The Best Women's Tennis Shoes
For a sport that requires lots of quick movements around the entire court, it should come as no surprise that what a tennis player wears on their feet will dictate how well they can truly play the game.
Footwear in sports is one of the most crucial aspects of comfort, so it is not a decision that should be made without thought.
This article will review 5 of the best women’s tennis shoes currently on the market, weighing up their pros and cons to provide a well-rounded overview of the shoe’s best qualities and where there is room for improvement.
Advice on how to choose the best tennis shoe will then be talked about, based on attributes, the shoe’s anatomy, and even how court surfaces can have a certain influence on what type of shoe is required.
Adidas AdizeroUbersonic 3
The AdizeroUnbersonic 3 is an innovative women’s shoe that boasts an incredibly lightweight frame, which allows for much faster movements around the court.
This shoe has a supportive mesh upper that hugs around the foot for stability and support at every angle.
The full-length polyurethane midsole offers great cushioning all along the shoe base, with an ultra-light chassis making sure the wearer stays on the front foot.
This silhouette has a Sprintframe construction, which helps provide stability and speed through geometrical research to produce a lightweight, supportive chassis.
The midfoot support uses 3D torsion, which is a real advantage, as this makes for a very adaptive type of support that responds to the movements of the feet quickly.
Paired with an Adiwear outsole, the level of durability is very high, a real plus, as these shoes won’t get worn down as easily as some other styles. The toe and medial forefoot area are wrapped in abrasion-resistantAdituff, which helps defend against foot drag that often happens during serves, volleys, and extreme lateral movements.
- Lightweight: the hallmark of Adidas’s Ubersonic range is their lightweight responsiveness, and this version is no exception.
A combination of materials and structure creates a shoe that is so light, it allows the player to move quickly around the court, which is evidently a good advantage.
Shoes that weight the player down can hinder their performance, so the lightweight feel of this shoe is a crucial advantage that can make a genuine difference.
- Breathability: the double-knit mesh upper allows for adequate ventilation, even in scorching temperatures, that prevents any discomfort caused by swelling and sweating that occurs throughout the game.
Offering sufficient airflow not only feels comfortable for the player, but it is scientifically more advantageous to keep the feet cool, as it prevents them from expanding with the heat.
- Cushioning: offering a really responsive cushioning, the Ubersonic 3 allows for an explosive energy return that can really enhance a player’s game.
Having adequate cushioning is important for various reasons, but comfort, stability and support are the main advantages that can arise from this.
- Comfort: The good cushioning offered by this silhouette paves the way for a highly comfortable shoe, which allows the player to remain on top form throughout the entirety of the match.
The cushioning along with the whole sole means that every part of the foot has a plush base that will help absorb impact, leaving the foot free from shock.
- Low arch support: for women who require plenty of support on the arch of their feet, this shoe could be a problem because this kind of support isn’t really offered with this shoe.
The magnitude of this disadvantage heavily depends on the individual’s needs and requirements. Still, this silhouette isn’t recommended for those who need high levels of arch support, even though it may seem as though all the positive attributes could outweigh this con.
- Toe guard wear and tear: players who drag their toes throughout their play will notice that the toe guard on this shoe will see a lot of scuffing, especially in comparison to other trainers.
This is one of the few design areas that have room for improvement, and again, the severity of the damage will depend on whether the player is a toe dragger or not.
Asics Solution Speed FF2
The Solution Speed FF2 is the fastest model in this particular range, with the main objective of allowing players to expand and explore a wider territory on the court.
For women who need quicker accelerations to move with the ball, this shoe will help do just that. The upper has a polyurethane application, which helps offer better support, flexibility, as well as a new and improved fit.
The eye stay features the trademarked Dynawrap technologythat will offer a greater level of stability in the forefoot area during side-to-side movements – a key feature of any tennis match.
The midsole boasts the Twisstruss technology, which assists players who regularly move from the baseline to the net by improving cutting motions and fast transitions.
Offering a more rapid acceleration period between stops and full-sprints, this shoe is suited for tennis players who want to meet the ball swiftly and have ample time to plan their shot with plenty of pace.
