Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big tennis shoe test 2021. Here we present all the tennis shoes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best tennis shoes for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying tennis shoes.




Summary

  • Tennis shoes are specifically adapted to the sport of tennis. They ensure that the player is agile enough, but still has the necessary stability.
  • A distinction is made between models for different surfaces. For clay courts, indoor courts or synthetic courts, the shoes vary mainly in terms of their soles.
  • The price of tennis shoes ranges from older models for 30-50 euros to professional models costing well over 100 euros.

The Best Tennis Shoes: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying tennis shoes

What are tennis shoes?

Tennis is a very demanding sport that requires strength, reaction, speed and precision from the tennis player. The numerous jerky movements put extra strain on your joints. This applies in particular to the ankles.

Tennis shoes support you during the game by giving you an extremely high degree of freedom of movement. When playing tennis, the shoes have to absorb shocks, ensure mobility and also prevent the athlete from sweating excessively. The game of tennis requires constant changes of direction and jumps, which place enormous demands on your feet.

There are many things you can do wrong when choosing the right tennis shoe. That makes it all the more important to find out about different models beforehand. (Image source: tenisenelatlantico / pixabay.com)

Without specific footwear, you can quickly twist your ankle or overstrain your ankles. The tennis shoe must therefore be a particularly stable shoe that gives your foot sufficient support.

Nevertheless, tennis shoes should have a certain lightness and elasticity so that the player remains mobile. Appropriate cushioning provides relief for all joints. Depending on the surface, the sole also needs a special composition.

Since your feet are exposed to completely different stresses in tennis than in normal walking, the shoes should also differ here. Tennis shoes have special materials that stabilise the shoe system according to the sport. The sole and cushioning of the shoe are also adapted to different surfaces during play.

What distinguishes tennis shoes from running shoes?

Tennis shoes and running shoes are designed for completely different movements. In order to move forward in one direction for as long as possible without discomfort, running shoes have a particularly high cushioning layer in the midsole. This mainly relieves the knees and joints. The sole of running shoes really digs into the ground and is softer in terms of its material composition. This is only effective in forward motion. The signs of wear are significantly greater when the running shoe is subjected to lateral stress.

The construction of tennis shoes, on the other hand, must primarily cover lateral movements. For this purpose, tennis shoes are much flatter than running shoes. Braking, quick changes of direction - a running shoe cannot do all that without risk.

In a comparison between running shoes and tennis shoes, it is noticeable that the cushioning properties of running shoes are significantly better, while tennis shoes score points for stability. The tread of tennis shoes is more resistant, as it is mainly used on hard surfaces. Overall, the footwear in both cases has been adapted to the respective sport.

How should tennis shoes fit?

Basically, when looking for the right tennis shoes, you should try on all the shoes that come into the shortlist. As with other shoes, tennis shoes should not pinch at any point. Of course, it makes sense to wear tennis socks or similarly thick socks when trying them on.

Only by trying them on can you find out whether the tennis shoe is the right size. When ordering online, order several sizes.

To ensure that you have the right freedom of movement for sprints and jumps when playing tennis, your toes should also have about one centimetre of freedom of movement in the shoe. This is why many tennis players choose to buy their tennis shoes one size larger.

How often should you change your tennis shoes?

This question depends on the intensity of use: If you play tennis twice a week or even more often, you will logically need to replace them sooner than a casual player.

However, the tread of the sole is always a good guide. Another rule of thumb: it's time for new shoes when cushioning and stabilisation are no longer guaranteed. This is exactly when the risk of injury increases and it is high time to get replacements.

How much do tennis shoes cost?

You will usually only need one pair of outdoor tennis shoes at first, with a pair for indoor or harder surfaces if necessary. Decent tennis shoes can cost between 30 and 50 euros, even for children. The top models of the pros cost well over 100 euros.

The cheap offers from mostly unknown manufacturers can sometimes be used for everyday use, but are usually completely unsuitable as tennis shoes.

However, you can certainly get some bargains and save good money when brands sell out. Numerous online shops also have sales like this every now and then.

Type of table tennis shoe Price range
Low-priced models From € 35
Brand models Up to € 90

Where can I buy tennis shoes?

When buying tennis shoes, we recommend either a specialist shop or an online shop. The important thing is that you can try on the tennis shoes of your choice at your leisure. So if you are more inclined to buy from an online shop, it is best to order several sizes to choose from. Different brands often come in different sizes.

