Updated August 5, 2021
There’s the popular phrase “if it goes between you and the ground make sure it’s high quality.” This phrase applies to shoes especially when it comes to sports. If you are a tennis enthusiast then you know the difference your shoes can make to your game. Finding the best shoe can be like finding a needle in a haystack, however, help from a shoe expert can go a long way. There are many things to consider when searching for the best shoe to improve your game, comfort, technologies, and durability to name a few. To ease your shoe research we have a list of 10 top men’s tennis shoes for 2021 that will help you limit distractions and play your best.
adidas Men’s Barricade
A legend has reentered the game! First released in the year 2000, the Barricade helped bring about normalization of the hard court slide. The Barricade is designed as a shoe for the ultimate athlete who craves support and performance. For torsional stability, adidas built the Barricade with a TPU midfoot shank. The shoe’s lacing system is built in to secure the foot using the integrated eye stays, and there is extra protection for the medial laces thanks to the asymmetrical design. To improve the durability of the shoe, ADITUFF abrasion mapping and a new ADIWEAR rubber compound are included in the outsole. The previous Barricade models were the market standard for stability, but they were pretty heavy. This new version maintains the stability, but it is also the lighter and faster than the previous iterations. Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas are already rocking the new Barricades on the summer hard court circuit.
New Balance Fresh Foam Lav v2
The Lav v2 is the shoe of choice for Milos Raonic on the ATP tour, and Danielle Collins on the WTA Tour. New Balance made some subtle improvements over version 1. The most obvious change is the shoe is much easier to get into now that the upper has a more traditional tongue. The back of the shoe features an extended heel counter for greater support, and the ankle collar comes up higher around the Achilles tendon for a more locked in fit. NB’s Fresh Foam X updates the midsole for improvements in rebound and comfort, and the upper FITWEAVE construction should be familiar from fans of their running shoes. The white and laser blue colorway exudes the class of Wimbledon, but for those who seek a little more color, there are plenty of bright options headed your way this fall.
Nike Vapor Pro
Nike’s touring pros made the shift to the Vapor Pro earlier this year at the Australian Open. The Vapor Pro continues the strong tradition of the outgoing Vapor X, with an incredibly lightweight game-day shoe. This version is lighter than the X, but also more supportive. The soft foam midsole pairs nicely with a Zoom Air unit in the heel for close to the court comfort. The full-length foot frame bolsters the stability on the shoe’s lateral side to protect the foot during intense lateral bursts. Just turn on the Tennis Channel for a few minutes and the odds are you will see Nike Vapor Pros on the world’s top players.
Nike REACT Vapor NXT
After lots of success in the running category, Nike brings REACT foam to a tennis shoe for the first time. This shoe keeps the “Vapor” moniker, but the shoe ups the comfort and support of the Vapor Pro, albeit with a heavier weight. The REACT foam is a softer foam under the arch, paired with firmer foam on the lateral side to keep the foot closer to the court for dynamic play. Additionally, the REACT Vapor has bolstered the medial forefoot with tough plastic to protect the shoe’s integrity from court abrasions, and a new outsole design encourages those who incorporate hard court sliding into their game. The shoe’s lateral side features a stiffer frame for support that mirrors an athlete’s most common movements on the court.
Wilson Rush Pro 3.5
The Rush Pro has been a staple performance tennis shoe for years. With version 3.5, Wilson tapered the previous 3.0 design for a more sporty, aggressive look. Starting with the outsole, the Rush Pro 3.5 features Duralast rubber and a 6-month outsole guarantee for solid performance on all court surfaces. Wilson’s R-DST+ infuses the midsole with functional cushioning, while a shank plate helps keep the shoe from twisting. The upper is comprised of a thin, breathable mesh, which coincides with Wilson’s Endofit full inner sock system for step-in comfort. The Rush Pro 3.5 is a well-rounded shoe for any tennis player, and it has a nice combination of cushion, stability, and durability.
