Best tennis shoes for men

·18-min read
Fred Perry at Wimbledon in 1936  (Getty Images)
Fred Perry at Wimbledon in 1936 (Getty Images)

Tennis shoes have come a long way since the celebrated days of the classic Dunlop’s Green Flash plimsole.

While Britain’s very own Fred Perry wore these classics in the mid 30s and won Wimbledon three times whilst wearing them, footwear has become more technical over time.

How do you choose a tennis shoe?

Brand allegiance or awareness, player endorsement and dynamic technology play a key part in your purchase as well as budget, support, comfort and style. For the finer specifications, play close attention to durability, weight and how it plays on a particular surface.

British Tour player George Loffhagen explains, “In terms of shoes giving you a competitive advantage, I think it’s more important on clay and grass because those surfaces are much harder to move on, so the different soles that the shoes have really make a difference. They need to allow you to move alot better, in terms of change of direction, confidence in your movement and just having a strong base.”

We have reviewed offerings from the biggest brands on the market and put each tennis shoe through a finely tuned product testing process to help you balance up the best footwear for your A-game.

Each pair of tennis trainers has had a thorough run out (maximum of 30 hours) on its specific paired court type or a mix of different playing surfaces (indoor, hard court, as well clay and grass - including artificial versions). A breaking in period of six hours has also been incorporated into the mix - we like to play fair here.

You can be safe in the knowledge our expert tester has been chasing a fuzzy yellow ball since the age of five (playing both recreationally and competitively) plus has successfully obtained qualifications with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) - the largest tennis coaching organisation in the world.

But it doesn’t end there, we have also enlisted a top team of active players (from beginners to advanced) to help cover every aspect of court coverage.

Asics Solution Speed FF2

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court and Clay

Weight: 385g

Pro Player Endorsements: Alex de Minaur and David Goffin

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

Asics is lauded for its tennis footwear by those in the know. This is the brand’s lightweight performance tennis shoe, which has been specifically engineered for players who like to rapidly rush the net.

Let’s begin with the upper which is fully protected with Polyurethane (for durability) and has a flexible web like alien skin finish. Results on airflow pointed towards improved ventilation from the previous version, which we found highly impressive.

As for fit, the Solution Speed FF2’s wrap around your foot securely with a comforting huggy feeling. I have a slight wide foot base and was surprised that it didn’t feel squeezed in or tight.

Performance-wise from a standing start, they are unbelievably quick off the front foot and encourage players to propel themselves forward - that’s no bad thing for serve and volley fanatics or double specialists.

So, where are we on traction? Well, the grip is game-changing. Our playtesters loved how the clay treads especially dug in on kicked up red dirt providing excellent manouverablity.

In terms of a complete tennis shoe, this is at the top level.

MATCH POINT: OUTSTANDING VERSATILITY

Buy now £140.00, Asics

Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 4

Preferred Fit: Narrow-Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: Hard Court and All Court

Weight: 485g

Pro Player Endorsements: Alexander Zverev

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

Looking for something extra special to dive around your local park courts or tennis club? Fans of Adidas will be chomping at the bit for the fourth generation Ubersonic version.

Let’s start with the slip on styling and one piece integrated contoured upper. It’s all very modern, ergonomic with lovely clean lines and more importantly is made with a series of recycled materials.

Players may notice the shoe has a thin tongue and is a little tricky to put on at first. The break in period might also take longer than others (especially across the bottom of the toe box) - but that said, once you are in, its like jumping into the driving seat of an F1 racing car.

The Adizero Ubersonic 4 incorporates new ‘lightstrike’ mid sole technology which provides second to none cushioning and is totally explosive off the rebound. Impressive speed and acceleration is easily gathered courtesy of the low to ground ride that enables players to move quickly around the court.

Our playtesters admired its minimalistic look that doesn’t detract from the high performance values and results.

One very minor niggle I dare to mention is a slight issue with lacing system. Initially I was unable to get locked in and was experiencing pressure at the top of shoe. I did invest in an adjustment swapping out for wider laces, which seemed to resolve this.

Size up for best fit.

MATCH POINT: ACE ACCELERATION

Buy now £130.00, Adidas

Nike React Vapor NXT

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: Hard Court and Clay

Weight: 485g

Pro Player Endorsements: None

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

These sneakers are touted by Nike as the next generation of tennis innovation using years of athlete data. They are built to withstand the rigours of sliding in the modern era (I found it very responsive for a quick stop) and also benefit from a cluster of acceleration properties including the flyweave upper, low profile and impressive traction.