A new outsole design offers better traction in the heel, forefoot, and toe section, which will help deliver speedier forward transitions.
A combination of a responsive cushioning system, a more supportive upper, and improved flexibility, the Solution Speed FF2 silhouette is an optimal choice for women tennis players seeking to widen their territory.
- High levels of comfort: often, to create a durable shoe, it is believed there appears to be some form of trade-off with comfort.
However, the Solution Speed FF2 is a prime example of how there needs not be any form of compromise on comfort. These shoes offer a very comfortable fit and feel, allowing players to be on their feet for much longer any discomfort.
- Brilliant support and stability: being a heavier model, this show does not skimp on support and stability: these attributes are its very reason for existing.
Having a supportive shoe when playing tennis is crucial for safety and performance. Wearing this shoe will allow players to feel comfortable knowing that their foot has all the necessary support that will enhance their play and prevent any issues from arising for their feet.
- Above-average durability: the heaviness of this show also offers unparalleled durability that means replacement will not need to be thought about for a long time.
The materials and technologies used make this shoe brilliantly sturdy, which is a real plus for players who have a more aggressive style.
- Not very lightweight: lightweight tennis shoes offer the desirable advantage of making quicker movements without feeling any form of drag or weight pulling down.
Unfortunately, the Solution Speed FF2 does not offer a lightweight feel, as it is a tougher, more durable shoe by nature and design. After a breathable, light shoe, this will not be a suitable choice for women who are after a breathable, light shoe.
- Tough upper: the hard, plastic upper can cause discomfort to some players, especially those who are used to having an extremely flexible upper.
This downside will vary in importance according to the player, but a tough upper can definitely be a turn-off for some.
New Balance 996v4
The 996 silhouette was originally launched in 2013 as an evolution of the well-loved, popular 851 range.
Now at its fourth version, this shoe certainly has been new and improved many times now. Built with a supportive synthetic mesh and Hypoknit upper over a full ground contact outsole, this show offers players the good footing needed to dominate the court fully.
The new-and-improved, full-length FuelCell midsole provides New Balance’s most pinnacle propulsion and energy return to date.
The full-length NDurance non-marking outsole provides fantastic traction and durability to help get more wear out of the shoe, meaning that replacements aren’t needed too early on.
This update isn’t solely for cosmetic purposes; the 996v4 boasts many technological advancements that make for a very sophisticated shoe.
The upper is now fabricated with a Hypoknit, a breathable material with a backer that has data-driven perforations for targeted support on movements that are specific to tennis. The updated tongue includes wings to keep the foot fastened in place.
The largest modification is replacing the RevLite cushioning with a full-length midsole composed of FuelCell, which is the brand’s most responsive and energy-returning material.
NDurance rubber remains durable, and the sole now includes Lightweight Solid Rubber (LWSR) in low wear areas to minimize weight. The 996v4 also boasts an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop, compared to a 12 mm on the previous version, bringing the foot even closer to the court.
- Comfortable upper: the knit upper gives a very light, airy feel that allows the foot to breathe during a game.
This material also offers an excellent level of flexibility that allows the foot to move with every step, which gives that feeling of comfort sufficiently.
- Lightweight: thanks to the knit upper mentioned above, the 996v4 is very lightweight, which allows the foot to make very fast movements, as there is less weight dragging them downwards.
This allows women to play tennis for extended periods without experiencing fatigue or discomfort in their feet, which can be a real advantage during a game.
- Low stability: with the lightweight nature of this shoe comes a bit of tension with stability; it seems as though this attribute has been forfeited in the name of being light and flexible.
Stability is essential to have, and a shoe should definitely encourage that. However, for players who have excellent natural levels of stability in their feet and legs, this disadvantage may not be as much of an issue. It all comes down to the player, but these shoes will definitely not be for everyone.
Low toe durability: this shoe doesn’t offer much forefoot cushion, which impacts negatively upon the durability in this region.
Therefore, in the toe area, the durability of the shoe isn’t of stellar quality, and could do with some further improvements to make sure these shoes don’t get worn down too easily and too quickly.
Nike Air Zoom Vapor X
Replacing the 9.5 tour, the Air Zoom Vapor X is part of a collection that has proved popular among both men and women, which clearly demonstrates its good quality.
