4 Best Nike Tennis Shoes in 2024

Brenton Barker
Brenton Barker on
4 Best Nike Tennis Shoes in 2024
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Is it your first time to try Nike tennis shoes or you are about to park your old pair but uncertain which Swoosh to grab? We hope our highly recommended listings will help you in deciding which one to purchase. 

Several factors come into play when picking the best Nike tennis shoes including cushioning, speed, and price competitiveness. We noted all the salient and critical points in filtering our top choices among the pairs we have playtested and scrutinized inside our independent lab.

How we test tennis shoes

The only way to recommend the best Nike tennis shoes is to be critical and hella nerdy in examining each of them. And during our testing procedure, we sure do stand by this! 

First things first, it is fundamental to explicitly cite that we buy the shoes that we test using our own money. We do not patronize sponsorships but we choose not to participate in these kinds of deals because we want to be as candid as we can in expressing our opinions.

We are a group of tennis experts and we exercise our expertise by assessing the shoes on racket games, mainly focusing on tennis. We play in these shoes on hard and clay courts, both indoors and outdoors. We also observe how the shoes react when we are doing sudden stops, quick turns, and nimble movements in them.

We are not satisfied with that. We want facts and figures. And we acquire them through a series of tests in our lab. We measure a lot of parameters and compare them to other related models and to the average values. We also dig a little deeper by slicing all the shoes into pieces.

Best Nike tennis shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Challenging us to be more aggressive on court, Zoom GP Challenge 1 offers a dynamic yet highly supportive ride so that we can focus on the game without worries of discomfort and injuries. This elite performer offers massive energy propulsion while ensuring a well-planted feeling so that we don’t topple over the edge, making it our best Nike tennis shoe.

Our initial playtests already reveal the platform’s emphasis on bounce and impact protection. It features two large Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot to soften impact and energize our toe-offs. This made us feel agile as we performed hard dashes and crossovers on court. Boosting our speed further is the highly rigid and wide shank that propels us for a more enjoyable ride. Our bend test reveals it’s 43.5% more resistant than average.

Zoom GP Challenge 1 ensures stability and control with its wide platform, rigid shank, and supportive overlays. The firm 30.2 HA midsole and grippy herringbone outsole pattern further enhance our footing, allowing for confident movements even during aggressive play.

Unfortunately. Its 14.7 oz (417g) is a whale on scale compared to the 12.8 oz (364g) average tennis shoe. Those who prefer lightweight options should explore further.


  • Excellent lateral support and stability
  • Highly responsive and bouncy cushioning
  • Great impact protection
  • Stiff shank adds lots of propulsiveness
  • Rockered heel makes heel-to-toes smoother
  • Very durable and thick outsole
  • Cozy step-in feel


  • Heavier than average
  • Not enough protection for toe drags
  • A bit fiddly tongue
Full review of Nike Zoom GP Challenge 1

Best Nike tennis shoes for beginners

What makes it the best?

As its name suggests, we effortlessly felt like a pro, ready to take any challenge with the GP Challenge Pro. The comfort and unwavering support it delivers make the game less intimidating, allowing us to move safely through sudden stops and direction changes. Priced at $120, it offers a taste of premium tennis shoes at a 9.1% discount compared to average prices, making it our top Nike tennis shoe for entry-level players.

We love the shoe’s comfortable and effortless feel, thanks to its well-cushioned landings and rocker sole. Its firm 30.8 HA Phylon foam includes a large Air Zoom unit in the heel to soften repetitive impact. 

In addition to its dense platform, the GP Challenge Pro features a stiff midfoot shank within the midsole, enhancing stability and preventing ankle twists. The shoe's design includes several elements to securely hold the feet in place, such as a rigid heel and a synthetic foot cage integrated with the lacing system.

Our caliper shows a wide 115.8/93.9 mm forefoot and heel for added surefootedness. Underneath, a herringbone-patterned rubber grips excellently on court, allowing us to stop, pivot, and slide as needed, even extending upwards to protect areas prone to toe-dragging.

Unfortunately, we wanted to stop playing as soon as the mercury rose because the shoe lacked ventilation for warmer days. We recommend using this pair in cooler weather.


  • Excellent stability and lateral support
  • Great impact protection
  • Rockered sole smoothens heel-to-toe transitions
  • Stiff shank and sole add propulsion
  • Sturdy rubberized drag guard
  • Hard and durable rubber outsole
  • Gusseted tongue enhances foothold
  • Comfortable and padded in-shoe feel


  • Not very breathable
  • Heavier than average
  • Mesh is easily damaged
Full review of Nike GP Challenge Pro

Best lightweight Nike tennis shoes

What makes it the best?

Our games with the feathery NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro tell us it suits fast and competitive players on court, making it our best lightweight Nike tennis shoe. It almost vanishes when worn, heightening our agility, yet its support remains evident through its impressive impact absorption and stability.