Our elite team of hard-ballers particularly loved the pure dynamite experience of Nike’s React cushioning whilst playing off jump shots and landing without a nasty sting in the tail.

We did note that players with a high arch might find pressure issues at the top of their feet. There is also the high price tag to consider.

All in all NikeCourt’s React Vapor NXT provide a fabulous blend of strength, stability and feel whilst in motion. This is quite something when geared towards speed and where you might start to see the competition fall apart.

Little performance details like the protective skin (from constant court contact) snaking half way across the toe area is a welcome addition, as is availability in 4 different colour/designs.

MATCH POINT: COOL CUSHIONING

Buy now £164.95, Nike

ON ROGER Pro

Preferred Fit: Medium-Wide/True to Size

Surface sole: Hard Court/All Court

Weight: 450g

Pro Player Endorsements: Roger Federer

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

Roger Federer has now moved on fom Nike and teamed up with On (you might know them for the brand’s running shoes) to design and produce thier ground-breaking first foray into the high performance tennis footwear arena.

Aptly named The ROGER Pro, Federer wore prototypes at Wimbledon in 2021, making them sought after by fans and players alike.

The interior design is packed with clever science which is reflected in the price tag. Aestectically, you have to admire the superb clean, simple and understated lines.

Strong foot support and dynamics is central and provides an awesome base. Our playtesters reported back how comforatble and cool they were even after wearing them for hours in swelterting conditions.

The midsole sole is pretty rigid, but allows excellent ground contact and acceleration where the cutting edge carbon fibre speedboard is responsible for supreme energy return.

Playing performance is better suited to hard court (due to the cross hatched tread). Some slipping was evident whilst on artificial surfaces like clay, particualry if dry or very sandy, but on the whole held up well.

There is a interesting lace lock system for your digits to wrap around, this is more a funky design element rather than a sleek ‘tech’ function. Fit comes up small in our estimation and we would recommend trying a half/one size up.

At the end of the day, The ROGER Pro is guaranteed to become a sure fire hit and hot ticket collectors item.

MATCH POINT: CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY

Buy now £170.00, On

K-Swiss Hypercourt Supreme

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court and Clay

Weight: 412g

Pro Player Endorsements: Cameron Norrie

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

Top Brit player Cameron Norrie, who is making waves on the ATP circuit, is currently signed up with K-Swiss, wearing the Ultrashot 3 model.

We decided to opt for the acclaimed Hypercourt Supreme - a very popular choice for competitive players be it juniors or adults.

With no break-in needed, these are a fast and aggressive ‘spicy orange’ showcase where detailing comes from an excellent two peice herringbone wraparound tread that performs particularly well on wet clay.

Air flow breezed through nicely. However, during a blistering sunny day on a hard court, they just might turn up the temperature - given it’s absorbing dark-hued upper. The padded tongue did feel a little short and could be extended out, but this is minor and doesn’t affect play.

On the flip side, ground connection and responsiveness is extremely explosive and enjoyable via the Surge 7.0 midsole technology. Around the ankle, our playtesters pooled together and thankfully didn’t experience any heel movement, which seemed down to the sturdy double collar lock construction.

The bods from K-Swiss have produced a sweet all-round performer from heel to toe which balances between quickness and longevity. It’s curved, contour-lined PU upper encasing makes the whole shoe strong and flexible and deflects any unwanted debris like Captain America’s shield.

MATCH POINT: SUPREME BALANCE

Buy now £140.00, K-Swiss

New Balance FuelCell 996v4.5

Preferred Fit: Medium-Wide/True to Size

Surface sole: Hard Court and All Court

Weight: 391g

Pro Player Endorsements: Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

I know what you’re thinking... these are Coco Gauff’s shoe of choice, so why are they included in the men’s cagtegory and what is so special about them?

Well, for starters they are unisex and New Balance has done an excellent job making these colourful FuelCellv4.5s nimble on the run. The upper is flexible courtesy of its ‘Hyponet’ weave, which stretches and supports. Toe draggers and sliders will be delighted to see ample protection around the front and inside wall areas.

For comfort, NB has created a plush, low ground ride that are ready to roll from first serve with no break-in. Foam technology in the midsole provides the shock absorbtion you require and encourages you to hunt down dropshots with zest.

