4 Best Tennis Trainers

Sheena
Sheena on
4 Best Tennis Trainers
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Look your best on and off the court with any of these best-rated tennis trainers. Everyone has his or her go-to pair when it comes to lifestyle shoes. If you don’t have yet set your heart on any, we have a bunch of recommendations for you.

These performance-turned-lifestyle shoes from top brands would make a great addition to your footwear collection. From high tops, slip-ons, and classic coloured trainers that immaculately blend with any outfit, you will find your perfect fit. 

Whether you’re into modern style or vintage retro, we have tested and experienced for ourselves all tennis trainers. We went through all this work just to narrow down the best pairs for you.

How we test trainers

To choose our top recommendations, we bring all the tennis sneaks to our RunRepeat shoe testing lab. We subject each pair to thorough scrutiny to classify its quality, innovative technologies, and other key features. We then give our assessments after wear-testing them.

Here’s our approach:

  • We buy all pairs of tennis trainers for our lab and street tests. We use the money from our personal funds to keep the reviews 100% objective.
  • We wear-test each shoe meticulously. It’s not just about an on-foot try but wearing the shoes in their actual day-to-day activities. We take every model for days of wear and tear usage to give us an idea of its comfort, fit, cushioning durability, and many more.
  • We split the shoes in half so we can see all of the components from different perspectives.

Best tennis trainers overall

Reebok Club C 85
91
Great!

What makes it the best?

We conducted extensive testing on numerous sneakers, both in the lab and around town, in our quest to find the ultimate tennis sneaker—and the Reebok Club C 85 shone with many colors. The sneaker surpassed its competitors with its unparalleled comfort and durability befitting that of a true legend. Additionally, the C85 boasts exceptional breathability, ensuring cool and fresh feet whether on the court or out in the streets.

Our firsthand experience of wearing these sneakers around town confirmed their legendary status. The incredibly soft terry cloth liner provided an exquisite feeling of comfort. Coupled with the breathability of the leather upper, it elevated the overall experience to extraordinary levels. These sneakers felt so amazing that even without socks we were reluctant to take them off!

In the lab, we subjected the sneakers to an abrasion test, vigorously scratching the upper using a power drill fitted with a metallic wire brush. Despite the intense friction, the Club C 85 displayed remarkable resilience, showing no signs of wear and tear.

Moreover, after applying dry and wet colors to the leather upper, the sneakers proved to be stain-resistant! And easy to maintain, further demonstrating their superstar performance.

The Club C 85 is an iconic tennis sneaker from the 80s, maintaining its minimalist and clean design since its initial release. Remarkably, it has remained a popular fashion staple for over 40 years, thanks to the endorsement of tennis superstars such as Venus Williams, Madison Keys, and Guillermo Vilas.

However, we must note that they tend to fit slightly loose. Consequently, we do not recommend the Club C 85 for those seeking snug-fitting sneakers.

Pros

  • Ideal price point
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Water-resistant
  • Surprisingly breathable
  • OK for sockless wear

Cons

  • Lacks modern inner shanks for support
  • Slightly loose fit
Full review of Reebok Club C 85

Best classic tennis trainers

What makes it the best?

More than five decades since its initial release, Adidas Stan Smith continues to steal the spotlight as the best classic tennis sneaker today. We found through hours of lab testing and wearing them around the city that the kick’s secret to withstanding the test of time lies in its extremely durable leather upper. This minimalist tennis sneaker has transcended its sports origins to become a fashion staple, a cultural icon, and a legendary piece of footwear history.

When we took the Stan Smith to the streets, it lived up to its reputation. The sneaker proved to be exceptionally comfortable, even when worn without socks, and the breathable leather upper kept our feet fresh throughout. In the lab, we've used a bar clamp to test its flexibility - and we've seen that the sneaker considerably flexes at the toes. This only confirmed our experience - Stan Smith surely flexes and offers an unobtrusive ride.

We've also subjected the leather to rigorous testing by scratching it with a power drill fitted with a metallic wire brush. The Stan Smith demonstrated remarkable resilience, handling the abrasions with finesse and exhibiting minimal signs of wear and tear.

Originally released in 1971, the sneaker quickly gained popularity, largely due to the influence of tennis legend Stan Smith, who lent his name to the shoe. In 2018, Smith himself authored the book "Stan Smith: Some People Think I'm A Shoe," delving into the rich heritage and history of the iconic sneaker.

However, it is worth mentioning that the kicks take some time to break in. We recommend that those who want to skip the break-in period look elsewhere. 

