Best Tennis Shoe Brands
History & Top Models for Men & Women
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If you’re in the market for a new pair of tennis shoes, it can be helpful to gain a full view of the landscape for the best tennis shoe brands before diving in and making your purchase.
It’s true, most of us gravitate toward the big three: Nike, adidas, and Asics when it comes time to find a new pair of shoes to hit the court, but there are other high-quality options you may have missed and stories of their history that may change your perspective on them.
In this guide, we’re organizing the top men’s and women’s shoe brands for tennis and highlighting their most popular models, so you can save time and know which pairs are worth checking out.
To kick things off, here’s a table highlighting our favorite tennis brands, along with our pick for their best shoe model.
|Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2||Nike|
|Fresh Foam Lav||New Balance|
|Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2||Nike|
|Fresh Foam Lav||New Balance|
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Founded in 1964, initially as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, Nike is one of the younger tennis shoe brands, yet they’re also the world’s largest manufacture of shoes and athletic apparel.
Interestingly, the company first started as a distributor of Onitsuka Tiger footwear, which would later merge with two other Japanese companies to form Asics, in 1977.
In 1971, a few years after the companies inception, they cut ties with Onitsuka Tiger, rebranded as Nike, and launched a shoe line, which would see a meteoric rise in popularity during the ’70s.
In 1972, Nike established its first official tie with tennis by sponsoring former world no. 1, Ilie Năstase from Romania.
Regardless of the sport, it’s hard not to conjure up some association with Nike, and in tennis, they’re a force to be reckoned with owning by far the largest share of the market when it comes to tennis shoes.
Today, Nike has more sponsored tennis athletes wearing their shoes than any other brand, including the likes of Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.
For 20 years, Roger Federer was a Nike athlete, but in 2018 he signed a ten-year deal and switched to Uniqlo. Despite that, he’s still wearing Nike tennis shoes.
Let’s take a look a look at the most popular shoes in Nike’s lineup, which cater to a broad range of players at a variety of price points.
|Nike Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Air Zoom Vapor||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Air Zoom Cage||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Air Zoom Zero||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Air Zoom Prestige||Men & Women||$$$|
|Air Max Wildcard||Men & Women||$$$|
|Air Max Vapor Wing||Men & Women||$$|
|Court Lite||Men & Women||$|
Although Nike may have a stronghold on the market, adidas is another major player with deep roots in the tennis community.
In the 1920s, the Dassler brothers, Adolf and Rudolf, started what was then called the Dassler Brother’s Shoe Factory and worked to create shoes out of their mother’s home in Germany.
Years later, in 1949, Adolf Dassler formed the adidas brand as we now know it after a feud caused the brothers to split. Rudolf would move on to create another familiar shoe brand named Puma.
adidas first significant collaboration with tennis came in 1965 when French tennis player Robert Haillet wore a pair of adidas tennis shoes dubbed Haillet.
However, after his retirement, another player by the name of Stan Smith would wear this shoe en route to becoming world No. 1 during the 70s, and in 1978 adidas changed the name of the shoe to Stan Smith, which ever since has stuck.
These days, the shoe doesn’t come close to meeting the demands of modern-day tennis, but it remains an iconic shoe nonetheless.
Lucky for us, they’ve continued to innovate to remain one of the best tennis shoe brands around with top tennis athletes, including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverve, Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Caroline Wozniacki repping their gear.
Here’s a look at the different types of tennis shoe models they currently offer.
|adidas Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Stycon||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|SoleCourt Boost||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Adizero Ubersonic||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Stella Barricade Boost||Women||$$$$|
|SoleMatch Bounce||Men & Women||$$$|
|Defiant Bounce||Men & Women||$$$|
|Adizero Club||Men & Women||$$$|
|CourtJam||Men & Women||$$|
|GameCourt||Men & Women||$$|
As one of the biggest names in tennis shoes, it’s no surprise that adidas offers a broad range of footwear to suit various player budgets – including our favorite inexpensive tennis shoes.
