Most Durable Tennis Shoes
Tennis shoes are one of the biggest assets a tennis player can have. The pair of shoes you wear on to court can make a huge difference to your performance on it, and how many injuries you get off it. But, tennis shoes unfortunately don’t last forever, and replacing them regularly can make tennis an incredibly expensive sport to play.
However, if you pick a durable, hard wearing shoe this can not only increase the length of time before they need replacing, but also offer you more stability and save your knees as well as your bank account.
Our Top List!
Wilson Rush Pro 3.5
Lighter style shoe
KSwiss Ultrashot 2
Well padded heel
Strong outer sole
Ideal for knee pain
Chunky outer sole
Nike Air Zoom Vapour Cage 4
Stable and supportive
What Makes Tennis Shoes Durable?
There are a number of factors that play into how durable a tennis shoe will end up being. Of course, the frequency with which you use the shoe, what surfaces you play on and your game style will all play their role in determining how long any shoe will last before it degrades completely.
However, there are a few reasons why a tennis shoe may last longer or shorter than another even when these factors are kept the same.
Sole Materials and Design
The overall sturdiness of a tennis shoe ultimately will be determined by the quality of the materials it is made from and how they are put together. The vast majority of shoe wear comes from the degradation of the outer sole, so the more substantial this is the longer a shoe will tend to last.
Durable tennis shoes will usually have a more bulk design, with a raised outer sole surrounding the toe area, particularly on the outer edge of the shoe.
These shoes will usually be heavier and more stable than those designed for speed, whilst being more supportive and usually more comfortable. Durable shoes tend to have more padding around the heel to support the ankle and stop it from jarring during lateral movements.
The heel tab can actually vary quite a bit and the design of the shoe won’t always stay the same just because the shoe is more durable.
A higher heel tab will add weight to the shoe but offer more stability and increase the level of support you feel around the ankle area. However, a lower heel tab reduces the weight of the shoe and will help you feel more agile in the shoe, but offer less support.
The sidewall of a tennis shoe can also break down over time if you do a lot of sliding on hard courts, which can actually lead to your laces fraying or even breaking just from this movement.
Therefore, lookout for extra protection on the side of the shoe to make sure this doesn’t happen if you are prone to breaking laces from sliding.
One of the main areas to look at and make sure is comfortable is the outer sole of the shoe as we have mentioned. This is ultimately what will be between the bottom of your shoe and the playing surface, so is the most prone to wear and tear.
Sure, inner soles will also break down over time but these can be replaced fairly easily, and heel tabs don’t take anywhere near as much of a beating as the outer sole of the shoe. Look for a robust, well built up outer sole wall that will take a lot of breaking down, as this will indicate a very durable tennis shoe!
A top tip from us is to look out for retailer guarantees. Some retailers and even manufacturers will offer guarantees on their most durable models to give you peace of mind that your shoe won’t go kaput after just a few sessions on court!
Some brands will offer a 6 month guarantee on the outer sole of the shoe, which means if your shoe is completely shot before 6 months, you can take it back and exchange it for a new pair, free of charge!
Are Durable Shoes Right for You?
Of course, we all want a tennis shoe that will last for more than one session on the court! But, is going for the most robust shoe you can find always the best thing?
One of the major trade offs you make when opting for a more durable tennis shoe is the weight. A less durable shoe will tend to be made from lightweight materials, include more mesh and be sleeker in its overall design.
This allows you to be lighter on your feet and more agile around the court, since you don’t have the additional bulk and weight of a more robust shoe slowing you down.
However, the gains in speed and agility tend to come at the cost of support, stability and durability. So, you really need to take into account how frequently you can afford or would want to be replacing your tennis shoes, how often you play, and on which surfaces when choosing a tennis shoe.
For example, if you play once per week on a reasonably forgiving hard court, then opting for the lightest shoes wouldn’t be such a bad thing, as you won’t be churning through the outer soles so quickly.
However, if you are playing on a clay court or abrasive hard court 4 or 5 times per week and doing intense training when you do, going for a more durable shoe would be preferable, as it will likely save your ankles and knees as well as your money!
Another thing to think about here is how regularly you’ll be changing surfaces. At the recreational level, you will probably be fine using one pair of all surface shoes as the difference in grip between an astroturf, hard and clay court would not be so significant as to justify having a separate pair of shoes for each surface.
However, if you are a higher level player that is often competing on different surfaces, you may benefit from having 2 or 3 pairs of shoes that are more specifically geared to the surface you’ll be playing on.
This is especially important if you plan on playing on grass courts, as you’ll need shoes with small pimples in them to have the right grip to play on the surface.
