Tennis is a physically-demanding sport that can take its toll on both your body and tennis equipment. The latter is particularly true in the case of shoes. This is why it’s highly recommended to use shoes made for tennis while playing the sport as opposed to running shoes or other athletic shoes. In this piece, we’ll dive deeper into the leading tennis shoe brands on the market today to help you find a perfect fit. Unless otherwise indicated, the tennis shoe families referenced below include tennis shoes for men and tennis shoes for women.
Nike Tennis Shoes
Like in many other sports, Nike is the brand to beat. They offer a variety of high-quality tennis shoes for men, women, and juniors, regularly innovate with new technologies and colorways, and have the capital required to sponsor the biggest names in tennis. All-time tennis players Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams trust Nike footwear in competition. For the sake of space, we’ll cover Nike’s top 3 tennis shoe lines, and briefly discuss their other options.
Nike Vapor Tennis Shoes
The Vapor family of Nike tennis shoes is perhaps the most popular tennis shoe line in the sport. It’s used by a number of ATP and WTA pros, and can be seen at all levels of tennis. These shoes are designed to be lightweight, breathable, and responsive. Their adaptive fit and close-to-the-court feel are what truly separate them from other tennis shoes on the market.
Nike Cage Tennis Shoes
The Cage family of Nike tennis shoes is also used widely throughout tennis. These shoes are Nike’s leading durability tennis shoes, and come with an outsole warranty. Toe draggers and players who prefer additional cushioning and support tend to gravitate toward these stable tennis shoes.
Nike Zoom Zero Tennis Shoes
Released in 2018, the Zoom Zero family is a sort of hybrid between the Vapor and Cage families. These shoes are somewhat heavier, but exceedingly responsive and comfortable. They offer great court feel and above average durability. You can expect a counter-intuitive balance between adaptive performance and stability from these shoes.
Other Nike Tennis Shoes
Nike offers a number of tennis shoes outside of the 3 families listed above. A step down from the Vapors, Cages, and Zeros are the Prestiges, Resistances, and Wildcards, respectively. They cater to the same performance characteristics, but come at a lower price point. The Court Lite family is one of the most popular introductory-level tennis shoes in the game. Lastly, women have the Flare line, which is modeled after Serena’s on-court shoes.
adidas Tennis Shoes
adidas is another heavy-hitter in the tennis shoe industry. Their lines of men’s, women’s, and juniors’ tennis shoes are extensive, and among the best of any out there. Perennial Top 10 tennis players Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Angelique Kerber, and Caroline Wozniacki wear adidas tennis shoes on matchdays. adidas also carries Parley models of their top tennis shoes in an effort to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. The Parley tennis shoes utilize Parley Ocean Plastic, which is recycled plastic waste picked up along beaches and coastal communities.
adidas Court Tennis Shoes
Toward the end of 2018, adidas shocked the tennis industry with the announcement that they would replace their famous Barricade family of tennis shoes with a new Court family. The new shoes represent a worthy update to their Barricade brethren. They are highly durable, supportive, stable, and comfortable. adidas offers several models of Court shoes at varying price points (learn more here).
adidas Adizero Tennis Shoes
The Adizero line from adidas consists of lightweight and dynamic tennis shoes. These shoes are generally more breathable than their Court counterparts, and are great for players seeking a connected-to-the-court feel. adidas offers a number of Adizero models at varying price points, as well.
adidas Barricade Tennis Shoes
While adidas is no longer producing Barricade Tennis Shoes, they’re important to note because of their longstanding history in the sport of tennis. For roughly 20 years, players of all skill levels laced up their Barricades before taking the court. Even though they’re discontinued, players can still find their high-performing and durable characteristics in the new Court tennis shoe line.
ASICS Tennis Shoes
A mainstay in the running shoe market, ASICS has taken their talents to tennis. Despite arriving later to the tennis shoe industry than companies like Nike and adidas, their quality craftsmanship and overall shoe knowledge has propelled them to the top. One of the most dynamic tennis players in the sport’s history, Novak Djokovic, uses ASICS tennis shoes on tour. Like with Nike, we’ll look closely at ASICS’ top 3 tennis shoe lines, and more broadly at the others.
ASICS GEL-Resolution Tennis Shoes
The GEL-Resolution family is ASICS’ premium durability line. As the name implies, these shoes feature ASICS GEL cushioning technology for comfort and energy return. They’re built to take a beating, offer an outsole warranty, and provide a great level of stability. Novak Djokovic endorsed the popular GEL-Resolution 7 for a long time before collaborating with ASICS on the Court FF 2 Novak.
