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If you’re one of the millions who picked up tennis as a hobby in recent years, then you know that the best tennis shoes are key to feeling comfortable and confident on the court. But if you’re a tennis newbie or you’ve sworn by the same shoes for years and are looking to change things up, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to finding the best tennis shoes for women.
Tennis pro Bill Patton has over 30 years of experience in tennis as a coach and player, and has tested a ton of tennis shoes over the years. He says finding good tennis shoes is key, since they “improve your interaction with the court and give you confidence to move well without injury.” He adds that they can also help reduce fatigue, while helping boost quickness as you change direction.
So why buy special shoes for tennis instead of wearing whatever sneakers you have laying around? According to Elizabeth Bondi, a podiatrist at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, tennis shoes help with not only preventing injury but also help improve performance on the court.
“The design of the tennis shoe is meant for more lateral movement and stopping and starting as opposed that of a running shoe — which is built from more forward movement,” Bondi says.
What to look for when shopping for the best tennis shoes for women
Two of the most important factors to consider when shopping for tennis shoes is comfort and also if the shoe gives plenty of space for your toes.
“You want to get a tennis shoe that has a wider toe box that allows the toes to spread out to improve foot stability,” Bondi says. “If the shoe is too loose, then the foot is going to slide around too much and cause blistering and jamming of the toes.”
Patton echoes this sentiment, and mentions that you want to consider what type of surface you’ll play tennis on as that can help dictate what type of traction you need.
“If you play on a relatively smooth surface, you will want a shoe with more grip on the tread,” Patton says. “Conversely, a more rough surface goes better with a smoother shoe bottom.”
At the end of the day, keep comfort and the above features in mind, but also follow your instinct one what tennis shoes feel best.
“Perhaps no shoe will feel perfect, but a blend of good qualities is nice,” Patton adds. “You know your feet! Don’t ignore red flags, such as whether the side of the shoe rubs your toe, doesn’t give any room for the toes to slide forward or constricts your foot.”
How often should you replace your tennis shoes?
“Shoes degrade naturally,” Patton explains. “The PU [polyurethane] material becomes less springy over time.”
He notes that if you play less frequently, such as a maximum of twice a week, you should be get at least six months of wear out of your tennis shoes before needing to replace them. Conversely, if you play very competitively for hours at a time — say three or more times a week — he mentions that a pair might only last you a month.
Bondi agrees. “According to the USTA, the midsole of the tennis shoe starts to wear down between 45 to 60 hours, at which point the shoes should be replaced,” she says. “If you play tennis for an hour or more at a time, that means you could look at replacing your shoes pretty often, and less if you’re more of a casual player.”
Bondi mentions there are also other factors that can shorten the lifespan of shoes, including the court surface, style of play and weight of the player.
“The singles, hard court, or more aggressive player is going to wear down a shoe quicker than other court and player types,” says Bondi.
So, ready to find your perfect match? With the help of our experts, we compiled the best tennis shoes for women you can buy. Shop them ahead.
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K-Swiss Ultrashot 3
Best for out-of-the-box comfort
K-Swiss is known for making low-profile tennis shoes. Patton, who was formerly sponsored by K-Swiss, is a fan of its styles. He also points out that the brand started with making tennis shoes before branching out to other products. “K-Swiss styles are well known for fitting like a glove on your feet, having the best blend of qualities and not needing any break in period, ” he says.
Babolat Jet Match 3 All Court
Best women’s tennis shoes for wide feet
“People are raving about [Babolat’s styles] as low-profile performance shoes,” says Patton. “There’s great quality craftsmanship in this brand.” The Jet Match 3 is one of Babolat’s most popular styles and comes in wide widths. If you’re not looking for a wide shoe, the brand makes plenty of other standard and narrow fit options, too.
New Balance 806
Best New Balance tennis shoes
The New Balance 806 shoe features a Herringbone outsole that helps with side-to-side movement and quick pivots. If your feet sweat a lot, this shoe contains a special liner meant to help control sweat and keep you dry. “Like K-Swiss, [New Balance] does research on women’s feet for their women’s shoes,” says Patton. He notes that some brands shrink down men’s styles for women, but New Balance takes the extra step to make sure they get the women’s fit right.
