8 Best Tennis Shoes for Kids
A Buyer’s Guide for Parents
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As a parent, your child’s safety and comfort are of utmost importance, and when it comes to sports, this is especially true. Beyond selecting the proper size racquet, buying a quality pair of tennis shoes is one of the best ways to set your child up for success.
Tennis shoes are designed specifically for the court and offer enhanced stability and support to help prevent injury while delivering optimal traction to reduce the likelihood of slips and falls.
In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about buying a pair of tennis shoes for kids, including what differentiates them from regular shoes and how to size them correctly. I’ll also provide tips for selecting the right pair, discuss top brand names you can trust, and outline my picks for the best junior tennis shoes your child will love.
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Why Tennis Shoes Matter
Similar to other sports like baseball or football that require cleats, tennis shoes are purpose-built to deliver optimal performance on the court. Perhaps most importantly, they offer the necessary stability to adequately support your child’s feet during the common lateral or side-to-side movements.
Tennis shoe outsoles use highly durable rubber to reduce wear and have unique herringbone patterns for excellent traction on various surfaces. Another significant benefit is that most kids’ tennis shoes will offer non-marking soles to prevent unsightly scuffs on the court. It’s considered good tennis etiquette to use non-marketing soles, and many clubs require all players, including children, to wear them, so that’s another excellent reason to ensure your kids have the proper footwear.
Most sneakers or kids’ running shoes will scuff a tennis court because they can’t withstand the abrasive surface of a hard court. If your child is playing on clay or grass, you won’t need to worry about scuff marks, but the general stability and comfort of tennis shoes on these surfaces are still crucial for the health and well-being of your child.
For the midsole of kids’ tennis shoes, you’ll find above-average cushioning to help absorb shock and reduce impact, which is especially useful when playing on hard courts to provide maximum comfort. The raised edges of the midsole also aid stability.
The upper of a kids’ tennis shoe is the portion that covers their feet, which the laces secure in place. The upper’s materials will usually be lightweight and breathable for comfort while combining some rigid materials to provide adequate stability, support, and durability.
Tennis Shoes vs. Sneakers
On the surface, there may appear to be little difference between kids’ tennis shoes and sneakers, i.e., everyday shoes. However, dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that the materials and construction of kids’ tennis shoes are more robust and designed specifically for the sport.
From thicker soles for added durability to better grip and traction, helping prevent slips and falls, and greater comfort and support, tennis shoes will deliver optimal performance to ensure your child is at their best.
Kids Tennis Shoe Sizing
Beyond selecting a quality brand, finding the right size is one of the most important things you can do when buying tennis shoes for your child.
Sizing for kids breaks down into three groups:
|Age||US Size Range||UK Size Range||EU Size Range|
|Babies / Toddlers||1 k – 10 k||0 k – 9.5 k||16 – 27|
|Little Kids||10.5 k – 3||10 k – 2.5||28 – 35|
|Big Kids||3.5 – 7||3 – 6.5||35.5 – 40|
Kids sizing is the same for boys and girls. However, as younger children make their way into the latter stages of big kid sizes, they’ll eventually be able to transition to adult sizes for men and women.
For reference, a big kid’s size 3.5 is equivalent to a woman’s size 5, while a big kid’s size 6 is equal to a man’s size 6. At these points, you can transition your child to adult sizes or keep them in children’s shoes until they hit a big kid’s size 7 if available for the shoe of choice.
Below, I’ve included a conversion chart comparing kids’ to adult men’s and women’s sizes for quick reference.
|US Juniors||US Men’s||US Women’s||UK Men’s||UK Women’s||EU Men’s||EU Women’s|
Unfortunately, not all brands offer little and big kid sizes for each shoe they sell, so you’ll have to keep that in mind during your research.
Measuring for Kids Tennis Shoes
It pays to measure your kid’s feet for the best fit so you know exactly what size to buy. Luckily, measuring the length of your child’s feet is quick and easy and only takes a few minutes.
You only need a ruler or measuring tape, a blank piece of paper longer than your child’s foot, and a pen or pencil. Here are the steps.
- Position one edge of the piece of paper against a wall.
- Have your child step onto the piece of paper, lightly touching the wall at their heel.