ASICS Solution Speed FF Tennis Shoes
The Solution Speed FF is essentially an upgrade from the GEL-Solution Speed family. The FF stands for FlyteFoam, which is ASICS’ premier running shoe midsole technology. This material utilizes organic “super fibers” for better cushioning and bounce back in a lightweight package. As you might expect, these shoes are built to be light and fast.
ASICS Court FF Tennis Shoes
The Court FF family of tennis shoes falls somewhere between the GEL-Resolution and Solution Speed FF families. These models also make use of FlyteFoam, and are the only ASICS tennis shoes to feature a Mono-Sock system. The result is a line of tennis shoes that offer great on-court feel, and a nice combination of quickness, durability, comfort, and support.
Other ASICS Tennis Shoes
ASICS is another brand that does a pretty good job of offering specialized tennis shoes at varying price points. Beneath the GEL-Resolution and Solution Speed FF families are the GEL-Challenger and GEL-Court Speed lines, respectively. At a lower cost, still, we see the GEL-Games and the GEL-Dedicates.
New Balance Tennis Shoes
New Balance Tennis Shoes are often known for two things: A great selection of widths, and a rather unique numbering system. While several other brands offer tennis shoes in standard and wide widths, New Balance makes a point to offer narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide tennis shoes. As for New Balance’s numbering system, the general rule of thumb is the higher the number, the more technology in the shoe. This isn’t true in every case, but it will help steer you in the right direction. To save space, we’ll focus on the brand’s most popular tennis shoes, and touch more briefly on the others.
New Balance Fresh Foam Lav Tennis Shoes
The Lav is an exclusively men’s tennis shoe (sorry ladies), and was designed in collaboration with Milos Raonic. It offers tremendous stability and durability, and features New Balance’s Fresh Foam midsole cushioning. The Kinetic Stitch upper moves in tandem with the inner bootie for an adaptive fit. Men’s Fresh Foam Lavs come with a 6-month outsole warranty.
New Balance 1006 Tennis Shoes
The 1006 series spans the gauntlet of widths provided by New Balance for both men and women. They’re designed to be comfortable, stable, and durable. Inside, players benefit from New Balance’s REVlite midsole technology for lightweight energy return. 1006 tennis shoes are also covered by a durability guarantee.
New Balance 996 Tennis Shoes
The 996 family is what most New Balance athletes, such as Danielle Collins, Reilly Opelka, and rising-star Coco Gauff, wear in competition. Like the Lavs and 1006s, the 996s come with an outsole warranty. The shoes feature a knit, nylon-infused upper, as well as a REVlite midsole for extra cushioning and bounce back. In all, these shoes are comfortable and stable, but dynamic enough to perform at a high level.
Other New Balance Tennis Shoes
Over the years, New Balance has offered tennis players a wide selection of tennis shoes. We have seen quality shoe lines like the durable 1296s, lightweight 896s, and leather 806s, as well as others in the value range, such as the 786s and 696s. All New Balance tennis shoes come in multiple widths, but the 806s, like the 1006s, can be found in all widths.
K-Swiss Tennis Shoes
K-Swiss was founded in 1966 by two brothers who happened to be avid skiers and tennis players. They took inspiration from leather ski boots to create tennis shoes that would hold up to the aggressive side-to-side movements of the sport. That innovative mindset has only continued. With models specializing in durability, speed, and all-around performance, K-Swiss tennis shoes have come a long way from the original K-Swiss Classic.
K-Swiss Aero Tennis Shoes
The K-Swiss Aero family of tennis shoes was released in the spring of 2019, and features the lightest tennis shoes in the brand’s lengthy history. The high-end model sports a unique Infi-Knit upper that covers the laces for an aerodynamic and breathable experience. The mid-tier model is inspired by this shoe, but utilizes a more traditional upper build. Both are designed to be lightweight and responsive.
K-Swiss Ultrashot Tennis Shoes
The Ultrashots from K-Swiss are the brand’s premier durability line. They’re constructed with the latest iteration of Aösta high-density rubber outsoles, and come with a 6-month durability guarantee. You can expect comfortable and long-lasting support from these shoes.
K-Swiss Hypercourt Express Tennis Shoes
K-Swiss’ Hypercourt Express family is perhaps the most popular of the bunch. These all-around tennis shoes offer excellent value on performance, and are comfortable to boot. They sport breathable mesh with a Durawrap overlay for a lightweight, yet protected experience. Inside, an Ortholite sockliner complements the comfortable and supportive midsole. In all, this line is great for a variety of on-court styles on skill levels.
Other K-Swiss Tennis Shoes
Perhaps the most notable shoes from K-Swiss other than what have already been mentioned are the BigShot Lights. They offer lightweight performance at a mid-level price point, and even come in a leather option. Additionally, K-Swiss occasionally resurrects some throwbacks, such as the old-school Ultrascendors. Be on the lookout for the entry-level Court Smashes, as well.
