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While basketball and tennis shoes share some similarities, they are designed to meet the unique demands of their respective sports. Choosing the right footwear can significantly impact performance, comfort, and injury prevention.
Quick Answer: The best basketball shoes for tennis in 2023 are “Nike Air Jordan One Take 4.”
While it’s not recommended to use basketball shoes for tennis, some basketball shoes have features that make them perfect for tennis.
Yes, basketball and tennis shoes share similar attributes and design features in their DNA, but just how similar? We’re breaking down our top 5 starting roster in the best performance basketball shoes for tennis category.
The Nike Air Jordan Take One 4 top our list at the 1 spot but will they hold up under pressure and take the trophy?
Let’s find out.
Best Basketball Shoes For Tennis – A Comparison Table
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How We Reviewed
To bring you the most thorough, well-researched series of reviewed basketball shoes for tennis, I made it my mission to play-test these basketball shoes on tennis courts and from both the expected and unexpected functions you’ll be executing in a given tennis match.
I’m a pro basketball player, but tennis is my hobby, and creating this review guide was not only a responsible but also a quite pleasant job. Here’s how me and our team did it:
- Invested 18 hours of research into the best products, that included reading buyer feedback and reviews for tennis shoes.
- Dived deep into the features that pro tennis players look after when buying tennis shoes.
- Over 35 products were considered based on stability, traction, ankle and heel support, durability, cushioning, price, and look, among other factors
- I personally tested our top 5 picks, judging performance and court feel while playing tennis.
- Consulted a certified podiatrist and avid tennis players at both the recreational and semi-pro levels.
The Top Basketball Shoes For Tennis Reviewed
- Size: M 7.5—14
- Ankle: Low-Top
- Highlight: Herringbone, multi-surface traction pattern offers you a bite that's reliable and strong on any court surface, no matter the conditions for outdoor play.
The 4's take everything you love about Jordan hoop shoes and transposes it to tennis, with state-of-the-art, premium material construction, top-loaded, springy Zoom Air engineering, a slick, low-profile with a snug lockdown lace-closure, and, to top it all off: deeply woven, dependable herringbone traction.
- Optimal, multi-surface traction coverage with herringbone pattern
- Ripstop with synthetic leather and mesh upper makes for a durable yet breathable performance
- Lockdown lace closure for a snug, secure fit with interior slippage
- Top-loaded Zoom Air unit offers brings explosive responsiveness closer to the mechanics of your strides
- Low profile allows a freer, more mobile ankle unit for maintaining your top speed
- Lacking in the cushioning department
I am a big fan of the Air Jordan brand, and I’ve been owning these kicks for 2 months now. I have played several tennis games in them and despite that their break-in period is a bit long, their performance is quite impressive. The sneakers are inspired by Los Angeles Clippers’ star Russel Westbrook and his latest signature model.
The Take One 4’s boast a multi-surface traction coverage pattern designed with herringbone infused into a deeply woven outsole.
Herringbone optimizes your traction during clay court tennis matches because it’s designed to maintain a higher tread width and height reaction force when it comes to the loading and push-off phases of movement. To maintain that explosive, athletic force, these basketball shoes for tennis are the way to go.
Meanwhile, the top-loaded Zoom Air Unit takes that explosiveness up a notch with supportive, stable engineering that goes hand in hand with the mechanics of the strides you’re expected to take across the court and at top speed; the low profile ankle gives you a freer, mobile ankle unit.
Fit Like A glove
The lockdown lace closure offers a snug, secure fit that doesn’t leave room for the interior slippage that could throw you off balance or lead to general discomfort.
When I trialed the 4’s, the fit was true to size and molded to individual foot shapes over time, bringing you a tailored-to-you, premium feel.
What’s more, you can bank on the integrity of your shoes for tennis and their durability for many rallies to come; the ripstop with synthetic leather and mesh upper makes your materials sturdy and long-lasting while also allowing for a breathable, comfy fit.
The only thing I disliked was the cushioning. While that could be an issue while playing basketball, luckily tennis is a sport that doesn’t require shoes with top-notch cushion.
