Guide to Choosing the Best Tennis Shoes for the Backcourt and Beyond

Tennis shoes

A Guide outlining the points to focus on when choosing the best tennis shoe for you + our top picks for men, women, flat feet, wide feet and also the best tennis shoes for kids.

An athlete should have a shoe specific to each sport they play, and this is especially important for the racquet sports such as squash and tennis.

This guide focuses on choosing the best shoes for playing tennis. Tennis demands a shoe with a lot of lateral support because of the stop and go, side to side motion inherent in the sport.

There are specific factors to consider when choosing tennis shoes and you may be asking yourself ”what are the best tennis shoes?”

Let’s take a look at the dynamics that are involved in making and choosing top rated tennis shoes.

PictureTennis ShoesTypeAvailable
Nike Court Flare for WomenNike Court Flarefor WomenBuy from Amazon button
adidas Performance Men's Adizero Ubersonic Tennis ShoeAdidas Performance Adizero Ubersonicfor MenBuy from Amazon button
ASICS GEL Resolution 6 GSASICS GEL Resolution 6 GSfor KidsBuy from Amazon button
Adidas Performance Men's Barricade Adidas Performance Men’s Barricadefor Flat FeetBuy from Amazon button
Adidas Performance Men's Energy BoostAdidas Performance Men’s Energy Boostfor Wide FeetBuy from Amazon button

Your Foot Type

Tennis shoe manufacturers make shoes for several types of feet. There are three general categories of foot type, as it applies to tennis:

  • Flat Feet
  • High Arch
  • Normal Arch

To determine your type grab a pair of your old athletic shoes. Wear to the outside indicates flat feet or over pronation. Wear to the inside edge of the sole points to underpronation or high arches, and even wear or wear at the back of the heel indicates normal arch or no pronation.

Another clue to your foot type is to get outside and find some concrete, like the driveway or sidewalk. Dip the sole of your foot in water and make a footprint on the concrete by standing normally.

If there is a lot of space between the ball and heel, this indicates high arches, a medium or normal amount of space points toward a normal arch, and little or no arch indicates a flat foot.

Over-Pronators-Flat Footed

How your foot operates: If you are flat footed and see wear on the inside edge of an old shoe, there is a good chance you overpronate. Flat feet have low arches. When moving forward or running, the big toe and its neighbor toe two, do the work, and your foot tends to roll inward.

Injury Risk: Over-pronation leads to foot injuries such as bunions, bone spurs in the heel, plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

What you should look for in a shoe:

Over Pronators need a lot of support and structure in their shoe. A stiff midsole will give the arch support. You can also use an insert of prescription orthotic to add to the support.

You need a shoe that supports the ankle to prevent it from rolling toward the wrong direction.

The shoe should bend at the toes, as opposed to the mid sole. A shoe that bends midsole as opposed to at the toe will not be supportive enough. You should not be able to twist and turn the shoe too much as this also indicated lack of support for flat feet.

The heel should also be stiff to support the heel bone and keep it from turning inward.

Tennis shoes

Neutral-Normal Arch

How your foot operates: If you have a normal arch and your shoe wear pattern is normal it is likely your feet do not pronate much when moving.

Injury Risk: Not much risk from pronation, but not immune to injury either.

What you should look for in a shoe: A mix of support and shock absorption.

Under Pronators or Supinator’s-High Arched Foot

How your foot operates: If you have a high arch or the foot wear pattern on an old shoe is more worn on the inside edge and ball of the foot, you are likely an under pronator.

Injury Risk: Strain on the ankle, Plantar Fasciitis and shin splints.

What you should look for in a shoe: You need a shoe which will absorb shock. Midsole cushioning and cushioning on the outside edge are also necessary.

High arch feet place pressure at the heel and ball of the foot. They tend to be stiff. A shoe with cushion can help with this.

Asics gel shoes, which often have a gel pad conveniently located at the heel and ball of the foot, are great for high arches.

Note

Keep in mind, while determining your arch is a place to start when discovering your foot style, a wear pattern on an old shoe is more reliable. Just because you have high arches or flat feet does not necessarily mean you under or over pronate.

Play Surface

The surface you will be playing on is something to consider when deciding on a shoe. The best clay court tennis shoes may be different from the best hard court tennis shoes.