Specialist shops have the advantage of being able to advise you on the fit, but you can often get better deals in online shops. You can also quickly find the right accessories there, for example a useful tennis bag and the obligatory tennis racket.

Decision: What types of tennis shoes are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three types of tennis shoes:

  • Clay court tennis shoes
  • All-court tennis shoes
  • Indoor tennis shoes

Because of the different surfaces on different tennis courts, your shoes should also be adapted differently. Depending on the surface, the stability, cushioning and flexibility of the shoe are different. The structure of the sole also adapts to the external conditions. Therefore, the different types of shoes have their own advantages and disadvantages, which are more or less important depending on the type of player and individual preferences.

What distinguishes clay court tennis shoes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

You can often recognise a clay court shoe by the word "clay" in its name. On courts with clay or ash, tennis players need a good grip on the tread of their shoes. This allows them to quickly pull away or change direction.

Advantages
  • Good grip
  • Controlled glide
Disadvantages
  • Faster wear
  • Less cushioning and stability

However, the sand must not get stuck in the tread, otherwise the grip on the ground decreases. The structure of the sole is therefore typically a herringbone or honeycomb pattern. The pattern ensures that you don't slip or slip away. At the same time, it allows you to glide in a controlled manner.

What are the characteristics of all-court tennis shoes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

At first glance, all-court tennis shoes for concrete or synthetic surfaces (hard court) do not differ from clay court shoes. There are initially no visible differences in cushioning. Since concrete and synthetic courts are much harder than clay courts, all-court shoes have more cushioning and stiffness.

Advantages
  • High durability
  • Stronger cushioning
Disadvantages
  • Less grip on clay
  • Less specialisation

But what is more eye-catching when buying is the sole. Tennis shoes for all surfaces have a sole that represents a compromise between the requirements inside and outside the hall. Often, allcourts have a predominantly herringbone pattern paired with some other structural elements (circular treads). Their medium profile prevents heavy slippage on sand, but also does not slow the player down indoors. This variant is therefore suitable for occasional players at changing locations.

What distinguishes indoor tennis shoes and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Indoor courts have a flat floor, which requires a sole that is as smooth as possible. Shoes with a flat tread or completely smooth sole therefore ensure optimal traction. This also applies to halls with carpeted floors.

Advantages
  • Very strongly specialised for the ground
  • high traction
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used in halls
  • used much less frequently than other types of shoes

In addition, the soles of this category of indoor shoes must be abrasion-resistant, i.e. they must not stain. Some indoor courts have synthetic granules and you can also play there with all-court or sand court shoes.

You should note that many manufacturers offer shoes of one type in different variations. At first glance, they may all look the same, but they are different shoes. Be sure to look for the respective suffix in the article description (clay, allcourt or indoor).

Buying criteria: Use these factors to evaluate and compare tennis shoes

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate tennis shoes. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular model is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Sole
  • Upper and inner material
  • Stability
  • Cushioning
  • Fit

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Sole

As already mentioned, you are exposed to rapid changes of movement and direction in tennis. Modern tennis shoes meet these demands with a sole that usually consists of two elements: The outsole and the midsole.

The midsole is located under the inner lining and above the outsole. In modern tennis shoes, this part is usually a so-called EVA sole. The term stands for the foam ethylene vinyl acetate.

This is particularly elastic and effectively cushions your footfall. In addition, this material is very light, but still robust. EVA soles are used as midsoles for tennis shoes by well-known manufacturers such as Adidas, K-Swiss and Asics.

Depending on the surface, you should differentiate between different models to ensure sufficient grip on any surface. (Image source: nike159 / pixabay.com)

The outsole is the bottom layer of the shoe and touches the ground. Therefore, it is usually made of hard rubber and is very durable. As described above, this rubber has a stronger or weaker profile for the respective surface.

In addition, the outsole is usually reinforced at the side edges to keep the stress on the foot and joints low during lateral and slipping movements.

Upper and inner material

The upper material of tennis shoes is usually made of a mix of materials to achieve two properties at the same time. The shoe should be durable and flexible at the same time. Many of the well-known manufacturers reinforce the sides or lasts with sturdy fabric for better support.

The edge of the shoe is made of robust material that continues the cushioning properties of the sole upwards.

On the upper side, flexibility and lightness count: for optimal temperature regulation of the foot, many tennis shoes have uppers with ventilation holes or inserts made of mesh. This fabric has a honeycomb structure and is extremely permeable to air.