- Size: US M 7.5—16
- Ankle: Low-Top
- Highlight: Zoom Bag unit offers protection through the shoe's heel from lasting impact while also top-loading your heel-to-toe transitioning for smooth, effortless footwork.
Ball like Bron, but play tennis, the Lebron 20's sport the heavy-duty, impressive specs you've come to love from the G.O.A.T's signature shoes; the 20's feature top-of-the-line impact protection, grippy traction, multi-dimensional mesh overlays, a top-loaded Zoom Bag, all while maintaining a prosumer look and feel.
- Airy upper with multi-dimensional mesh overlays
- Top-loaded forefoot Zoom Bag for smooth heel-to-toe transitioning with added support
- Superior impact protective materials with additional Zoom Bag design engineered into the shoe's heel
- Premium look and feel with metal eyelet toggled laces paired with a variety of stylish colorways
- Multi-patterned, deep traction pattern for an enhanced grippy feel
- A relatively heavy shoe when compared to other basketball sneakers doubling as tennis shoes
Being a big fan of LeBron, I’m also a big fan of his signature shoe line. I tested his last signature model while playing 2 tennis games on a clay court, and they wowed me with comfort and stability.
Breathable Speed & Mobility
The 20s sport an airy upper with multidimensional mesh overlays that, after conducting my tests, left me feeling cool and refreshed thanks to the notable, cooling airflow through the shoe tongue and upper.
And with the top-loaded forefoot Zoom Bag, you’ll notice improved, enduring mobility thanks to a smooth heel-to-toe transitioning with added support.
Tennis involves a lot of lateral and forward/backward movements, as well as quick changes of direction; having shoes with good transition will help you execute these movements with ease, allowing you to focus less on your shoes and more on the match point at hand.
I found the traction pattern on the Lebron 20s to be grippy and interact well with the clay and various debris you’ll find on outdoor tennis courts. This is thanks in part to the multi-patterned, deep treads introduced into the shoe’s sole.
Stylish & protective
You can bank on looking as good as you play; the 20s have a metal eyelet toggled lace system that pairs nicely with a variety of stylish, eye-catching colorways.
But that doesn’t mean you’re trading looks for protection; the Lebron 20’s feature a high-tech impact protective materials and with additional Zoom Bag design engineered into the shoe’s heel.
They are a bit heavy and that’s my only quibble.
- Size: M 7—16
- Ankle: Mid-Top
- Highlight: Responsive EVA midsole
The UA Jet 21s are an excellent choice of mid-top, responsive shoes that feature strategic design features that can easily be seen on the basketball court or tennis court, including a lightweight EVA midsole with a responsive feel, a plush, comfortable collar cushioning, perforated leather with added ventilation, as well as that trademark, herringbone bite pattern.
- Lightweight EVA mid-foot gives the 21s a responsive underfoot feel
- Strategic ventilation with breathable mesh overlays along the heel, tongue, and toe cap
- Strong herringbone bite along the outsole and shoe bottom
- Perforated leather makes for a durable, all-court shoe for tennis
- Narrow fit
- Lacking premium construction and not as durable as other shoes on the list
I received these shoes as a birthday gift from one of my former teammates from Messina, and since then I’ve been using them extensively. They are great for basketball and just perfect for tennis.
They fit true to size and didn’t take long to fit like a glove.
EVA Midsole With All-court durability
The EVA midsole of the Jet 21s is made of lightweight copolymer ethylene and vinyl acetate.
Maybe, but all you need to know is that the underfoot feel is both agile and responsive as you play, a noticeable stand-out feature when compared to the heavier Lebron 20s and one which I noticed when playing tennis.
Add in the herringbone traction pattern and perforated leather design, and you’re getting all-court, durable shoes built to last even the harshest playing conditions and keep you performing at your best.
Where the Jet 21s continue to stand out is in their thoughtful design, this time, with strategic ventilation along the heel, tongue, and toe cap. My findings showed some pretty first-class moisture wicking, which is crucial to staying comfortable while wearing basketball shoes for longer tennis matches.
