Clay Court Tennis Shoes 101

Clay Court Tennis Shoes 101: Buyer's Guide (2021 Updated)

When you play tennis on different tennis surfaces, you need to make some changes in your tennis equipment and your playing style.

You need to make some major adjustments, especially when you switch to a clay court from a faster surface, like a hard court or grass court.

When you play on different courts, like clay, hard courts, or a grass court, you also need those surface-friendly tennis shoes. And when we talk about playing on clay courts, it is better to wear clay court tennis shoes.

These shoes are more durable and allow for controlled slipping, allowing you to play more comfortably and efficiently.

You should never make the mistake of wearing your pimpled grass court tennis shoes on the clay court. If you do this, you may damage the shoes, and on top of that, you could easily suffer from a twisted ankle.

So, several factors must be taken into account when choosing a pair of clay court tennis shoes.

Clay Court Tennis Shoes: Points to Consider

Clay courts are not like other tennis courts. Hence, clay court tennis shoes are specific to clay surfaces with their unique design and essential qualities necessary to cater to the demands of the clay court.

Clay court tennis shoes provide you with essential qualities, like comfort, stability, and durability, just like other tennis shoes.

There are some characteristics that these clay court tennis shoes comprise on, which make them different from other kinds of tennis shoes. Let us look at the details of clay court tennis shoes.

Outsole and tread for clay courts

Excellent traction is important no matter what court surface you’re playing on.

On the other hand, famous tennis shoe brands modify their outsoles for each form of court to provide the best traction.

The most popular tread pattern on clay court tennis shoes is a herringbone pattern that runs the entire length of the outsole.

Despite the fact it is not the only type of tread used on clay court tennis shoes, it is the most famous. This tread helps players grip the court and accelerate quickly while going forward, backward, or side to side.

The herringbone tread pattern is also suitable, as it allows the clay to pass through the outsole at the time of the slide. Therefore, the slides are common on clay court surfaces and are consistent and predictable.

Finally, yet importantly, as the shoe flexes, the tread pattern releases clay that naturally sticks between the ridges. A player loses traction if too much clay gets caught in the tread.

Useful Tip: Even when you get the best clay-court tennis shoes, in the end, the clay will stick between the ridges of the tread of the outsole.

Clay tends to stick more when the surface is damp. To remove the accumulated clay, tap the shoe’s side with the racket.

Tight Knit Upper

The clay-court tennis shoes have a tightly-knit or woven upper, which helps prevent the clay and dust from entering the top of the shoe during the game. This is, however, not seen in just the clay court tennis shoes.

When you look on the surface, you may observe a small, essential design element.  It helps make sure that your feet are comfortable while preventing the mental distraction of clay getting under your feet within the shoe.

There is another benefit that may be worth mentioning. Your socks will remain cleaner, which may or may not be important to certain players. 

Useful Tip: If you are someone who plays on clay courts and is worried about staining your socks with the clay court debris, consider wearing black socks.

Is It Necessary To Buy Dedicated Clay Court Shoes?

If you are learning to play tennis or have the opportunity to play on a clay surface for the first time, you may be thinking a lot of things.

Whether you should invest in a new pair of shoes or not?

There are some factors that you need to consider when making these decisions.

Frequency of Your Play

The frequency at which you play on this court surface, in my view, is the most important factor in deciding whether you should invest in a pair of clay court tennis shoes.

If your club or local courts have clay surfaces, and that is the surface you play on, most of the time, I would suggest investing in a pair of clay court tennis shoes.

You’ll get better results. Furthermore, you can buy equipment that is appropriate for your playing conditions.

If you only play on clay courts a few times a year, the investment is unlikely to be worthwhile.

Game Level and Competition

If you are an intermediate to advanced or competitive player who values winning,

I would suggest at the very least, investing in a pair of clay court shoes to improve your success on this court surface.

Clay court shoes won’t make or break your success. However, unless you are on a tight budget, who would not like to take advantage of the extra benefits?

Budget

Skip the clay-court shoes if your budget is low. Since you will spend most of your time on the hard court, you can get an inexpensive pair of tennis shoes, which will be ideal for hard courts.

There’s no reason why you can’t wear your hard court shoes on clay courts, and while they would not be ideal, they will work.

If you have the financial resources to purchase a pair of clay court shoes, go for it, especially if you will regularly play on the clay court.

Differences between Clay Court Shoes and Hard Court Shoes

While hard courts are the most common, clay courts are also popular in some countries. 

Whatever court surface you use the most, it’s important to understand the differences between the surfaces.

It will help you to make the best decision when purchasing new shoes.

Outsole

The longevity of the outsole and tread pattern is, without a doubt, the most important difference between clay and hard court shoes.

Since hard courts are highly abrasive, the outsole for hard court shoes must be more robust to ensure that the shoes last.

