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Lightweight Tennis Shoes for All Playing Surfaces

Tennis player lacing up white shoes sitting on tennis court

At any level, tennis is a highly technical sport that requires the right type of equipment to perform well. In recent years, lightweight tennis shoes have surged in popularity thanks to the range of benefits that they bring to players such as agility, speed, and overall comfort.

Although there are some universal tennis shoes available on the market, specific features of these modern tennis shoes now directly relate to the surface that they’re being used on. Keep reading to find out more about the different types of lightweight tennis shoes for all courts and playing levels.

Table of Contents
What are tennis shoes?
Global market value of tennis shoes
Lightweight tennis shoes for different courts

What are tennis shoes?

Tennis racquet on couch with black tennis shoes on top

There are several characteristics that tennis shoes have which differ from regular running shoes and trainers. The outsole will be made of a durable rubber material to help with traction as well as grip on all surfaces.

The midsole is designed to provide shock absorption and the upper material can be a combination of synthetic and mesh material to help provide more breathability. It’s also important to note that tennis shoes will have extra reinforcement around the toe area as well as lateral support to help prevent too much foot movement.

The most recent styles of tennis shoes are leaning towards a lightweight design which is meant to enhance both agility and speed on the court and will help to prevent early fatigue in the legs during longer training sessions and matches.

Global market value of tennis shoes

Boy swinging at ball in the air on hard tennis court

Tennis is a popular sport globally and can be played individually or as part of a team. In recent years tennis has steadily increased in terms of the number of consumers taking part in it at different levels which is largely down to the sport becoming more accessible to consumers from different income levels as well as the sport being televised more regularly.

As more shoe technologies emerged, the demand for tennis shoes that are designed for use on specific tennis courts started to increase and today there are more tennis shoes available on the market than ever before.

Man picking up ball on clay court with black shoes

In 2021 the global market value of tennis shoes reached USD 2.5 billion. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% between 2022 and 2031, that number is projected to increase to approximately USD 3.6 billion by 2031. Just like tennis clothing, tennis shoes are a vital piece of equipment regardless of playing ability so it’s important for consumers to have at least one pair that’s suitable to the type of court that they intend to play on the most.

Lightweight tennis shoes for different courts

Person wearing white tennis shoes sliding on clay court

All lightweight tennis shoes are designed with comfort, agility, and speed in mind and although one pair of tennis shoes can technically be worn on all surfaces the consumer will find it more beneficial to wear shoes that are designed for the type of surface that they intend to play on.

Google Ads shows that “lightweight tennis shoes” has an average monthly search volume of 1300. The most searches come in April at 1600 searches and between August and January searches decrease slightly by 32% but pick up again in April.

When looking at the types of tennis shows consumers are most looking to purchase, “clay court tennis shoes” comes out on top with 4400 searches per month. This is followed by “hard court tennis shoes” at 3600 searches, “grass court tennis shoes” at 1900 searches, “all court tennis shoes” at 1000 searches, and “indoor tennis shoes” at 880 searches. Keep reading to find out more about each style of lightweight tennis shoes.

Clay court tennis shoes

Woman wearing white lightweight tennis shoes on red clay court

Clay courts will have a top layer of either red or green clay which offer players a slower game but with a higher and less predictable ball bounce making them popular with players who use a lot of topspin. Clay courts can be tricky to maneuver around without proper lightweight clay court tennis shoes so there are several features that these shoes need to have to be successful on clay.

The outsole traction of clay court tennis shoes often has a zigzag or herringbone pattern which helps to provide the ultimate traction on clay as it prevents excessive sliding. These shoes are also built with durability in mind and can withstand heavy use on the harsh clay so areas such as the toes and sides will often have reinforcements to prevent wear and tear.

According to Google Ads, “clay court tennis shoes” is the most searched for between May and July with 5400 searches. Between August and January searches decreased 18% and began to increase again in April.

Man sliding on clay court wearing green lightweight tennis shoes

Although the outsole traction is designed to prevent excessive sliding, most are designed with extra sliding features in mind such as additional padding to support the foot during sliding movements. Clay courts are less harsh on the body but clay court shoes will still feature comfortable cushioning to provide shock absorption and comfort for longer periods of time.

Hard court tennis shoes

Woman lacing lightweight tennis shoes on blue hard court

Hard courts are predominantly made of concrete or a similar material and are very easy to maintain and long lasting. Although not as fast as grass courts, hard courts provide a medium speed game where the ball bounces more consistently than other surfaces.