Adidas Stella Court
Designed in partnership with Stella McCartney, the Adidas Stella Court shoes deliver on style and performance. They feature a breathable Prime-Knit upper, 3D-Torsion system for stability and support and boost capsules under the heel to create extra bounce and energy return. Patton is also a fan of Adidas, noting that its styles are very popular and worn on tour by many top players. “Adidas shoes are great for performance, but tend to slide on smoother surfaces,” he adds.
Best barefoot-style shoes for playing tennis
Barefoot-style shoes aren’t the conventional choice, but some podiatrists rave about their benefits — as does Patton, who recently started playing in them. “It takes time to get used to playing in these, but I am a recent convert. Now my feet are more flexible, my ankles are showing greater range of motion and my posture has improved while my calf muscles have become more supple,” says Patton. (Note: Patton does have a current affiliation with Xero Shoes.)
Asics Court FF 2
Best cushioned tennis shoes
Just like its popular running shoe models, Asics’ tennis shoes provide the support and comfort the brand is known for — with the Court FF 2 being no exception. “This style offers plenty of cushioning thanks to a proprietary gel system yet doesn’t sacrifice stability,” says Bondi, who adds that the shoes have great ventilation.
Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage Pro
Best Nike tennis shoes for women
Nike is another popular brand for tennis styles, and Bondi is a fan of the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4. “[These have an] improved, wider toe box than previous versions with a new lacing pattern and lateral frame for improved stability,” says Bondi. He also notes that the shoes have good durability.
NB Fresh Foam X Lav V2
The fresh foam technology from New Balance gives you a nice cushion and bounce where you need it most. New Balance also improved the traction and durability on the these, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for style.
Reebok Prince Club C 85 Shoes
Best retro-style tennis shoes
Reebok collaborated with tennis brand Prince for these retro-style sneakers. The rose, chalk and mint colors are subtle, but offer fun details all the same. The upper is made with leather and mesh, and the shoes also feature a rubber outsole for stability. One Reebok.com reviewer noted that the shoes run about a half size small, so you may want to size up, especially if you’re in between sizes.
Nike RYZ 365 2 Serena Design Crew
Best statement tennis shoes for women
Designed in collaboration with tennis legend Serena Williams, these shoes make a statement on and off the court. The style provides stability and comfort, with a soft midsole and fun cutouts. One review on the Nike site said that they are, “very comfortable to walk in and offer great style as well. With the price point, you cannot beat getting these sneakers.”
Fila Axilus 2 Energized
Best tennis shoes for women with arch support
If you need more arch support, these Filas (which are known to be worn by the pros) contain an arch-boosting sock liner. The shoe also features a lightweight feel, with a rubber outsole designed for stability. One Amazon reviewer said they loved the shoes so much that they purchased a second pair. “Performs well on the court and broke in quickly,” the reviewer mentioned.
Adidas SoleCourt Prime Clay Boost Shoes
Best tennis shoes for clay courts
If you play on clay courts, you need shoes that can hold up to the more abrasive surface. Enter: Adidas’ SoleCourt Prime Clay Boost shoes. Designed specifically for playing on a clay court, the silhouette is meant to provide support and resist abrasion from repetitive movements. The design also supports quick changes on your feet while giving you a boost.
New Balance Women’s 796 V2 Hard Court Tennis Shoe
Best budget tennis shoes
If you’re looking for a solid tennis shoe without breaking the bank, look no further than these New Balance shoes, which clock in at under $50. They’re designed for an ultra-lightweight feel, so if you’re not a fan of clunky shoes, you’ll like these. One rave Amazon reviewer said, “The support is amazing. I have plantar fasciitis and usually have to wear a customer orthotic with my tennis shoe, but not with this pair. I’ve paid a lot more for less support.”
Wilson Rush 3.0
Best Wilson tennis shoes
Wilson is known as a leader in the tennis space, and created these shoes with women’s support needs in mind. The outsole is designed to prevent ankles from twisting with the brand’s 4D Support Chassis technology. Wilson says these shoes are ideal for balancing explosive movement with comfort and stability.
One Amazon reviewer also notes, “These shoes are roomy enough to accomodate custom inserts for arch support, without forcing me to buy a half size larger to fit the insert. I think I’m more nimble on the court in these shoes.”