Mizuno Tennis Shoes
Known typically for their running shoes and volleyball shoes, Mizuno has begun the expansion of their tennis shoe lines. They quietly, yet confidently, took their first steps into the US market early in 2019, but had been making some noise on the pro circuit since their entrance in 2017. It was at this time that players like Phillipp Kohlschreiber, Marcos Baghdatis, and Ivo Karlovic took to the courts in Mizuno’s cutting-edge Wave Exceed Tour line. While the brand is relatively new to tennis, they have some fantastic expansion plans, and both the brand recognition and footwear proficiency to make a name for themselves in the sport.
Mizuno Wave Exceed Tour Tennis Shoes
The Wave Exceed Tour family is designed to be powerful, speedy, and stable. They utilize Mizuno’s Wave technology from their running shoes for cushioning and ankle protection. PoWnCe midsole technology is present, as well, and contributes to comfort and responsiveness. The Wave Exceed Tour family is Mizuno’s flagship line, and should be noted for its shock-dispersion properties. In essence, these shoes disperse excess energy throughout the shoe, as opposed to shooting it back up into the player’s muscles and joints. The Wave Exceed Tours also do a good job of molding to the unique shape of the player’s foot.
Mizuno Wave Impulse Tennis Shoes
The Wave Impulse line features fast, sleek, and comfortable tennis shoes for complete freedom of movement across the court. They utilize a DynamotionFit bootie construction, as well as a shock-dispersing Wave Plate to maximize energy transition and stabilization. As opposed to the Wave Exceed Tour line, the Wave Impulses do not have as much natural give while breaking in.
Wilson Tennis Shoes
Despite being known primarily for their racquets, Wilson offers a number of high-performance tennis shoes that are nothing to scoff at. They’re divvied up into three primary categories – the durable Rush Pros, the lightweight Kaoses, and the high-topped Amplifeels. All of these families are regularly updated to become more streamlined and effective for any level of play.
Wilson Rush Pro Tennis Shoes
The Rush Pro series of tennis shoes from Wilson is the brand’s durability line. These shoes are designed to be exceptionally stable, durable, and comfortable. Within the line, you can find models with varying heel-to-toe drops and cushion levels, as well as leather models. Over the years, the Rush Pro line has evolved to become more responsive and adaptable on the court. The top shoe within the family comes with a 6-month durability guarantee.
Wilson Kaos Tennis Shoes
Wilson Kaos models are lightweight, and designed to provide a unique blend of speed and cushioning. Within the line, players can choose between shoes with a full inner bootie for increased support and response, or the traditional security of a standard lace-and-tongue closure paired with Wilson’s Endofit half-sleeve construction.
Wilson Amplifeel Tennis Shoes
Wilson Amplifeel tennis shoes are widely billed as the best high-topped tennis shoes in the sport. They’re actually quite similar to the Rush Pros in that they’re durable, stable, and come with an outsole warranty; however, the Amplifeels offer greater support through their unique ankle-strap system. These shoes have traditionally come in unisex sizing.
Babolat Tennis Shoes
Perhaps the most prominent brand when it comes to tennis racquets and string, Babolat offers a number of excellent tennis shoes, as well. Their two primary lines are the durable Propulse family and lightweight Jet family. Within these categories, players can find a number of shoes at different price points to fit their needs. Babolat also offers the mid-priced SFX line as a comfortable, all-around option. A unique component of all Babolat shoes are the Michelin Performance outsoles developed in collaboration with Michelin researchers, and inspired by road rally tires for the best quality possible.
Babolat Propulse Tennis Shoes
The Babolat Propulse family of tennis shoes is the brand’s durability line. These shoes are all designed to be long-lasting, stable, comfortable, and supportive. Within the family, Babolat offers a number of shoes at varying prices. The Propulse Rage is the leading men’s shoe, and features an update to the line’s iconic PowerBelt Strap. It comes with an outsole warranty, as do the Propulse Furys for men and women. The Propulse Blasts are next on the list, and represent a solid mid-tier shoe.
Babolat Jet Tennis Shoes
The Jet series of tennis shoes showcases models that are exceedingly light compared to many speedy shoes on the market. This is in part thanks to Matryx® technology developed in partnership with Chamatex®. This technical upper fabric is comprised of Kevlar and Polyamide fibers. The result is a flexible and breathable material that packs a surprising level of durability and abrasion-resistance. Through these and other upgrades, the Jet line has continued to become more streamlined and effective.
HEAD Tennis Shoes
HEAD is another popular tennis brand that is not necessarily known for their shoes; however, this has begun to change, and rightly so. HEAD features two primary lines – the speedy Sprint series and the durable Revolt series. Within each, HEAD manufactures different tiers to fit the needs of a variety of tennis players. Tennis Express also carries an exclusive shoe called the Brazer. This shoe is lightweight, and offers a good value on performance.
