Clay courts are the second most popular surfaces after hard courts, and the popularity of such a gritty surface will only continue to rise, especially among players who enjoy physically demanding surfaces.
Therefore, as discussed in our article debating whether a player should wear different shoes on different courts, we came to the conclusion that it is not only advantageous to wear appropriate shoes on appropriate surfaces but sometimes often crucial, which is why we will be looking at the seven tennis shoes that are best for clay courts in 2021.
First, however, it’s vital to outline exactly the features of the surface and what type of shoe is best for the surface.
Surface Features of Clay Courts
As stated before, clay is the most physically demanding of all the three courts.
The court is a loose one, with most clay courts made from either stone, shale, or brick. Because of this, clay particles are known to regularly get stuck in between the shoe’s treads. This can make players lose their grip on the court and fall, making this an important consideration when looking for shoes for which to play on the surface.
It, however, has some great advantages, such as slowing the ball and offering greater bounces.
Best Types of Shoes for Clay
When searching for clay court shoes, typically try to heed to the following:
Search for shoes that will offer ample support and stability.
The right amount of traction is necessary to conquering clay. The best outsoles for these types of courts often offer a superior grip; the shoe must therefore be made with a treaded herringbone zig-zag pattern on the outer sole which will gift a player the necessary sturdy grip.
This design is purposeful, as it will help to stop clay particles from accumulating on the outsoles of the shoes, thus helping a player from slipping or sliding.
Additionally, clay shoes should also have a tighter knit upper. This prevents the clay particles from entering one’s shoes.
Tennis Shoes Best for Clay Courts in 2021
With all that in mind, these are the 7 best tennis shoes for clay courts that we recommend which are sure to help you glide on the court:
1. Adidas SoleCourt Boost Clay Court Shoe
Often sported by players like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Angelique Kerber, this clay-court specific shoe should be a great option, one that is bound to meet the gritty demands of clay.
It is perfectly designed to guarantee maximum stability in a sleek package. On the outsole, the shoe is built with a rubber unit that’s strong enough, with a herringbone pattern that will give you a good grip on the surface. The outer sole is also highly durable and will be certain to put off any signs of wear, guaranteeing players a significant time of usage on the clay courts.
- Great underfoot cushioning that offers added underfoot comfort.
- Its durability will guarantee a long lifespan.
- Its soft upper does not restrict any movement on the court.
- It has a stylish design.
- Might be a bit too expensive.
- The collar might dig into the ankle bone for some players.
Check for Adidas SoleCourt Boost Clay Court Shoe Estimated Price with Amazon.
2. ASICS Men’s Gel-Challenger 12 Clay Tennis Shoes
This shoe is actually one of the bestselling clay-specific shoes. Designed by Asics, one of the most popular fashion sports brands, the shoe combines a unique design and clay-specific elements to create a product that will help you glide on the court in style.
The treaded outsole is combined with the Asics High Abrasion Rubber unit, which is placed in areas that are prone to abrasion such as the edges of the heels, ensuring a great grip on the court. The company’s trademarked SOLYTE midsole also provides a lightweight cushioning experience. This will not only aid in a player’s comfort but offer excellent bounce-back as well.
- The shoe is light in weight.
- The shoe’s fabric upper makes it breathable.
- SOLYTE offers Great underfoot cushioning.
- The shoe is affordable and is a great alternative to the Asics Gel Resolutions.
- The durability of the sole material is questionable.
Check for ASICS Men’s Gel-Challenger 12 Clay Tennis Shoes Estimated Price with Amazon.
3. ASICS Court FF Clay Court Shoes
Another shoe from the stylish ASICS brand, this shoe is ideal for players searching for an all-in-one package that offers rapid acceleration, resistance against early wear, and lateral stability.
The shoe has also been redeveloped with 17-time Grand Slam Champion, Novak Djokovic, to form the Court FF 2.0.
The upper of the shoe is made from Kunststoff, which is a synthetic material that not only gives comfort but makes the shoe flexible enough to move around the court with. The midsole, created with Flytefoam, also implements the famous Asics Gel capsules.
This helps the shoe to have a soft midsole, offer ample cushioning, and have an effective method of distributing a player’s energy.
The outsole of the shoe helps in lateral stability, even when a player has moments of highly intense motion.
- Easy to put on and wear, and has a comfortable fit.