Proper ventilation helps wick away moisture and keep the feet dry, which can prevent blisters and other foot problems, as well as regulate temperature and prevent the feet from overheating. You’ll feel more comfortable and perform better on the court as a result, just like I did. Plus, they make great referee shoes since they come in black.
These shoes are also great for playing badminton.
And if you want to see reviews for of shoes on a budget, check out my article on the top kicks below $50.
- Size: M 4—15
- Ankle: Mid-Top
- Highlight: Data-driven, high-tech traction pattern
The Adidas Harden Vol 3 Stepbacks bring you a molded TPU heel, lightweight bounce cushioning, a flexible upper with soft materials, and a data-driven computational tread pattern; high-tech, high-performance shoes intended for you to elevate your game, whether you play basketball or tennis.
- Lightweight bounce cushioning for excellent stability and dependable, flexible play
- Molded TPU heel for the perfect fit that's right for you
- Stretchy, flexible upper keeps your ankle supported without rigidly locking it into place
- Data-driven, computationally designed traction pattern fit for any playing surface
- Open-celled mesh has a bit of a cheap feel
- Not for wide feet
I have the previous model – the “Adidas Harden Stepback vol.2” and I was eager to get the next one to see if there were some improvement.
The only improvement I noticed is the better cushioning system. Other than that, it’s a fantastic budget shoe that’s suitable for tennis and casual wear.
Top Shelf Design Features
The Stepbacks have the prototypical, deeply woven traction pattern required to play on outdoor clay courts; where it stands out is in the computational outsole design.
The data-driven, computational design is derived from injection molding and features herringbone-shaped grooves, where the high contact, high abrasion areas are reinforced and strengthened to withstand high-intensity matches as well as the elements.
The Stepbacks feature the molded TPU lockdown heel that basketball players love while also making for that custom-made, broken-in feel that makes tennis and basketball shoes comfortable, secure, and with cushioning around the plantar pressures.
Meanwhile, the stretchy, flexible upper gives you the right amount of support to prevent ankle injuries without rigidly locking it in place.
I noticed that this mid-cut, paired with supportive cushioning, allows you to cut and drive while your shoe supports your engaged range of motion.
And speaking of range of motion, you’ll be making your cuts and keeping up with play faster than before with the lightweight bounce cushioning, not only keeping your mechanics speedy but supported as well.
Another thing worth mentioning is that they are not good for players with wide feet.
- Size: M 7.5—14
- Ankle: Low-Top
- Highlight: Ultralight propulsion gives you Mitchell-inspired play but from the tennis court
Playing tennis in the sneaks basketball players love; meet the D.O.N Issue #4's, with light, textile lining and breathable fabrics, LIGHTLOCKING upper, data-driven, specialty traction, light strike tech, and all in ice-cold colorways with the specialty SPIDA logo trademarked to Donovan Mitchell.
- Unique LIGHTLOCK upper brings you a lightweight upper lockdown feel
- Textile lining makes the D.O.N's breathable and among the lighter shoes for tennis
- Data-driven, computationally designed traction that generates traction where you need it most
- Ultralight light strike propulsion for explosive power with controlled recovery
- A bit tight within the toe box (run a half size bigger)
Again, I own the previous model and since I was happy with it, I decided to get the newest edition and check its performance. Plus they were below $150 so quite in my budget.
I played 3 tennis games in these kicks. Here are my findings.
The D.O.N’s unique LIGHTLOCK upper engineering brings you a competitive, upper lockdown feel; a locked-in, stable fit without the weight of the shoe slowing you down while you play tennis.
And for fit and feel, the textile, breathable lining makes this shoe even lighter when playing tennis.
My testing revealed that the 347-gram weight made a noticeable dent in my top speed capacity, while also reducing the muscle fatigue associated with playing with heavier tennis shoes. Not bad for a pair of kicks under $200.
Back to light tech, the light strike propulsion materials make for explosive power with a more controlled, harnessed recovery; the recovery really impressed me in the field, as anyone can keep up with the next swing, but being able to set and return with controlled accuracy is another battle entirely.
