10 Best Tennis Shoes in 2021

RunRepeat
RunRepeat on
10 Best Tennis Shoes in 2021

Disclaimer: This guide will be covering athletic tennis shoes that are used for playing on the court. If you are after a pair of casual sneakers, see our selection of tennis-inspired kicks.

When you are just starting out, all tennis shoes appear the same. However, the way they feel and perform on the court can vary greatly. We have tested over 40 pairs of tennis shoes to help you find the one that works best for you.

Some tennis shoes are made for nimble players, others have more cushioning or stability for the most active playing styles. When in doubt, just go with the best overall.

To learn more about choosing tennis shoes based on the type of court and your playing style, scroll down to the guide below.

Our approach to selecting the best tennis shoes

At RunRepeat, we do not let a tennis shoe release pass unnoticed. Each model undergoes scrutiny by our experts. As a result, you get a summary from two perspectives: what upgrades (if any) the shoe offers and what the actual wearers think about it.

  • We have gathered over 130 expert reviews to understand the anatomy of every shoe on our list.
  • More than 12,000 user opinions have been summarized to single out the few leaders in tennis footwear. 

Best overall

The Asics Gel Resolution 8 is not only the best among all the other Gel Resolution tennis shoes, it’s also the best tennis shoes we’ve tested!

It’s a bold statement and we gladly stand by it. Hands down, nothing compares to this all-court tennis shoe! 

What makes it a standout among other tennis shoes is that it’s FANTASTICALLY stable. Regardless of the side-to-side movements during the game, we’ve never felt like we were not supported. 

If there’s a star to this shoe it’s the Dynawrap lacing system. The very reason why our feet were kept locked in place the entire time! 

And how does it stack up to its siblings? Let’s just say it’s been the most comfortable Resolution shoe we’ve tried on! 

There’s more cushioning in the heel, giving ample softness underfoot and protection from impact. And because of the comfort it provides, we didn’t have to break it in at all! Straight from the box, all we had was non-stop plushness! 

Despite all the cushiness, it’s a tough shoe! Even after some serious beating in the tennis court, this shoe has proven itself a superlative in durability! 

Taking comfort up a notch, this shoe is just first-class in breathability. NO issues with toe jamming at all! Long days on the court? That should be the least of your worries! 

Even better, it’s got more flex in the forefoot, encouraging the natural bend and motions of the foot! 

If you’re on the lookout for a shoe that really optimizes both performance and comfort, nothing beats the Asics Gel Resolution 8! 

See our full review and facts

Almost beating the Gel Resolution 8, the Court FF 2 from Asics ticks all the boxes aggressive players have on their list! And we couldn’t disagree. 

It’s not among Asics support tennis shoes, but it sure didn’t shy on stability! Thanks to its rigid midfoot, all our strides were kept surefooted and steady! 

And its marks as a great tennis shoe doesn’t stop there. It took us by surprise when it welcomed our feet with an INCREDIBLY plush wrap! The easiest way to describe it? A heaven for the feet! 

It doesn’t only amp up comfort. It also plays a huge role in boosting support. The upper gives a glove-like fit, following the contours and shape of the foot. Basically, it gave us a superb lockdown! 

Even better, it also doesn’t skimp on lateral support. Through all the fast-paced side-to-side motions, it didn’t feel like our feet were rolling over! 

And when it comes to flex? This is what dreams are made of! During quick stops or slides, it provided enough give for the foot to bend! 

To really step up the games of the aggressive players, it’s also very light! Among the lightest tennis shoes on our roster even. It kept weight at a minimum, we almost forgot we were wearing anything! 

It could’ve been our top pick, especially that it’s what we consider affordable. And with all the features it offers, it’s definitely a bang for the buck! The only catch is that it’s not very durable, making it our second best. 

See our full review and facts

Best for speed

Made for speed, the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro made us feel like we were one of the elites! 

It’s fast and it’s certainly the best of its kind! It’s even quicker than the renowned Vapor X Knit! Now, that’s really something. 

Even better, it’s got some serious traction on the court! When we went to slide for a shot, this shoe just bit into the ground. If anything, it gave us all the confidence we could muster! 

And it sure didn’t lag behind in protection either! The toe guard was extremely helpful during slides. It kept our toes pain and bruise-free after some serious hammering on the court! 

Support in the Vapor Pro is first-class! And this is thanks to the upper, which is a bag full of treats! 

It wrapped around the feet so comfortably, and it’s snug too! But don’t worry about constricted motions, because it gives you anything but that. It’s supportive, but it’s still got some flex to accommodate foot movements inside the shoe. It’s that good! 