A good tennis shoe also has a soft inner material so that the player can comfortably cope with long matches. In addition, the fabric in the shoe should be breathable to prevent heavy perspiration. In this area, too, many manufacturers use mesh as a material. Some manufacturers also line the inside of their shoes with antibacterial fabric, which reduces the formation of odours through sweat.

Depending on the type of player you are (e.g. offensive at the net or baseline player), the various purchase criteria have different levels of importance for you. Keep this in mind when choosing your shoe.

Stability

You should never underestimate the extreme stresses when stopping, sliding or hitting the ball. There is a high risk of injury here and you should counteract this with a stable shoe.

First of all, a firm fit at the heel and stable support around the ankles are important. In these areas, well-known manufacturers reinforce the material to ensure stability. With some models (e.g. Babolat), you also have the option of using Velcro fasteners on the heel or instep to influence the stability.

Other manufacturers (e.g. Adidas) create a similar effect with asymmetrical lacing. This gives you various options for influencing the stability of your shoe.

Cushioning

Good cushioning protects your joints in the heel area and reduces the stress that occurs during rallies. In spite of the fact that you want to run as fast as possible on your toes, there should also be cushioning in the front.

In the descriptions of the models, you can look for the so-called "rebounce effect". This refers to a special type of cushioning in the forefoot (mainly there), where the material used absorbs the impact energy on the one hand, but also immediately makes it available again as potential kinetic energy (rebounce).

Fit

We have already explained above that there should always be about a thumb's width of space between the toes and the shoe. Otherwise, there is a risk of painful nail bed problems or bloody toes when stopping in a match or training session.

The width of the foot should also be optimally accommodated: Many Nike models, for example, are cut a little narrower, which often causes problems with a wide foot. There are special women's models that are usually slimmer and lighter in weight.

Ultimately, your shoe should give you support and sit comfortably during all movements.

Facts worth knowing about tennis shoes

How do I determine the right shoe size?

Men's

Length of insole in cm Adidas Nike Wilson
25,5 40 2/3 40,5 41
26,5 42 42 42
27.5 43 1/3 42.5 43 1/3
28,5 44 2/3 44 44

Ladies

Length of insole in cm Adidas Nike Wilson
25,5 40 2/3 40 40 1/3
26,5 42 41 41
27.5 43 1/3 42.5 42 2/3
28.5 44 2/3 44 44

What is the best way to clean your tennis shoes?

Especially when playing on clay or ash, your tennis shoes quickly become discoloured and white quickly turns brown. Unlike clothing such as tennis skirts or shorts, however, shoes cannot simply be washed. An easy solution is to buy your tennis shoes already in a dark colour. However, if you prefer the common white colour, we have some tips for cleaning and caring for tennis shoes:

  • Synthetic: Clean the upper with a soft brush and a little washing-up liquid
  • Leather: Clean the upper with a damp cloth and treat with leather care
  • All materials: Treat the upper with waterproofing spray, especially directly after purchase
  • Insole: Replace regularly if possible
  • Laces: Remove and wash separately
  • Do not put your shoes on the heating and do not hold a hairdryer on them
  • If your shoes are wet, dry them indoors by stuffing them with a piece of newspaper

We often hear the recommendation to simply clean tennis shoes in the washing machine. But you should be careful. This can liquefy the glue in the shoes, making them unstable.

Tennis shoes for the pros

If you take a closer look at the ATP or WTA, you will certainly notice that even the top players wear very different shoes. This is no coincidence, but indicates that they each play with the shoe that is best suited to their style. The brands also often differ from the rest of the equipment.

Did you know that the first tennis shoe was made in the 18th century?

They were first used for something completely different: Their non-slip soles helped Navy Seals on deck not to slip! Then, in 1892, the first tennis shoes came on the market and were called "plimsolls".

Just like the tennis rackets of professional players, tennis shoes serve as inspiration for many amateur players. Of course, the manufacturers also offer the best players in the world lucrative advertising contracts to equip them with their clothing and shoes. This is to present the brand to tennis fans all over the world and to associate it with the athletes.

Nike and Adidas still dominate the sponsorship world of tennis, but Under Armour and several other brands are hot on their heels. Among others, the brands are worn by the following top players:

  • Nike: Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal
  • Adidas: Angelique Kerber, Novak Djokovic
  • Under Armour: Andy Murray

Most shoes are one-offs, customised to the player's individual requirements. However, some players also work with manufacturers and design their own collections. For example, Serena Williams and Roger Federer released collections under their names with Nike.

Photo credit: John Fornander / unsplash.com

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