15 best tennis clothing
Gear up for tennis season with the best garments designed for the game
The grass tennis court season is well and truly under way and with only a few days to go before the start of the one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in the UK we take a look at some of the best tennis gear available for the court this season.
Comfort and breathability are two of the biggest factors when choosing tennis gear, so we looked for garments that not only looked good but performed well, too, while taking into account the different types of material used by brands.
Although at Wimbledon the club rules state that whites must be worn, this is really the exception, as most tennis gear is made in a choice of light or bright colours. All the garments on our list are tennis specific but you could certainly use them for other sports or even for casual wear.
1. New Balance Tournament Henley Tee: £45, New Balance
This slim-fitting tee from the American brand is a head-turner. Made from a breathable stretch fabric, you get good ventilation when moving across court. The fit is true to size. We like the fact that the ribbed collar really is a little different from the traditional tennis polo shirts and the snap closures are a handy addition as you can open the shirt quickly if you are too warm. Lightweight, well-ventilated with a lovely shape, this is a winner – and comes in two blue colours.
2. Bjorn Borg Palmer Tee: £25, Bjorn Borg
Sometimes the most beautiful designs can be the most simple. This is the case with the Palmer tee. It has a crew neck with Borg lettering on the sleeves. We love the range of six bright colours it comes in, perfect for a summer on court. It is made from the softest material designed to keep you dry and comfortable while in action. It is body hugging but never restrictive in any way.
3. Australian L’Alpina Technical Sport Polo: £38, Australian L’Alpina
Australian L’Alpina has a great range of tennis clothing available in cool colours and designs. This is an eye catching garment that will complement any tennis outfit. The Italian-based design team has really worked hard to make this tee classic and contemporary. With a relaxed fit and button fastening on the collar, this garment really fits well. There are several colour schemes available, and it’s versatile enough to wear casually.
4. Adidas Stella Mc Cartney Barricade Tennis Dress: £39.98, Adidas
From Stella McCartney’s collection for Adidas, this is made from a thin, lightweight material that will keep you cool and wick moisture away from your body. Our tester loved the pleated skirt. It does come up short, but you get a pair of shorts in the garment as a result. You also get plenty of support from the built-in bra and the racer back straps, as well as the mesh underarm panels for breathability. It gets bonus points for sustainability as it’s made from recycled polyester, and is available in small to large, but unfortunately only in the white and charcoal colour combination. Watch out for Garbiñe Muguruza in this one at Wimbledon.
5. Slazenger Baseline Tennis Dress: £19, Sports Direct
Slazenger is a company synonymous with Wimbledon and the two brands currently share the longest commercial partnership in sporting history. The V-neck top is supportive and the design features a racer back complimented with a contrasting pleated skirt and matching shorts. In our play tests we found this dress supportive and comfortable, though it doesn’t offer as much support as the Barricade dress, but. With sun protection and moisture-wicking technology, it’s an elegant and practical buy for summer sessions, available in sizes 6 to 14.
6. New Balance Brunton Heather Dress: £80, New Balance
This dress will be worn by Britain’s Heather Watson at this year’s Wimbledon Championship. You certainly won’t miss her on court thanks to its eye-catching watercolour-inspired print. We tested this during a really warm spell and found the woven fabric to be really breathable; it has an athletic cut but it isn’t too tight to restrict movement. We love the keyhole detail on the back too. The dress has built in support but would benefit from shorts underneath as the side split is quite high, and comes in sizes XS to XL.
7. Australian L’Alpina Tennis Short: £69, Australian L’Alpina
The Australian tennis men’s shorts are made from cotton and are fastened with a buttoned elasticated waist. They are roomy with large pockets, and the choice of cotton material makes them feel just a little different to the others we tried during our test. Cotton is a more traditional material to the common sporty choice of polyester (which was used for the vast majority of garments we tried) and means these shorts are designed to last.
8. Head Performance Short: £44.99, Head
This is a premium part of men’s shorts with a thick elastic waistband that makes them extremely comfortable to wear. They are made from a fairly thin, lightweight material with breathable panels for warm days. On court this material does not restrict in any way. If you want a quality pair of shorts with the latest technologies, these are worth a look, especially as there are three colours to choose from.
9. Adidas Club Shorts: £32.95, Adidas
These are made with Adidas’ climacool material, a vented, moisture wicking technology designed to keep you comfortable in warm weather. The material is very lightweight and soft with a mesh section that was comfortable and breathable on court. Interestingly these men’s shorts are the only pair to offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun’s harmful rays and are cut just right; not too baggy or too tight, and come in four different colours.
10. Bjorn Borg Nastase Jacket: £42, Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg is a legend of the game, a former world number one famous for his battles with the notorious John McEnroe, and his legend lives on in his tennis style. This lightweight polyester jacket is the perfect companion for warming up before a big match or for cooling down afterwards. Flat lock seams make it really comfortable even with the dynamic movements of a tennis warm-up, and the zipped pockets are useful for holding balls, too.
11. Australian Technical Tracksuit: £87.50, Australian L’Alpina
We fell in love with the retro-style Australian Tracksuit. It is a timeless classic and looks great, while the lightweight jacket top is loose fitting and perfect for a warm-up as it easily peeled off when you get too warm. The set comes in two colours, and this tracksuit would definitely work off court.
12. Slazenger Baseline Jacket: £15.99, Sports Direct
This zip-up jacked has a granddad style collar, ribbed hem for improved fit and two zipped pockets to the front. It comes in several colour options and is available in both male and female sizing. The relaxed fit is very comfortable on court and we found this ideal for a warm up during the play tests on court. The material has UPF 50+ protection which protects from the sun but it’s equally thick that it could keep you snug on a cooler day. Due to the weight of the material used, you warm up a little quicker in this jacket compared to the others, too.
13. Buff Pack Light Visor: £20, Cotswold Outdoor
OK, this isn’t a classic piece of tennis sportswear but it deserves a place on this list as it is a clever piece of kit that acts as a sweat band and visor in one. The visor material absorbs sweat and is combined with Buff’s UV protective material. We loved the cool range of six colours and the fact this has so many uses, though it does only come in one size. It’s not expressly designed for tennis but it will fold up to a fist and fit in your racket bag without taking up any space.
14. Nike Swoosh Tennis Wrist Bands: £5.00, Pro Direct Tennis
These great looking wristbands are comfortable, soft and very absorbent. They are so lightweight you hardly notice wearing them when you’re playing. An essential piece of kit for any racket bag, keep you and your grip dry and comfortable on court. With a nice range of colours you are bound to find one that works with your style.
15. Wilson Crew Tennis Socks: £12.95, Tennis Point
Tennis socks are usually the last thing tennis players think about when they hit the courts but given the fast-paced nature of the game we put our feet through an awful lot. These men’s socks are a very thick but have breathable panels, making them a comfortable choice. They provide good instep and heel support and we think they are worth every penny. Available in white or black.
The Verdict: Tennis clothing
The New Balance Brunton Heather dress proved to be our favourite piece in this category. Aside from looking gorgeous it is lightweight and stretchy. Standing out from the crowd is the Australian L’Alpina t-shirt with its classic styling and colours. We selected the Head Performance shorts as our top choice in the shorts category as the thick waistband and soft breathable material make these shorts so comfortable. The Slazenger Baseline warm-up jacket stands out as a versatile top which can be used in all seasons, and the price makes it great value for money. Without doubt the Buff Pack Light Visor was our favourite accessory, however. A sweat band, visor and bandana in one? Every racket bag should have one.
Peter Fryer is the editor of lovetennisblog.com
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