Pros

  • Classic silhouette
  • Numerous colorways and collaborations
  • Easy to style
  • Durable
  • Weatherproof

Cons

  • Runs large
  • Lack of support
  • Takes some time to wear in
Full review of Adidas Stan Smith

Best platform tennis trainers

New Balance CT302
85
Decent!

What makes it the best?

The CT302 is an unexpected entry from New Balance that looks, and kind of feels, like a tennis shoe on steroids. We discovered that the understated design doesn’t betray the luxurious comfort of this generously padded and well-cushioned day-to-day shoe. Beyond its weighty nature, the CT302 is a reliable and stylish sneaker that feels way more premium than its price implies.

Pros

  • Exquisitely comfortable
  • Subtle yet stylish design
  • Looks and feels premium
  • Easy on the wallet
  • Height booster
  • Feels supportive underfoot
  • Not your everyday NB design

Cons

  • Extremely heavy
  • Very stiff
  • Limited colorways
  • Smudge magnet
Full review of New Balance CT302

Best vintage tennis trainers

What makes it the best?

We fell in love with Reebok Club C 85 Vintage not only because of its retro looks but also because of its worthiness to be called a true tennis sneaker. It delivered a lot of court feel that allowed for more precise footwork. It was also light with a very flexible structure to support agile movements. It easily became the best vintage tennis sneaker in our book.

We were able to feel the ground more because this Reebok sneaker kept a really low profile. According to our caliper, the heel was only 23.2 mm (vs 31.3 mm average) thick while the forefoot was only 14.7 mm (vs 20.0 mm average) thick.

The Reebok Club C 85 Vintage was also light at only 11.96 ounces (339 grams). The average sneaker weighed 14.04 ounces (398 grams). The shoe’s overall flexibility complemented its lightness quite well. We learned in the lab that it needed only 17.3N of force to bend at 90 degrees while the average kick would require 23.2N. 

We had one important complaint, and that was about this shoe’s breathability. Or lack thereof. It got only a 2 out of 5 during our breathability assessments. Do proceed with caution, especially if you have sweaty feet.

Pros

  • Flexible and comfy
  • Generously padded
  • Lightweight
  • Durable toebox
  • Fine quality finish
  • Extremely stable
  • Good traction on most surfaces
  • Old-school wonder
  • Versatile
  • Goes with most outfits
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Short-term support
  • Firm midsole
  • Creases easily
  • Lacks airflow
Full review of Reebok Club C 85 Vintage

Tennis has a long history of style and fashion, and it goes without saying that tennis trainers have easily become one of the most fashionable types of trainers on the market today. From everyday wear to family activities, tennis trainers are a staple for every wardrobe, for every age range and for every lifestyle.

Adidas Stan Smith Grass Court

This article seeks to delve into what actually goes into making the best tennis trainers for the everyday person. We answer your questions to help you decide what you should be looking for and why. And we find out why tennis trainers are worn by so many people in so many situations.

So if you love tennis trainers but don’t wear them to play tennis, sit down and get comfortable because this guide has your name all over it.

The difference between tennis shoes and tennis trainers

Tennis shoes are engineered for one primary purpose: optimal performance on the tennis court. These shoes prioritise features like stability, cushioning, and traction to enhance a player's agility and footwork.

nike-court-air-zoom-vapor-pro-review.JPG

Example of a performance tennis shoe (Nike Vapour Pro)

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes for playing tennis, try our guide to the best tennis shoes instead.

On the other hand, tennis trainers draw inspiration from the tennis court but are primarily designed for the fashion-conscious individual, not a tennis match. So if you’re here because you appreciate tennis trainers more so for their style and comfort, you’re in the right place. Additionally, you may find that the tennis trainers of today are actually a remake of shoes that were worn on the court years or even decades ago, rehashed for streetwear.

Reebok Club C85 Flat Lay

Example of a lifestyle tennis sneaker (Reebok Club C 85)

From the courts to the streets

The influence of tennis trainers is now a regular part of streetwear culture, here’s two reasons why:

  1. Athleisure trend: Everyday people love wearing sports wear for leisure. This trend, known as athleisure, has seen tennis trainers become a staple in everyday wardrobes. They provide a comfortable yet stylish choice for individuals who want to stay on-trend while maintaining an active lifestyle.
  2. Unisex appeal: It doesn’t matter who you are, tennis trainers have a universal appeal and often have a unisex design, making them a fashionable choice for people of all genders. Little wonder they enjoy such widespread popularity.

A sneaker with court design

Tennis trainers and tennis courts share many similarities:

  • Clean lines: A tennis court is easily identified for its easily understood clean lines design. Most tennis trainers share the same cleanliness.
  • Minimalist branding: Despite having a huge international professional tour, tennis courts show limited on-court branding, the focus is on the court itself. Likewise, with tennis trainers, the branding is generally not the primary focus of the design.
  • Simple colours: Most tennis courts are green with white stripes, although some courts can also be blue or red. Tennis trainers often reverse these colour schemes, usually with a primarily white design and red, green or blue complementary lines.