Compared to Nike and adidas, Asics is a somewhat subdued brand, but their performance speaks for itself, and they offer some of the best tennis shoes on the market with a loyal following.
Founded in 1949, originally under the name Onitsuka Co., Ltd. by Kihachiro Onitsuka, Asics has a storied history developing athletic shoes for a variety of sports such as basketball, baseball, and running.
In fact, their original shoe brand, Onitsuka Tiger, was distributed by Blue Ribbon Sports, which would later become Nike.
Asics is an acronym for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which translates to “You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body,” or more briefly stated as their slogan “Sound Mind, Sound Body.”
Originally, Kihachiro Onitsuka started the company after World War II to help encourage a younger generation to lead active and healthy lives through sports. That mission continues to guide the company today.
Nowadays, Asics outfits a growing number of top-ranked tennis players, including David Goffin, Alex De Minaur, and most notably Novak Djokovic on the men’s side. On the WTA tour, Coco Vandeweghe, and Julia Goerges are a few familiar names using their shoes.
Here’s a look at their popular lineup of tennis shoes.
|Asics Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Court FF||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Gel Resolution||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Solution Speed FF||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Gel Challenger||Men & Women||$$$|
|Gel Game||Men & Women||$$|
|Gel Dedicate||Men & Women||$$|
As you’d expect from one of the top tennis shoe brands, Asics offers an excellent selection of footwear to cater to a wide range of players – including a few lightweight shoes worth checking out.
When two Swiss brothers, Art and Ernie Brunner, moved to California in 1966, they had the idea of starting a footwear company for tennis.
Taking hints from another passion of theirs, skiing, they began importing leather shoes from Switzerland, which emphasize support during the frequent lateral or side to side movements in tennis.
Over the years, K-Swiss became a staple on tennis courts with their iconic K-Swiss Classic at the forefront, but it wasn’t until the 90s when they began to make a more significant mark with Steven Nichols at the helm.
Despite remaining somewhat in the shadows of the Nike, adidas, and Asics, K-Swiss remains a well-respected tennis shoe brand that we’ve seen continue to try and push the limits of technical shoe design.
Noteworthy tennis athletes for the company include now retired Anna Kournikova, the Bryan Brothers, Sam Querrey, and, more recently, Ajla Tomljanovic and Cameron Norrie.
Although their line of shoes isn’t as extensive as the top brands, they offer a handful of shoes that are worthy options for the court.
|K-Swiss Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Aero Knit||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Hypercourt Supreme||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Ultrashot||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Hypercourt Express||Men & Women||$$$|
|Aero Court||Men & Women||$$|
|Bigshot lite||Men & Women||$$|
With their roots in arch support that dates back to 1906, New Balance was founded in Boston, MA, by William J. Riley, an English immigrant. However, it wasn’t until more recent years that they truly began to embrace tennis.
Throughout the early 1900s, New Balance remained focused on orthopedic footwear and arch supports until 1938 when the company launched its first running shoe.
A few years later, they began creating athletic shoes for tennis, baseball, and boxing, but they endured as a local shoe brand and retained their primary emphasis on orthopedics.
In 1960, New Balance launched the Trackster, which is their first shoe that came in different widths. Although more commonly offered by shoe brands these days, it remains one of New Balance’s Hallmark features.
Throughout the late 70s, New Balance takes off in popularity, backed by a vote that names them the no. 1 running shoe in Runner’s World magazine.
Despite their success, they resist the urge to endorse professional athletes as is familiar with other tennis brands and even adopt the slogan, “Endorsed by No One,” and they still hold that trademark.
That is, somewhat shockingly, until 2009 when they bring on their first athletes in baseball and basketball.
Only a few years ago, in 2014, New Balance partnered up with Milos Raonic, who became the brand’s first true ambassador, which would start a trend that subsequently brought on Heather Watson, Danielle Collins, Nicole Gibbs, and more recently Cori Gauff and others.
