Tennis is a game practised by millions around the world. It’s a great cardio workout that allows you to get nice and competitive with your mates, family or even your other half.
Although a couple of rackets and a set of furry balls are essential for stepping out onto the court, there’s also another key accessory that has a major in competitive games – the Tennis shoe.
What to look for with quality tennis shoes
Getting the most out of your performance on the tennis court, on any surface, will be in large part down to the type of shoes you choose. As well as grip and bounce, tennis shoes protect you from injury and support the constant pressure piled onto the soles of your feet. Here’s a couple of things to consider before buying your next pair.
Finding the right fit
Tennis demands a lot more in terms of changing direction than that of running or other daily exercises. This coupled with the fact your feet expand when you sweat means that a little extra room is required. So, getting the right fit is key.
If you’re planning to hit the court on a weekly basis then forking out that little bit more on a solid, durable pair of tennis shoes will save money long term. There is plenty of demands put on tennis footwear, particularly on hard courts, so make sure you buy a quality that’s built to last.
A weighty pair of tennis shoes will quickly impact your leg muscles before you can say ‘game set and match’. In a sport where longevity can often be the difference between winning and losing, a shoe’s weight is a major factor.
Letting your feet breathe properly during play will only add to overall performance. Restrict them of air and they will swell up and start to stiffen up. There are loads of great tennis brands out there who provide ideal solutions to overheating in differing temperatures.
What tennis shoes do the professionals use
Want to know which tennis shoes the pros use? Simply check out their feet during the big tennis tournaments. The likes of Rafa Nadal and Nick Kyrgios can be spotted in the latest pair of Zoom Vapor’s thanks to their sponsorship deals with Nike. If it’s good enough for Rafa it’s good enough for everyone!
Someone who always likes to throw a curveball with his tennis attire is arguably one of the best players the game has ever seen – Mr Novak Djokovic. He’s currently using Asics but has also toyed with Adidas and other brands in the past.
Adidas, for that matter, have a long and successful history in the professional game, creating everything from Stan Smith’s in the 1960s to their latest designs for the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas. Look further down the rankings and you will see hundreds of professionals wearing a wide range of brands from Puma and Wilson to Reebok and New Balance.
Here we’ve selected some of the best tennis shoes on the market today, whether you’ve got dreams of making it onto your local circuit or just stepping out onto the court for the first time.
Swiss brand On Running have been revolutionising the running shoe market since 2010, particularly for those who participate over long (very long!) distances. Now the footwear designers have turned to one of their most famous compatriots, a certain Mr Federer, to develop the fantastic ROGER high-end tennis range. And, they look as good as they perform on the court.
Watch any live tennis tournament on the telly and it won’t take long before you see a player kitted out from head to toe in Nike clobber. The US brand is synonymous with the sport and literally provide footwear for hundreds of tennis players. Whether it’s their Zoom Vapor Cage Rafa model or the more classic Air Max Volleys, they have the perfect tennis shoe for every surface.
If you prefer a more vintage, classic 70s and 80s tennis look when walking out onto the court, then Reebok might just be your best bet. The British-turned-American brand has a great collection of tennis footwear for those who like to wear traditional whites when perfecting their backhand volleys.
Japanese sports footwear specialists, Asics, have certainly come a long way since their humble beginnings in 1949. They’re always one step ahead when it comes to new technology which translates well if you’re spending hours on court. Their Court FF 2 model is ideal for hard surfaces, whilst the Speed FF Clay design is tailor-made for those orange surfaces.
K-Swiss was born in California during the sixties when two - wait for it - Swiss brothers moved to the west coast to set up a Tennis footwear brand. They actually created the first-ever leather tennis shoe, but these days they rely on more cutting edge technologies to keep you bouncing around the court. Check out their Express Light Pickleball and Hypercourt Express models in particular.
When Adidas first created the Stan Smith model in the 1960s for the player of the same name, little did they know they were creating a tennis classic that would be worn by millions to this day. But for those of you wanting something a little more modern for those long, demanding rallies - look no further than the Adizero Supersonic and Stycon Laceless models.
American sportswear manufacturer, New Balance seem to have found a market both inside and outside of sports performance. Their range of tennis shoes might be a little smaller than their competitors, but they look and feel amazing. Take the FuelCell 996V4 for example. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a shoe that both looks and feels so good.
Chicago sports specialists Wilson have been in the game for over 100 years, and have built their reputation largely on the back of Tennis and Golf accessories, including footwear. As well as some pretty sought-after rackets, they also have some killer shoes like the Kaos Mirage model. Wilson is also great for more understated designs for those who have an urge to play rather than be seen!
Italian brand Diadora actually started out making Mountain climbing boots in the 1940s. Now they are closely associated with a range of sports from soccer to tennis, still specialising in sports footwear. Their tennis range is rather colourful (as you would expect from sporty Italians) and perfect for those days charging around on clay.
Babolat is one of the few brands that deal exclusively in racket sports, from Tennis and Badminton to Squash and Basque Pelota. They are based in Lyon in the east of France and are still a proud, family-owned business. Their Propulse range is made for multi-surfaces, ideal if you’re playing tennis all year round, indoors and out. Their prices are also super affordable.
As well as providing sweatshirts to everyone and everyone who fancies a bit of 90s nostalgia, Fila are pretty serious when it comes to sport. The Italian brand might be better known in the realms of basketball, but they have a great range of tennis shoes too. Their Axilus 2 Energized model is currently available in limited edition green or red, a nice little head-turner when walking out onto the court.
Austrian sports specialist, Head know a fair bit about tennis. They produce some of the best rackets on the planet and sponsor hundreds of professional players worldwide. Their tennis shoe models are durable, comfortable and easy on the pocket. Their Revolt Pro shoe is a particular standout that is perfect for all surfaces.
Created in Trevino in 1939, Lotto is another longstanding member of the Italian sports fraternity. Their designs sit in that mid-to-high range and are as durable as they are comfortable. The Mirage model is one of their most recognised designs, and the current 200 Speed retweak is one of this year’s most popular tennis shoes.
For a brand that has been doing the rounds since the 1940s, Yonex might still be a new name to many. That’s because the Japanese sports manufacturer likes to stay niche and stick to what it’s good at - like producing great tennis shoes. Their FusionRev 4 design can be seen on the feet of various pros on the ATP Tour, whilst their Cushion Ecliption is perfect for all types of tennis court surfaces.
Drop Shot came from rise in popularity of Pickleball and Beach Tennis. The Californian brand primarily specialises in bats for these sports but do create a range of footwear that translates nicely to hardcourt tennis surfaces. Their designs are a little less flashy than some of your more recognised tennis brands. But, ideal if don’t want to spend big before you’ve served a ball.
When it comes to sheer comfort, quality and performance, it’s tough to beat Mizuno. The Japanese sports shoe specialists seem to get their designs right in just about every aspect. When it comes to tennis there is no doubting that clay is a speciality, but they do still cater for most other surfaces. Their Wave Intense Tour 5 All Court model should keep you right throughout the year. Both in terms of how you look, and how you perform.