If you’re concerned about heel slips, this shoe will solve all your problems! 

Even better, it’s paired with a lacing system that’s impressively solid, our feet were kept secure and locked in, especially when pushing forward! 

And to really cement its name as the best speed tennis shoe we’ve tested, the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro is EXTREMELY light. As in, no bulk at all! 

See our full review and facts

The Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 4 is everything speed-ready, and we just can’t get enough of it! 

Yes, it’s a damn solid tennis shoe that doesn’t disappoint. From top to bottom, it just screams fast, and fast we got! 

The real showstopper was the shoe’s sterling responsiveness! No cap, it gave us all the energy return we could ask for. We were just springing through our steps! This is a bold claim, but it’s even better than the Boost! 

And like the Boost, it’s very comfy too. It doesn’t require a break-in period at all! Out the box to the court, it’s got all the cush one could ever ask for! 

You might think that all the goodness it brings comes at the expense of weight. But nope, it’s anything but heavy! In fact, it’s so light, it felt airy! 

The outsole also doesn’t pay the price for the benefits this shoe comes with. If anything, it magnifies everything! 

It’s durable and it’s grippy -  a combo that’s to die for! It latches to the ground so well, sliding and quick stops have never been so easy! And after all the rought wear tests we put it through, it came out a champ! 

No scratches. Just as flawless as it was fresh from the box! 

But what took us by surprise (even more) was the shoe’s toe box durability. We’ve done a lot of toe dragging in this baby, and it’s surely robust! Even better, it gave our toes all the protection they needed. So good job, Adidas! 

If there’s one setback to the Adizero Ubersonic 4, it’s the lack of room upfront. For us wide-footed players, it’s just a tad narrow in the toe box!

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

A killer in the comfort arena, the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 has given our feet all the plushness it desires! And that’s why it reigns supreme on this list! 

The cushioning in this shoe was just magic! Upon step-in, the feet are enveloped with loads of padding. From the upper to the midsole, it’s just remarkably cozy! 

The superb cush doesn’t tax the weight either. Hands down, this is among the most featherweight tennis shoes we’ve ever put our feet in! 

And whether it’s on grass, hard court, or clay court, this shoe is a winner in terms of traction. It just gripped onto everything and anything! We were anchored in position, especially when sliding and quick stops. 

Even better, it’s a HIGHLY stable shoe. The midsole has got a fantastic blend between softness and rigidity. Meaning, its eyes are not only set on comfort, it’s also got eyes for support. And support, we got! 

We never felt unsteady in the shoe, regardless of the motions. And the upper was only there to make things even better! 

It fits like a glove and it wraps around the feet securely! As in, NO excess movements. 

And to wrap everything up, it’s got major style! It’s a real stunner in performance and so is it in fashion! 

See our full review and facts

Pain from impact? That’s not in the dictionary of the NikeCourt React Vapor NXT! It got all the cush and it certainly has all the protection our feet needed during landing! 

Apart from its laser-cut focus on comfort, this shoe also doesn’t hold back on performance-oriented features. And one that we LOVE so much is its solid durability! 

We like to put all the shoes we test in a series of tough wear testing, and this shoe wowed us! It’s unscathed and it looks as fresh as the day we first got it. The outsole rubber is practically indestructible! 

It’s not only king in terms of strength. It also shows serious performance when it comes to grip! Whether scrambling towards the sides, or recovering from a shot, the shoe powers stability. It just latches to the court! 

And we had ZERO worries during slides and toe drags, the toe cap is just as burly as the outsole! 

Even the laces of this shoe have got some sort of protection. They’re covered with a rubber attachment, preventing fraying. Now, that’s some serious dedication to durability! 

Surprisingly, with all the traction it gives, the NikeCourt React Vapor NXT is among the quietest shoes we’ve tried. There’s NO squeaking noise at all! 

It’s not a shoe without flaws. And if there’s one thing we couldn’t write off, it’s the heft that this tennis shoe has! 

See our full review and facts

Best stability

Dragging has never been this stable, the Nike Court Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 kept our strides supported all throughout! 

By far, this is the best stability tennis shoes we’ve come across! The upper hugged our feet nice and tight, we didn’t feel like we were rolling far off to the sides! Just pure good ol’ support! 

Taking stability to a whole different level, the midsole serves a great mix of plushness and stiffness. This only means that it creates surefooted steps while giving the foot a cushy underfoot sensation! In simpler words, the best of both worlds! 