Borrowing fashion from tennis

Tennis trainers have been popular for decades, and it is this popularity which can be attributed to several factors that make them a sought-after choice for those who prioritise fashion over sport.

Ultimate timelessness

Tennis trainers are known for their simplicity and elegance. Their clean lines are easy to appreciate and compliment a variety of fashion styles, from classic to modern. Good tennis sneaker styles will last decades; fast fashion doesn’t.

Classic colours

Tennis trainers are traditionally predominantly white, and while some designers will play with complimentary colours, but infrequently are bold colours the standout feature.

Maximum versatility

Tennis trainers are incredibly versatile, making them suitable for a wide range of outfits. Whether paired with jeans, shorts, or even casual dresses, they seamlessly fit into everyday fashion choices and activities.

Adidas-Stan-Smith-On-Feet-Tennis.jpg

Who wears tennis trainers

The fashion enthusiast

Individuals who appreciate classic and minimalist fashion often wear tennis trainers as a part of their daily attire. They can easily be dressed up or down to suit various fashion styles and situations.

The cool kid

Streetwear culture has embraced tennis trainers as a staple, and the cool kids love it. Often paired with urban and casual streetwear outfits, they can be worn for many hours during a variety of activities.

The sporty mom

Athleisure is a fashion trend that combines athletic clothing with everyday wear, popular especially with busy moms. Tennis trainers, with their comfort and sporty style, are a popular choice for those who want to maintain an active lifestyle but still look good as they get through their busy daily schedule.

The everyday dad

People looking for comfortable and versatile footwear for everyday activities often opt for tennis trainers. They are easy to pair with various outfits, making them an ideal choice for casual occasions.

The unisex department shopper

Due to their natural simplicity, tennis trainers are often made in unisex designs - making them accessible and fashionable for people of all genders. Such inclusivity makes them appealing to a wide range of individuals.

The social media influencer

From TikTok to Instagram, many trendsetters and celebrities alike are frequently seen wearing tennis trainers as part of their fashion ensemble. Social media endorsements and style choices often influence their followers to embrace this fashion trend.

The brand fans 

Some of the biggest footwear brands just so happen to also be big in the world of tennis sneaker fashion too. It’s hard to say no to a new pair of sweet kicks from a brand that you can relate to.

The hard workers

Depending on the workplace dress code, tennis trainers can often easily be worn as part of business-casual or smart-casual outfits. People who choose this option relish in the comfort of wearing a simple but effective alternative to traditional dress shoes.

5 workplaces where tennis trainers just make sense

Hospitals and healthcare settings

Nurses often prefer black tennis trainers due to their professional appearance and easy maintenance. They sit well alongside blue scrubs, they provide comfort during long shifts and, alongside being easy to clean, are ideal for the demands of the healthcare environment.

Retail stores

In retail settings, where employees can be on their feet for what might feel like hours on end, comfortable tennis trainers can be an excellent choice. They provide support and can be easily coordinated with uniforms or dress codes.

Creative and design studios

In creative and design studios, employees often have more flexibility in their fashion choices. Tennis trainers can be a quality choice for those working in graphic design, advertising, and similar fields.

Tech and IT companies

In the tech industry, where a casual dress code is common, tennis trainers are a popular choice. They offer comfort for employees who may spend long hours at their desks or in standing desk setups, and they can be worn day in day out - avoiding the need to worry about what outfit to wear tomorrow.

Schools and universities

Many educators, especially those in primary and secondary schools or universities, love wearing tennis trainers as they provide during a busy day and for moving around campus. However not all organisations are equal: the choice of trainers can vary depending on the institution's dress code.

The big brands that know their stuff

Adidas

With its iconic three stripes designs, Adidas has been at the top of the tennis sneaker world for many decades. One of the most prominent designs is known as the Stan Smith, named after a tennis professional of the 1970’s, is a classic that refuses to be overthrown from its mantle.

Check out our guide to the best Adidas trainers here.

Reebok

Over the years, Reebok has evolved to encompass a wide range of athletic and lifestyle products, including classic trainers that have found a dedicated following among fitness enthusiasts and sneakerheads alike. The brand is celebrated for its collaborations with athletes, designers, and artists, adding unique aesthetics to its offerings.

Check out our guide to the best Reebok trainers here.