- Light in weight.
- Laterally steady, minimizing any type of rollover.
- Might be on the more expensive side for some buyers, especially the Court FF 2.0 version.
- Some users have complained of thin laces.
Check for ASICS Court FF Clay Court Shoes Estimated Price with Amazon
4. Yonex Power Cushion Sonicage 2
This brand of shoe offers the ultimate comfort in a compact and light package. It is the second generation of the Power Sonicage, and it comes with some great updated perks that make it suitable for the clay-court enthusiast.
On the outsole is a pinpoint pattern that maximizes gripping for optimal slides. Its upper is reinforced with a double raschel mesh, which provides greater breathability in addition to being a lightweight alternative.
Its midsole is created with Power Cushion+, a trademark of the company, which guarantees a great shock reduction and stability at the same time.
- The shoe is light and comfortable.
- The shoe has great cushioning.
- Unique colors and designs.
Difficult to find in some areas of the world as opposed to other brands.
Check for Yonex Power Cushion Sonicage 2 Estimated Price with Amazon.
5. Adidas Ubersonic 3 Clay Tennis Shoes
Next up is a shoe from Adidas Adizero, the company’s flagship for lightweight shoes, made specifically for clay courts. The shoe comes in at around 400 grams, which will be sure to give players a spring in their step as they glide on the court.
The outsole is made with a durable Adiwear 6 base and features a deep herringbone tread specifically designed for clay surfaces. The pattern quickly dislodges any particles that may get stuck within the shoe’s treads, ensuring that players have the right amount of traction to slide on the court.
Its upper is composed of a lightweight net mesh intended to promote breathability, and a specified Dyneema yarn—which is durable— is interwoven into the textile fibers ensuring that the shoe handles the pressure and is capable of providing stability during movements in multiple directions.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Its upper is very breathable because of its net mesh.
- Great stability despite it being very lightweight.
- It has high durability and flexibility.
- Has a tight entryway for some users.
- Its roomy toe box might cause extra toe movements.
Check for Adidas Ubersonic 3 Clay Tennis Shoes Estimated Price with Amazon.
6. Nike Air Zoom Vapor X Clay
This is another lightweight shoe in this category. The Nike Air Zoom Vapor X, which is also referred to as Vapor 10 Clay, comes in at a mere 390 grams.
It features Nike’s Dynamic Fit system, giving players a perfectly-fitting feel. The upper has synthetics interwoven with mesh in a lightweight package that gifts breathability and comfort in addition to its perfect fit.
Its outsole has a full herringbone pattern that has enhanced traction around the outsole’s perimeter which helps players confidently glide knowing that they will have a strong foothold at all times.
It’s a great all-round shoe and is worn by pros such as recent 2020 ATP Finals winner Daniil Medvedev.
- Extremely light. This helps players zoom quickly in the courts.
- Great stability.
- Great cushioning and fit, especially around the heel.
- Offers the perfect traction on clay courts.
- Low durability.
- Some users complain of the shoe’s short laces.
Check for Nike Air Zoom Vapor X Clay Estimated Price with Amazon.
7. NikeCourt Air Max Wildcard
This all-court shoe is a great choice, especially for female players, although it can be a great choice for male players as well. It is an attempt by Nike to offer a minimal design and package great-performance value simultaneously.
Its outsole has a distinct tread design that stretches at its medial section; a key construction that aims to prevent or prolong any marks of abrasion when players rapidly change their directions.
The midsole has a lunarlon foam padding— one that is lightweight and soft—which intends to create reactive cushioning to a player’s movements.
- The shoe has great lateral support.
- The cushioning is great.
- It is an all-court option.
- It is fairly priced.
- Ample break-in time may be required.
- The upper is a bit restrictive and it also doesn’t give great ventilation.
Check for NikeCourt Air Max Wildcard Estimated Price with Amazon.
Final Thoughts on Best Clay Court Shoes
Though there is a range of other options available, these are our picks for the seven Tennis Shoes Best for Clay Courts in 2021. We included a distinct range, from price to performance, which is sure to cover the needs of any person looking for shoes to play on clay courts with.
Therefore, the next time you’re planning to play a clay court, grab yourself a clay-specific shoe from this list, or one that incorporates the above elements, and watch yourself glide seamlessly and dominate your opponents on the court.