Yes, support is where this shoe shines, but it also doesn’t tame sturdiness. After taking some pounding on the court, this shoe proves itself a tank! In fast-wearing areas, there were barely any abrasions. 

Even more, it’s a very lightweight tennis shoe! And this is attributed to its minimal cushion.

Apart from weight saving, the stripped-down midsole also plays a big part in generating more ground feel! 

Don’t think for a second that less cushion means less comfort. Nope, it’s not always true. And it’s especially not the case in the Vapor Cage 4. It’s sufficiently padded, it gave our feet the softness they required! 

And of course, it’s not a true Nike without its good looks! In the style arena, this shoe is a certified showstopper! 

See our full review and facts

The New Balance Fresh Foam Lav sure didn’t disappoint us when it comes to a lockdown sensation! Its cleatie just kept our feet securely in place throughout all our movements in the court, may they be side to side or when pushing forward. 

And the shoe’s Kinetic embroidery only makes stability even better! It kept our feet tucked snuggly in place. ‘

The best thing about it is that it’s not the kind that’s constricting. Rather, it just makes you feel supported all throughout your movements! 

Even more, the grip won us over! It upped the shoe’s overall stability, and it kept us steady and sure footed. No slips, no wobbling. 

And unlike other stability tennis shoes, this shoe does NOT put a lid on comfort. Upon step-in, it took us by surprise! It's plush, and it’s even more so in the heel. 

During landings, we didn’t feel any impact pain. This shoe dampened all the shock and kept our feet strain-free! 

This could’ve easily been our top pick if it weren’t for its (1) steep price and (2) heavy weight. But ultimately, if it’s pure stability you’re after, this is THE shoe!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

For an affordable tennis shoe, the Adidas CourtJam Bounce made us feel like it was among the more expensive tennis shoes we’ve tested! 

What really stood out to us is the shoe’s excellent focus on protection and comfort! Not only did it keep our ankle secure and safe, it also gave our feet superb cushioning! From one shot to another, all we could feel was the plushness underfoot! 

To be perfectly honest, we weren’t expecting much from this shoe because (duh) it’s a budget shoe. But it’s just a box full of surprises! 

It’s INSANELY grippy! During drags, slides, and quick stops, we had ZERO issues. This shoe just bit into the ground, keeping us fastened in position! No slippy feeling nor swaying. 

Its high regard for stability doesn’t stop there. The upper is very foot-conforming, it keeps our steps in check. Meaning, no wobbling nor heel slippage inside the shoe. 

And good news for players who are in need of additional support, the CourtJam Bounce is wide enough to accommodate custom orthotics! 

Honestly, for such a pocket-friendly price, it’s a great value tennis shoe! It’s got all the makings of the high-end shoes on the market. Even better, it’s got multi-court traction! 

So if you want one shoe for recreational and competitive use, we can’t recommend the CourtJam Bounce enough! 

See our full review and facts

It’s supportive, grippy, and stylish, we didn’t think for a second that the NikeCourt Lite 2 was a cheap tennis shoe! 

Apart from the upper giving our feet a sock-like fit, the midsole is also balanced. Meaning, it’s neither too rigid nor too soft. It’s got enough of both to generate a supportive yet cushy sensation.

And throughout all our movements inside the court, the consistent feel we had was stable

The upper doesn’t only mold to the feet, it also has some padding, keeping everything cozy. But it doesn’t go overboard with the cushioning either. 

In the ankle collar, the padding is sufficient, but it doesn’t hinder maneuverability. To put it simply, movements are encouraged by the shoe! 

Balance is not only confined to the midsole. It’s also present in the outsole. How does this translate in the court? 

It’s plenty durable and grippy, but it does NOT punish the foot. No ifs and buts, the shoe is a surefire rockstar in this alone! 

After several drags and quick stops, this shoe has withstood the test of time, and the test of RR (yes, we like to really give our shoes a beating!) Even better, it has proven itself a master of traction on the hard court! 

To top it all off, it’s got the makings of a verified looker! So much so, we won’t have doubts about wearing it off court!

See our full review and facts

Hard court, clay court, and all court tennis shoes

Tennis shoes are categorized by the type of court they are intended for. The most common ones today are hard-court and clay-court tennis shoes. For those who are new to the game or need a shoe for recreational use, there are versatile all-court trainers as well.

The brands most often release the same model in both hard-court and clay variations.