Veja

French brand Veja, has gained a reputation for producing eco-friendly tennis trainers using organic materials and fair labour practises. Their minimalist, clean designs emphasise simplicity and environmental responsibility. This brand has successfully blended fashion with ethics, making it a popular choice among consumers looking for trainers that prioritise both style and environmentally-conscious sustainability.

6 celebrities who love to wear tennis trainers

Pharrell Williams

The musician Pharrell Williams is not just known for his music, but his eclectic and vibrant outfits and trademark hats. Pharell is a brand ambassador for Adidas which he proudly wears to compliment his style, and keep him happy.

Rihanna

As a fashion and beauty icon, musician Rihanna loves to wear trainers around the town. Though she’s been spotted wearing a wide variety of brands, she recently released a collaboration with Puma, known as the Fenty Puma collection. Expect to see more collaborations from this superstar released under her umbrella.

Justin Bieber

Pop sensation Justin Bieber is often seen rocking a pair of trainers as part of his stylish urban outfits. Though not always tennis trainers, they are often combined with baggy pants and a beanie and Bieber carries himself in a way that makes his ‘Beliebers’ (fanbase) take notice, because they know what he means.

Gigi Hadid

When supermodel Gigi Hadid is photographed, it’s normally on the catwalk. But when she’s out and about in the public she’s been snapped wearing tennis trainers to complete her chic and casual looks. If ever you needed proof as to whether tennis trainers can be worn as part of a high-fashion wardrobe, Hadid is your inspiration. Reebok appears to be her go-to brand.

Jerry Seinfeld

In the popular '90s sitcom "Seinfeld," the main character - Jerry Seinfeld - was almost always wearing white tennis trainers. Often combined with a pair of denim jeans, these trainers were a signature element of Jerry's casual yet iconic wardrobe throughout the series. Seinfeld was known for his relaxed and relatable style, which mirrored the actor's real-life preference for comfort over extravagance.

Kate Middleton

Even members of the British royal family, like the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, have been snapped by the paparazzi wearing tennis trainers. She pairs them with her casual and sporty outfits during less formal public engagements, and oozes style and class in the process.

How to wear tennis trainers (for women)

We know that celebrities can rock tennis trainers, but how can you? Here’s some tips:

Summer dress

Tennis trainers can be a great match with casual summer dresses, especially when you're aiming for a relaxed yet stylish look. Opt for a simple, solid-coloured dress and complete the outfit with classic white tennis trainers. This pairing strikes a balance between comfort and chic style.

Athleisure

Create an athleisure outfit by combining your tennis trainers with leggings or joggers and a comfortable, loose-fitting top. Accessorise with a crossbody bag or a cap for an active yet fashionable appearance that's perfect for a day out or a workout session.

Classic denim

Denim and tennis trainers are a classic combination. Whether you choose skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, or denim shorts, you can't go wrong with a pair of tennis trainers. Roll up the cuffs of your jeans for a relaxed, streetwear-inspired look.

Skirts

For a more playful style, pair tennis trainers with a flowing maxi skirt or a skater skirt. The contrast between the trainers and the skirt makes for a youthful appearance. 

Black and white

Try an all-black outfit with white tennis trainers to create that classic monochromatic look. Easy to wear for many occasions, it’s a simple way to show you know how to dress to impress, without looking like you try too hard.

How to wear tennis trainers (for men)

Guys love to wear tennis trainers too, but sometimes they need a bit of a push along to get the style combination just right. Here’s some tips:

Denim casual

Pair your tennis trainers with jeans for a classic, laid-back look. Whether you choose slim-fit or relaxed jeans, the combination works well. You can go for a simple white or neutral-coloured sneaker to create a versatile and stylish outfit.

Sporty

Combine your tennis trainers with some knee-length gym shorts or athleisure pants for a sporty yet comfortable outfit. This style is perfect for running errands, going to the gym, or just hanging out with friends. Top it off with a basic tee or a sweatshirt for a relaxed but athletic, sporty vibe.

Chinos

Chinos with tennis trainers is a classic choice. Available in a wide range of colours, chinos are a safe bet for so many situations. And although you can choose between different colour combinations, a classic white sneaker keeps it simple and elegant.

Shorts

Tennis trainers go well with shorts during the warmer months. Whether you're wearing cargo shorts, tailored shorts, or athletic shorts, adding a pair of trainers can create a stylish and comfortable summer look. Just ensure that your trainers complement the colour of your shorts for a cohesive appearance.

Smart-casual

Tennis trainers can even be incorporated into smart-casual outfits. Pair them with well-fitted dress trousers and a blazer for a modern and fashion-forward appearance. This mix of formal and athletic wear creates a unique and trendy style that's perfect for semi-casual occasions.

Author
Sheena
Sheena
Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogues to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinising hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favourite pastime.