Best Tennis Clothing for Men 2023

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Neither an all-white Wimbledon ensemble nor a ’90s Agassi ’fit is compulsory when playing tennis, but why not have fun with it? Thanks to a resurgence of the sport’s popularity during the pandemic, there are more tennis clothing options than ever, from both classic and upstart brands. And while the country-club aesthetic will always loom large, many of these designs are surprisingly fun and fresh. “I think the new trend is actually a rebuke of the preppy and exclusive look,” says Nick Pachelli, photographer and author of a forthcoming book on the world’s greatest tennis courts. “It’s a quirky game that’s getting more diverse and egalitarian — I see brands tapping into that and trying to give us some functional good technical wear that has touches of that style without getting carried away.” Below, find men’s tennis clothes and accessories recommended by professional players, coaches, and other tennis obsessives.

NikeCourt Dri-FIT Advantage Men's Tennis Top

As a former professional player in Spain and current coach in Hastings-on-Hudson, Diego Freire Garcia advises looking for lightweight, stretchy, and moisture-wicking fabrics, as well as designs with “mesh panels or perforations in critical sweat-prone areas like the underarms and back.” Though he’s tested many alternatives, he says the stalwart Nike Dri-FIT tees remain the most stylish possible way to stay as cool and dry as you need to during intense matches. “Other brands like Under Armor might have similar technology,” he notes, “but Nike is just cleaner-looking than all of them.”

Lacoste Men’s Ultra-Dry Tennis Polo
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The iconic Lacoste polo shirt has kept with the times. “In terms of the big brands that you see on pro players, Lacoste are actually doing some of the coolest stuff,” Pachelli says. “Especially with incorporating the aesthetics of a younger generation.” Freire Garcia agrees that the brand always makes for a “reliable and stylish” choice due to its long history in the sport. This polo features subtle but highly breathable mesh paneling as well as flat seams to prevent rubbing and chafing.

Satisfy Running AuraLite T‑Shirt

Running brands like Satisfy and District Vision are all incredibly popular on New York City courts, says Pachelli. Tennis journalist and brand consultant Robert Cordero (who just launched VLO Chaos Tennis Club, a virtual tennis game on Fortnite) is a fan of Satisfy’s tees in particular, saying that the label’s fabrics “feel so nice, and you look good after you play — so you can roll up to brunch or dinner or even a meeting afterwards.” Our former associate editor Louis Cheslaw also went running in the brand’s artificially moth-eaten shirt over the course of a week last year and similarly praised its “soft, thick cotton.”

Jacques Base Layer T-Shirt

Jacques Flight Jacket

The clean lines of Jacques were mentioned by several stylish players I spoke with, including Cordero, who declares that the New York–based brand makes “the most beautiful pieces that you can wear on the court but also off.” It’s the kind of versatility that a city-based tennishead should consider, he says, “because after you leave McCarren or wherever, you’re going somewhere else, right?” Pachelli likes Jacques’s base layer tees, whereas Cordero favors its elegant zip jackets.

Palmes Allan Shirt

Copenhagen’s Palmes Tennis Society is one of “a number of start-ups trying to remix and rework the idea of tennis as an exclusive sport right now,” observes Cordero. “They make items that have athletic performance properties, but you can also wear them off the court.” This simple tee will gain you entry into an informal group of creative and stylish young players from around the world.

Driveway Paradise Polo (Navy)

Driveway Paradise Big League Cut Off (Tan)

The Lacoste look isn’t for everyone. For a less preppy polo, Pachelli turns to Los Angeles–based brand Driveway Paradise, which weaves its fabrics with naturally antimicrobial isatis root that’ll keep sweat smells at bay. He also likes to wear the brand’s tanks on hot summer days.

Nike Rafa Men's Dri-FIT ADV 7

Nike’s tennis shorts were mentioned by many players I spoke with, including former college tennis player and Mechalico co-founder Dane Mechali. “I personally have always been a big Nike fan for their simplicity of design,” he says. “I look for more of a streetwear aesthetic that’s inspired by the 1990s tennis uniform, which is boxy and oversized but with very short shorts.” Cordero agrees, and says that Nike’s Rafa (as in Nadal) shorts have a perfect in-seam to pull off this look. “I just like the proportion,” he says. “There’s something with tennis shorts — when they’re too long, it looks weird. I like them to be kind of like a square as opposed to a rectangle.” Freire Garcia adds that tennis shorts should also have deep pockets for stashing balls; these ones even feature a pleat that keeps balls more secure.