Ice Cold Traction
Like the Stepback Vol. 3’s, the D.O.N’S are engineered using a data-driven, computational design pattern. That said, the D.O.N’S stand alone in their smart design that allows your rubber outsole to generate and pick up traction where and when required.
Sporting a unique “traction pattern disruptor” on the outsole, the D.O.Ns provide an additional layer of grip by breaking up the uniform pattern of the herringbone grooves.
The disruptor helps to create more surface area for the shoe to grip the court, enhancing your overall traction.
Choosing The Best Basketball Shoes For Tennis
Now that we’ve rounded off our top picks list, let’s take a closer look at playing tennis in these basketball sneakers and how to choose basketball shoes that are right for your tennis game.
The bottom line is that low-tops are best suitable for tennis because they are the lightest.
Here’s a full breakdown.
- High-Top Basketball Shoes—the hardest to play tennis in because of restricted ankle mobility, heavier, cumbersome weight, and a general lack of moisture wicking.
- Mid-Top Basketball Shoes—the middle ground between high and low cuts, where tennis players will notice improved impact protection that doesn’t limit their mobility while not being as flexible, agile, and emphatic on speed and safe route changes as low profile basketball shoes.
- Low-Top Basketball Shoes—considered the best basketball shoe for tennis based on excellent mobility, lightweight design, plush comfort that maintains its flex, and better ventilation that has you performing at your best for longer matches.
To choose basketball shoes or other athletic shoes designed for your local tennis court, your shoes should have a supportive and well-cushioned midsole that provides a stable base for your foot.
Additionally, the upper part of the shoe should be made of a supportive material that keeps your foot secure and stable during lateral movements and quick changes of direction.
Your tennis shoes should be stable enough to provide support and prevent your feet from rolling over or twisting during quick movements and changes of direction while playing tennis.
Lockdown lace closure like the one present on the “Nike Air Jordan One Take 4” offer an adjustable, tailored fit that’s the perfect size for your individual foot and allows for playing tennis in the most supported, stable way. Stability is something you want in your shoes if you also suffer from bad knees.
Heavier shoes, like the LeBron 20s, when compared to lighter shoes like the UA Jet 21s, will impact your fatigue level and, thereby, leave you more susceptible to injury due to muscle strain.
Look for shoes that are designed to be light and high-performing; tennis sneakers and basketball sneakers at their best should be comprised of lightweight, breathable materials to reduce fatigue; keep an eye out for EVA, polyurethanes, or various thermoplastics.
A good example of a basketball shoe that develops these materials further is the UA Jet 21’s or the Harden Stepback Vol. 3s.
Basketball sneakers maintain some of the best traction within the athletic sneakers world; the sole of your basketball sneakers should be made of a durable material that provides optimal traction through deeply woven threads or herringbone.
For shoes like the Adidas D.O.N Issue #4’s, our findings showed impressive, real-time traction adjustments that were made automatically through the shoe’s outsole and the advent of the “traction pattern disruptor.”
Needless to say, you need proper traction when playing tennis as well.
To play basketball, your basketball shoes need a protective layer of shock-absorbing materials/cushioning in order to safely redirect and dissipate any stressful impact on the joints and feet.
Unlike basketball, however, tennis involves more lateral movements, quick stops, and starts, as well as changes in direction, rather than continuous jumping and running.
As a result, shock absorption in tennis shoes focuses more on providing stability and support for the foot rather than cushioning impact forces.
If you’re playing tennis but, let’s say, are rehabbing an injury and require a little more care and shock absorption, we’d recommend the LeBron 20s.
The 20s are designed with superior impact protection in mind, thanks to an additional Zoom Bag in the shoe’s heel.
The best basketball shoe for tennis players should feature mesh overlays or otherwise breathable materials that allow for a decent amount of airflow and moisture wicking while playing tennis.
Basketball shoes tend to feature moisture-wicking liners, anti-microbial treatments, and improved ventilation systems in order to keep the foot dry and comfortable while also reducing the risk of bacteria buildup, slippage, or overall discomfort.
