Successful clay court tennis players must have shoes designed for the surface to play the way they want. This will allow them to not only slide around and get everything on the court, but there’s the ability to have grip and change direction with relative ease.
Getting clay court shoes will make a world of difference for players who have never experienced them before. What are the seven best clay tennis court shoes currently on the market?
While most of the top brands offer clay court soles in the same shoes as hard court options, the colorways are limited. This means less variety when looking for a choice that fits a particular look.
1. Adidas Barricade Clay
The Adidas Barricade Clay is an excellent option for players wanting ultimate durability and stability out of a shoe. The Barricade has always been around providing great value, and it’s no different with this latest version.
Using a new lacing system that locks a foot down, players can feel confident moving around on the clay.
There’s a GeoFit system in the heel that keeps everything in place. They also put in extra cushioning with Bounce technology so that players feel comfortable on the court.
Built like a tank, Barricades have always been great for those who seem to go through shoes quickly. They’re not indestructible, but they have extra protection in all the high-wear areas.
It’s worth spending a little bit of extra money upfront on shoes like these as a way to play the game confidently.
- Very durable
- Bounce midsole provides great cushioning
- Locked-in feel
- Lacing system feels a little confusing for some
2. Adidas Ubersonic 4
This lightweight, affordable performance shoe from Adidas is loved by a lot of players. It comes in a herringbone pattern that is perfect for clay court play, giving tennis players a chance to slide around and dictate points the way they hope.
Known as Lightstrike cushioning, Adidas has made this the most comfortable Ubersonic shoe yet. It’s also pretty breathable with the primeknit sock that surrounds the foot. Coming in a few different colors, players should give it a try.
The only true negative of the shoe is that it’s not built for people who have a lower arch. The arch for the shoe is pretty high, which causes discomfort for players not used to that type of setup.
- Excellent locked-in feel
- Lightstrike cushioning works well
- Arch is higher than average
- Not the most durable shoe
3. Babolat Jet Tere
An affordable clay court shoe that performs as well as some of the best options out there is the Babolat Jet Tere. It seems pretty basic when first looking at the shoe, but it offers outstanding breathability and a lot of comfort.
Babolat is now using the technology called KPRS-X that helps with shock absorption. Players will feel very comfortable when moving around the court.
Durability will never be a concern with any Babolat shoe, especially on clay. They use Michelin rubber for the outsole, and the herringbone pattern works as it should. There’s not too much of the shoe, which gives it a minimalist look that some players enjoy.
Getting the right fit seems to be the biggest challenge with the Babolat Jet Tere. It is a short shoe overall compared to the size.
People should order at least half a size larger than what they normally get. In some cases, people got up a full size. Keep that in mind when ordering online, and the shoe will be a good value overall.
- Very breathable
- Comfortable with added shock absorption
- Durable outsole
- Sizing is tricky when ordering online
- Narrow width
4. Yonex Eclipsion 4
Yonex seems to be updating their shoes more and more with new releases. Even though they usually are the most well-known shoe brand, the Eclipsion 4 is gaining a lot of positive reviews.
They’ve made updates that improve support, flexibility, and power compared to the Eclipsion 3.
One of the biggest complaints with the Eclipsion 3 is the lack of flexibility as the shoe moved around with a player attempting different shots.
Not only would it not move as well as other shoes, but the support started to fall off as well. They’ve fixed this problem and made a much better shoe overall.
A hidden value of this shoe is that it does a great job of staying clean. Some other shoes, even those built for clay, don’t always have clay that comes off the sole easily. There’s very little maintenance necessary to keep them clean and perform at a high level.
- Improved support
- Added flexibility
- Easy to keep clean compared to other clay shoes
- Take a little bit of breaking in time
- Could use a bit more protection on the toe area
5. Nike React Vapor NXT
The top Nike shoe choice right now is the Nike React Vapor NXT. Coming in a lot of different colorways, the company also produces a clay version that performs very well.
Those who have aggressive movement on the court can feel locked in and move around the way they want.
It’s a pretty heavy shoe at 15.8 ounces, but it doesn’t feel as heavy on foot. This is great news for clay court players who still want to have plenty of speed. Not only do they get to move around fast, but the durability is there that they don’t need to be replaced too often.
Finding the clay court version in the United States and some other countries is a little bit difficult. However, those in Europe have been flocking to this option to play the way they want.
- Very durable
- Multiple colorway options
- Locked-in feel
- Hard to find the clay court version in the United States
6. ASICS Gel Resolution 8
The ASICS Gel Resolution 8 has received great reviews on all surfaces. The clay version provides the same type of close to the court feel that so many love. It has a form-fitting setup so that the players never feel like they are losing their footing whatsoever.
It takes a little bit of time to break the shoe in, but once that’s over, it’s hard to find a better shoe that molds to a player’s foot. There’s a torque control feature in the heel counter, keeping everything locked in so the players can use the quickness to their best ability.
As expected, the ASICS Gel Resolution 8 works exactly as it should. This is a comfortable shoe that is built specifically for the clay court. There’s even the patented cushioning people expect, as the Gel Technology from ASICS works exactly as it should.
This is a comfortable shoe that is built specifically for the clay court. Also included is a Pguard toe protector that helps with traction and cuts down on wear and tear.
- Form-fitting all around
- Gel technology provides outstanding cushioning
- Protection around the toe increases the life of the shoe
- Take some time to break in
- People with narrow feet might not love them
7. Head Sprint Pro 3.5
There are a few different Head options available for clay court play, but the Sprint Pro 3.5 gets the nod. It’s built for speed, allowing for very athletic players to move around the court with ease.
There’s still a good amount of protection and support around the ankle so that a player feels stable going for all different types of shots.
All outsoles are going to perform pretty well on clay court, but this one does a particularly great job of staying durable. They use a Hybrasion+ special rubber compound so that it performs well for a long time.
- Only 13 ounces
- Easy to slide into shots
- Solid ankle support
- Limited colors
- Breathability could be a little bit better
Difference Between Clay and Hard Court Tennis Shoes
About the only difference between a clay court and hard court tennis shoe is the outsole.
A clay court shoe has a herringbone tread pattern, while hard court shoes offer a variety of options built more for durability. A herringbone pattern provides a zig zag tread that offers a solid grip while also allowing people to slide into shots.
A herringbone pattern can also be constant throughout the shoe so that there’s one flat surface to make contact with the clay. With a hard court shoe, there might be a cut-out in the middle of the sole that offers a bit more flexibility.
The only other difference might be in the forefoot area. Some shoes will have mesh there, but clay can easily seep through and become an issue. That’s when adding stronger materials in the forefoot might make a difference.
Do Clay Court Shoes Matter?
Clay court shoes aren’t necessary for tennis players. There are some all-court shoes out there that work well enough, and players of a certain level won’t notice that much of a difference.
However, there’s a reason why a lot of tennis players who take the game seriously have different shoes for different surfaces. It’s going to provide much greater footing that can help a player excel on clay. They know exactly how to handle clay, and there won’t be any caked-on leftover clay getting in the way.
Clay court shoes can technically be played with on hard courts in a pinch, but they will wear down faster than hard court shoes. It’s better to have at least one pair of shoes for each surface.