Sergio Tacchini Men's Varenna Short

These shorts from Sergio Tacchini, which Racquet magazine co-founder David Shaftel describes as a “classic tennis brand that’s quietly getting back in the game,” are also appealingly square-shaped.

Palmes Meshy Shorts

And Palmes Tennis Society’s meshy shorts, which sit just a little closer to the knee and come recommended by Pachelli, are frequently sold out for a reason.

Vintage Nike Challenge Court Denim Shorts Andre Agassi

If contemporary aesthetics don’t appeal, search Etsy and eBay for a vintage swoosh. “I know a lot of players obsessed with ’90s tennis clothing from the Agassi-Sampras era,” says Cordero. And needless to say, “they look cool.”

NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor AJ3

NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour Premium
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“The most popular tennis shoes are Nikes,” says Mechali. Specifically Vapors, as worn by Federer. The design was rereleased by Nike this year (“I don’t think they’ve ever rereleased a performance shoe, but the pros revolted so they brought it back,” explains Shaftel), and feels as good on the foot as it looks. “It’s low to the ground, which is really forgiving for my tendonitis,” says Cordero.

Asics Court FF 3

Asics is popular on the street right now, and you’ll find plenty of the brand’s sneakers on the grass and clay, too. Pachelli likes these Court FFs because they’re “cozy and fast.” They’re also good enough for world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, and Cordero adds that these are the shoes bought by people “who trawl the tennis comments section.”

NikeCourt Multiplier Cushioned Tennis Crew Socks (2 Pairs)

Like with shorts, Cordero and Freire Garcia say that Nike makes tennis socks of the perfect Goldilocks length. Its ankle socks fall at that sweet spot “just in between your calf and your ankle,” says Cordero, which prevents chafing or bunching while also looking more of-the-moment than a pair of no-shows. For added flair, he’ll sometimes layer two colors, so that one sock “is peaking out literally a quarter or an eighth of an inch — it’s a vibe.”

Bagel Bud Corduroy Hat

While he can’t guarantee you’ll bagel your opponent while you wear this hat — and it’s probably too hot for the summer months — Pachelli says it’ll definitely win you kudos among in-the-know New York City players. It will also help strike up conversation elsewhere: “I got a ton of comments on it when running around Europe for my book. The tennis community does love corduroy.”

Reigning Champ Ciele Bucket Hat

If you’re more of a bucket-hat guy, Shaftel likes this lightweight and breathable one.

Kith for Wilson Crescent Sweat Towel

Sports-store staple Wilson is doing “surprisingly cool stuff right now,” Shaftel says, including a thoughtful design collaboration with the Nolita dirtbags over at Kith, which Mechali says is “probably my favorite tennis-inspired functional-and-fashionable stuff that I’ve seen in a long, long time.” The Wilson x Kith hat Mechali owns has sold out, but this sweat towel is still available and would make a classy addition to anyone’s tennis bag.

Nike Swoosh Headband

Nike Swoosh Wristbands

Speaking of sweat, Cordero also likes wearing Nike’s classic swoosh headbands and bandanas — for practical reasons as much as the Agassi aesthetic. Freire Garcia says that he sees a lot of players wear the matching sweatbands, too.

Wilson Showman Leather Bag

Freire Garcia has had his eye on a resurgence of “unique and stylish tennis bags that blend functionality with fashion, making it easier to carry coaching essentials while looking good doing it.” He notes that brands like Wilson and FILA are bringing back vintage-style leather goods that have that inherent sense of “luxury and class.” This one’s high style will psych out your opponents and last a lifetime.

Tecnifibre Tour Endurance 12 Pack Tennis Bag

At a slightly more accessible price point, Shaftel likes this classic-looking bag from Tecnifibre, a ’70s-era French brand that’s owned by Lacoste.

Babolat Pure Strike Backpack

Meanwhile, Pachelli declares that he’s “sort of over big, clunky tennis bags,” and has taken to carrying his racquets in hand and putting everything else in this smaller Babolat backpack.

Reigning Champ Nalgene

The status water bottle on court at the moment is this Reigning Champ Nalgene, according to Shaftel, as well as Racquet magazine’s CEO Caitlin Thompson.

Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 Low Bridge Fit Rectangular Sunglasses

Elevated gas-station sunglasses are trending, and Oakley makes the best ones that aren’t sold at a Buc’ees off an interstate in Alabama. As Shaftel notes, this style offers tons of colorway options, “depending on how ridiculous you’re willing to look.” We think the bigger and more polarized, the better.

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