Tennis shoes differ from your average sneakers, so footwear manufacturers need to go all-out for optimization.
Nike, arguably one of the most popular and well-known footwear manufacturers, is no exception.
Join us as we discover the following with regards to Nike tennis shoes:
- The best Nike models.
- NikeCount Air Zoom GP Turbo tennis shoe review.
- What to look for when buying tennis shoes.
What Are the Best Nike Tennis Shoes?
Here are some of the best Nike tennis shoes:
- Best overall: NikeCourt Air Zoom GP Turbo.
- Runner-up: Nike Air Zoom Zero.
- Alternative to tennis shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36.
- Most padding: Air Zoom Vapor X.
The Air Zoom GP Turbos have soles for hard courts. They feature a herringbone tread pattern, which is ideally suited to the harder surface.
Such a tread pattern is also workable on clay courts, although this particular pair is only advertised and designed with hard-court intent.
The tread pattern is set into a thick and durable sole, and Nike has reinforced the toe box for durability when sliding, especially around the sides. Therefore, it’s easy to assume the same extends to the sole.
Unlike many mass-manufactured shoes, the sole isn’t glued to the upper. Instead, the Zoom Air soles and uppers attach via stitching. It’s a direct connection, with no buffer of foam stitched in between. This adds durability and ensures a responsive shoe.
Although there’s no padding along the footbed, the soles are very thick, creating a fantastic buffer between you and the ground.
On top of this, the internal foam padding ensures the shoes aren’t stiff or rub against the side of your feet. Plus, the thin layer protects your feet against impact.
This thin padding makes the shoes stand out, as many tennis shoes are focused on padding and comfort. Instead, the focus is on responsiveness, thanks to the direct sole/upper contact. You’re closer to the ground, despite the thick sole, to give your feet a real workout.
This combines well with Nike’s intention to keep your feet breathing. For this, the uppers are a translucent textile to ensure proper air circulation.
Having said that, some wearers report that breathability could be better, while others mention that the fit is difficult to get used to.
The fit is down to Nike’s Dynamic Fit system, ensuring your feet get support and feel hugged by the shoe while you play. This is vital as tennis requires so much quick footwork and lateral movement. You need the support all around the opening, not just side to side.
All in all, they’re a high-quality pair of Nike shoes made for durability and performance, with breathable support that could use improvement. But, they’re still better than many on the market in terms of breathability.
- Reinforced toe box.
- Excellent tread pattern that works on hard and clay surfaces.
- Close, stable fit.
- Hand-stitching, instead of gluing the sole to the upper.
- Breathability needs improvement.
- Complaints about the fit.
What to Look for When Buying Tennis Shoes
Tennis shoes aren’t like running, walking or even gym shoes. Tennis features movements you won’t make in most sports, like sidewards jumping and running. It’s also very hard on the feet, so basic sneakers won’t do.
With this in mind, your focus should be on these areas of the shoe:
All shoes need to be comfortable, and every Nike shoe achieves this. But, Nike tennis shoes are especially comfortable with their padding.
When you run, your feet take three times the impact of your body weight. Imagine how much more it is when jumping, especially aggressively.
You need a thick buffer between you and the ground to combat this.
Nike achieves this with large quantities of foam or cushioning, and the Air Zoom Vapor X has lots of foam padding. It’s situated around your foot, especially in the heel and in the specialized Zoom Air unit in the Vapor X’s sole.
With our top pick—the Air Zoom GP Turbo—the main source of padding is in the Turbo’s sole. It contains a Zoom Air unit, too, which is the range’s unique form of padding. But, they mainly feature a very thick sole, which can absorb shock and impact during your harshest landings.
Padding around the sides is minimal in the Turbo, but this is to aid responsiveness and stability.
When you run sideways, you could easily roll your ankle without the right support.
Most shoes feature support for back-and-forth movement when walking. Only tennis shoes take support the whole way around the collar.
A tennis shoe isn’t worth the money if it doesn’t support you laterally. Luckily, all the tennis shoes of Nike do. In general, Nike’s shoe designers are intuitive when it comes to the wearer’s needs.
Tennis shoes need to allow for optimal running and sliding without tripping. To keep you on your feet, adequate traction is of prime importance. The traction should also be optimal for the court you’re on.
Grass court footwear will need more traction due to its slippery nature. Hard-court sneakers need less traction, often featuring a simple-gripping but non-restrictive herringbone pattern.
The herringbone pattern zig-zags across the soles, providing a disruption to stop you slipping when you slide forward or back. But, as it’s a horizontal pattern, you can still slide laterally to make a shot. There’s also enough roughness to the pattern so you don’t slide too far.
Your feet will sweat along with the rest of the body, but sweaty feet can lead to a few issues:
- Shoe odor.
- Bacteria buildup.
- Slick shoes, causing injury.
Mesh uppers are best for breathability, but Nike’s Air Zoom GP Turbos’ breathability could benefit from improvement. Having said this, they’re not overly stuffy.
Some shoes have no ventilation whatsoever, trapping in the heat and moisture for hours. This is something to avoid in all athletic shoes, and all high-quality everyday shoes, if you can.
For more breathable mesh uppers, consider the Nike Zoom Zero. But, if you’re fine with less-breathable mesh, stick with the GP Turbos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to Buy Nike Tennis Shoes?
Most regular shoe and athletic footwear stores sell Nike, so ask when you enter one. You can also buy Nike’s tennis shoes from all your favorite online retailers, including Amazon.
How Much Are Nike Tennis Shoes?
Nike manufactures tennis shoes for kids and adults. The junior range averages around $50, with adult shoes starting under $100 but not yet reaching $200 as of mid-late 2020—this may change with future releases.
How Much Are Tennis Shoes?
Here’s a general ballpark of how much different tennis shoes cost:
- Nike: $50–$200.
- Adidas: $30–$200.
- ASICS: $60–200.
- New Balance: $50–$150.
Does Nike Make Tennis Racquets?
No, Nike does not make tennis racquets. Although it has differentiated into technical equipment, it focuses on footwear and clothing—the techiest thing Nike produces is athletic footwear. Because Nike avoids distractions, such as more complex sports equipment, you know all the focus is on footwear’s quality.
What Is Considered a Tennis Shoe?
Most brands selling tennis shoes will dub their product by that name. However, you can consider any athletic footwear with a rubber-like and lightweight, flexible sole as a tennis shoe. However, look out for shoes specifically marketed as tennis shoes, as they’re more likely to have the lateral support and traction you need on the court.
Nike’s Best Tennis Shoe
Nike has a vast range of tennis shoes, but the NikeCourt Air Zoom GP Turbo is our current top shoe. It nails the padding, comfort and traction while being fashionable at the same time.
There’s something for everyone in Nike’s tennis shoe range, including children. So, even if the GP Turbo isn’t for you, you’re sure to find something you like.
Know someone who plays tennis? Feel free to send them this article, or leave a comment below if you have a question.