Worn and endorsed by Roger Federer, it is clear this is a perfect tennis shoe that is suitable for all levels of tennis playing, justifying the astronomical popularity of this silhouette.
The outsole is constructed with Nike’s extra durable rubber, often used in many of their designs, as this material withstands the abrasion of surfaces, including hard courts.
The thickness of the sole increases in places where there is high wear, and to keep the overall weight of the shoe low, the sole becomes less thick in low wear areas.
The tread wrap on the edge of the sole provides that extra bit of grip during sudden changes in direction. The midsole consists of Nike’s Air Zoom technology, combined with their unique Phylon EVA foam, to give responsive comfort.
The shoe’s heel is home to the Air Zoom unit, which is a thin, lightweight device that gives comfort and a welcome low-to-the-ground feel, which is similar to previous variations. The rest of the midsole is made from Phylon, which is a lightweight and responsive material that adds comfort throughout the entirety of the shoe.
A rigid shank is found in the shoe’s midfoot, which offers support and stability, particularly with lateral movements.
Above the midsole, the Nike Air Zoom Vapor’s upper starts with a tough and rigid counter on the outside (lateral) and inside (medial) edges, giving a wonderfully lightweight stability.
- Lightweight: without any extra added bulk to the cushioning, this shoe is very lightweight, which allows for quicker movements across the courts.
The Dynamic Fit system, reimagined outsole, and low-to-the-ground Zoom Air unit, offers a brilliant, lightweight responsiveness and performance synonymous with the Vapor design.
- Complete: Designed to move and flex with the foot, this foot offers great breathability and cushioning, making for an all-around comfortable shoe.
The more the player wears them, the more comfortable they will become, as they will start to fit around the player’s foot.
Additionally, the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X comes with a removable insole for extra comfort between the foot and the midsole, which can easily be replaced if extra cushioning is required.
- Good stability levels: with the shank in the midfoot, stability is a great attribute offered by this design.
The counter on both the lateral and medial edges also facilitates a stable shoe, so these two fundamental design attributes paired together makes for great, unparalleled stability.
Lacks durability: durability has been slightly forfeited with this design in favor of a lightweight frame and an enhanced degree of flexibility.
However, there have been relatively less reports of this being such a prominent issue compared to some other brands and styles. This disadvantage shouldn’t be taken as the be all and end all of this style, as there are others out there that are considerably less durable than this one.
Asics Gel Resolution 8
The latest revolution of the Gel Resolution line was launched in 2019, with the Asics Gel Resolution 8 silhouette.
Packed full of advanced technology. It is paired with the human-centric science approach of the ASICS Institute of Sports Science (ISS), the Gel Resolution 8 shoe has been designed for the modern baseline player.
It offers women players the edge needed to win long, powerful rallies right from the back of the court.
The Gel Resolution 8 tennis shoe encourages a responsive stride with a close-to-the-court feel.
The upper is made with their Flexion Fit technology that provides form-fitting support. Integrated with the Dynawall technology, which gives extra stability to the midfoot during lateral movements, this shoe is very controlled.
A torque control feature has been added to the heel counter, which helps keep that feeling of being ‘locked in’ during rapid transitions. Containing Gel technology cushioning in the heel and midfoot, this shoe reduces the shock impact from sudden stop-and-go movements around court.
In addition, the model also features an AHAR compound in the outsole that works together with the PGUARD toe protector to intensify traction on court and diminish the level of wear.
Asics have proudly confirmed that, according to testing at the Institute of Sport Science, the Gel Resolution 8 shoe delivers 7.2% more dynamic braking force than its previous model, the Gel Resolution 7, which enables a quicker recovery and sure-footed returns from the baseline.
- All-round performance: this shoe has been hailed as an all-rounded, giving so much dynamism to the court.
They have seemed to live up to expectations, which demonstrates this shoe truly does hit the spot for so many people.
- High levels of support and stability: the Dynawrap technology on the lacing system allows for a snug, tight fit, which adds high levels of support around the whole of the foot.
The Dynawall technology solidifies the side of the shoe, which ensures the foot stays in place and does not bulge over the edge or move out of place, which was an issue brought up by customers of the previous model.
