Tennis Shoes for Indoor and Outdoor Use – Buyer’s Guide (2024)

Tennis is a physically demanding sport involving quick movements, changes of direction, jumps, and slides. It is important that the player has the right tennis shoes to handle the stresses and strains of the game and to suit the player’s style of play.

A good tennis shoe can, at its best, significantly prevent injuries and improve the players’ level of play.

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Tennis shoes

Choosing your tennis shoe

When choosing a tennis shoe, it’s a good idea to start with the playing surface.

Tennis Shoes for Hard Courts

Hard courts consist of a layer of concrete overlaid with a layer of paint or acrylic for additional cushioning. They absorb very little energy and as a result, the ball moves much faster and bounces higher.

Although hard courts are fast courts, their surface is rough and quickly wears out the shoe.

When choosing a tennis shoe for a hard court, it is important to keep in mind cushioning and durability. Hard courts do not flex much, so it is important that tennis shoes have good cushioning in the midsole.

Good cushioning allows the shoe to absorb harder impacts without transferring all the force back to the player’s body.

Well-cushioned shoes, therefore, prevent injuries and save the player’s heels and lower back.

Another important feature of hardcourt shoes is durability. It is not recommended to play on a hard court in any other non-marking shoes than those specifically designed for it.

In particular, running shoes are not recommended for playing on a hard court for a number of reasons. Firstly, running shoes are generally intended for outdoor use and on less hard surfaces.

Hard courts are surprisingly rough and running shoes do not provide enough support for the ankle for quick direction changes. In the worst case, this can lead to tripping and ankle sprains.

Secondly, unlike tennis shoes, running shoes are not made to withstand heavy external wear. As a result, running shoes wear out very quickly on the tennis court.

No running shoes

Good tennis shoes are designed to endure and withstand wear. They have a strong profiled sole that extends all the way through the shoe. In addition, there is an extra reinforced area (toe guard) on the toes to prevent the shoes from wearing out.

Thanks to good protection, tennis shoes are also supportive and allow the player to make quick changes of direction with high confidence.

Examples of the Most Popular Hard Court Tennis Shoes for Men:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 8 and 9140€/ $165
Adidas Barricade150€ / $175
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro120€ / $140
Wilson Rush Pro 3.0/4.0140€ /$165
Babolat Jet Tere110€ / $130

Examples of the Most Popular Hard Court Tennis Shoes for Women:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 8140€ / $165
Adidas Avacourt150€ / $175
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4160€ / $188
Wilson Kaos 3.0 SFT140€ / $165
Babolat Jet Tere110€ / $130

Examples of the Most Popular Hard Court Tennis Shoes for Children:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 875€ / $88
Adidas Kids Barricade75€ / $88
Nike Kids Vapor Lite60€ / $70
Wilson Rush Pro 3.0/4.070€ / $82
Babolat Kids Jet Mach 375€ / $88

Tennis Shoes for Clay Courts

Talin massakenttä 2

Another popular type of tennis court is the clay court. A clay court is a soft court consisting of moist crushed brick.

Because of its softness, a clay court is much slower than a hard court and the ball bounces much lower (with the exception of the topspin shots, which bounce particularly high on a clay court).

When the game is slower, the player has to move a lot more and in a different way on a clay court than on a hard court. There is less friction on a clay court, so in a rush, the player’s movement usually ends in a slide, from which it is important to be able to push back into the game.

In addition, on clay courts players use more drop shots, which means that players moves more back and forth than usual.

Because of the demanding surface and the different style of play, the clay court must be able to provide the player with sliding possibilities, but also enough friction to get off the ground.

The sole of a clay court shoe is generally patterned with herringbone all the way from heel to toe. The herringbone pattern prevents the clay from getting stuck in the crevices of the sole, providing more traction and predictability to the movement.

Clay court shoes also have a solid surface that prevents the clay from getting inside the shoe.

On a clay court, you can also play reasonably well in shoes designed for hard courts, but after the first clay game, you should no longer wear the shoes on indoor courts (hard courts).

There are also All court shoes, which are suitable for all court types. However, when using all court shoes, you have to be careful, as you should always clean your shoes thoroughly when moving from the clay court to an indoor court.

It is recommended that an active player has two different shoes (one for hard and one for clay) to save extra cleaning hassle.

It is also not recommended to play in running shoes, as they do not provide enough grip and support and get dirty easily.

Examples of the Most Popular Clay Court Shoes for Men:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Court FF180€ / $212
Asics Gel Resolution 8 Clay140€ / $165
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro 120€ / $141
Babolat Jet Mach III155€ / $183
Head Sprint Pro 3.5150€ / $177

Examples of the Most Popular Clay Court Shoes for Women:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Solution Speed FF 2150€ / $177
Gel Resolution 8 Clay140€ / $165
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro120€ / $141
Head Sprint Pro 3.5150€ / $177
Babolat Jet Mach III155€ / $183

Examples of the Most Popular Children’s Clay Court Shoes:

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 8 GS Clay Junior75€ / $65
Asics Junior Gel Game 8 GS Clay55€ / $65
Adidas Junior Barricade Clay70€ / $82
Head Junior Revolt Pro 4.0 Clay85€ / $100
Babolat Junior Jet Mach III Clay75€ / $88

Profile of the Foot

Profile of the foot

It’s also a good idea to be conscious of your foot profile when choosing a tennis shoe. Some tennis shoe soles can be very narrow, while others can be very wide. Every tennis player has a unique set of feet and it is very important to find a shoe that is just right for you and provides enough support but flexibility.

