With its fast-paced and unpredictable nature, grass court tennis demands a particular set of skills, and one crucial element that can make all the difference is the right pair of tennis shoes.
While all tennis shoes share a common goal of providing comfort, stability, and support, grass court tennis shoes take things a step further. They are designed to tackle the unique challenges posed by the slippery, low-bouncing grass surface, enabling players to move quickly and effortlessly while maintaining their balance and agility.
In this article, we take a look at the best grass court tennis shoes, exploring the essential qualities that make them stand out on the lush green surface.
When it comes to playing tennis on grass courts, having the right footwear is very important.
Grass courts are known for their fast and slippery nature, which makes maintaining traction quite challenging. Grass court tennis shoes are specially designed to provide optimal grip on this surface.
They feature specific outsole patterns, typically with smaller, more closely spaced studs or pimples, which penetrate the grass and provide better traction. This superior grip enables players to make quick lateral movements, explosive sprints, and sharp turns with confidence, reducing the risk of slipping and sliding.
Furthermore, grass courts can be unforgiving on the joints. This is why they are engineered to offer excellent stability and support to reduce the risk of ankle twists or other injuries. They often feature reinforced heel counters and midfoot shanks that provide additional stability during quick direction changes and sudden stops.
The enhanced support not only helps prevent injuries but also aids in maintaining proper foot alignment for efficient movement on the court.
However, it’s worth noting that it can be difficult to find grass court shoes as it is not a very common surface to play on. This means that manufacturers don’t produce many, especially during the winter.
But don’t worry, if you weren’t fortunate enough to buy any tennis shoes with specialized, grass court outsoles, there are still plenty of fantastic all-court options available.
When looking for the perfect grass court tennis shoes, there are several key factors to consider.
A proper fit is crucial when choosing grass court tennis shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort and blisters, which will hinder your performance on the court. Look for shoes that provide a snug yet comfortable fit, with enough room for your toes to move freely.
Consider trying on different sizes and brands to find the one that matches the shape of your feet best. Remember to take into account any specific foot conditions or requirements you may have, such as high arches or wide feet.
Stability is crucial on grass courts to prevent injuries and maintain balance during quick movements. You’ll find that most grass court tennis shoes feature more support to help with changing direction on the slippery surface.
Look for shoes with features that enhance stability, such as reinforced heel counters and midfoot support. These provide a secure fit and help prevent excessive rolling or twisting of the ankles.
Furthermore, consider shoes with lateral support structures or technologies that help with performing lateral movements or sudden direction changes.
Grass courts, although softer than hard courts, still require adequate cushioning to absorb the impact forces generated during play.
Look for tennis shoes with responsive cushioning in the midsole. This feature helps reduce the strain on your feet, ankles, and knees, providing optimal comfort and preventing potential injuries.
The weight of your tennis shoes can significantly impact your agility and speed on the grass court. Grass court shoes are generally heavier than other types of tennis shoes because they require more support.
However, there are a number of lightweight options that offer a good balance between support and agility. Lighter shoes enable faster movements and quick acceleration, allowing you to react quicker to shots and make agile directional changes.
If you’re buying a lightweight shoe, make sure it features the necessary support and stability needed for grass court play.
Price is an important consideration when selecting grass court tennis shoes.
While it’s tempting to opt for cheaper options, investing in high-quality shoes is a wise decision for long-term performance and durability. Consider your budget and prioritize finding shoes that offer a good balance between quality and affordability.
Remember that high-quality tennis shoes designed for grass courts tend to have specialized features and materials, which contribute to their higher price.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Low | Weight: 15.3oz
- Grass-specialized outsole
- Very supportive
- Good durability
- Responsive feel
- Quite heavy
The K-Swiss Ultrashot 3 is my pick for the best grass court tennis shoe in 2023.
The upper features DuraMesh and No Sew Slideguard technology that provides excellent comfort and durability. I also found it to be very supportive, which is vital on a grass court as it is a lot harder to change direction.
For the Midsole, K-Swiss added their Surge 7.0 cushioning which is found in a wide range of their tennis shoes. It is very comfortable underfoot and provides you with a responsive feel, helping you perform quicker and more explosive movements.
However, the outsole is the Ultrashot 3’s finest feature. It has a Dragguard 7.0 rubber outsole that is formed into small pimples to offer the perfect blend between durability and traction on the grass.
As the only grass-specialized shoe on this list, I found that it provided me with an unrivaled grip on the slick grass surface.
It doesn’t get much better than the K-Swiss Ultrashot 3.
Price: $$$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Low | Weight: 15.5oz
- Lots of grip
- Easy to change direction
- Good stability
- No grass-specialized outsole
Released in 2023, the Nike Zoom Vapor 11 is a great grass court tennis shoe.
While it doesn’t feature a grass-specialized outsole, I found that the data-informed outsole still provided excellent grip that enabled me to change direction with ease. It also features thicker tread in high-wear areas which is great if you’re planning on using these on hard courts as well.