Clay Court

Clay courts are softer than hard courts and they tend to have less traction. A shoe with good traction will serve you well here. A herringbone pattern on the sole is great for traction and the herringbone pattern gives Omni directional traction for lateral moves as well as back and forward moves.

You will also need a shoe with a non-marking sole as it will probably be a requirement to play on the court. A snug upper is necessary and you may slide a bit playing on the court and you need the support. This shoe type will also work on astro turf.

Concrete or Hard Court

Hard courts can be unforgiving so you want to focus your attention on getting a shoe with good shock absorption and a hard outsole. Hard courts are also hard on your shoes so durability will be a concern. A shoe with a harder sole and strong upper is a wise choice.

Grass Court

If you play on a grass court traction will be of utmost importance. Tennis shoes for grass have pimples surfaces which resemble miniature rubber cleats with blunt points. Shoes for grass courts also have more cushion due to the nature of grass courts.

The Demands of Tennis

Tennis involves a lot of stop and start motion. You will move forward, backwards and side to side (aka laterally). Lateral support will be more important for tennis shoes than most sports, perhaps on par with basketball.

Tennis courts are usually somewhat smooth surfaces so the shoes will need good traction. Tennis shoes frequently have a rubber sole and some sort of high traction pattern to accomplish a good grip.

Babolat brand tennis shoe has even paired with famous tire maker Michelin to incorporate rubber technology into the outsole of their shoe to gain traction on the court and in the marketplace.

Tennis involves a lot of work, which can mean a lot of sweat. Ventilation in your shoes will add to your comfort as you play.

So, as you shop for the best tennis shoes keep the game of tennis in mind as you review each shoe’s unique features.

Tennis shoe tips

Do not get shoes with raised heels or ‘air’ type soles because these shoes are not good for tennis. You can easily go off balance with a higher heel or ‘air’ type sole because of the lateral moves and sudden stops and starts.

</p> <h3>Avoid thick soles</h3> <p>

Shoes that place your feet closest to the ground are best because this lowers your center of gravity and increases stability.

</p> <h3>Don’t let your shoes get too old</h3> <p>

Old shoes will have less cushion and tennis is a high impact sport so it will wear the cushioning faster than, say, walking. Cushioning is important to protect against injury, so you want to make sure it is effective and not worn out.

</p> <h3>Grip is paramount</h3> <p>

Tennis is fast action, start and stop on a smooth playing surface. This can cause you to slide and unintentionally place strain on muscles and joints. A shoe with good grip will help.

</p> <h3>Don’t wear running shoes for tennis</h3> <p>

Running shoes are designed for bounce and repetitive motion. Bounce leads to instability in tennis, and tennis motions are not repetitive, they are quite varied. For these varied and strong movements, you want a stable shoe that supports the foot.

</p> <h3>Toe protection is vital</h3> <p>

Tennis will wear the tip of the shoe more so than other sports. Be sure to pick a show with toe protection on the upper to avoid premature wear and replacement of the shoe.

</p> <h3>Tennis shoes must have stability, support and durability</h3> <p>

The sole of a tennis shoe will be harder than a running or basketball shoe. It will have some protection on the upper as well, usually around the toe area, as the toe will make contact with the court surface.

Special Considerations for Children’s Tennis Shoes

Tennis court with young player

Durability

Children are famous for wearing out shoes even before they outgrow them and since tennis is so hard on shoes, durability is even more important. Rubber soles that come up over the tip of the shoe and are reinforced at the toe will be perfect.

Support

Adults are prone to injuries from high impact, but children are more prone to injury from persistent stress, such as using a shoe with insufficient support, or a shoe that is too heavy pulling on ligaments and tendons. That’s why they need a lightweight shoe.

When buying the best lightweight tennis shoes for your kid, look for a pair that offer support and are designed specifically for children who play tennis.

Shock Absorption

Children have a lot of energy, or at least they should. If your child prefers the tennis court better than the couch or sofa, give them a high five, then go look for shoes to support their enthusiasm.

Since children are still growing it is important to protect their joints from impact, especially in the heel area.

Tennis court with net

Note about Brands

Adidas brand tennis shoes generally offer the most stable shoe and this will help because you will be less likely to twist or turn your ankle in them.