- Next, mark the end of their longest toe on the paper and measure from the wall to your mark. Note inches and centimeters.
- Repeat these steps for their other foot and use the longest measurement to compare against available sizes.
Every brand handles sizing for kids’ tennis shoes differently, so I’ve gathered all the top brands and organized their measurements relative to each size so you know where to start.
You can scroll horizontally to view all brands and sizes.
|Age||US Size||UK Size||EU Size||Nike (inches)||adidas (inches)||Asics (cm)||New Balance (inches)||KSwiss (cm)||Babolat (inches)||Head (cm)|
|Babies / Toddlers||1 k||0 k||16||–||3.2||–||–||9.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||2 k||1 k||17||–||3.5||–||–||10.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||3 k||2 k||18||–||3.9||–||–||11.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||4 k||3 k||19||–||4.2||–||–||12||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||5 k||4 k||20||–||4.5||–||–||12.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||5.5 k||5 k||21||3 9/16||4.8||–||–||12.75||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||6 k||5.5 k||22||3 15/16||5||–||–||13||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||6.5 k||6 k||23||4 4/16||5.2||–||–||13.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||7 k||6.5 k||23.5||4 9/16||5.4||–||–||14||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||7.5 k||7 k||24||4 15/16||5.5||–||–||14.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||8 k||7.5 k||25||5 4/16||5.7||–||–||15||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||8.5 k||8 k||25.5||5 9/16||5.9||–||–||15.25||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||9 k||8.5 k||26||5 15/16||6||–||–||15.5||–||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||9.5 k||9 k||26.5||6 4/16||6.2||–||–||16||6.83||–|
|Babies / Toddlers||10 k||9.5 k||27||6 9/16||6.3||17||–||16.5||–||–|
|Little Kids||10.5 k||10 k||28||6 12/16||6.5||–||6 5/8||17||7.03||–|
|Little Kids||11 k||10.5 k||28.5||6 15/16||6.7||17.5||6 3/4||17.5||–||–|
|Little Kids||11.5 k||11 k||29||7 1/16||6.9||–||7||17.75||7.23||–|
|Little Kids||12 k||11.5 k||30||7 4/16||7||18.5||7 1/8||17.5||–||–|
|Little Kids||12.5 k||12 k||30.5||7 7/16||7.2||–||7 1/4||18||7.44||–|
|Little Kids||13 k||12.5 k||31||7 9/16||7.4||19.5||7 1/2||18.5||–||–|
|Little Kids||13.5 k||13 k||31.5||7 12/16||7.5||–||7 5/8||19||7.64||19.5|
|Little Kids||1||13.5 k||32||7 15/16||7.7||20||7 3/4||20||7.84||20|
|Little Kids||1.5||1||33||8 1/16||7.9||20.5||8||20.25||8.04||20.5|
|Little Kids||2||1.5||33.5||8 4/16||8||21||8 1/8||20.5||8.44||21|
|Little Kids||2.5||2||34||8 7/16||8.2||21.5||8 1/4||21||–||21.5|
|Little Kids||3||2.5||35||8 9/16||8.3||22||8 1/2||21.5||–||22|
|Big Kids||3.5||3||35.5||8 12/16||8.5||22.25||8 5/8||22||–||22.5|
|Big Kids||4||3.5||36||8 13/16||8.7||22.5||8 3/4||22.5||–||23|
|Big Kids||4.5||4||36 2/3||8 15/16||8.9||23||9||23||–||23.5|
|Big Kids||5||4.5||37 1/3||9 2/16||9||23.5||9 1/8||23.5||–||24|
|Big Kids||5.5||5||38||9 4/16||9.2||24||9 1/4||24||–||24.5|
|Big Kids||6||5.5||38 2/3||9 6/16||9.4||24.5||9 1/2||24.5||–||25|
|Big Kids||6.5||6||39 1/3||9 9/16||9.5||25||9 5/8||25||–||25.5|
|Big Kids||7||6.5||40||9 11/16||9.7||25.5||9 3/4||25.5||–||26|
If your child’s measurements are between sizes, you’ll want to go with the larger size, providing adequate room for comfort and growth.