The inclusion of a torque control counter in the heel aims to give increased levels of stability, while the new full-length outsole design seeks to increase grip and help with braking, kicking off, and side-to-side movement.
- Well-cushioned: the Gel technology, paired with the Flytefoam, offers unparalleled levels of comfort to each part of the foot; no aspect has gone amiss.
- Less comfortable than previous models: to pioneer, their way towards a more stable, quick shoe, Asics have forfeited slightly on comfort.
That’s not to say this shoe is necessarily uncomfortable because there is ample cushioning. Still, it isn’t as comfortable as the Gel Revolution 7, which can put some players off this new variation.
How to choose the best women's tennis shoes
It can seem as though choosing a pair of tennis shoes that is just right can be a very daunting task.
However, it doesn’t need to be too difficult because, ultimately, it’s just about what the player feels their best in. Comfort is vital, as well as feeling safe, and as though the foot is well-supported, as a lack of this stability can cause real issues, including injury.
9 different attributes will be discussed below, highlighting how each component should be considered when deciding on what pair of tennis shoes to buy.
A women’s tennis shoe’s weight is an aspect that many players associate with speed.
A lightweight shoe will feel rapid for most players, whereas a heavier shoe can feel relatively slow and sluggish. It’s quite common for trainer manufacturers to create a trade-off between weight, stability, and durability to strike an attractive balance.
Removing material from a shoe will make it lighter. However, this usually includes sacrificing the shoe’s stability or durability.
It’s important to note that as the size of a shoe changes, the weight does too. The Adidas AdizeroUbersonic 3 that was reviewed in the previous section is a good example of a very lightweight shoe that is popular among both men and women.
Women’s Tennis shoes tend to naturally be a bit stiffer than other types of sports shoes simply because they have to support various motions, including lateral movements, which are vital when playing tennis.
However, some tennis shoes do place greater importance on comfort than others do. Usually, shoes that offer a generous midsole are the ones to look out for. However, the insole can also provide added support. Insoles can be replaced with thicker variations to bump up the comfort levels.
Sharp, abrupt and sudden movements are to be expected during a game of tennis. Whether moving laterally to achieve groundstrokes, approaching the net to volley or moving back to keep tracks on a lob shot, the shoes worn must provide sufficient levels of stability.
A shoe’s stability can come from a couple of different places. For example, the width of the sole can help provide a platform for balance, allowing the shoe to have a stable feel. Additionally, the sole must have adequate rigidity to handle the rapid stop-and-start movements around the court.
Many shoes will feature a shank, which is a rigid plastic insert, toward the middle of the sole, to increase stability and prevent any twisting. The upper is also associated with stability, particularly around the ankle region, but also how secure the foot feels wrapped in the shoe.
The foot should feel ‘locked in place’ so that sliding around doesn’t happen in an ideal situation. With that in mind, a shoe’s lacing system tends to play a key part in stability.
Many women tennis players will play the sport on hard courts, so the shoes worn must be sufficiently durable to withstand the impact.
The outsole at the bottom shoe is the most critical part in the shoe’s durability, as this part of the shoe is constantly in contact with the court. However, other parts of the shoe should not be overlooked on durability.
For example, the toe of a tennis shoe also often comes into contact with the court, and the forward upper can scrape the court at intervals during a slide or lunge.
It’s important to recognize that various styles of play can lead to wear in specific areas of a shoe, and each individual has unique movements that can also cause unexpected wear. For instance, some players who drag their foot when serving may need a more durable toe cap, so that their shoes last for a good amount of time before needing replacement.
Before making a purchase, it could be useful to look at the shoes currently used in order to determine which areas need added protection and use this knowledge in the selection process of a new shoe.
The level of support will vary across different makes of shoe, and it is an important part because it helps alleviate any pain in the arch.
Many women’s tennis shoes feature moderate to low-end arch support to be attractive to a wider variety of players.
However, if extra arch support is required, players will often replace the insole of their tennis shoes with a custom insert.
Proper ventilation will be needed in warmer climates. To keep the feet dry and prevent blisters, whereas it is not as much of a priority in cooler temperatures.