Prince brand shoes are known for offering one of the best wide tennis shoes.

Wilson brand also makes many shoes for wide feet and Wilson is known for having good cushion, which is a plus for over pronators and those who are heavier.

Head shoes are known for comfort.

Yonex brand are one of the lighter shoes, but you will end up losing out on durability and cushion.

Babolat also make their shoes very light, but with special technology in the sole, they are also durable.

Asics are famous for using gel cushioning in the soles of their shoes so if you have high arches or over-pronate this brand might be good for you. This brand is about comfort.

Some Best Rated Tennis Shoes and Reviews

Best Tennis Shoes for Women

</p> <h4>Nike Court Flare for Women</h4> <p>

Nike Court Flare for Women

 

PROS
  • Ankle Cuff
  • Rubber Sole
  • Rubber outer sole
  • Hard court shoe
CONS
  • Price
REVIEW

Why is this the first one for best women’s tennis shoes? This hard court shoe is the tennis shoe worn by Serena Williams.

It features an ankle cuff, which is a sock like piece that replaces the shoes tongue. This provides a better fit without adding weight.

The sole is rubber and has a herringbone pattern for great traction. The rubber wraps up around the toe area protecting the entire toe area.

This shoe is light and durable, built for speed and support. This shoe also has a fabric tab sewn on to the back of the heel that allows you to pull the shoe on quickly.

</p> <h4>Prince Women's T22 Tennis Shoe</h4> <p>

Prince Women's T22 Tennis Shoe

PROS
  • Breathable mesh over toes
  • Comfortable for extended play
  • Superior ankle support
  • Appropriate for clay courts
CONS
  • A bit heavy
REVIEW

These shoes offer great support, are snug at the ankle, have good traction and a breathable mesh covering the toe box and up through the tongue of the shoe.

The Rubber sole covers the toe tip. Wishbone shank at the midsole reduces shock without adding weight. These are one of the best shoes for playing tennis.

</p> <h4>Wilson Women`s Rush Pro 2.0</h4> <p>

Wilson Women`s Rush Pro 2.0

PROS
  • Low to the ground shoe, 6mm drop
  • Ortho lite insole for cushion
CONS
  • On the narrow side
REVIEW

This is a very comfortable tennis shoe, it feels secure while wearing and playing. The ankle feels supportive. The shoe is very light considering the cushioning it provides.

These might be the best tennis shoes for women with narrow feet. The shoe also gets the player low to the ground and able to ‘feel’ the court.

Best Tennis Shoes for Men

</p> <h4>Adidas Performance Men's Adizero Ubersonic</h4> <p>

adidas Performance Men's Adizero Ubersonic Tennis Shoe

PROS
  • Sock like fit
  • Medium arch support
  • Very Light, 12 ounces
CONS
  • The laces are flimsy
REVIEW

 

These shoes are fast and low to the ground so you can feel the court. The knit upper is comfortable. Very stable shoe, changes direction quickly.

Definitely one of the best tennis shoes for men who are fast movers and those whose game involves moving around the court a lot. Great traction, wit good grip on the soles and sides.

</p> <h4>ASICS Men's GEL-Resolution 6</h4> <p>

ASICS Men's GEL-Resolution 6

PROS
  • Mid foot support
  • Memory foam heel collar
  • Good flex
  • Toe protection
CONS
  • Stiff at the midsole
REVIEW

 

Good for narrow feet, exceptional cushioning. A great all around performance shoe that forms to fit your foot, therefore a good fit on the list of best men’s tennis shoes.

Very low to the ground and stiffer in the upper than other Gel-resolution models.

</p> <h4>Wilson Men's Rush Pro 2.0</h4> <p>

Wilson Men's Rush Pro 2.0

PROS
  • Made in the USA
  • Good for wide feet
  • Mesh upper
CONS
  • Too wide for narrow feet
  • Tess cushion than previous model
REVIEW

These shoes fit in the best tennis shoes for wide feet, since the fit is wide at the mid and forefoot. The shoe sits very low to the ground for a great feel and stability, plus ventilation for the toe box for a lighter feel and more breathable shoe.

Excellent toe protection, less cushion makes the shoe lighter than other Wilson shoes.