Today, tennis has become a core focus for the brand. Let’s take a look at their current lineup of tennis shoes.
|New Balance Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Fresh Foam Lav||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|FuelCell 996||Men & Women||$$$$|
|1296||Men & Women||$$$|
|1006||Men & Women||$$$|
|896||Men & Women||$$$|
|WC806||Men & Women||$$$|
|796||Men & Women||$$|
|696||Men & Women||$|
The breadth of tennis shoes available shows the companies commitment to the sport, and we’d expect that investment continues with young up-and-coming athletes like CoCo Gauff as members of the team.
Like other tennis shoe brands on our list, Fila has been around for over 100 years. Getting its start in 1911, the brand has a rich history, but it wasn’t until much later that they’d enter the footwear market.
Founders and brothers Ettore and Giansevero Fila first set up shop in Biella, Italy making textiles. However, it wasn’t long before their high-quality materials found their way into the garment industry, producing underwear for men, women, and children.
Fast forward to the 70s, and Björn Borg was sporting their clothing and winning Grand Slams, which helped lift the brand’s popularity and allowed it to expand its presence in the athletic market. Boris Becker, Jennifer Capriati, and Monica Seles were a few other superstar tennis athletes that helped amplify the Fila’s exposure over the years.
In the 90s, Fila gained a foothold in the footwear market with an emphasis on basketball, which also saw a transition to urban streetwear with many hip-hop artists sporting their gear.
These days, Fila still shines with its apparel in the tennis world. However, they’ve also managed to find a small niche within the shoe market with their reasonably priced Axilus Energized worn by Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, John Isner, Diego Schwartzman, and Marin Cilic to name a few.
|Fila Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Axilus Energized||Men & Women||$$$|
Established in 1939 by three brothers in the Caberlotto family, the Italian brand from the small city of Montebelluna in Northern Italy didn’t get its start in the tennis shoe world until 1973.
However, in the 1970s, their pursuit of developing exceptional shoes for tennis led Lotto to gain traction through a unique scenario when Australian and former world no. 1, John Newcombe, and Davis Cup Champion, Tonino Zugarelli, wore its tennis shoes without sponsorship.
Their success continued into the 1980s as they expanded into soccer, and through the 90s, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, and Thomas Muster were sponsored athletes who helped sustain the brand.
These days, they keep a roster of top tennis athletes, some of which include Matteo Berrettini, Kevin Anderson, and John Millman on the men’s side. While Kristyna Pliskova, Alison Riske, and Carla Suárez Navarro are a few of the sponsored ladies.
|Lotto Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Mirage 100||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Stratosphere||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Mirage 200||Men & Women||$$$|
|Mirage 300||Men & Women||$$$|
|Space||Men & Women||$$|
Babolat has a unique history with tennis, which dates back to 1875, when the company’s founder, Pierre Babolat, created the first natural gut tennis strings in response to the creation of modern lawn tennis.
For over 100 years, tennis strings and accessories played a central role in the companies success. However, in 1994 Babolat took a chance when they diversified their product line and created their first frames, which are now some of the best-selling tennis racquets on the market.
Three years later, in 1998, Carlos Moya became the first player to win a Grand Slam using a Babolat racquet at the French Open.
Ever since, Babolat has continued to push the boundaries with tennis gear, and these days offer a complete range of products to outfit players from head to toe, including their shoes, which first launched in 2003.
Despite being one of the newcomers with their tennis shoes, they offer an excellent range with a unique partnership. Instead of creating their outsole, they partnered with the experts at Michelline and used their high-performance rubber throughout their entire line.
Over the years, players like Andy Roddick have sported their tennis shoes, while more recently Benoit Paire, Yuichi Sugita, Evgeny Donskoy, and Federico Delbonis within the men’s top 100 endorse their shoes.
|Babolat Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Propulse Rage||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Jet Mach II||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Propulse Fury||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Propulse Blast||Men & Women||$$$|
|Jet Tere||Men & Women||$$|
|SFX||Men & Women||$$|
In the tennis world, Head is well-known for its tennis racquets, but they’ve seen a bit of success with their shoes as well.