HEAD Sprint Pro 3.0 SF
SuperFabric material returns in this updated Sprint Pro 3.0. SuperFabric is integrated into the shoe’s upper and is an abrasion-resistant material with incredible flexibility. HEAD’s inner sock system creates step-in comfort that works really well with the mesh around the ankle collar. Head’s TRI-NRG system offers a lightweight cushion, dampening, and plenty of support. The SF has a minimal heel-toe offset to keep more of the shoe on the court during play to help maintain balance. The 6-month outsole guarantee and the uniquely strong yet flexible SuperFabric material, make the Sprint Pro 3.0 SF an impressive tennis shoe for the 2021 season.
adidas Ubersonic 4
After a slight hiccup with the Ubersonic 3, The 4th generation Ubersonic has come to play! A major upgrade from adidas is the LightStrike midsole, which makes the shoe more comfortable, while maintaining the close to the court feel of the previous versions. The 4 features the most comfortable inner sock construction around, and it blends seamlessly with the shoes’ mesh upper to reduce the shoe’s overall weight, while increasing breathability. adidas PrimeGreen incorporates recycled material in the Ubersonic 4 for a more sustainable performance shoe. This shoe perfectly fits the silhouette of the foot, and it is probably the closest thing to playing in a sock.
Babolat Jet Mach 3
Babolat’s Jet Mach 3, as the name might imply, is all about SPEED! Matryx® EVO fabric throughout the shoe’s upper is incredibly lightweight and consists of Aramid and Polyamide threads for greater flexibility and comfort. The heel also features KPRS-X cushioning for shock absorption and increased comfort. These shoes fit true to size, and like a glove. Compared with the previous version, this update has a rockered heel for easier weight transfer and more cushion underfoot.
Wilson Kaos Mirage
While the Rush Pro 3.5 was earlier in the list, Wilson also revamped their speed model with the Kaos Mirage. The Mirage took inspiration from a jet fighter. The most noticeable feature of the Mirage is the One-Strap Lacing System which secures tightly for easy-on and easy-off. While the shoe is lightweight and easy to slide into, the TrueMotion Chassis offers flexible arch support for superior agility and beefed-up lateral support for increased stability. To protect the shoe’s upper from dragging, Rubber Medial Drag Pads are positioned to reinforce high wear areas. The R-DST+ midsole offers a strong mash-up of cushion and performance. With a design sure to turn heads, the Kaos Mirage is Wilson’s ultimate game-day shoe, and it is one of the most lightweight offerings on the market.
Diadora Speed Blueshield Fly 3
This Blushield Fly 3 maintains the comfort of past models but it incorporate a few key tweaks to up performance and on-court feel. The reworked upper now has a skin-like mesh for enhanced breathability. Amazing comfort and cushion around the ankle and the tongue helps ease on and off the shoe plus, it provides increased support. The fantastic BLUSHIELD cushioning also continues to provide every player with a customized feel and extraordinary support. The Blushield cushioning extends through the metatarsal region and it can be a savior for those struggling with foot pain.
K-SWISS Men’s Ultrashot 3
The Ultrashot 3 from K-Swiss gained some momentum down in Australia when Venus Williams and Fabio Fognini wore them during the year’s first major. K-Swiss has always had a following due to the wider toe box and more spacious forefoot sections of the shoe. The Ultrashot 3 features the same sixth month outsole guarantee and impressive stability that the previous model was known for, but introduce new Surgelite midsole technology for lightweight cushioning and energy return. As stable as this shoe is, the mesh upper allows for greater airflow. The redesigned tongue is more comfortable than ever.
Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion 3
A really good sign for Yonex shoes is that many players who use a Yonex racquet, also play on tour wearing Yonex footwear. Obviously Stan the Man is the most well-known, but young Polish star Hubert Hurkacz wears the Eclipsion 3 as well. The shoe blends some breathable mesh in the upper with an external “cage” to make sure the material can hold up to hard court tennis. Yonex Power Cushion technology does an admirable job of making each step comfortable, and it absorbs shock from aggressive changes of direction.
One thing we have learned over the years is that a single tennis shoe is NOT for everyone. Everyone’s foot is a little different, so look for the perfect match for your game at Tennis Express.