Clay courts, however, are much smoother and more forgiving, so the outsole lasts much longer. As a result, rubber compounds usually are more supply, which helps in improving traction.

Moreover, hard-court tennis shoes typically have various tread patterns.

They enhance traction and longevity in high-wear areas, whereas clay court shoes almost always have a herringbone pattern.

Consequently, while hard-court tennis shoes are best for this surface, they can also adapt to clay courts and provide adequate results.

Since they lack the requisite durability, clay court tennis shoes are not suitable or recommended for hard courts.

Clay court shoes will suffice if you are playing on a carpet or synthetic grass.

Comfort

Hard courts are unforgiving and hard on a player’s feet, joints, and body because they are abrasive.

Clay courts, however, are gentle to a player’s body because it isn’t firm.

With this in mind, tennis shoes designed for hard courts would usually provide more comfort.

In contrast, the clay court shoe model can reduce some of the materials that contribute to comfort, to keep the shoe’s weight low.

Ventilation

Clay court tennis shoes usually have closed or tight-knit uppers to keep the clay out of the top of the shoe. This is beneficial but can decrease the shoe’s breathability.

On the other hand, hard court shoesdon’t have to worry about dirt and debris getting inside the shoe during play. Hence, you will be more likely to find shoes with relaxed or open mesh to improve ventilation.

You cannot say that clay court shoes do not provide any ventilation, as they certainly do. Hard-court shoes, alternatively, are more likely to have excellent ventilation than clay shoes.

What about the Durability Guarantees?

Suppose you have spent some time on a hard court. In that case, durability is perhaps the most important factor to consider when purchasing a new pair of tennis shoes.

You won’t find many clay court tennis shoes with durability guarantees. These shoes don’t wear out quickly, making it a non-issue for the most part.

Clay court shoes would usually last much longer than hard court shoes for most tennis players due to the combination of playing on clay court less frequently and the surface not being as abrasive.

Color Considerations

If you’re looking to purchase a pair of clay court tennis shoes, one minor factor to consider is the color.

Since clay is sloppy, particularly red clay, your new tennis shoes will become surprisingly dirty after your first few sessions.

Due to this, I prefer models with darker colors, which do a better job of concealing the mess than lighter pairs.

If I had fewer options, I would not worry about their color. But if I have a vast range to choose from, I will always go for a darker color.

If you want to clean and wash your tennis shoes, check this guide out.

Best Clay Court Tennis Shoes For 2021

The characteristics of clay court tennis shoes have been discussed. Let me now show you the best clay court tennis shoes for purchase in 2021.

The best clay court tennis shoes are as follows.

Adidas SoleCourt Boost

This shoe is perfect for clay courts and for physical conditions like Achilles tendonitis, flat feet, and other foot problems.

The Adidas SoleCourt Boost is a new tennis shoe in the Adidas lineup. This shoe will give you exceptional stability, durability, and traction. If you’re a player looking for features like these, this shoe is for you.

However, some key aspects of the shoe could be improved, including the big toe box and comfort.

Upper

The upper is lightweight to allow you to move around the court quickly and effectively. Furthermore, the shoe is breathable, allowing fresh air to enter the shoe while allowing moisture to exit easily.

Midsole

The boost material in the midsole provides supreme cushioning while still securing the sole of your feet from shocks and hard contact.

The boost midsole uses an EVA material at the bottom of the sole to make it extremely firm and solid.

This will avoid bumps and shocks from affecting the sole, which could result in injury or pain during a game.

Heel Area

A 2.4-centimeter heel height is included. This will encourage your feet to remain in perfect position while on the court, assisting your movement.

Additionally, the proprietary foam performs admirably in terms of shock absorption.

Outsole

The Adiwear outsole can provide you with excellent durability and traction on the court. Furthermore, the rubber will form a solid link between the shoe and the court, ensuring that you are still in a stable and powerful position when making a shot.

Design

The first impression I had of this shoe was that it wasn’t horrible. The style and color scheme are not the best, but neither are they the worst, in my opinion.

When you compare the shoe’s design to other tennis shoes, like the Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 or the Air Zoom Vapor, you will notice that a few design tweaks could make the shoe even better.

Toe Box 

The upper section of the shoe allows your foot to lock in completely. This keeps your feet in a solid and steady position, giving you the courage to take the shots you want.

The toe box, however, is comfortably built.

If you have wide feet, this can be highly beneficial.

Lacing System

The lacing method might not be the best on the market. Although the structure is simple, it can be a problem when the laces keep falling out during a match.

Color Options

There are only a few to choose from when it comes to color choices. This can be a disappointment for those players who prefer to match their tennis outfits to their shoes.

Aside from the standard black color, this shoe is also available in white.

Pros

  • The shoes have great stability
  • The durability of these shoes is pretty impressive.
  • The traction you get is excellent, which makes these shoes worthwhile.