How to Choose a Shoe
Although there’s no right or wrong way to choose a shoe, you can follow these steps to get the best results and find a shoe your child will love.
1. Measure Your Child’s Feet
As discussed in the previous section, measuring your child’s feet before you start searching for the perfect shoe is helpful. Kids’ feet can grow quickly, so it’s best to take a fresh measurement for optimal fit and comfort instead of assuming you know the correct size.
Measuring up front will also ensure you don’t waste time looking at shoes that aren’t available in your child’s size.
2. Set a Reasonable Budget
When it comes to tennis shoes, the best isn’t always more expensive. There are fantastic kids’ tennis shoes at various price points, and you’ll be less likely to overspend by setting a budget ahead of time.
3. Consider The Type of Court
The three main types of tennis courts are hard, clay, and grass. Although most tennis shoes for kids will work reasonably well on all surfaces, you’ll find the best option by considering the surface they’ll frequent most.
For hard courts, you’ll want to ensure the shoe you select has a highly durable sole to stand up to the court’s abrasive surface. On clay, it’s ideal the shoe features a herringbone pattern, providing better traction and naturally releasing clay when the shoe twists or flexes. Finally, on grass, nearly all kids’ tennis shoes will suffice. As your child transitions to adult sizes, look for tennis shoes designed specifically for grass with small nubs for optimal traction.
4. Keep Color & Materials In Mind
Beyond your child’s preferences, the shoe’s color and materials are worth keeping in mind for maximum comfort. If your child will be playing outdoors in hot conditions, a lighter-colored shoe will help reflect heat from the sun. Furthermore, a mesh upper will ensure breathability so their feet stay cooler while playing. However, a less breathable upper may be ideal if your child is playing indoors during the winter.
On a related note, white tennis shoes will get super dirty on clay courts, and mesh materials will be more likely to let dirt and debris into the shoe, so these are two additional factors worth keeping in mind.
5. Try Shoes On Before Committing
Before you commit to a pair of shoes for your child, make sure they have the opportunity to try them on and walk around for a while. Everyone’s feet are different, so ensuring they feel comfortable wearing them before making a final decision is crucial. If you’re ordering online, you may find it helpful to buy two or three pairs so they can try each of them on and then return the ones that aren’t a good fit.
Choosing the right tennis shoes for your child involves a combination of practical considerations and personal preferences. By following these steps, you can ensure that your child enjoys their tennis shoes and performs their best on the court.
Top Shoe Brands for Kids
When buying kids’ tennis shoes, I encourage parents to stick to the most reputable brands known for creating excellent products. Doing so will ensure they meet the baseline criteria of stability, durability, and comfort while having non-marking soles that won’t deface the court.
Here are a few of the best shoe brands for kids.
- New Balance
Another nice part about buying from one of these brands is that they also make adult tennis shoes. As a result, when they inevitably grow out of kids’ sizes, similar replacements will be available for them to try.
As you search online, it’s helpful to recognize that some companies will advertise their shoes as multisport and even go as far to market their products as tennis shoes, even when they’re not well-suited for the sport.
Often, this happens on Amazon or similar marketplaces, where sellers include the word “tennis” to show up for searches related to the sport. To be clear, you can find excellent tennis shoes on websites like Amazon; you’ll just want to stick with a well-known brand.
Where to Buy Kids Tennis Shoes
Kids’ tennis shoes are relatively specialized, so you won’t find them at every store that sells footwear for kids. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite retailers to check out when tracking down a new pair.
- Tennis Warehouse
- Tennis Express
- Holabird Sports
- Tennis Plaza
Of course, don’t forget about your local tennis shop. Although they’ll likely carry fewer options, it’s worth stopping by to see their inventory. As a bonus, you’ll also be able to have your child try on a few pairs.
You can also visit the retail website for a specific brand if you know what kind you’d like to buy. However, since these are often the first place people look, they’ll often sell out faster, and they may not showcase older models that some of the retailers mentioned above still carry.
Best Tennis Shoes for Kids
In nearly all cases, what’s considered best is subjective, and the same holds true for kids’ tennis shoes. That’s because what works well for one child may not be the best for another.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my picks for the best kids’ tennis shoes across top brands based on their materials, construction, and reviews across a wide range of online retailers.
