Let’s clear a common misconception. All tennis shoes are sneakers. However, all sneakers are not tennis shoes. So what makes a sneaker a tennis shoe?
Tennis shoes differ from sneakers in that they are designed to enhance and complement the success of tennis players. With a broad and low rubber sole, tennis shoes are adapted for fast lateral movements and changes of direction. This feature helps prevent ankles from being rolled.
Since tennis players have a tendency to wear out the toe of their shoe, so the toes of certain tennis shoes are strengthened with extra rubber or other material. The courts are damaged by scuffing, so the soles on tennis shoes are non-scuffing.
What Makes Tennis Shoes Good?
A good tennis shoe is not a one-size-fits-all thing, as some features of a shoe are more valued by most players than others. To assist with foot speed, some want ultra-lightweight; others want assistance to avoid rolling an ankle by themselves.
However, in general, most players are searching for a mixture of the following properties:
All manufacturers of tennis shoes produce shoes that provide these characteristics, and they typically have separate product lines that either aim to offer all these things as an ‘all-round’ shoe in equal quantities.
1. Asics Gel Resolution 8
One of the most famous tennis shoes ever made is the Gel Resolution.
This latest edition is the 8th iteration and sees Asics bringing a wider toe box with a modern PU upper with mesh. Their Dynawrap and Dynawall help to lock the foot and provide full support and stability. With improved pivot points, they have also improved the outsole of this shoe.
Its all-around success is what sets this shoe apart. You’re also getting a shoe that is comfortable, well-cushioned, and fast-feeling, along with top-notch support, stability, and durability. A six-month outsole longevity guarantee also nicely tops it off.
2. Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 2
The Ubersonic 2’s are a fan favorite, brought back due to consumer demand after the third version of their Ubersonic series was introduced by Adidas. It is a lightweight shoe and is suitable for players around the court who like a fast, light-footed feeling.
Many players believe that durable-oriented shoes leave them feeling sluggish around the court, especially on surfaces that are not so rough on the soles, such as clay.
As speed and performance are excellent, this is not the case with the Ubersonic 2’s. For certain athletes, the only downside would be the sock fit and no tongue, which makes it harder for some forms of feet to get.
3. Mizuno Wave Exceed Tour 4
As a brand, Mizuno is very popular with a lot of players amongst tennis doubles. However, if you can still find the Exceed 3 models in stock, get them instead, as they will be much cheaper, as the Exceed Tour 4 is more readily available.
In a lightweight box, the Exceed 3 and 4 provide a lot of support and a decent amount of traction. In their testing, durability is also above average.
Finally, they run slightly high, the general consensus with Mizuno, so many players appear to go down by half a scale.
4. Babolat Jet Mach II
Babolat has a number of tennis shoes of decent quality. The Babolat Jet Mach II is one of the fan favorites as they are super light but still provide excellent support levels thanks to the upper Kevlar and polyamide.
The Mach II is a good choice for players who like the fleet of foot feeling from light shoe but also want the confidence that their foot will not slip while going out the corners. They’re not the most rugged shoes out there, naturally, but they’re easily on a par with other speed/performance-oriented shoes and have Michelin rubber in their soles.
Even though they feel a little broader and less close to the foot, go for them if you can find the Mach I at a budget price and they suit.
5. Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion
For many athletes, the Power Cushion Eclipsion is the shoe of choice, and it is Yonex’s flagship shoe for support, stability, and durability.
The overall consent to the Eclipsion lives up to the promises of support and stability but is not the most durable.
The shoe itself has a Power Graphite Drive plate that offers a lot of support and stability, but that also gives the shoes a very stiff, narrow fit, meaning they need a lot of break-in time.
Thanks to the multi-directional herringbone pattern, the Eclipsion is also impressive in traction.
6. Air Zoom Vapor X
The Nike Vapor 9.5 has, for many years, been the tennis shoe of choice. For the slick-looking style, in particular, as they are one of the best looking shoes on the market.
It’s lightweight, comfortable, and very breathable. The only place in which it lets itself down is stamina. As they are sold as a speed style of a tennis shoe, somewhat expected, but the sole is slightly longer-lasting in the X compared to the now-discontinued 9.5’s.
The X does seem to play a little slicker (maybe why they are slightly more durable) and the general feedback got from other players is that the traction is not as good as before, another improvement from the 9.5’s.
A good pair of tennis shoes is crucial if you are planning to play the sport. We all know that not only does tennis require a lot of running around; it also needs you to make fast starts and stops. A lot of lateral movement is also needed for the sport, so tennis shoes are designed to provide you with exactly the sort of support and cushioning you need in these situations. Whether you have always been athletic, or are planning to dabble in tennis, these brands made in the US are some great choices.