best in class

The 8 Very Best Men’s Tennis Shoes

Whether you’re working on your forehand or getting Grand Slam ready, these kicks have you covered.

The best men’s tennis shoes of 2024.
Photo: Marcus McDonald
The best men’s tennis shoes of 2024.
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

Footwork in tennis spans a wide range of movement: running backward, lunging, sidestepping, and even sliding (think Rafael Nadal at the French Open), which is why running shoes and other nonspecific sneakers won’t cut it on the court. Mike Layton, owner and CEO of Westside Tennis in California, says, “If you start changing directions in a running shoe, you might hurt yourself because you are not going to be able to pivot on the ground as easily as you would with a tennis shoe.” And the best men’s tennis shoes should be durable enough to withstand all that movement. (I learned this when I bought my first pair of tennis shoes — a cheap pair from the mall —when I was 14, before tryouts for my high-school team. The sole came apart after a month of use.)

Finding the right pair of tennis shoes can be tricky. The same model of shoe can fit differently from one year to the next due to subtle design changes. Mark Mason, owner of Mason’s Tennis in New York City, recommends that people try them on and get a feel for them to see how they fit your foot.

I’ve been playing tennis regularly for the past 15 years, mostly on hard courts, and have rotated through a handful of different shoes. To help your search, I wrote about the shoes I’ve tested, and I spoke to fellow players, pros, and tennis-store owners from around the country. The eight pairs below are the best for various reasons, including being suitable for those suffering from the common complaint of plantar fasciitis. All the pairs I’ve written about below are designed for playing on hard courts — and shoes that are suitable for hard courts will translate well to clay (and other surfaces if you play on those, too).

What we’re looking for

Durability

A sport that involves so much starting and stopping can wreak havoc on your gear. Layton explains that tennis shoes are more solid around the whole perimeter of the shoe and may seem clunky at first, but the bulk is necessary for the shoe to last a reasonable amount of time. If you’re wondering whether you need to replace your shoes, try this test that writer and former IMG Academy tennis trainee Emilia Monell recommends: “Place the two ends of one shoe between your hands and apply pressure — if the shoe caves in on itself, it’s lost support, and it’s time to get new ones.” Monell notes that shoes for recreational players (weekend matches or biweekly drills) can last as long as a year. But if you’re training and playing at a competitive level, three months is typically the maximum life span. Below, I’ve specified durability for each pair of shoes, ranging from “moderate,” which is the least durable, to “enhanced,” or medium durability, to “maximum.”

Support

If you were looking for a streamlined shoe or something sleek like soccer cleats, you might be disappointed by how chunky and almost orthopedic tennis shoes appear, but the apparent clunkiness is important in creating sufficient support for a sport that calls for tons of lateral movement and frequent changes in direction. Layton explains that tennis shoes are “heavier than running shoes” and “have better lateral support on the inside and outside of the shoe” to protect the ankle so you don’t strain or twist it when you’re moving side to side.

Fit

A shoe that’s too large (or has a toe bed that is too wide) will lead to jammed and bruised toes. The alternative problem — a fit that’s too tight — can lead to bloody toenails and blisters. Mason makes sure his customers who try on shoes in-store have enough room for their big toe between the end of their toe and the toe cap (about half an inch). “When you’re moving and you stop short, your toes need room to move, especially on a hard court,” Mason says. If you can, when trying on a shoe, imitate the explosive movements of tennis, do a few split steps, and try your side step. If you have any doubts about whether your feet are considered wide, standard, or narrow, you should give all three a try and bring in your current shoe for expert comparison.

Best men’s tennis shoe overall

Durability: Enhanced | Support: Heavy | Fit: Versatile

In testing the Gel-Resolution over a dozen hard-court sessions, I found it easy to pivot and change directions quickly while feeling planted and stable. (While it may not feel feathery, it’s one of the lightest shoes on this list at 14.1 ounces in a men’s size 9.) I’m a player who favors shotmaking from the baseline, but the Gel-Resolution’s secure fit helped me with more aggressive play, like rushing the net or pushing the pace with quicker rallies. I also have a tendency to drag my toe, so durability is the first thing I look for in a shoe. I have burned holes in the same spot (on top of my left big toe) through many different pairs over the past 15 years, but I haven’t had that issue with the Gel-Resolution. For those reasons, I think it’s a fantastic choice for players of all playing styles — and it’s also offered in wide sizes.

Asics is a brand long known for shoes that offer plentiful cushioning, stability, and comfort — and the Gel-Resolution is no exception. Four of the experts I spoke to call the Asics Gel-Resolution a fantastic, stable option that, unlike many of the pairs on this list, should fit anyone comfortably regardless of the width or volume of their feet, which is why I think it’s the best overall men’s tennis shoe. (Its stability also makes the Gel-Resolution a great shoe for general workouts, which is why I also included it in my roundup of the best men’s gym shoes.) NYU’s head tennis coach, Horace Choy, says the Resolution is very popular with his team in part because the shoe’s low profile means you’re “closer to the ground, which I personally think makes you feel a little faster.” Mason says that when customers come into his shop looking for a pickleball or padel shoe (both of which are also played on a hard court), he recommends the Gel-Resolutions for their cushioning.

Best tennis shoe for narrow feet

Durability: Moderate | Support: Flexible | Fit: Narrow

Nike has a reputation for designing its athletic shoes (such as running shoes and gym shoes) for narrower feet, and I found that to be true of Nike’s Vapor line. Phil Parrish, tennis director of the Longfellow Health Club in Wayland, Massachusetts, agrees, and recommends this pair for athletes whose feet run on the narrow side. The Vapor 11 is currently the best-selling men’s (and women’s) shoe at Mason’s Tennis in New York, according to Dana Mason, a buyer at the store. Nike’s Vapor line is known for being lightweight, too: Mason says that this shoe (and the Air Vapor Pro model) has no rubber in low-wear areas, making it especially efficient. Mason adds that Nike “really increased the durability and Achilles support” in the Vapor 11 compared to past versions.