Also, it’s important to note how the color of the shoe can play a part in how hot the feet will get. Light shades will repel the sun’s heat, whereas darker colors will absorb it, ending with the feet getting much warmer.
The Nike Air Zoom Vapor X reviewed above is a prime example of a shoe that sees ventilation as a priority by keeping weight to a minimum. The type of socks worn will also affect the moisture levels, so it is helpful to make sure ventilated socks are worn if necessary.
The traction of a shoe is directly linked to the outsole.
Most players desire grip on hard courts. However, a bit of give when stopping is also desirable. The material, texture, and pattern of the outsole all play a part in the traction that is given when moving around the court.
The surface of the court will have an impact on traction too. For instance, clay court tennis shoes have a herringbone tread or pattern on the bottom of the shoe, which helps clay to release naturally during movement on the court while also providing consistency or predictability during sliding movements.
Level of play
Generally speaking, a pricier tennis shoe will offer more features that cater to an advanced player’s needs.
With this in mind, novice players will tend to select a less expensive tennis shoe that provides reliable performance without all the extra added faff.
At the end of the day, it is totally down to the player’s preference, and splashing out on expensive shoes isn’t a problem at all.
Price tends to be an important factor when choosing what pair of tennis shoes to buy. It is recommended to set a budget before browsing around for shoes, to narrow down options.
Overspending isn’t a necessary part of ending up with a good quality shoe because there are many affordable models out there that offer great performance. For the more frugal, it’s advised not to choose the latest launches, as they will be obscenely expensive.
It is recommended to wait a season or buy last year’s model.
Choosing according to court surfaces
There are a few different types of tennis court surfaces, and each type will require different shoe characteristics. The three different types of courts that will be discussed are hard, clay and grass courts.
Hard courts, including concrete courts, require tennis shoes designed with greater durability in mind, offering a more resilient outsole and a supportive upper.
On hard courts, soles will likely wear out more quickly, so tennis shoes should regularly be checked for wear and be replaced as and when deemed necessary.
Upper and outsole materials are designed to be tougher, using either leather or vinyl, which are very durable materials that don’t break easily. Tennis shoes for hard courts place emphasis on comfort and durability in order to withstand unforgiving, unyielding surfaces.
They also often have non-marking soles that will protect the court from any scuff marks. Many tennis shoes feature optimal design characteristics for hard courts, seeing as this is the most popular surface type.
Clay court tennis shoes offer a few unique characteristics that help amplify their performance on this surface type.
Firstly, these shoes usually have a herringbone tread pattern throughout the outsole to offer grip on the slick, more slippery surface.
However, this tread pattern is also advantageous because it helps release the clay more efficiently, ensuring the shoe keeps its traction levels. In addition, clay court shoes don’t need to sole to provide as much cushioning or stability, so many design modifications take that into consideration, which typically helps them eliminate weight.
Clay court tennis shoes don’t tend to overload on the mesh or feature tighter mesh compared to hard court tennis shoes to prevent clay from penetrating through the shoe’s upper.
These days, grass courts are not the most widely used when it comes to court surfaces, but if for those players who spend regular time on this surface, there are a few design features to bear in mind.
Most importantly, grass courts are slick, so tennis players will need to use shoes with flatter soles covered with tiny studs or pimples to increase the level’s traction as much as possible.
It goes without saying that these little studs must be subtle to avoid any damage to the courts. Wimbledon has strict rules on this particular design of shoe players use on their courts.
Unfortunately, because of a lack of demand, grass court tennis shoes with this unique studded design element are hard to find and not accessible.
Women's Tennis Shoes Conclusion
To conclude, it is evident that selecting a tennis shoe well-suited to the specific needs of the individual player is an essential process that requires much time, effort, and thought.
The five different silhouettes reviewed in the first section are all good options for women’s tennis, and it is important to become savvy on the pros and cons to understand what is being bought fully.
The different characteristics of a shoe are also essential to keep in mind. Each must be thought about separately and how each component comes together within a certain shoe.
The main thing is a women tennis player feels comfortable in their shoes and that their foot is well protected. Other characteristics will be a bonus, but these two are the fundamentals of tennis shoes.