Thankfully, whist also trying to retrieve some horrible wide balls, I felt balanced across the court - perhaps a little slip here and there on artificial surfaces, but not enough to mark it down. Admittedly, the progressive wave treads on the outsole are better paired for hard court.

If you wish to experience extra dynamic explosion, we suggest trying an orthotic insole. You might just see an improved performance.

MATCH POINT: COLOURFUL PERFORMANCE

Buy now £105.00, New Balance

Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion 4

Preferred Fit: Narrow-Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All court and Clay

Weight: 468g

Pro Player Endorsements: Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Stan Wawrinka

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

First impressions of this shoe leaned towards something that resembled more of an imperial warship from the Star Wars universe with the fully protected toe box and part side walls.

They also seemed to be a real beast carrying some serious firepower, while remaining surprisingly light and quick. There’s also decent ventilation due to part mesh upper and air vents.

The main feature is without a doubt the Power Cushion that provides the player with out of this world comfort and shock absorbsion, which is especially noticeable on hard courts. Our playtesting squad also applauded the plush tongue finish and solid laces too.

Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion 4s is a two piece monosock design together with a hybrid herringbone sole for a secure feel whilst in action. The heel also employs excellent supportive attributes bringing in brilliant stability.

I felt a little high off the surface, but at the same time really enjoyed hitting with these shoes and the fabulous mix of strength and speed. If you have a wider base foot, you might need to look elsewhere though.

MATCH POINT: SUPERIOR COMFORT

Buy now £115.00, Yonex

Lacoste AG-LT21 Ultra

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All court

Weight: 340g

Pro Player Endorsements: Danil Medvedev

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

Lacoste - with it’s well known crocodile logo - has recently stepped back on court marking the brand’s grand return with a big hitting top tier trainer. Out of the box, don’t be fooled by it’s look - it’s specifically designed for the modern era and player.

Endorsed by Danil Medvedev and weighing in at a very impressive 430g, it looks a lot heavier than it is. But how does it play out on court? Will it snap at it’s competitors or get drowned out?

Taking a tour around the upper, we immediately noticed the excellent mix of breathable mesh and stratigically positioned durable protection giving us superb balance of strength and agility.

The midsole of the trainer sits on a platform which gives you an immediate raised feeling off the ground. Our playtesting highlighted this and also postively noted a massive plus point on pushing off and boosting towards the ball.

The two-piece herringbone pattern outsole is made in collaboration with tyre experts Goodyear - so any freak skidding and spinning out should be well under control.

I loved the lush locked in comfort on the ankle collar and padded pods on the split tounge.

With its quick break in period, this is one hellava showcourt piece with tremendous bite and is available in a great selection summer hues.

MATCH POINT: SLEEK AND STABLE

Buy now £105.00, Lacoste

Wilson Kaos Mirage

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court

Weight: 364g

Pro Player Endorsements: None

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

The first thing that will catch your eye when you see the Wilson Kaos Mirage is the futuristic design, neon flash of colour and funky velcro fastening tab. I loved the glove like fit, which has a cycling/running shoe vibe. You’ll certainly distract your opponents whilst wearing these kicks on court.

Breaking in period was pretty quick out of the box (clocking in at well under three hours) and will start to bond with the natural movement of your foot feeling like a second skin after a good initial run out.

The weight is incredibly low, as is its profile to ground that enables lightening fast speed off the get go. The stable base and traction are also impressive attributes worth mentioning. See- through mesh window on the toe box gives you all the ventilation that you need.

I felt secure and comfortable – given I’m fairly aggressive in my movement - and it particularly excelled on TigerTurf artificial grass surface. Cushioning is perfectly acceptable, but some of our playtesters commented they would of preferred a bit more.

The Kaos Mirage aesthetically is the major draw here but is also a superb all-rounder on the performance side of things. Definitely worth a shot in our book and should be hot on the heels of other brand leaders.

MATCH POINT: GLOVE LIKE FIT

Buy now £116.90, Tennis Point

Nike Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: Hard Court and All Court

Weight: 495g

Pro Player Endorsements: Rafa Nadal

Shoe Type: Durabilty Focused

Notching up 20+ Grand Slams like Nadal is not easy. So, let’s start from the ground up with NikeCourt’s Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa. If you are a player seeking a bit more weight, aggression and durability to your game, you won’t go far wrong with this footwear.

Although, these are Nadal branded, they are not the shoes he plays in. Word is our man Rafa apparently plays in a custom built hybrid of the previous Cage version mixed with the Court Ballistic 4.3.

