good topspin are critical to having a solid tennis game. But equally important is the right equipment—specifically, the right shoes—to help with footwork, keeping legs fresh during long matches and preventing injury.
The best-of-the-best tennis shoes offer support, traction, durability, comfort, and of course, ... [+] style.
In tennis, there’s a lot of lunging, sidestepping and running both backward and forward. A good pair of tennis shoes needs to have thoughtfully placed support to accommodate all that directional change. “You always want lateral stability in a tennis shoe,” says Karen Moriarty, co-owner at Sportech in Rye Brook, NY. “That’s why you shouldn’t play tennis in running shoes.” You also need to take court surface into account—meaning, you should think about whether you play on clay or a hard court surface, or you switch between them, depending on the season.
With the wrong tennis shoes, you could end up with a sprained ankle or knee pain or other less-serious-yet-really-uncomfortable problems such as blisters, banged up toenails or just a bruised ego from suffering defeat on the court. Here, we consulted the experts to find the best tennis shoes on the market today.
On steamy summer days—or when the competition gets heated on the court—a lightweight and breathable shoe, like this bestseller, is key. “This shoe is immediately very comfortable when you put it on,” says Moriarty. “It’s a combination shoe that has a generous amount of space in the toe box and it’s not heavy. It has a herringbone pattern on the sole so it can be used on a variety of court surfaces, and a good price point.” This shoe also works well for those with wider feet.
Think of this shoe as kind of the best of everything: It has very good stability and is extremely durable, according to Moriarty, and it’s also supportive but not too heavy. Comfy gel cushioning at the heel and midfoot helps minimize shock from quick stop-and-go movements during matches. Reviewers report that these fit especially well on narrow feet.
This responsive all court shoe from Tokyo-based brand Mizuno will help you chase down angled shots and hit killer volleys, and look good doing it. It comes in three cool colorways, and the bootie construction keeps feet secure and comfortable, Moriarty says. Users report it requires virtually no break-in time.
Frequent changes in direction demand a supportive, stable shoe, and the B Icon—from Italian brand Diadora—is one favored by aggressive, performance-driven players. This durable shoe works for both hard court and clay, and the vibrant orange will be sure to get you noticed.
If you’re looking to add speed to your game, consider this super lightweight shoe. “These are very comfortable and have a sleeve fit, the benefit of which is that the tongue doesn’t shift while you’re playing,” says Moriarty. “Adidas runs a bit longer than other brands so these may work if you need a little more room. However, the hugging fit may not be good for a high arch.” One negative: If you play frequently and want to achieve top speed, you might need to replace your shoes often.
This multi-surface shoe has a built-in inner sleeve, which reviewers like because it offers a snug fit and extra support around the ankle. The herringbone sole is intended to offer traction but still allow players to slide. True to form for Nike, these shoes come in five sleek colorways, with offerings that range from discreet to showy. To note: Despite the flexibility, some users report this shoe requires break in time.
If you’re looking for stability and durability, and don’t mind a shoe that’s slightly heavier, the Wilson Rush Pro will help you take your footwork to the next level. Reviewers report they run on the narrow side through the foot with a little extra room in the toe box. The Rush Pros are available in a pretty blue, a punchy peach and basic white.
Adidas tennis shoes achieved cult status with leather Stan Smiths in 1971. And while it remains to be seen whether the Avacourt will ever achieve such notoriety, it’s currently a buzzworthy shoe that receives high marks for comfort and style. Reviewers particularly love that it’s extremely lightweight and has a wide toe box, but some comment that the tongue is long and rubs against their shin. The Avacourt comes in white and silver or an indigo and orange combination.
Since its inception 1970, Prince has been a tennis icon, much like the players the brand has sponsored, including Andre Agassi and Jennifer Capriati. The T22 is an all-time classic tennis shoe and it remains as popular as ever. “It’s super retro but it’s a good, stable shoe that’s very durable, although it’s on the heavier side,” says Moriarty. Lots of people play paddle tennis and pickleball in this shoe in addition to tennis. They come in a grey-mint combination or in white-silver.