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The Best Tennis Shoes: 15 Models

adidas, Asics, New Balance or Nike tennis footwear? Discover the Best Tennis Shoes

The Best Tennis Shoes Available

Kitting yourself out in the best tennis shoes can be difficult. Though it’s a sport of singular bodies, there are lots of factors to consider. Picking out your gear is similar to the sport in that way. In singles matches, each person is their own team but they have hundreds of considerations going through their mind.

It just so happens that this is especially true when picking your kicks. So, we put together our list of the best  tennis footwear pieces available right now. View the best shoes for tennis below.

Best Nike:

Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5

Federer’s Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5. Image Credit: Nike

Since we’re talking about all of the new tech in the industry, this feels like a good way to kick off our list. The best shoes for tennis often find a way to help a shoe feel more natural. The Nike Zoom Vapor does a fantastic job of achieving that. The upper is in a Flyknit construction while also sporting a dynamic fit system.

Though this is a bit of a standard feature, Nike tennis shoes benefit from this setup directly. The combination of the brand’s elite woven upper and customizable fit make this one of the best shoes for playing tennis at any level. The Federer association also helps!

Nike Air Zoom UltraFly

Nike Zoom UltraFly. Image Credit: Nike

Another gem from the folks over at Nike. The Air Zoom UltraFly is an intriguing experiment. The traditional shape of tennis shoes involves a low profile and proximity to the court. Here, we see that same ethos but with an extra twist. Nike throws on a “SockLite” ankle collar to really emphasize the shoe’s fit.

Beyond that, the additional 1-to-1 feel helps to support you when making those sharp lateral moves from end to end. To top things off, we also get a nice helping of Zoom cushioning for those leaping shots.

Best tennis shoes:

adidas Barricade

Stan Smith – find themselves not stressing over their shoe choice.

Stan Smith. Image Credit: CNN

As this changes, the most pivotal point in tennis sneaker history happens to be between the 70s and 90s. The former witnesses a massive change that seems quite little today. In the late 60s, tennis is going through a special time for the sport. 1968 sees perhaps the most important moment in the sport’s history: The Open Era begins.

Collectively, the governing competitive bodies in tennis decide to allow professionals and amateurs to compete for Grand Slam titles. Aside from the implications for the sport itself, there is something more evident that comes to pass. Suddenly, tennis is a sport in which one can rise to stardom.

Bringing amateurs and pros together creates a large collective stage that draws in many fans all over the world. Usually, that signals the advent of big sponsorship dollars. As we trek into the early 1970s, the beginnings of this sponsorship boom take place.

Most agree that Stan Smith’s work with adidas is the most crucial when discussing tennis footwear. Those early days are when adidas releases the first of the sport’s shoe in leather. This concept originally debuts to some shock, awe, and even confusion.

Adidas Stan smith Vintage OG Green
The Stan Smith, more form than function these days.

The best tennis shoes at the time are combinations of rubber and canvas, and it makes sense. Rubber on the soles brings fantastic traction and grip properties. Canvas uppers are a staple of performance footwear even in basketball thanks to their stretch and lightweight properties. So, you can imagine that an all-leather shoe is quite surprising to players and fans alike.

From that, we move on to the 80s and 90s, when more brands try their luck. Nike faces their boldest move in 1986. John McEnroe is in desperate need of a new sneaker and the brand gets going on some initial designs. They struggle at first to impress the world’s most dynamic player at the time.

Neale Fraser. Image Credit: ATP

The design and performance team at Nike feel they’ve sent over the best tennis shoes as options. McEnroe remains unconvinced. Eventually, he spots a certain sneaker concept that catches his eye. McEnroe describes this blueprint in many interviews as a “throwaway” that Nike didn’t plan on showing him.

He absolutely falls for it and wears the prototype to tournaments against the advice of the Nike crew, including Tinker himself. Not only does McEnroe love the shoe, Nike decides to run with it – and that is how we get the legendary Air Trainer 1.

Nike Air Trainer 1 OG. Image Credit: Nike
In the years to follow, we witness a rise of footwear innovations in the sport. The Stan Smiths and Air Trainer models are now style icons. You’re more likely to spot a pair of the former on a runway than on any tennis court.

Despite this, the sport’s footwear is in a wonderful state at the moment. The best tennis shoes on the planet compete every single day through the use of new technology and features. These days, terms like torsional support, protective toe-caps, and knit uppers are standard.

Fortunately, our list of the best tennis shoes available right now is here to help you make the right choice.

Best Tennis Sneakers: Try Everything

best tennis shoes

Though this isn’t a bad place to get started, it’s worth remembering that the best way to know what shoe suits you best is simply to try on as – and play in – as many as possible!