Hard Court

Clay Court

All Court / Multi Court

made of concrete or asphalt, covered with an acrylic top

Characteristics: tough, faster game, higher traction, harder on the body and shoes

made of crushed brick, stone, or shale

Characteristics: soft, slower game, less traction (can get slippery), easier on the body and shoes

includes both hard and clay courts

hard-court-tennis-shoes.png

clay-court-tennis-shoes.png

all-court-tennis-shoes.png

Use: Professional

Use: Professional

Use: Recreational

Outsole: 

a multi-directional tread pattern allows for both grip and sliding; has the most durable outsole lugs

Outsole: 

a full herringbone lug pattern allows sliding and doesn’t collect dust from the court

Outsole: 

a hybrid outsole pattern adapts to different types of courts

Midsole:

has more cushioning to protect the foot on concrete

Midsole:

has less cushioning and a close-to-the-ground feel; more lightweight

Midsole:

the level of cushioning varies depending on the model

Upper:

solid materials help to stabilize the foot

Upper:

made with materials that prevent dust from entering the shoe; have a very tight fit to prevent foot or ankle rolling

Upper:

available in a wide range of materials

Good to know

  1. It is not recommended to use hard-court shoes on clay and vice versa. While it may not be a big problem for a game or two, for regular use, it is better to wear a court-specific or an all-court trainer.
  • Clay-court shoes on the hard court: high grip makes it difficult to slide on the court, which can be hard on the ankles and joints; the outsole wears out faster.
  • Hard-court shoes on clay: do not have the needed amount of grip; easily get clogged with clay dirt.
  1. What about grass-court shoes? A while back, players could also come across tennis shoes for grass courts with special pimpled outsoles. However, these are no longer common for two reasons: the rarity of grass courts and the fact that the knob lugs ruin the lawn too easily, which is expensive to upkeep. You may use hard-court, all-court, or clay-court tennis shoes on grass.
  2. All tennis shoe brands offer a 6-month durability warranty for some of their models. It is a one-time replacement guarantee which applies to tennis shoes that have sustained considerable outsole damage within 6 months from the day of purchase.

3 types of tennis shoes based on playing styles

All tennis shoes can be roughly segmented into three categories based on the primary benefit they offer: speed, cushioning, and stability. Which one to choose depends on the type of player you are and your preferences in the shoe feel.

The table below describes the differences between the shoes in more detail.

Types of tennis shoes based on playing style

Speed.png

  • Best for agile, aggressive players who slide often

Weight: the most lightweight category among the three

Upper: feature minimal designs; flex more efficiently with the foot

Midsole: have a low-to-the-court profile with moderate cushioning

Outsole: not as durable as stability tennis shoes

Cushioning.png

  • Best for players who move around the court a lot

Weight: average

Upper: come in a variety of styles

Midsole: have thicker and bouncier cushioning

Outsole: durable

Stability.png

  • Best for baseline players who prefer solid and supportive shoes

Weight: on the heavy side

Upper: crafted with supportive features (often TPU overlays)

Midsole: have an abundance of cushioning; embed supportive structures like shanks to keep the foot stable

Outsole: the most hard-wearing, often comes with a durability warranty

Finding the best fit in tennis shoes

The shoe’s ability to hold your foot securely defines the level of grip, stability, and surefootedness on the court. When you try on a pair of tennis shoes, check for the following signs of the right fit:

Forefoot: a little extra space in front of your longest toe, around 1-1.5 cm (½ inch). It allows for some wiggle room throughout the movement and accommodates foot swelling during longer games.

The fit should not be constricting on the ball of the foot, either. If you need more space, consider Wide or Extra Wide tennis shoes.

Midfoot: the hold must be firm. Your foot should feel a brace-like containment as it is crucial for side-to-side stability on the court.

Heel: should be locked inside the heel counter and not slipping out.

Using other types of shoes for tennis

A pair of running shoes that you wear regularly may appear suitable for all sorts of athletic activities. However, it is not effective in accommodating the abrasive surface and rapid movements involved in tennis.

The only type of sports footwear that is closest to tennis shoes are basketball shoes. However, they are not ideal either for several reasons listed below.

Reasons not to use other shoes for tennis

Running shoes

NOT recommended because they:

  • lack outsole durability for the wear-and-tear on the court
  • tread patterns are not sufficient for gripping and sliding
  • do not offer the same level of lateral support
  • no protection from toe dragging

Basketball shoes

can be used because these shoes:

  • can be okay on hard courts
  • designed to support sudden stops, changes of direction, and lateral movements
  • low-top models will not hinder ankle movement

NOT recommended because they:

  • lack outsole durability and wear out faster from all the sliding and toe dragging
  • get slippery on clay courts, collect dirt easily
  • the higher ankle collars will constrain most tennis footwork techniques
  • may be too heavy and bulky for tennis