The upper is made of a durable mesh that provides great support and ventilation. You’ll mostly be playing on grass courts in the summer so having a shoe that is breathable is essential.
Nike has included a Zoom Air unit in the midsole which helps make your movements more powerful. I also found that it was quite comfy underfoot, allowing me to play for long periods of time without my feet tiring.
However, these shoes are on the heavier side which may hinder your movement speed.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 15.0oz
- Extremely supportive
- Comfortable to wear
- Very good traction
- Not the best ventilation
- Doesn’t have a grass-specialized outsole
Asics make some excellent tennis shoes, and it is no different when it comes to the Gel Resolution 9.
The upper has a Flexion Fit design which is made in a checkerboard pattern to provide plenty of support. I also found it was very flexible, which made for a comfortable experience and allowed me to move easily.
For the midsole, Asics has included FlyteFoam and GEL cushioning technology for an extremely responsive and comfortable feel. They’ve also added extra support in the heel which I found helpful when I had to make sudden stops.
One thing I was very impressed by was the outsole. The modified herringbone tread pattern provided me with the necessary grip needed for the grass, enabling me to move with confidence.
However, the downside is that these shoes didn’t have the best ventilation due to the Flexion Fit upper which didn’t offer much room for breathability. If that’s not an issue for you, then the Asics Gel Resolution 9 is definitely worth considering.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Medium | Arch: Medium | Weight: 14.2oz
- Excellent stability
- Very durable
- Easy to change direction
- Good grip
- Not the most comfortable
- No grass-specialized outsole
The Adidas Barricade is widely regarded as an excellent grass court tennis shoe, with both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon wearing them.
The outsole features a unique Herringbone Reload tread design which helped me change direction a lot quicker. It is also made out of ADIWEAR rubber that is very durable.
Adidas has included their Bounce 2.0 technology in the midsole, paired with a Torsion System TPU midfoot shank, providing a great combination of comfort and support.
But my favorite part has to be the upper. The Barricade features an asymmetrical lacing system that locks your foot in place and prevents any unwanted twisting. Extra support has also been added on either side of the shoe to help with lateral movements. The Adidas Barricade has to be one of the most supportive shoes I’ve worn which is why I have included it on this list.
I would’ve liked this shoe to be a bit more comfortable but this is a compromise you have to make for a supportive tennis shoe.
Price: $$$ | Size: True | Width: Wide | Arch: Medium | Weight: 12.9oz
- Very comfortable
- Excellent traction
- Not very supportive
- No grass-specialized outsole
If you’re looking for a lightweight, grass court tennis shoe, then look no further than the New Balance 996 v5.
Thanks to the lightweight NDure rubber featured in the upper, this shoe weighs only 12.9oz. This helped me move swiftly, which is beneficial for a grass court. Plus, I did actually find the upper to be quite supportive.
New Balance has included their FuelCell technology in the midsole for a soft cushioning underfoot, which helps with long periods out on the court.
The outsole is made of NDurance rubber that has been molded in a multi-directional tread pattern to provide superb grip on the grass. New Balance has also included a durability guarantee that enables you to get a free pair of these shoes if you wear out the outsole in under 6 months. However, it’s going to be hard to wear them out if you’re only playing on grass courts.
While I was impressed by the level of support with the 996s, I would have liked more for someone playing on grass. That being said, this is still a great pair of tennis shoes that I’d recommend to anyone looking to get into grass court tennis.
Here are some of the internet’s most asked questions related to the best grass court tennis shoes.
Yes, you can use hard court shoes on a grass court.
But, they won’t provide as good a grip as tennis shoes designed for grass courts. This is because hard court shoes are specifically designed with outsoles that provide optimal traction on hard court surfaces, which have more friction.
However, you may have difficulty finding grass court tennis shoes as it isn’t a very popular surface. If this is the case, I’d recommend getting hard court shoes that provide plenty of grip and support.
The main difference between hard court and grass court shoes is the traction and outsole.
Hard court shoes feature a more durable outsole with a herringbone or modified herringbone pattern. This pattern provides excellent traction on hard court surfaces, allowing players to make quick lateral movements while maintaining grip.
On the other hand, grass court shoes have outsoles with smaller, more closely spaced studs or pimples. These patterns are specifically designed to penetrate the grass surface and provide the best grip possible on the slippery grass court.
The studs or pimples also prevent excessive sliding and ensure stability during quick movements on the grass.
Generally, grass courts are a lot faster than hard courts.
The unique nature of grass, which is typically slicker, allows the ball to skid and slide off the surface more quickly. This characteristic results in a lower bounce and faster ball movement.
The fast-paced nature of grass courts demands quick reflexes and agile footwork from players as they have less time to react to shots and need to cover the court efficiently.
With Wimbledon just around the corner, there is no better time to buy yourself a new pair of grass court tennis shoes.
I hope this article has given you some options to choose from, as well as information on how to choose the best pair for you.
Now get on your whites and hit the grass courts!