One of the leaders in footwear worldwide, Nike offers some of the best shoes for tennis. For years, the Vapor Pro has been a best-seller on the adult side, so it’s awesome to see they released a junior version.
The Jr. Vapor Pro features a durable rubber outsole with a unique data-driven design to help ensure optimal traction. Meanwhile, the midsole offers excellent cushion for comfort, and the upper is breathable and lightweight with supportive asymmetrical lacing. Overall, it’s a lightweight option that will appeal to little and big kids.
Not all brands offer more than one kids’ tennis shoe, but adidas has a few options, making them well worth checking out as a parent. Of their available choices, my pick for their best kids’ shoe is the adidas Adizero Club, a quality shoe at an affordable price.
The Adizero Club uses the brand’s trademark Adiwear rubber outsole with a versatile tread pattern that works well on all surfaces. At the midsole, you’ll find plush EVA foam for comfort, and the upper combines lightweight and breathable mesh with a TPU cover for extra durability.
Headquartered in Japan, Asics offers an excellent selection of tennis shoes for adults and kids. Among those available for children, my pick for their best is the Asics Gel-Resolution 9.
Like the adult version of this shoe, the outsole features Asics non-marking AHAR+ rubber, which is ultra-durable with a modified herringbone tread pattern for all-court traction. The midsole uses FlyteFoam for all-over comfort and GEL cushioning at the heel and forefoot to help absorb shock. Finally, the upper mixes breathable mesh with their Flexion Fit polyurethane coating to resist abrasion for added durability.
Perhaps best known for its running shoes, New Balance offers an excellent tennis shoe line, including a few kids options. My pick for their best is the 996 v5, which is a fantastic choice for little and big kids.
The outsole for the 996 v5 features the brand’s NDurance rubber for superior durability, emphasizing extra protection in high-wear areas. At the midsole, the shoe offers plenty of foam cushioning for comfort, and the lightweight and breathable mesh upper combines with synthetic leather in key wear areas for extra durability.
With junior tennis shoes that mirror the styles of their adult models, KSwiss offers a few excellent options for children. My pick for their best is the Speedtrac, a lightweight shoe that doesn’t skimp on quality.
The Speedtrac features a Dragguard rubber outsole with a unique tread pattern that delivers excellent traction and above-average durability. KSwiss uses its lightweight and responsive Surge midsole and a mesh and synthetic upper for ventilation, support, and abrasion resistance.
With deep expertise in sporting goods, Wilson is one of the most well-respected brands in tennis, and I find their shoes to be underrated. Of their kids’ tennis shoes, my pick for the best is the Kaos, offering the essential features we’ve come to expect from other top brands.
The outsole of the Kaos takes advantage of Wilson’s Duralast non-marking rubber with a traditional herringbone-style tread pattern for excellent traction and durability. At the midsole, you’ll find a lightweight EVA midsole for plenty of comfort, and the synthetic upper provides plenty of stability while protecting against abrasion.
Although better known for their tennis racquets and strings, Head’s foray into footwear has been successful. Of their kids’ tennis shoes, my pick for their best is the Head Sprint, a lightweight and versatile shoe.
The Sprint’s outsole features Head’s unique Hybrasion+ rubber compound with a hybrid tread pattern, which delivers excellent traction on any court surface. At the midsole, there’s plenty of cushion with high-quality EVA foam to help ensure comfort, and the upper combines breathable mesh with a synthetic overlay in areas of high wear for extra protection.
Offering some of the best tennis racquets and strings, Babolat has also developed a line of tennis shoes that includes options for juniors. The Babolat Jet Mach III is my pick for the brand’s best kids’ tennis shoe, which is simply a smaller version of their speedy adult shoe.
The Jet’s outsole uses Babolat’s Michelin DIN20 premium rubber outsole for maximum durability, which is also non-marking and features a unique all-court tread pattern for reliable traction. At the midsole, KPRS-X provides a plush feel for excellent shock absorption and comfort above and beyond what you’d expect from a traditional EVA foam. The shoe’s upper features Babolat’s Matryx EVO construction. The unique technical fabric combines Aramid and Polyamide fibers for lightweight comfort, support, and durability, perfect for the tennis court.
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