With different tennis courts come different challenges. That’s why shoe manufacturers produce a wide array of tennis shoes that are tailored to meet the specific requirements of each surface. Understanding those criteria will help you make a better, more informed decision the next time you head out to shop for a new pair of tennis shoes. As the clay season is in full swing and we’re waiting for the French Open with bated breath, let’s discuss the difficulties that clay courts pose and the shoes that will help you tackle them best.
Clay courts don’t offer the best traction; it’s important that the outsole gives you a firm grip so you can have greater stability as you slide to hit those shots. Clay-specific outsoles feature an all-over herringbone pattern (similar to a zigzag pattern) so quick changes in direction are easier. The design ensures that the clay doesn’t get lodged into the outsole, or if it does, it’s easily released with a few taps of your racquet.
You will also need good lateral support to smoothly slide sideways and prevent injuries as you do so. Many players tend to play at baseline because of the slow conditions on clay, relying heavily on sliding side-to-side to play their shots. This is also why clay-court shoes feature durable sides so the shoe isn’t damaged easily.These shoes often come equipped with a tighter upper than other shoes; it prevents the loose clay particles from entering your shoe during play and gives you a tight, secure fit for better stability.
One thing that I always look for in a good clay-court shoe is a darker color. Darker colors help conceal the stains better than lighter colors, which can start looking dirty after only a couple of games.
It’s important to remember that clay-court shoes typically do not come with an outsole warranty. Because of the soft texture of the surface, clay courts are easier on the shoes so they don’t wear out as quickly.
Here are our top six shoes that will offer you the best performance on clay and allow you to better battle the surface (and your opponent):
They’re lightweight, durable and come with a six-month outsole warranty. The full-bootie construction wraps around your midfoot for a perfect, custom fit, making these shoes an ideal option to get the superior stability that a clay court requires. The Nike XDR Rubber in the outsole is designed for greater traction. As an all-court shoe, it transitions well to hard courts too. Rafael Nadal wore the Zoom Cage 3 to the Monte Carlo Masters, so you know they’re the real deal.
With increased support, responsiveness, and stability, these shoes check all the clay-court requirement boxes. The six-month outsole warranty is an added bonus!
From the official Roland Garros collection for 2018, these shoes boast AdiTUFF technology to protect the shoe against foot drag during lateral movements, and the AdiWEAR 6 outsole for enhanced durability.
Babolat partnered with tire manufacturer Michelin to create the Michelin Performance outsole that gives you optimal traction and maximum durability for lateral movement.
These shoes promise extra durability in the high-wear areas and added stability during lateral movement to help you play your best. The soft green and dark black act as a perfect foil for the bold and shiny brown, giving you a design that looks as good as it plays. As with the Nike Zoom Cage 3, this all-court shoe transitions well to hard courts too.
Its Duratech 5000 outsole will allow you optimum traction and high-wear resistance. Improved ventilation and greater comfort enhance its appeal while the vibrant, fluorescent colors allow for a striking look.
These shoes will give you everything you need to perfect your game on the clay court. Get these at Tennis Express for an exciting and fulfilling clay experience!
For More Shoes
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