Clay is a unique surface that requires specific equipment for optimal performance.
If you frequently play on clay courts, you should consider investing in a new pair designed for the surface, as this is an important piece of equipment that can help you move better.
Clay court shoes must provide the right balance of grip and slide, as well as durability and comfort for long matches. This means that finding the right pair for you can be challenging.
In this guide, we’ll review some of the best clay court tennis shoes on the market to help you find the perfect pair to elevate your game.
7 Best Clay Court Tennis Shoes
Clay court tennis shoes are an essential piece of equipment for any serious tennis player who regularly plays on clay courts.
Due to the nature of the surface, clay courts can be particularly challenging to move on and change direction. They can cause you to become unbalanced, increasing your chances of slipping and falling.
Clay court tennis shoes are specifically designed to provide optimal support, comfort, and stability on clay courts. They typically feature specialized outsoles that offer superior grip and traction on clay surfaces, as well as durable materials that can withstand the abrasive nature of clay.
In addition, many clay court tennis shoes also feature unique designs and technologies that help to enhance a player’s performance. For example, some shoes may incorporate special cushioning systems to reduce the impact of landing, while others may have reinforced areas for added durability during aggressive movements.
Investing in a quality pair of clay court tennis shoes can help to improve a player’s overall performance, as well as reduce the risk of injury on the court.
The major difference between clay court shoes and hard court shoes is the outsole.
Hard courts are a lot more harsh on tennis shoes, meaning the outsole needs to be more durable to withstand the surface. Whereas, clay courts are much softer and more forgiving, resulting in the outsole being softer as it won’t wear down as quickly.
Furthermore, hard court shoes can come in a variety of tread patterns, whereas clay court shoes typically only have a full herringbone tread pattern to help maximize traction.
While hard court shoes can be worn on clay courts, clay court shoes should not be worn on hard courts because they are not durable enough to withstand the abrasive surface.
You’ll find that hard court shoes will provide more ventilation than clay court shoes.
This is due to clay court tennis shoes typically having a tight-knit upper to prevent the clay from entering through the top of the shoe. While this does reduce breathability, it is useful as clay in your shoe can cause discomfort.
This is something you don’t have to worry about when playing on a hard court, which is why you’ll find most hard court shoes have open mesh designs to maximize ventilation.
As we spoke about earlier, clay courts are much more forgiving than hard courts.
As a result, most hard court tennis shoes have more cushioning to help combat the hard surface and keep your feet comfortable.
Many manufacturers like to reduce the cushioning in clay court shoes to bring down the overall weight of the shoe and help you move faster.
The most important factor to consider when deciding whether you should buy clay court shoes or not is to think about how frequently you play on the clay.
If clay is the surface you play on the most, then I’d recommend purchasing a pair of clay court shoes as they can help improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
However, if you rarely play on clay, you’re better off choosing a tennis shoe made for hard courts.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced player that competes regularly, then investing in a pair of clay court shoes would be an excellent decision. They can help you maximize your performance and gain an advantage over your opponent, which can make a big difference during a match.
But if you’re a beginner who doesn’t play regularly on the surface, then you’d be better off investing that money in other tennis equipment.
And the final factor to consider is your budget.
If you’re on a tight budget and rarely play on clay courts, then you’d be better off investing in a pair of good hard court shoes that can be used on all surfaces. (See my guide on the best tennis shoes to learn more).
However, if you regularly play on clay and want to improve your game in every way possible, then I couldn’t recommend clay court shoes enough.
Price: $$$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 15oz
- Good durability
- Great stability
- Good support
- Lots of traction
- Quite heavy
The Asics Gel Resolution 9 is my pick for the best clay court tennis shoe.
The midsole features Asics’ FlyteFoam and Gel cushioning technology for a comfortable and responsive feel in your foot. They’ve also put Dynawall tech in the heel for increased stability and to help avoid unwanted twisting, which is essential when playing on a clay court.
The outsole has been reinforced with AHAR+ rubber for increased durability. Asics have also reinforced the toe with additional protection because this is an area that frequently wears out on a clay court. For traction, Asics has included a full herringbone tread which is vital for playing on a clay court as this prevents clay from getting stuck to the outsole.
The upper is made of tough yet soft materials that help enhance the comfort, breathability, and support of the shoe.
I found Asics Gel Resolution 9 very comfortable to wear and provided a lot of support, preventing any ankle injuries. However, I did find them quite heavy to move around in, which may be a deal breaker for some people.
But overall, you can’t go wrong with the Asics Gel Resolution 9.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 14.3oz
- Comfortable to wear
- Good amount of support
- Lacks durability
The Nike Vapor Pro 2 has been a huge success since its release, which is why it’s no surprise that a clay edition has been introduced.
The upper is made up of a sleeve and mesh for a breathable two layers of support. Nike has also added an asymmetrical lacing system that helps hug the foot and provide extra support during lateral movements.
The midsole has an Air Zoom unit in the front and soft foam throughout for comfortable, responsive cushioning. It also helps you feel more connected and lower down to the court which helps with quick movements.
The outsole features a full herringbone pattern, which provides the traction required for a clay court. It also extends slightly up the side of the shoe for increased traction and durability.
