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Best tennis shoes 2022: Top tennis trainers for casual and competitive players alike

Find some ace footwear that you're sure to love with our roundup of the best tennis shoes

There is one excellent way to destroy a pair of normal trainers: play tennis in them. That’s because tennis isn’t like running, cross-training or a walk around town. It’s essentially torture for shoes, and if your trainers aren’t designed for tennis then they will rapidly fall apart.

This is largely due to the intense changes of direction – often accompanied by unfortunate scraping across the ground – that playing tennis involves. In the same way that astronauts are thrust against their chairs when launching into space, your feet slam into the side of your shoes as you desperately lunge to your left.

In this guide, we’ll explain what to look for in a tennis shoe, how much to pay and why certain shoes are better suited to certain surfaces.

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Best tennis shoes: At a glance

  • Best under £50: Adidas Courtsmash | Buy men’s | women’s
  • Best for club players: Head Revolt Pro 3.0 | Buy men’s | women’s
  • Best for keen junior players: Asics Gel Resolution GS | Buy now
  • Best for promising kids: Adidas Adizero | Buy now
  • Best for hard-court players: NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro | Buy men’s | women’s
  • Best for heavy-footed players: Head Brazer 2.0 | Buy now

How to choose the best tennis shoe for you

How much should I pay?

Sadly, spending £100 on a pair of tennis shoes won’t make you a better player (neither will spending a fortune on a tennis racquet, as our guide to the best tennis racquets reveals.) However, tennis is a game where you can dress to impress. Turn up in the right gear and people will know you mean business.

Most important of all, though, you must feel comfortable in the shoes you’re wearing. We recommend spending a minimum of £30, simply because that way you’re less likely to end up with a pair of tennis shoes with flimsy soles.

What are the key things I should look for?

The main thing you’re looking for is simple: something that describes itself as a tennis shoe. Not squash (the grip is different), not running (the shoes won’t last more than a few intense sessions), but specifically tennis.

This means that it will have a toughened “upper” that makes the shoe more stable. Compare it to the flimsy piece of mesh material that’s often found in running shoes to reduce weight; press against that hundreds of times, as you will in a high-intensity game of tennis, and it will soon wear through.

For the same reason, you want nice, durable sides. A good pair of tennis shoes will simply feel more solid than a normal pair of trainers.

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Do I need specific shoes for different surfaces?

Most players can get away with “all-court” shoes, with the herringbone pattern on their soles providing adequate grip. If, however, you mainly play on hard courts, we recommend a well-cushioned sole. Running around a hard court for two hours will torture-test your knees and joints, so you’ll be grateful for the extra padding.

Clay court tennis shoes are different because there’s less stress placed on joints, but you need extra traction to stop you from slipping. You’re looking for a sole specifically designed for clay so that it falls out of the grooves easily, especially if you want to look like Rafa between points and whack the racquet against your heel before you serve.

In the middle ground, you can get hybrid soles that work well on both hard courts and clay. However, if you frequently play on clay, consider a dedicated pair of shoes just for that surface. They should last a while, too, due to the softer landings.

The other common surface in the UK is astroturf or “TigerTurf”, which is designed to be like artificial grass. Because these have a layer of sand on top of the nylon fibres (the “grass”), from a grip point of view they’re more like clay than hard courts – a hybrid pair of shoes work well here.

Are there specialist brands to look out for?

When searching for tennis shoes, you’ll see a mix of mainstream names, plus names familiar to running shoes and a sprinkling of tennis specialists. In general, though, it’s price rather than brand name that dictates the quality of the shoes you buy.

The best tennis shoes to buy in 2022

1. Adidas Courtsmash: Best tennis shoes under £50

Price: from £45 | Buy men’s | women’s from Amazon

These are a great budget choice, with enough cushioning at the heel to ensure they’re comfortable on hard courts but not so much that they feel heavy. We found them true to shoe size (so no need to order half a size too big or too small) and easy to wear for long periods.