Howard Head, an aeronautical engineer, founded the company in 1950. Living in Baltimore, Maryland, his first product was a set of metal skis that came to fruition as a result of a less than ideal ski trip with the heavier wooden skis that were the norm at the time.
Throughout the 1950s, the skis saw enormous success, but it wouldn’t take long before Howard Head would have a run-in with another piece of wooden sports equipment that he thought he could improve with modern materials, the tennis racquet.
Similar to skis, Head thought he could improve the design and add strength by introducing aluminum, which he pursued by creating a tennis division toward the latter half of the 1960s after collaborating with another familiar brand, Prince.
A particularly noteworthy moment for Head’s tennis racquets came in 1975 when sponsored athlete Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon.
They would continue with their evolution of the tennis racquet in 1997 when they released the first titanium and graphite racquet.
Of course, they didn’t stop with tennis racquets and today offer apparel and a small line of tennis shoes. Here’s a look at the tennis shoes they currently have on offer.
|Head Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Sprint||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Revolt||Men & Women||$$$|
|Brazer||Men & Women||$$|
Another Italian tennis shoe brand, Diadora, was founded by Marcello Danieli in 1948, who, with the help of his wife Danieli, launched mountain climbing boots as their first footwear product.
During the 1960s, the company expanded its footwear offerings to include ski boots and subsequently running and tennis shoes as well as football cleats, the latter of which it retains a significant market share.
However, the effort they put forth in the 60s came to fruition during the 70s when Swedish tennis star Björn Borg becomes one of their sponsored athletes along with Guillermo Vilas and Martin Mulligan.
Diadora’s success with sponsorships that helped the company make its mark in tennis continued into the 80s with Boris Becker, Pat Cash, and John Alexander, all of which achieved significant success on the court.
These days, you’ll find a few players sponsored by Diadora, including Jan-Lennard Struff, Alejandro, Davidovich Fokina, and Taro Daniel. On the women’s side, athletes include Lauren Davis and Shelby Rodgers.
Despite their decline in popularity driven by other prominent players in the shoe game, Diadora maintains a presence with a handful of high-quality tennis shoes that might not be top of mind, but are worth checking out.
|Diadora Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Speed Blueshield||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Speed Star K||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Speed Competition||Men & Women||$$$|
Another tennis brand that’s well-known for its racquets that also offers a handful of quality tennis shoes is the Japanese brand, Yonex.
Minoru Yoneyama, founded Yonex in 1946, creating wooden floats for fishing nets, a far cry from what most think of the brand today. However, the rise of plastic materials brought his success in this business to a screeching halt and forced the company to pursue other opportunities.
Perhaps the silver lining, having been left behind by technological advancements, was Yoneyama’s commitment to pushing the boundaries so that the company would never find themselves blindsided again.
Lucky for us, the core business Yonex chose was the manufacture of badminton racquets in 1957, and the company pioneered the first aluminum badminton racquet a few years later in 1968.
The company quickly realized a parallel opportunity for its technology in the tennis industry and launched into the creation of tennis racquets one year later in 1969.
Over the years, Yonex has maintained a dominant market share in the badminton industry, but they’ve had great success in tennis too.
In the ’90s, Monica Seles endorses Yonex racquets and shoes, while Martina Hingis and Richard Krajicek also use their racquets. Rounding out their superstar lineup, Lleyton Hewit signs with the company in 1999.
Today, the company maintains a laundry list of high profile tennis athletes that use their racquets, especially on the women’s side. However, their shoes and apparel have lagged despite a growing number of sponsorships, which includes Stan Wawrinka.
Here’s a look at the small but respectable offering of tennis shoes from Yonex.
|Yonex Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Eclipsion||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Fusion Rev||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Sonicage||Men & Women||$$$|
Back in 1913, Ashland Manufacturing Company formed to make use of the animal byproducts they had at their disposal from the Sulzberger & Son’s meatpacking business in New York.