HEAD Sprint Tennis Shoes
The Sprint family of tennis shoes is all about quick, dynamic performance. The highest-quality shoe in the line is the men’s Sprint SF. When it was originally released, it came with a 3-month upper warranty thanks to state-of-the-art SuperFabric® technology, as well as an outsole warranty. As far as men’s and women’s shoes are concerned, the Sprint Pros are the most notable. These shoes are regularly updated, and designed to be light and responsive. HEAD also offers Sprint Teams, which represent lower-cost versions of the Sprint Pros.
HEAD Revolt Tennis Shoes
The Revolt family of tennis shoes is designed for durability, comfort, and support. Just like with the Sprint series, the Revolts focus on a “Pro” and a “Team” version. As one might expect, the Revolt Pros can be found at the top of the list. They’re regularly updated to be more streamlined, and fit the needs of a wider variety of players. They also come with a 6-month outsole warranty. The Revolt Teams, just like the Sprint Teams, represent cost-friendlier versions of the family’s “Pro” models.
Diadora Tennis Shoes
When it comes to first-fit comfort, Diadora tennis shoes come to mind. The brand is known for their excellent use of cushioning, and wide-fitting selection. Within their categories of shoes, players can expect regularly-updated models and oftentimes clay court versions. The three families we’ll take a look at are the Speed Blushields, Star Ks, and Speed Comps.
Diadora Speed Blushield Tennis Shoes
Diadora’s largest family of tennis shoes is the Speed Blushield series. Within this line, players can find very comfortable, all-around tennis shoes to meet a variety of playing needs. The Speed Blushields maximize cushioning and durability, whereas the Speed Blushield Flys are a little bit more streamlined for a quicker feel. Many of the models in this family come with an outsole warranty, while others are optimized for performance on clay surfaces.
Diadora Star K Tennis Shoes
Like the Speed Blushields, the Star Ks are split into two different subcategories: Elites and Aces. The Star K Elites max out the cushioning metric, and are highly durable. The Star K Aces are also durable, but a little bit more breathable, and designed to be more dynamic. All the shoes within the Star K family utilize kangaroo leather for a classic fit and feel.
Diadora Speed Competition Tennis Shoes
Diadora’s Speed Comp line gives players solid all-around performance at a lower price-point than the Speed Blushield and Star K families. Over the years, the Speed Comps have only become more streamlined and efficient in their performance. These shoes come in all-court models and clay-specific models.
Yonex Tennis Shoes
Yonex has been stealing quite a bit of market share in the racquet and string department thanks to their innovative approach and quality control. What many people fail to realize is that these traits carry over to their shoes, as well. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is the Yonex Power Cushion egg-drop test, where they literally bounced raw eggs off of the midsole material of their tennis shoes (view here). Stan Wawrinka and Anastasija Sevastova both trust Yonex for their on-court footwear.
Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Tennis Shoes
The Power Cushion Eclipsion series from Yonex is what the brand’s pros use on tour. These shoes are designed for competitive players with quick and aggressive footwork, but who appreciate great cushioning and a shoe that will last. Players can find a number of colorways within this line, and even some clay-specific tennis shoes.
Yonex Power Cushion Fusionrev Tennis Shoes
The Power Cushion Fusionrevs from Yonex take a modern spin on all-around performance tennis shoes. Like the Eclipsions, the Fusionrevs score well in cushioning, durability, and responsiveness; however, they feature unique inner booties, and offset-lacing structures (known as Flexion). The goal is to provide a more adaptive fit.
Yonex Power Cushion Sonicage Tennis Shoes
The Power Cushion Sonicage family is made up of mid-priced shoes that give tennis players of all skills levels a little bit of everything. The Sonicages are relatively lightweight and breathable, but fortified in key areas to provide comfortable support and durability.
FILA Tennis Shoes
FILA has a strong presence on the pro circuit, with players like John Isner, Karolina Pliskova, Marin Cilic, Ashleigh Barty, and Kiki Bertens sporting their gear. While the brand is mostly known for their apparel, they make impressive tennis shoes, as well. Their current flagship shoes are from the Axilus Energized series.
FILA Axilus Energized Tennis Shoes
FILA’s Axilus Energized family of tennis shoes represents a great value on performance. The shoes come with 6-month durability guarantees, and offer a nice balance between stability, comfort, and responsiveness. While the original Axilus Energized was released in 2018, it appears we’ll be getting regular updates that take into account player feedback for improved performance.
About the Author: Chris Worman
Weight: 190 lbs
Related Blog Posts