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What is a clay court tennis shoe?

Clay court tennis is sometimes described as a sport within a sport. If you're going to master playing on clay - a surface which is most popular in Europe and South America - you're first going to have to master how to move on clay. That means having the right shoes for the surface, which are specifically designed for running and sliding across the clay granules and dust and will also give you the support and stability you need.

As the ball bounces more slowly on a clay court than on other surfaces, the rallies tend to be longer, so you're going to want shoes that allow you to move with confidence. All the leading players on the ATP and WTA Tours wear clay court shoes when they are on the surface.


What is the difference between clay court and hard-court tennis shoes?

The biggest difference is on the outsole - clay court tennis shoes tend to have a herringbone tread pattern. While that pattern gives you the grip and stability you need, it also encourages the clay to come loose. When you're sliding for a ball, clay can move through the herringbone pattern, which helps you to control your movement.



  • Sharp zig-zag overall herringbone tread for best grip on clay
  • It allows you to slide but gives you the grip when needed


As clay is a softer and more forgiving surface than hard courts, clay court soles are thinner and lighter, and so the soles can be more flexible and supple. Another difference is that many clay court tennis shoes have uppers made from materials that act as barriers to prevent bits of clay and dust from getting inside.




  • The highest abrasion happens in the medial forefoot and toe area.
    Therefore these parts are designed with wider bars, thicker and more rubber compound.
  • A more open tread on the lateral side give you the grip which is needed for acceleration
  • Very durable HEAD Hybrasion+ rubber compound

Can you wear clay court tennis shoes on hard courts?

This isn't recommended as the outsoles on clay court tennis shoes don't tend to be as durable as hard-court shoes and you could wear them down quickly. If you're playing a lot of tennis on both surfaces, we would suggest investing in a pair of clay court shoes and a pair of hard-court shoes.


Do you need special tennis shoes for clay courts?

You could wear hard-court tennis shoes on a clay court, though it's worth investing in a pair of clay court tennis shoes if you're going to be playing on the surface regularly. The shoes in HEAD's clay court range are designed just for this purpose, and are going to help you to play your best tennis.


Do clay courts ruin your shoes?

You only have to look at someone's tennis shoes and socks to quickly see whether they have been playing on clay. There's no doubt that playing on clay can be a messy business, often leaving a coating of dust over everything.

That's why some players prefer to wear darker socks on clay. So your shoes might be covered in clay after a long match or practice session. Too much red clay together with heat and humidity can weaken the mesh material. So it help to clean and even wash your tennis shoes on a regular base.

Your feet will appreciate the better ventilation too Should any clay get stuck in the outsole when you're on court, you can quickly remove it by tapping the soles with your racquet (you'll see top players doing this).


What is special about tennis shoes?

They are designed for a specific purpose - to help you move on a tennis court and get the most from your game. Everything about a HEAD tennis shoe - from the design to the premium materials to the advanced technologies - has been chosen to create a product that gives you the comfort, durability, support, stability and grip that you need to move on a tennis court.


What are the most comfortable tennis shoes?

HEAD's research and development team know how important comfort is to players on clay or any other surface. HEAD's tennis shoes give you the comfort you need, especially during long baseline rallies on clay.

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