Hard court tennis shoes are designed to take a beating since hard courts demand a lot from the footwear due to the consistently hard impact that the shoes will take. Because of this, it’s important that the lightweight hard court tennis shoes have a very sturdy and durable outsole.

A lot of cushioning is needed inside the shoe itself to allow players to bounce back easily after hitting the ball. The shoes need to be lightweight as well to allow for easy movement around the court and the addition of the tough upper material gives more stability to the player and helps to prevent ankle injuries.

According to Google Ads, “hard court tennis shoes” is the most searched for between July and October with 4400 searches. For the remainder of the year searches remained steady at 3600 per month.

Grass court tennis shoes

Tennis player bouncing ball on grass tennis court at baseline

Grass courts require a lot of maintenance and are less commonly used than other surfaces. They are made using natural grass that’s cut extremely short to allow the ball to bounce without hindrance. It’s a unique surface where the ball travels at a fast pace and stays low to the ground which requires players to have faster reflexes.

It offers a completely different feel than clay and hard courts so there are some important changes in the features of the shoes to note. Grass court tennis shoes need to have good traction on the outsole to lower the possibility of the player slipping or falling over but the outsole also has to be flat so that the shoes don’t damage the grass.

Grass courts are known for being a quick playing surface and a lot of players will use a serve and volley technique when playing so having a flexible upper is important for movement purposes. Grass courts don’t wear down the shoe as much as hard courts do so it’s less important for these lightweight tennis shoes to have a durable outsole.

According to Google Ads, “grass court tennis shoes” is the most searched for in August with 6600 searches. Searches are also high in June and July but drop off for the rest of the year due to grass courts being played on mostly in the summer months.

All court tennis shoes

Woman performing a serve on a clay court outdoors

Consumers who spend a lot of time alternating the surface that they play tennis on, or simply can’t afford to purchase multiple pairs of tennis shoes for different occasions, often turn to all court tennis shoes. These shoes are meant to be used on a variety of playing surfaces and are designed with a durable outsole as well as a mixed tread pattern that will allow the player to maintain their stability on any surface.

These shoes are perfect for non-professional tennis players but for players who want to take the game more seriously it’s recommended that they purchase lightweight tennis shoes designed for specific surfaces. Nevertheless, all court tennis shoes are very popular globally and are a top selling style of tennis shoe.

According to Google Ads, “all court tennis shoes” is the most searched for in August  and October with 1300 searches per month. For the remainder of the year searches fall between 880 and 1000 searches monthly.

Indoor tennis shoes

Woman swinging her racquet on a tennis court indoors

A large portion of indoor tennis courts are hard courts as they’re easy to maintain, but there are often clay courts or grass courts that are covered in the wintertime to allow indoor play. Although carpet courts aren’t found as frequently as they used to be, they are still an important type of surface to consider. They’re made of an artificial surface such as textile or synthetic materials that allow for longevity and the ball bounces similar to grass courts.

Depending on the surface being played on most outdoor lightweight tennis shoes will work perfectly indoors but if the consumer is predominantly playing indoors then they may want to look into a specific type of shoe.

The big difference is that indoor tennis shoes will have a completely smooth outsole compared to outdoor ones and the sole of the shoe tends to be a neutral color as well. This design is meant to prevent marking the court and is similar to the sole used for badminton or table tennis shoes.

According to Google Ads, “indoor tennis shoes” is the most searched for between October and December with 1000 searches per month. Between August and January searches increased 18% due to players spending more time indoors in the winter months.


Man sitting on green hard court wearing lightweight tennis shoes

To the naked eye tennis shoes may look similar to one another, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Tennis shoes carry a number of important features that regular running shoes don’t have and they are designed with durability, stability, and agility in mind.

Before the consumer picks which shoes are right for them, they must first take into account the playing surface that they’ll be used on such as hard court, clay, grass, carpet, or indoor. All court tennis shoes are an option as well for consumers who will constantly be changing the playing surface.

As tennis continues to grow in popularity around the world, and with new shoe technologies emerging, lightweight tennis shoes are expected to only increase in demand as consumers look to purchase the best tennis gear for their game.

Some of the top sports brands have started to produce tennis shoe lines that incorporate recycled materials into the design as well which will be something to look out for in the future as sustainable clothing and footwear enters the spotlight even more.

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