Our scales reveal a mere 12.1 oz (343g). Even though it’s only 5.8% lighter than the average tennis shoe, it feels lighter on foot, ramping up our pace as we chase the ball. Boosting our nimbleness is the close connection we have with the court, thanks to the humble 26.4/17.6 mm platform. Despite this, hard landings still feel cushioned, especially because of the Zoom Air unit beneath the heel that softens impact and energizes takeoffs.

With our durometer, we discovered a firm 34.0 HA cushion that gives a more stable ride while favoring energetic footwork. Further adding responsiveness to our game is the stiff midsole that launches us with power, confirmed by our bend test when it emerged 48.2% more resilient than average.

However, Vapor Pro requires a break-in period since its rigid build feels even stiffer at first. For those who prioritize pliable tennis shoes for a more natural feel, we suggest skipping this pair.


  • Extremely light
  • Breathable upper
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Stable platform
  • Glove-like fit
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Grippy outsole


  • Constricting plastic wall
  • Lacks durability
  • Break-in needed
Full review of NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro

Nike tennis shoes with the best durability

What makes it the best?

In tennis matches, we win some and we lose some, but NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor 11 undoubtedly wins the durability game among Nike’s tennis contenders. It’s extremely supportive and offers a stable ride for such a speedy shoe. Its robust construction guarantees durability from top to bottom, promising longevity even in the face of constant friction.

Just by its visuals, we already knew the rubber overlays surrounding the entire toebox could survive toe drags and abrasions. However, we didn’t stop there and tested it further with our brutal Dremel, and it emerged barely damaged, receiving a well-deserved 5/5 durability rating. 

Underfoot, we felt ground-connected yet still protected from harsh landings. Our durometer reading showed the foam is a firm 30.0 HA, translating to a more stable and surefooted ride. Keeping us well-planted are the raised sidewalls, while the strategically patterned outsole allows us to brake and slide as needed.

Speaking of the outsole, we found it to be exceptionally tough at 87.0 HC. Further proving its resilience is the minimal and barely visible 0.3 mm damage it sustained after our Dremel test. As if that wasn’t enough, the rubber is an extra thick 5.1 mm to ensure the pair will serve us for many seasons. Unfortunately, this makes it bottom-heavy. At 14.2 oz (403g), it’s 10.7% heavier than average.


  • Exceptionally durable upper and outsole
  • Balanced court feel and cushioning
  • Responsive Zoom Air on the forefoot
  • Great stability for a speed-oriented shoe
  • Fantastic outsole grip and timely give
  • Accommodating fit (finally!)
  • Breaks in quickly (2-3 hours)


  • Bottom heavy for a speed shoe
  • Not very breathable
  • Not for narrow feet
Full review of NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor 11

How to choose Nike tennis shoes

Nike is a brand that needs no introduction in the world of tennis. From Serena Williams to Rafael Nadal, the famous Nike swoosh has been seen on the feet of many of the world’s top tennis players for years, and for good reason. With its cutting-edge innovation and quality designs, Nike tennis shoes are an exceptionally popular choice for both amateurs and professionals alike.


So let’s take a look at what are the best Nike tennis shoes on the market today, and help you choose the perfect Nike tennis shoes for your next on-court session.

Factors to consider when looking for the best Nike tennis shoes

When looking for the best Nike tennis shoes, there are several factors to consider to ensure you get the right shoe to complement your tennis style.

  1. Court surface - Nike manufactures tennis shoes specifically to suit both hard-court and clay courts. For everyday tennis enthusiasts the differences may be hard to notice but for a keen amateur or professional competitor the reason the outsoles are made the way they are becomes obvious.
  2. Player type - Each player knows what style of tennis they play, and Nike tennis shoes are available in different models to accommodate each. From an aggressive fast moving competitor to a more laid-back approach, choose the shoes that match your type.
  3. Cushioning and durability - Tennis is a high-intensity activity that can be hard on your feet. Choosing a pair of shoes that offer the combination of excellent shock absorption while being hard-wearing is tennis utopia. To assist with that Nike has created patented cushioning systems such as Nike Zoom which is designed for speed and agility.
  4. Style - While every tennis player naturally strives for better performance, it would be remiss not to consider on-court style. It’s often said that looking good on the court helps make you play well, and Nike offers a vast range of stylish tennis shoes in various colors and designs to help you achieve your own on-court style.

Nike hard-court vs. clay-court shoes

Any tennis diehard knows that the difference in court surfaces can have a remarkable impact on the game, and the player(s). So if you’re in the market for a pair of Nike tennis shoes you may be wondering if Nike actually offers different types of shoes for different surfaces. The answer is a resounding yes!

Nike hard-court tennis shoes

The most popular and common tennis court surface is a hard court. However, its concrete base means it is also the most demanding in terms of outsole durability. Nike’s hard-court shoes are designed to provide players with durability, traction, and support.

They are often identified with their modified herringbone outsole pattern, to provide a mix of on-court grip and give. If you’re a tennis beginner, a pair of Nike hard-court shoes would be the best place to start. They are more versatile and can also be worn in clay or grass courts.