Cons

  • The toe box area can be improved for better comfort.
  • Lack of colors to choose from

Adidas Sole Match Bounce

These shoes fit into this list because of their exceptional tread pattern. Adidas has taken a different path with the SoleMatch Bounce since they have discontinued the Barricade sequence.

This shoe will provide you with exceptional comfort, stability, and a feeling of wearing a lightweight shoe.

 If these features are important to you as a player, you will enjoy wearing these shoes.

On the other hand, Adidas needs to improve on the shoe’s sizing, since they seem to be designed for players with a wider foot. Apart from that, it’s a great-looking shoe that can be worn off the court as well. 

Upper

The upper is composed of 360 TPU chassis, a unique material.

This material does an excellent job of encircling your foot and providing protection and stability during quick movements and changes of direction on the court.

Furthermore, when playing rallies and sliding on the court, the 360 TPU chassis gives you good control and confidence.

Midsole

Bounce technology is used in the midsole, which is a blend of ultra-responsive and cushioned EVA that improves efficiency and comfort.

This will give you plenty of cushioning and support as you move across the court and jump.

The midsole utilizes heavy impacts to generate additional energy, allowing you to cover more ground on the court.

Heel Area

A firm and thick material protects the heel portion, keeping it in a solid upright, and safe position. This is fantastic because it keeps the shoes steady and relaxed when you’re on the field.

Outsole

As I previously said, the outsole makes this shoe exclusive for clay. It has a deep herringbone pattern that will grip any clay court. Furthermore, the massive lateral flange will provide you with excellent stability.

Color Options

There aren’t many color choices to choose from when it comes to color. It would be fantastic if Adidas offered a wider variety of color choices.

Players love to choose the color of the shoes that will complement their tennis outfit.

Size and Weight

This shoe is relatively lightweight, weighing 340g for men and 330g for women. You will love wearing them on the court because you can run fast while maintaining your balance.

This shoe is better suited to players with a broader foot in terms of size. I suggest wearing two pairs of socks if you have a narrow foot.

Pros

  • The shoes come with excellent breathability.
  • It has good durability.
  • The design is nice and looks attractive.
  • The shoes are very lightweight.
  • The stability and comfort these shoes can offer is truly fantastic.
  • The shoes have an outstanding performance, which can help you enhance your own performance.

Cons

  • Few color options are seen in these shoes.
  • People with narrow feet can feel uncomfortable in these shoes.

Asics Court FF2

The Asics Court FF2 is another tennis shoe doing well on the market and is suitable for clay courts.

You may have seen Novak Djokovic wearing this shoe.

Upper

The upper is made of reinforced material to keep your feet safe and in a perfect place as you walk across the court. Furthermore, the upper material includes strong overlays for added protection.

It is flexible and supportive, giving you more flexibility and consistency on the court, while keeping you in control of your movements.

Midsole

The FlytFoam technology in the midsole of the shoe provides comfort. Asics says this material is 55 percent lighter than regular midsoles, while delivering 76 percent more cushioning.

It’s a bold claim, but given the thickness of the midsole and the shoe’s weight, it’s not surprising.

Asics has a wide range of shoes that come with FlyteFoam technology. The midsole in their running shoes is impressive. I usually prefer that.

You may not be able to make out from the outside, but the Asics’ Gel Technology just works wonders. It is integrated into the heel and forefoot’s midsoles.

All the shock is absorbed in it, and minimal impact is experienced. This type of midsole is perfect for clay court tennis shoes.

Heel Area

As you walk around the court, the heel area will lock your foot and heel in the perfect place. This also enables you to produce a lot of power, allowing you to hit the ball with ease. Furthermore, the heel has a broad heel to provide excellent traction, especially on glossy clay surfaces.

Outsole

The outsole is another reason why the Asics Court FF2 is ideal for clay. The medial side of the shoe’s outsole tread pattern provides outstanding traction on all forms of clay surfaces.

Weight and Size

The Court FF 2s aren’t the lightest shoes on the market, but their mid-weight keeps you from feeling slow.

Since they’re a little chunkier than many other shoes, they appear to weigh more than they do at first glance.

However, the shoe’s midsole, which uses Asics’lightweight FlyteFoam combined with their resin Trusstic system to help hold weight down, makes up the bulk of the visual bulk.

Even though these shoes have some weight, I found them to be a little cumbersome at times. You may require a bit of extra concentration when doing tighter or more precise footwork.

These aren’t your best bet if you’re searching for an ultra-light tennis shoe. However, I believe most players would find the weight to be perfect.

Thanks to Asics’ careful design, which also offers high-end stability and durability.

Pros

  • The shoes offer you a lot of comfort while playing on a clay court.
  • The stability you get from these shoes is beyond expectation
  • Durability is fantastic of these shoes, very long-lasting. But then it also depends on your play.

Cons

  • Ventilation is not up to the mark in these shoes.
  • These shoes weigh a little more than usual shoes.