A tennis shoe should be tight enough to prevent the foot from moving too much during the game. It should also be a little loose, if possible because the foot swells a little when you play tennis.

Tip: Tennis shoes usually have slightly different sole sizes compared to other shoes, so it may be advisable to choose a size larger than normal.

When buying tennis shoes, you should also think about your gait. If your gait is under or over-pronated, you should check the fit of your shoes. In the case of underpronation, the shoe does not need to have as much support, whereas, in the case of overpronation, the shoe should be very supportive and shock-absorbing.

Overpronation = the arch of the foot drops when stepping

Underpronation = the arch of the foot does not drop during the gait but the gait remains on the outside area of the foot

Playing Styles

There are also tennis shoes available for different playing styles. Do you like to use the whole court in your game or do you prefer to hit from the backcourt?

For the player with a lot of mobility, lightweight and flexible shoes are recommended. For the backcourt player, heavier shoes that support the ankle well during direction changes and other lateral movements are better.

Weight Categories

Tennis shoes can be divided into three different weight categories: medium, light, and ultra-light. In general, lightweight shoes are faster on the court but offer less support and durability compared to heavier shoes.

Examples of Shoes in Different Weight Categories:
Shoe ModelWeight (grams and pounds)
Asics Solution Speed ff2Lightweight 350g/12.35 oz
Asics Gel Resolution 8Midweight 413g/14.57 oz
Adidas UberSonic 4Lightweight 382g/13.47 oz
Adidas BarricadeMidweight 402g/14.18 oz
Nike Air Zoom Vapor ProLightweight 365g/12.87 oz

Tennis Shoe Price Ranges

The final step in choosing tennis shoes is deciding on the price range. The price of tennis shoes starts at €70 (82$) and goes up to €200 (236$). When choosing your shoes, you should take into consideration your skill level and the number of times you play each week.

Affordable Shoes (<80€/94$)

The affordable shoes are perfect for beginners or the occasional player who plays once a week. They are a little less durable and supportive than more expensive shoes but still provide enough grip and support on the court.

Examples of Affordable Shoes:
Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel-Dedicate70€ / $82
Asics Gel-Game 880€ / $94
Adidas CourtFlash 875€ / $88

Medium-Priced Shoes (80-130€ / 85-150$)

The medium-priced shoes are well suited to the advanced player and the active enthusiast who plays several times a week. They are highly resistant to wear and tear and provide good support and grip on the court.

Examples of Medium-priced Shoes:
Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Challenger 13100€ / $108
Asics Solution Swift FF120€ / $130
Adidas Defiant Generation100€ / $108
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro 120€ / $130
Babolat Jet Tere100€ / $108

The More Expensive Shoes (>120€/130$)

The more expensive shoes are suitable for the demanding player who plays several times a week. Designed specifically for competitive use, they offer excellent durability, support, and grip.

Compared to medium-priced shoes, there is not much difference between the more expensive shoes, but if you want to get a little extra edge in your game then you should consider the more expensive shoes.

Examples of More Expensive Shoes:
Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 8 Clay140€ / $152
Adidas Barricade150€ / $163
Adidas Avacourt150€ / $163
Head Sprint Pro 3.5150€ / $163

Tennis Shoe Recommendations

Female Wilson hard court tennis shoe

This chapter provides recommendations for men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes. The recommendations are based on the quality and popularity of the shoes.

The prices of these shoes may seem high, but they are usually always on sale at major online tennis stores.

Recommendations for Men’s Tennis Shoes

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 9150€ / $163
Asics Gel Challenger 13120€ / $130
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro120€ / $130

Recommendations for Women’s Tennis Shoes

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 9150€ / $163
Adidas Avacourt150€ / $163
Babolat Jet Tere110€ / $120

Recommendations for Children’s Tennis Shoes

Shoe ModelPrice (rrp.)
Asics Gel Resolution 8 Junior75€ / $81
Nike Kids Vapor All Court 75€ / $81
Wilson Rush Pro 3.0/4.070€ / $76

Where to Buy Tennis Shoes?

US 🇺🇸

Asics

TennisWarehouse

TennisPoint

UK 🇬🇧

TennisPoint UK*

OneAsics

If you like Asics shoes, I recommend you try the OneAsics service. It’s free to join and you get free shipping on every order you place through Asics.

Best of all, OneAsis gives you 90 days to test the tennis shoes. If you find that the shoes don’t fit you can return them used for a full refund.

https://www.asics.com/us/en-us/oneasics-home/

Summary of Choosing a Tennis Shoe

Use this checklist to find the right shoes for you:

  1. Are you buying shoes for a hard court or a clay court?
  2. What is your foot profile (over- and under-pronation)?
  3. What is your playing style -> weight of the shoes?
  4. How often do you play tennis -> price range of the shoes?

FAQ

Can you play on clay with hard court shoes?

— Yes, if the shoes are marked as “AC” (All Court)

Can I play tennis with shoes other than tennis shoes?

– Yes, but it is not recommended

What does the “AC” abbreviation mean in the name of the shoe?

  • AC stands for All Court, which means that the shoe is suitable for all court surfaces.

What does the “GS” in the name of the shoe mean?

  • GS stands for Grade School, which refers to the fact that the shoe is smaller than normal. These shoes are ideal for young players.

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