When testing out the Nike Vapor Pro 2, I found that I had excellent grip on the clay court due to the full herringbone pattern on the outsole. I would’ve liked to have seen Nike add some more protection in high-wear areas, but overall I still think this is one of the best clay court shoes on the market.
Price: $$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Low | Weight: 12.3oz
- Strange outsole pattern
If you’re looking for an ultra-lightweight shoe that will help you move faster on the clay, then I’d recommend the Yonex Sonicage 3.
The upper is made of FlexQuip Durable Skin which I found very comfortable and supportive. The upper is also extremely durable making these shoes perfect for aggressive movers.
Yonex has added their Power Cushion+ technology in the midsole to help absorb shock. In addition, a Power Graphite plate has been added to maintain midfoot rigidity and boost stability on lateral movements, which is important in reducing foot injuries.
The outsole features Yonex’s unique design which they claim maximizes traction on clay courts. However, I would’ve preferred a traditional full herringbone pattern.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 13.5oz
- Good traction
- Not very supportive
The Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 4 is a very popular tennis shoe that has been used by many pros over the years, such as Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The outsole is made of Adidas’ Adiwear rubber compound and has a full herringbone tread pattern for excellent traction on the clay.
For the midsole, Lightstrike cushioning technology has been introduced for improved comfort and feel. With this new model, the Lightstrike midsole is much more responsive, enabling you to move faster on the court and change direction quicker.
The Primeknit sock-like upper has remained unchanged over the years and is the reason why these are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes out there.
I enjoyed how light these shoes felt, allowing me to move quicker on the court. The only downside is that I found the sock-like construction doesn’t provide as much support as some other clay court shoes. However, if this is not an issue for you, then the Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 4 is a great option.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 14.4oz
- Not the most comfortable
If you’re looking for exceptional support and stability that won’t disappoint, look no further than the Babolat Propulse Fury 3.
The upper has Babolat’s Power Belt technology, which locks the foot in place to prevent twisting. They’ve also included additional protection on the medial side for extra durability, as well as a Lace-in system that prevents the laces from dragging.
The EVA foam in the midsole has been increased for improved cushioning and responsiveness, allowing you to explode quicker on your lateral movements. Plus, a reinforcement plate has been added to the shank for better stability and support.
The outsole features Michelin’s premium rubber in a full herringbone pattern for incredible durability and traction on the clay.
However, I found that these shoes weren’t the most comfortable. If you prioritize comfort, you may want to look elsewhere.
Price: $$$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 14.2oz
- Good durability
- Good stability
- Lots of traction
The Adidas Barricade is a popular tennis shoe that has been around for quite some time, first being released back in 2000.
The outsole features Adiwear rubber which is known for its impressive durability. This has been constructed in a full herringbone tread to maximize traction on the clay courts.
Adidas included an asymmetric lacing system for stability, as well as a hidden laces system on the medial side of the shoe to keep the laces from snapping. This is a feature I love as I always break the laces on my shoes. Furthermore, Adidas has added extra durability in high-wear areas to ensure these shoes last you a long time.
For the midsole, Bounce 2.0 technology has been added so you stay feeling comfortable during those long matches. They’ve also increased stability in the midfoot shank to help with lateral movements.
Price: $$ | Size: True | Width: Wide | Arch: Low | Weight: 13oz
- Comfortable to wear
- Lacks durability
- Not the most supportive
The K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 is ideal for players who have wider feet and are looking for a comfortable shoe that can cater to their needs.
The outsole features Aosta 7.0 rubber in a full herringbone tread pattern for great grip on the clay.
In the midsole, K-Swiss has added Surgelite material for excellent comfort and shock absorption. Plus, this material is extremely light, helping you move faster on the court. A midfoot shank has also been included for extra stability.
The upper is made of a combination of synthetic materials and mesh. When combined with the DuraWrap Flex technology, which makes the shoe more flexible, the Hypercourt Express 2 is extremely comfortable to wear.
However, I found that the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 does lack protection meaning they aren’t the most durable pair of shoes.
Here are some of the most common questions on the web related to the best clay-court tennis shoes.
My pick for the best tennis shoe for clay is the Asics Gel Resolution 9 (Clay Edition).
They provide an excellent balance of comfort and stability, as well as great durability, which is important if you’re spending long hours on the court.
If you’re looking for a more lightweight option to help you move faster, you may want to consider the Yonex Sonicage 3 (Clay Edition) or the K-Swiss Hypercourt Express 2 (Clay Edition).
Clay is a unique surface that requires specifically designed shoes for optimal performance.
Most clay court shoes will have a full herringbone tread pattern, which helps with traction on a clay court by preventing clay from getting stuck in the outsole.
You’ll find that you can move better on the clay with clay court tennis shoes.
You can play with all-court shoes on the clay, however, you won’t get as much grip as shoes designed specifically for the surface.
The right pair of clay court tennis shoes can make all the difference in your performance on the court. Whether you prioritize grip, durability, or comfort, there are numerous options available to meet your needs.
We’ve highlighted some of the best clay court tennis shoes currently on the market, but ultimately, the best shoe for you will depend on your individual preferences and playing style.
By taking the time to research and invest in a high-quality pair of clay court shoes, you can improve your game and enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable playing experience on this unique surface.
So, now it’s time to get out there and see the difference that the right pair of clay court tennis shoes can make!