Nike Court Air Zoom Vapor Pro outsole.JPG

Nike clay-court tennis shoes

As a leading tennis brand, Nike also offers a range of tennis shoes specific to clay court surfaces, although the range is much smaller. These are designed to provide players with excellent traction on the slippery surface.

Easily identified by the full herringbone (zig zags) tread pattern, they have a more flexible upper to allow for better movement on the court - particularly important if you’re sliding around chasing forehands and backhands. Nike’s clay court tennis shoes will note that they are clay court specific in the product title and on the shoe box, while the hard-court versions do not.

Understanding the difference between Nike tennis shoes

Broadly speaking, Nike tennis shoes come under four different families:

Nike Vapor tennis shoes: Designed for a speedy and supportive fit. Models include the Vapor NXT, Vapor Pro, and Vapor Cage.

Nike Zoom tennis shoes: Exceptionally popular amongst tennis players of all abilities worldwide. Nike tennis shoes made with Zoom Air technology provide responsive cushioning to keep feet supported throughout a long match. Models include the Zoom NXT, Zoom Pro, Zoom Cage, and Zoom Lite.


Zoom Air unit embedded into the heel of the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro

Nike Court series tennis shoes: The ‘court’ series of Nike tennis shoes are also considered the best choice for other similar (but less popular) racquet sports such as squash and pickleball. Models include Court React and Court Air Max.

Nike Cortez tennis shoes: Casual, laid-back, and retro elegance and class. The Cortez has a certain style that’s instantly familiar yet made for on-court performance. Despite their heritage, they are also popular off the court as people enjoy wearing this style of comfortable tennis sneakers in casual dress environments.

Who wears what?

Nike has a long history of partnering with the best tennis players in the world. Let’s take a look at some of the top Nike tennis athletes and see which model they choose:

  • Throughout her career, the signature shoes for Serena Williams was the Nike Flair 2 HC. With lightweight cushioning and brilliant comfort levels, these shoes helped her execute fast switching of directions and therefore accommodated her aggressive style of tennis.
  • Venus Williams, sister of Serena, wore the ever-popular Nike Air Zoom Vapor X shoes for years throughout her career of winning on-court performances. A clean design with a lightweight feel without compromising on support makes this one of the most popular Nike tennis shoes on the market.
  • Rafael Nadal wears a slightly customized version of the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 3 shoes. You won’t see the exact model Rafa wears in stores, and that’s a result of him having chronic career-threatening foot problems and injuries throughout his career. Nike have collaborated with the grand slam star to create shoes especially for him, but if you're looking to match his style the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 3 is as close as you’ll get.
  • Despite being known for trying out different shoes regularly, Naomi Osaka generally prefers to wear the Nike Court Air Zoom GP Turbo. These shoes are best known for their exceptional responsiveness and feel, without having to add much weight or lose stability. If you like to mimic your tennis based on Osaka’s aggressive playing style, the GP Turbo’s are a great choice.
  • Russian star Victoria Azarenka prefers the Nike Vapor Pro 2 for her on-court performance. Available in a range of beautiful colorways, these incredibly popular tennis shoes are a Nike favorite. With notable cushioning underfoot and a springy feel, a well-measured player who doesn’t mind a bit of style and flair will enjoy these shoes.
  • Nike has collaborated with Maria Sharapova to create the Cortez range of tennis shoes. Available in both women's and men's styles, they have a classic retro look and a sponge-soft midsole. If laid-back tennis is your style, the Nike Cortez might just be the shoe for you.
  • He’s no longer a Nike-sponsored athlete but special mention to Roger Federer who was wearing the Swoosh logo for a long time in his exceptionally successful career. Fed would wear the Nike Zoom Vapor X shoes to accommodate his on-court speed and agility.

Choosing the best Nike tennis shoes for you

No longer is Nike just an iconic sports brand, it’s also a technical and performance-oriented product and, with a solid tennis line-up, suits all types of tennis players around the world. Ultimately choosing the best Nike tennis shoes comes down to individual choices and preferences, including the court surface you’re most commonly playing on, the type of player you are, the cushioning and durability you need to move around the court, and of course the style you’re looking for to suit your outfit.

Nike offers a wide range of tennis shoes designed to meet these specific needs so whether you’re a beginner or a rising professional, taking the time to research, select and invest in the best pair of Nike tennis shoes might just be the difference between your next game, set and match.


Brenton Barker
Brenton Barker
Brenton is an Australian with 20 years of experience coaching WTA and ATP professional tennis players, whom have won a total of 10 international professional Tournaments. Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching and was the former Head Tennis Coach at the Japanese Government Sports Science Institute. Brenton was also a former Manager & Head Coach of Australia’s Governing Sporting Body, Tennis Australia, and has been a Dunlop International Advisory Board Member since 2010. Additionally, Brenton was the Head of Player development for World No 7 and two-time Grand Slam Champion Johan Kriek.