The straightforward herringbone pattern on the sole means they aren’t a great choice for clay courts, but they’ll be fine for occasional matches on clay if you can’t stretch to dedicated shoes.

Perhaps the biggest compliment we can pay the Courtsmash shoes is that, despite having more expensive pairs to choose from, we often defaulted to these in our hard-court matches.

Buy men’s from AmazonBuy women’s from Amazon

2. Head Revolt Pro 3.0: Best tennis shoes for club players

Price: From £70 | Buy men’s | women’s from Amazon

If you like shoes that wrap around your feet like a glove, you’ll fall in love with the Head Revolt Pro 3.0. The downside is that your feet might feel claustrophobic for the first few minutes of slipping them on (buy half a size larger than normal if that’s a concern) but, once you see how well they grip the court, such thoughts will quickly evaporate.

One advantage the Revolt Pro 3.0 hold over rivals is their versatility. They feel great on hard courts thanks to a cushioned heel, and a hybrid sole means they work almost as well as dedicated clay court shoes on a clay surface. We used them on artificial clay courts (by far the most common type of clay court in the UK) and astroturf and they gripped both well.

Buy men’s from AmazonBuy women’s from Amazon

3. Asics Gel Resolution GS Junior Tennis Shoes: Best tennis shoes for keen junior players

Price: from £45 | Buy now from Asics

Available in either the plain GS or Clay GS editions, these are a great choice for children who play several times a week. Their emphasis is on comfort and support, but they’re also well made so should survive the torture that kids tend to put shoes through.

The plain GS versions are your best choice for all court play, which will suit the majority of people in the UK. If your local courts use artificial clay or astroturf, however, then the Clay GS edition will be worth buying so that your child can learn to slide with confidence.

Buy now from Asics

4. Adidas Adizero Tennis Shoes: Best tennis shoes for promising kids

Price: From £30 | Buy now from Adidas

You can buy cheaper tennis shoes than these, but we think even young kids will love how professional the Adidas Adizero tennis shoes look. They’re available in sizes from 10.5K all the way up to 5.5, so they can also grow with your child.

The main advantages they hold over cheaper shoes are durability and support. The durability comes from high build quality and a sole that’s designed to survive life on the court, while the support stems from reinforced sides.

Be careful when you buy, though, as Adidas is rather loose in its “Adizero” naming and it doesn’t always include the necessary reinforcements. For older children in particular, look for that extra support at the side.

Buy now from Adidas

5. NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro: Best tennis shoes for keen hard-court players

Price: £110 | Buy men’s | women’s from Nike

Not only do these Nikes look the part, they also feel the part: they provide an excellent balance of support, weight and grip. That grip works across multiple surfaces, too, and particularly on hard courts and astroturf (sometimes called TigerTurf). They’re not quite so grippy on clay, but they’ll be fine for occasional play on that surface.

The warranty from Nike is also exceptional. One player we know had a pair that developed a tear on the inside at the heel. Over a year later, Nike swapped them out for him with no questions asked.

Once you find a pair that you like, it makes sense to buy in bulk as Nike continually changes its range. And when you order, we recommend going up half a size compared to your usual footwear.

Buy men’s from NikeBuy women’s from Nike

6. Head Brazer 2.0: Best tennis shoes for heavy-footed players

Price: From £45 | Buy now from Amazon

We put these shoes through some punishment over the summer months, and they came through with shining colours. Bruised, perhaps, but there’s none of the tell-tale wear that we see with sub-£30 shoes.

The reason we say these are the best choice for heavy-footed players is because they feel better made than the cheaper Adidas Courtsmash pair, but as a consequence, they’re also heavier. If every gram counts, you should look at the Head Revolt Pro alternative.

The sole is a mixed affair: primarily herringbone (so best suited to hard courts) but with some larger cutouts that will help with grainier surfaces such as clay and astroturf.

Note that there is a woman’s version of the shoe that looks suitably well protected as well, but we haven’t tested this version.

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