That said, this latest incarnation is extremely supportive with a ultra stable feel, plus they have a wrap around lacing system and sole, which is especially effective for those difficult to reach sliding shots.

Biomechanically, the raised rocker heel gives you a nice push off in play. We also appreciated the progressive herringbone tread which assists with grip and directional change in movement.

Available in variety of striking colourways and packaged up with the star’s signature Bull logo on the tongue and ‘Rafa’ wording on back heels - it has the true stamp of success.

As these are more in the solid heavyweight category, players might require a bit more patience on break-in, but once that is done and dusted, you will ready to tear up all corners of court dimensions with gusto.

MATCH POINT: DURABLE AND AGGRESIVE

Buy now £134.95, Nike

Asics Gel Resolution 8

Preferred Fit: Medium-Wide/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court snd Clay

Weight: 450g

Pro Player Endorsements: Gael Monfils

Shoe Type: Speed-Durabilty Focused

For players who like to be more robust in action and tend to patrol the baseline, Asics Gel Resolution 8 is a worthy yet dynamic option to explore. Crowd showman Gael Monfils is apparently a big fan.

These trainers pack a lot of clout and punch, but also employ a more than generous bed of comfort and speed - the clue is in the name.

But it doesn’t stop there, incredible stability is the key with multi-layers of engineering on the midsole. The heart of it is the Dynawall technology which is built into the exterior wall and acts as a responsive rebound element to push you back into play after chasing down a ball.

This construction is complimented by the stratigically-placed Dynawrap lacing system and raised heel support which locks you in perfectly. If you have a slightly wider foot, the Gel Res 8 accomodates in that department.

Still wanting to explore more and wish the best of both world in terms of speed and durabily? Then check out the Asics Court FF2 Novaks.

MATCH POINT: RESPONSIVE OFF THE REBOUND

Buy now £135.00, Asics

HEAD Speed Pro 3.5

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court

Weight: 370g

Pro Player Endorsements: None

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

Admittedly, I’m a big fan of HEAD. I’ve worn some of the previous models - so I knew this was going to be a fun and interesting test.

The Sprint Pro 3.5 is a lovely lightweight, quick yet high performance shoe with great traction for excellent grip and go. A feature that is especially effective on hard and articial grass surfaces. Our squad of court judges particularly appreciated the hybrid wave and honeycomb tread pattern.

Cushioning is generally on the medium-firm side of the tracks, which provides enough on-court comfort. Some players may wish to customise this further with an orthotic insole.

The flawless cooling system works its way through the heart and soul of the chasis, enhanced by the mesh upper.

Good part protection comes from the brand’s Dirft Defense, which is at the high wear areas on the medial forefoot and toe box. The laces have a stabilising sytsem dubbed Deltastrap to assist keeping your tootsies held down in place whilst on shuttle runs. However, we did experience some loosening after a while and a tendancy for lateral support to give - mostly whilst being thrown about on the red dust.

Wrapping up, the Speed Pro 3.5 is an attractive two-piece sock designed trainer with four colour combos to choose from and are ready to play fresh out of the box.

MATCH POINT: BRILLIANT BREATHABILITY

Buy now £125.00, HEAD

Wilson Kaos Rapide

Preferred Fit: Medium/True to Size

Surface sole: All Court and Clay

Weight: 358g /UK Size 11.5

Pro Player Endorsements: None

Shoe Type: Speed Focused

Wilson has produced a slightly lighter shoe than the Mirage here, but change the game with a quicklace lock-in system (don’t forget to tuck the toggle into tongue though) and a comfy two-piece slip-on style. The all round design meets in the middle between traditional and cutting edge.

Comments from our testers immediately focused on how they felt off the ground - like there were ‘almost floating on air’. Speed, agility and movement were also major plus points, where you could zip up and across tramlines thanks to the low profile.

More advanced players may notice that the chassis felt a little firm on the front foot - especially if playing for long periods of time on hard court surfaces in sweltering conditions. However, arch support is excellent as is grip and breathability. Break in period was next to nothing as a bonus.

General consensus pointed towards the Koas Rapide providing more than enough support and stability. A couple of our panel said they did notice a little too much give on the lateral side of things during play - more so whilst sliding on the clay.

Club and recreational players will no doubt find these a very attractive purchase and will serve them well.

MATCH POINT: LIGHT AS A FEATHER

Buy now £93.90, Tennis Point

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