One of their first products, natural gut tennis strings made from the intestine of cows, launched in 1914, and a year later, Thomas Wilson, a successful meatpacker from Chicago, IL, was appointed president of the company, which had run into financial trouble.
With Thomas Wilson at the helm, the business changed its name to Wilson & Company and would begin its pursuit to turn the business around while expanding further into sporting goods. Later in 1931, the company would take on the name Wilson Sporting Goods.
After World War II, Wilson grew its emphasis on tennis, and their first significant endorsement came when they signed tennis legend Jack Krammer who they’d work with to create a popular line of tennis racquets.
These days, Wilson is one of the most dominant forces in the tennis racquet industry, with some of the sport’s biggest names, including Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, and, more recently, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, using their frames.
However, it’s no surprise that a company with a rich history in creating a wide variety of sporting goods would enter the tennis shoe market.
Although they’re far from one of the most popular tennis shoe brands, they’ve seen traction at the recreational level. Current tour players that use their shoes include Ugo Humbert and Astra Sharma.
Here’s a quick look at the current shoes they have on offer.
|Wilson Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Amplifeel||Men & Women||$$$$$|
|Rush Pro||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Kaos||Men & Women||$$$|
A more recent newcomer to the tennis shoe market, Japanese brand Mizuno isn’t a stranger to sporting goods. Rewind to 1906, Rihachi and Rizo Mizuno founded Mizuno Brothers Ltd. and quickly began selling athletic apparel the following year.
Throughout the 1900s, the company manufactured a range of sporting products including, baseballs, baseball gloves, golf clubs, skis, running shoes, and tennis racquets with a scientific approach to creating the highest quality products that included an emphasis on the production process.
From a shoe standpoint, Mizuno is undoubtedly better known for their running shoes, but their cross-over to tennis has been positive despite their low-profile presence in a crowded market.
Currently, a few tennis players such as Roberto Bautista Agut, Ivo Karlovic, and Philip Kohlschreiber endorse their relatively small line of shoes. Here’s a quick snapshot of Mizuno tennis shoes.
|Mizuno Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|Wave Exceed Tour||Men & Women||$$$$|
|Wave Exceed SL||Men & Women||$$$|
|Wave Impulse||Men & Women||$$$|
An American company with roots in Princeton, NJ, which is where it gets its name, began its journey in 1970 when Robert McClure founded the company pursuing the creation of tennis ball machines.
A few years later, Howard Head, founder of the Head tennis company, purchased a Prince tennis ball machine to help improve his game.
Dissatisfied with the lackluster performance of his wooden frame, he joined Prince to create an oversized aluminum racquet that he felt would help him improve without extra practice.
It turns out that they succeeded with the launch of the Prince Classic, which was the first oversized aluminum tennis frame to hit the market.
Prince continued their success in the tennis industry with tennis racquets, but they’ve also dabbled in the apparel, including the shoe market.
Noteworthy players to use their tennis racquets over the years include Pam Shriver, Michale Chang, David Ferrer, John Isner, Maria Sharapova, and the Bryan brothers.
Today, the only model shoe they have on offer is the T-22, which gained a loyal following among recreational players as an affordable option that provides excellent stability and durability.
The shoe also happens to come in a lighter weight version too.
|Prince Shoe Model||Gender||Price|
|T-22||Men & Women||$$|
|T-22 Lite||Men & Women||$$|
Tennis shoes are an essential part of any player’s kit, and there are a wide variety of brands to consider when making a purchase.
Although the big-name brands may be the most familiar to you, it’s worth considering some of the other options that have played a unique role in the history of the sport and produce an excellent range of shoes.
Regardless of where you land for your next purchase, we hope this guide helps you wrap your head around the various shoe brands available and helps point you in the right direction for our favorite models they offer.
What’s your favorite brand of tennis shoes, and what model are you currently wearing? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
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