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Which Nike tennis shoes are best?

You don’t need much to play tennis, but wearing the proper shoes can make the difference between a dominant performance and a dud. Tennis shoes are a must if you are a serious player and want to perform at a high level, as they’re engineered to provide comfort and stability on the court.

If you’re looking for high-quality tennis shoes, Nike is a top brand that offers many terrific shoes. For example, the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa Tennis Shoes are popular, thanks to their responsiveness, durability and stylish design inspired by Rafael Nadal.

What to know before you buy Nike tennis shoes


Tennis requires players to perform quick, shifting movements more often than most other sports, so it’s crucial to wear the correct shoe size. You don’t want too-big shoes, which can limit your mobility and cause you to trip, but you also don’t want to wear too-tight shoes that can cause soreness. A snug fit is necessary, but leave some wiggle room in the toe box to feel comfortable and flexible as you move.

Court surface

It’s crucial to wear shoes that offer plenty of traction, but the type of outsole should depend on the surface you’ll be playing on. There are three main types of tennis courts: grass, clay and hard.

  • Grass courts can be slippery, so outsoles with rubber nubs on the bottom provide superior traction similar to all-purpose soccer cleats.
  • Clay courts generally deliver a slower-paced experience. The best clay-court shoes have textured zig-zag tread patterns for grip and knit uppers that prevent clay bits from getting inside.
  • Hard courts are the most common and demanding for outsole durability. Playing on a hard court will wear out your shoes much faster than any other surface, so your outsoles should have a textured tread.


Nike tennis shoes are designed to provide top-level performance during tennis matches, but they’re versatile enough to wear for other activities, such as jogging or weight-lifting. They’re also great to wear as comfy everyday shoes for running errands or light yard work.

What to look for in quality Nike tennis shoes

Durable upper

The upper needs to be durable to put up with fast-paced movements but should also be breathable. The best Nike tennis shoes have uppers made with synthetic leather and mesh fabric, providing excellent durability and sufficient ventilation to help keep feet dry and cool during matches.


The midsole should contain foam cushioning for stability and efficient energy transfer during strides and lateral movements. If you find your shoes too stiff, they may not have enough cushioning, which can cause discomfort after playing for extended periods.


You can find Nike tennis shoes of any color, so while it’s essential to have comfortable, functional shoes, they should suit your style too. Also, several high-profile tennis players have endorsement deals with Nike and have inspired new tennis-shoe designs. The most notable are Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

How much you can expect to spend on Nike tennis shoes

If you’re working with a budget, you can find a reliable pair of Nike tennis shoes for $60-$80. However, if you want something more durable with a premium design, expect to pay $100-$170.

Nike tennis shoes FAQ

What’s the difference between running shoes and tennis shoes?

A. Tennis shoes are designed for lateral movements, so they are usually more durable and have stiff lateral frames that provide better stability during quick side-to-side movements.

How long do tennis shoes last?

A. If you’re a casual player, they should last you six to 12 months. However, those who play consistently, especially on hard courts, may have to replace their shoes every three to six months.

What are the best Nike tennis shoes to buy?

Top Nike tennis shoes

Nike Men's NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa Tennis Shoes

NikeCourt Men’s Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Rafa Tennis Shoes

What you need to know: These shoes have a stylish design inspired by star tennis player Rafael Nadal to deliver elite performance on hard courts.

What you’ll love: They have sleeves for a sock-like fit that provide extra ankle support and a stiff frame on the side for superior stability during lateral movements. The Zoom Air unit under the forefoot allows for more responsiveness and bounce-back, and the rubber outsole is built to last.

What you should consider: A few customers reported that they run large, so a half-size down might be a better fit for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top Nike tennis shoes for the money

Nike Men's Court Lite 2

Nike Men’s Court Lite 2

What you need to know: They don’t have the flashy appearance of some other Nike shoes, but they are comfortable and offer excellent mobility.

What you’ll love: These shoes are made with leather for a sturdy build and have a rugged rubber outsole for increased traction. The midsole contains soft foam cushioning for extra stability, and the padded collar and tongue are a nice touch, as they provide comfort around the ankles.

What you should consider: They take a while to break in, and some reviewers found them uncomfortable on the upper heel.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Nikecourt Women’s Air Zoom Vapor Pro Tennis Shoes

Nikecourt Women’s Air Zoom Vapor Pro Tennis Shoes

What you need to know: These are lightweight and comfortable, and they provide excellent performance on all kinds of courts.

What you’ll love: The heels are packed with soft cushioning for improved responsiveness, and they have a stretchy internal sleeve for superior ankle support during quick cuts. Also, the herringbone outsole offers sufficient grip on hard courts that still lets players slide.

What you should consider: Some consumers complained that they didn’t have enough arch support, but this can vary depending on foot shape.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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