If you ask most physicians working on tennis players which piece of equipment or apparel would stop them from getting injured the most, they would most likely say a good fitting pair of tennis shoes.
As we all know, tennis is a sport that uses almost every muscle in your body, but the majority of injuries come to the lower body through shoes that don’t fit properly.
So, bear in mind that different brands and even lines of shoes will offer a more comfortable fit for wide or narrow feed, high medium and low arches and how you place your foot on the ground when running.
You are better off having a shoe that is marginally too snug than one that is way too big, as the last thing you want is your foot sliding around in the shoe as this can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when you are changing direction and decelerating.
The Most Durable Tennis Shoes
So, we have discussed what you should look out for in a tennis shoe and what actually makes some tennis shoes more durable than others. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most durable shoes out there today!
- Bulletproof durability
- Great comfort
- Sleek design
We can’t talk about durable tennis shoes without mentioning the Adidas Barricade! These are iconic shoes that are known for being bulletproof and extremely supportive. The traditional barricade came out in the early 2000s, and took the world by storm thanks to its durability and stability.
Whilst it was not always the most agile shoe out there, it was comfortable and helped players feel rock solid when moving around the court.
However, it has been off the market for a few years much to the dismay of tennis enthusiasts all over the world. But now it’s back!
The new Barricade has a sleeker design than its predecessor and feels a bit lighter around the court. Adidas have taken some weight out of the top of the shoe to lower the centre of gravity, but they have gone to town on the outer sole. It is still a very robust shoe and to look at it seems distinctly bottom heavy, unlike the previous version.
So, if you are looking for an even more player friendly version of the durability icon, look no further than the new Adidas Barricade!
Wilson Rush Pro 3.5
- Lighter style shoe
- Enhanced breathability
- Stealthy design
One of the lighter shoes on our durability list is the Wilson Rush Pro 3.5. This updated version allows you to be even more agile around the court, but still facilitates hours of grinding! Wilson has added some lightweight mesh to the upper of the shoe, making it lighter and more breathable.
The outsole looks wider than other shoes on our list, making this shoe ideal for players with wider feet that want to have the maximum amount of contact between their shoe and the playing surface. These shoes also come in a great looking stealthy matte black finish, so you can have the looks to match your movement on the court!
KSwiss Ultrashot 2
- Extreme durability
- Well padded heel
- Strong outer sole
One of the more bulky and boxy looking shoes on our list, the KSwiss Ultrashot 2 is a robust option that actually reminds us of the originally Adidas Barricade in terms of the look and feel. This is a very supportive shoe with a well padded heel tab which ensures optimum comfort and stability when you are charging around the tennis court!
Both the inside and outside edges of the outer sole are well built up, so no matter how much grinding and sliding you want to do around the court, the KSwiss Ultrashot 2 will stand up to the test!
- Ideal for knee pain
- Plush feel
- Chunky outer soles
Prince has been renowned for making some of the most comfortable and durable tennis shoes in the game, famed for chunky outer soles that offer superb cushioning that often are favoured by players suffering from knee pain. The T22 is a great fit for anyone wanting a well built up shoe that offers excellent comfort and stability.
Once you try a Prince tennis shoe you will likely stick with them, as they have a plush feel and cushioning that is unlike anything else out there! This is a classically designed shoe that will give you old school comfort with the benefits of modern technology to keep your foot hugged from ankle to toe.
Nike Air Zoom Vapour Cage 4
- Stable and supportive
- Highly manoeuvrable
- Enhanced comfort
The favoured shoe of the great Rafael Nadal, the Nike Air Zoom Vapour Cage 4 is an evolution of an absolute Nike classic! It is the most stable and supportive shoe out there, thanks to its unique overhanging outer sole design, which combines elements from two Nike icons (the vapour and the cage) to produce one of the best feeling shoes money can buy!
It is a surprisingly manoeuvrable shoe considering how comfortable and supportive it feels. Nike have clearly invested in lightweight materials and used them strategically to make the latest version of the Air Zoom Vapour Cage the best yet.
The enhanced comfort comes from the well built heel tab, which is not intrusive but manages to keep your ankle feeling extremely stable as you slide around the court.
If these shoes are good enough for Rafa, we’re sure they’ll be good enough for you too!
We all want shoes that last a lifetime, feel great on the court, are light and agile and will support our feet and ankles as much as possible. However, there are often trade-offs that need to be made, as a lighter shoe will usually be less supportive and durable than a robust, heavier shoe.
Ultimately, the choice is yours as to whether you opt for a lighter, faster shoe or a heavier more durable one. But, if you are looking for a shoe that will offer comfort, stability, durability and supportiveness and still let you move around the court with freedom, start by trying out some of the options we’ve listed here!
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