The “Nike Air Jordan One Take 4” stand out in the breathability category not just for their mesh upper design but also the RipStop materials, making for a durable, long-lasting shoe that keeps you comfortable and the high-intensity fun from stopping.
The Importance Of Tennis Court Type
When considering tennis court type, your shoe’s durable materials and the textiles used in construction will make the right tennis shoe last match after match.
- Outsole— look for shoes with a durable outsole made of a tough rubber compound that can withstand wear and tear over time.
- Traction—outdoor tennis courts may have different surface textures, such as clay, grass, or hardcourt/hardwood, so it’s important to choose basketball shoes with a sole designed for the specific surface you will be playing on.
- Breathable Upper—indoor courts can verge a little on the humid side; shoes with a breathable upper made of mesh or other breathable materials can help keep your feet cool and dry.
- Support/Cushioning—playing on hardwood courts can put extra stress on your feet, so look for shoes with good support and cushioning, especially in the midsole. EVA foam or PU foam cushioning can help absorb shock and provide comfort, while a reinforced toe cap can help protect your toes.
Tennis Vs Basketball Shoes: What’s The Difference?
Different Key Features
- Game Mechanics—tennis shoes tend to focus on supporting lateral side-to-side movements and explosive forward and backward routes; this is where you’ll see a flatter sole when compared to basketball shoes. Basketball shoes, on the other hand, need solid impact protection from the inherent, consistent jumping; this game mechanic usually gives basketball shoes a thicker, more cushioned sole
- Ankle Type—tennis shoes notably feature a mid, verging on low profile. Basketball players require more ankle support to protect and support the joint, especially in high-traffic areas where contact can be found.
- Cushioning—basketball shoes generally have thicker, more responsive cushioning in the midsole to provide shock absorption and to support the high-impact movements involved in basketball. On the other hand, tennis shoes typically have thinner cushioning that provides more stability and support for quick, lateral movements.
- Weight—tennis shoes feature soles and uppers that rely on lightweight materials in order to optimize speed; most basketball shoes are designed with heavier materials to support the lateral balance players rely on when landing their layups and jump patterns.
Basketball shoes are largely not recommended for tennis, as they are designed for different types of movements and don’t provide the same level of support and traction needed for tennis. Tennis shoes have features specifically tailored to the sport and its unique demands. That said, for hoopers on a budget looking for multi-purpose shoes—or if you’re playing tennis more recreationally—consider our top picks list as the best options to match the demands of the sport.
You can use basketball shoes for table tennis. While basketball shoes are not specifically designed for table tennis, they may be suitable to wear as long as they provide excellent traction, support, and flexibility. However, if you are serious about table tennis, it’s recommended to wear shoes specifically designed for the sport.
A tennis shoe can be considered a basketball shoe when it offers you support for the high-impact, quick mechanics of basketball, with features such as ankle support, cushioning, or a hardened, sturdy sole with deep grooves and traction-bearing threads. A basketball shoe is usually more restrictive at the ankle than tennis shoes, though that may not be the case depending on your play style (i.e., Curry’s or the Nike Kyrie line).
Yes, you can play tennis in Jordans. While it’s possible to play tennis in Jordans, it may not be the best choice of footwear for the sport. Jordan’s are designed for a different set of movements and may not provide the adequate support needed for playing tennis and the mechanics therein.
The tennis player who wears Jordan is Nick Kyrgios. In 2022, Kyrgios violated Wimbledon’s dress code by wearing the Air Jordan 1 Low in “Cardinal” Red/Gold. When asked why he didn’t wear the enforced, all-white attire during a post-match interview, he responded, “because I do what I want. I just like wearing my Jordans.”
Jordans aren’t typically referred to as tennis shoes because they aren’t designed specifically for tennis. The term “tennis shoe” usually refers to footwear designed specifically for tennis players to play the sport, with features such as a durable outsole, lightweight midsole, thinner cushioning, and a design that is intended to support the overall mechanics of the game.