Most responsive tennis shoe

Durability: Enhanced | Support: Medium | Fit: Standard

If you like the cushioning and support of the Asics Gel-Resolution (the best overall pick, above) but want a shoe that’s lighter and more responsive, I recommend the Speed FF 3 (it’s just over three ounces lighter than the Gel-Resolution 9). I haven’t had a chance to play with these on clay, but Mark Mason says they are “very good for sliding,” adding that “it still has good support and is a great shoe for somebody who plays all court and wants to feel light on their feet.” It’s also my pick for the most responsive women’s tennis shoe.

Best tennis shoe for wide feet

From $115

Durability: Enhanced | Support: Heavy | Fit: Wide

If you have wide feet, you’ll need even more space in your toe box when you’re playing tennis (compared to your everyday shoes) because of all the lateral movement involved with the sport. The Hypercourt Express 2 is a great shoe for people with those needs because it’s available in standard and 2E widths. Parrish and Harry Tong, the host of Tennis Spin on YouTube and a buyer at California Tennis Club, call out this shoe specifically for players with wide feet since it can accommodate all-around heftier feet as well as wider ones. “You’ve got the width,” Parrish says, “but the shoe also has a good amount of volume from top to bottom.” Aside from its accommodating fit, Karen Moriarty, co-owner of Sportech in Rye Brook, and Dana Mason of Mason’s Tennis, point to this shoe as a crowd favorite. Even though it’s designed to be an all-court shoe, Mason likes the Hypercourt Express 2 for hard courts because of the durable sole.

Best tennis shoe for plantar fasciitis

Durability: Enhanced | Support: Maximum | Fit: Slightly wide

Plantar fasciitis — when the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes gets inflamed — can keep you off the court. With it, it can feel excruciating to do simple movements like pushing off and landing. If your plantar fasciitis is manageable and your doctor has given the green-light to continue playing, you should shop for shoes with cushioning in the heel, thick soles, and extra padding to reduce shock. I think this Babolat shoe checks all three boxes because it is designed with thermoplastic rubber and a tube-compression system beneath the heel for exceptional shock absorption. This model is cut slightly on the wider side, which is convenient if plantar fasciitis requires you to fit custom orthotics, extra-cushioned socks, or inserts into the shoe.

Most durable tennis shoe

From $140

Durability: Maximum | Support: Intense | Fit: Standard

This classic shoe, like the Asics Gel-Resolution 9, is designed to fit a variety of foot types. I’ve played in many versions of the Barricade for over a decade. While they have looked slightly different from year to year, they’re consistently built with extra rubber on the inside of the foot and around the toe box, which adds durability. Over the years, that construction has held up to my constant toe dragging, which caused me to quickly retire other pairs of shoes after burning holes in them — but not the Barricade. When it comes to fit, this model’s lacing has lock-in construction, which molds the tongue to your foot to create maximum stability and makes for a close fit regardless of foot type. Parrish, who has worn the shoes, notes that they have a “mid-foot shank” (the part of the shoe above your inner arch) that “takes some weight out of the shoe but gives you more stability.” He says this design element comes in handy because “tennis has become a game with more side-to-side movement, so you really need a shoe that can handle that.”

Most comfortable tennis shoe

Durability: Maximum | Support: Heavy | Fit: Wide

If you prioritize comfort on the court more than any other criteria, I recommend these shoes from New Balance. Tong says the Fresh Foam X Lav V2, which are available in both standard and wide sizing, are “the softest, most cushiony, most bouncy shoe you can have in tennis.” It might take you a few sessions to break them in. Tong says that “it took me a couple of minutes to get my feet into the shoes the first time because they are so firm when brand new.” But he explains that rigidness is a sign of a good tennis shoe and not something to be alarmed by: “You want them to hold on to you and be tight around the whole foot; you can’t have too much movement or else you will get blisters and a black toe.” He compares the feel of the Fresh Foam LAV to wearing “a soft, comfortable ski boot” in that both are very supportive and snug. They have another fan in Greg Pearson, owner of Tiki Tennis in Islamorada, Florida, who has worn all brands of tennis shoes, but finds these New Balances the most comfortable of the bunch.

Best shoe for older players

From $120

Durability: Enhanced | Support: Extra-cushioned | Fit: Extra-wide

For older players, weight and cushioning are often the two most important factors when searching for a tennis shoe. I recommend the New Balance 1006, because it has extra-plush cushioning and offers tremendous support for players with foot issues, which has helped it win over many mature players. It’s also surprisingly lightweight as it’s designed with the New Balance Revlite foam compound, which weighs 30 percent less than standard foams yet maintains high levels of padding and stability. This shoe is available in 2E width, making it friendly to wide-footed players.

Some more tennis gear we’ve written about

Our experts

• Horace Choy, NYU’s head tennis coach
Frank Green, a high-performance tennis coach
• Mike Layton, owner and CEO of Westside Tennis
• Dana Mason, buyer at Mason’s Tennis
• Mark Mason, owner of Mason’s Tennis
• Emilia Monell, writer and former junior and college player
• Karen Moriarty, co-owner of the Tennis Professionals and Sportech
• Phil Parrish, tennis director of Longfellow Sports Club
• Greg Pearson, owner of Tiki Tennis
• Harry Tong, host of Tennis Spin and a buyer at California Tennis Club

Additional reporting by Sanibel Chai and Alex Ivker.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The 8 Very Best Men’s Tennis Shoes