Best Tennis Shoes for Flat Feet

</p> <h4>Adidas Performance Men's Barricade</h4> <p>

Adidas Performance Men's Barricade

PROS
  • Rubber outsole
  • Barricade support technology
  • Great for flat feet and low arches
CONS
  • A little heavy
  • Some heel rubbing is needed until the shoes are broken in
REVIEW

Barricade offers a lot of arch support. Lighter than previous two barricade models. Shoe is very stable and durable. More flex than previous models. Good traction, mesh upper for breathability.

A great choice as the best tennis shoes for men with flat feet.

</p> <h4>ASICS Women's GEL-Solution Speed 3</h4> <p>

ASICS Women's GEL-Solution Speed 3

PROS
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Gel in rear and fore front
  • Great for flat feet
CONS
  • Takes time to break in
  • Can have traction problems
REVIEW

The upper is very comfortable and supportive and the shoe is stable. The shoe has a well cushioned yet lightweight insole. It wraps the foot well and prevents from injury. Narrow shoe initially, until it is broken in.

One of the best tennis shoes for flat feet. Great support and stability.

Best Tennis Shoes for Wide Feet

</p> <h4>ASICS Women's GEL-Resolution 5</h4> <p>

ASICS Women's GEL-Resolution 5

PROS
  • Wide toe box, for wide feet
  • Good arch support
  • Good traction
  • Responsive
  • Designed for indoor courts
CONS
  • The toe box has an odd angle that may not work for all foot shapes.
REVIEW

These would be one of the best tennis shoes for women with wider feet.

The shoe has memory foam cushioning at the heel to provide comfort and stability, gel pads at the fore foot and heel, to add cushion without adding unnecessary weight.

These shoes are good for those who suffer from planters fasciitis. Non marking rubber sole for indoor courts.

</p> <h4>Adidas Performance Men's Energy Boost</h4> <p>

Adidas Performance Men's Energy Boost

PROS
  • Shoe accommodated wide feet
  • Full boost midsole
  • Plush comfort
  • All court play
  • Torsion stability system
CONS
  • Can be too wide
  • Not as durable as others
REVIEW

Great comfort, cushion and traction. One of the most comfortable men’s tennis shoes, great for wide feet.

Stable shoe, good push off, recovery and ankle support. Good ventilation and light weight. If you have a problem fitting a wide foot, give these a try.

Although they’ve made it on the list as one of the best tennis shoes for wide feet, unfortunately, the shoe does have durability issues.

Best Tennis Shoes for Kids

</p> <h4>ASICS GEL Resolution 6 GS</h4> <p>

ASICS GEL Resolution 6 GS

PROS
  • Gel cushion system
  • Very comfortable and very light
CONS
  • They tend to wear quickly
REVIEW

The mesh upper makes these shoes light, which is important for young players. The shoe forms to fit the foot and offers good support and comfort.

Gel insert at the heel provides impact absorption and protects the joints of young players. Non-marking sole with herring bone pattern for traction. Great price as well.

</p> <h4>K-Swiss Bigshot Light 2.5</h4> <p>

K-Swiss Bigshot Light 2.5

PROS
  • Durable synthetic leather and lightweight mesh
  • Rubber at the toe and toe box
CONS
  • Runs small
  • Tighter than other k-Swiss models
REVIEW

These are new style shoes from K-Swiss, much lighter and faster than previous models. They have exceptional durability and have rubber covering for the entire toe box.

The shoes are also well ventilated using mesh and perforations in the rubber on the upper. These would be the best tennis shoes for flat feet, because these also feature a plantar support chassis.

These shoes are stylish enough to wear on and of the court.

</p> <h4>Adidas Performance Stan Smith J Tennis Shoe (Big Kid)</h4> <p>

adidas Performance Stan Smith J Tennis Shoe (Big Kid)

PROS
  • Leather upper. Rubber sole. Classic Tennis shoe styling.
CONS
  • Runs small.
REVIEW

It’s a classic for a reason. These stylish retro shoes are timeless and  look great on and off the court. As an added bonus these shoes are lined with ortholine antimicrobial lining that wicks away moisture.

Simply wonderful. All kids shoes need this! Well padded and comfortable. This is one of the top rated kids shoes and it has earned that reputation.

We hope you have enjoyed our guide to choosing the best shoes for tennis.