Can You Wear Leggings to Tennis?

girl in leggings was standing at the tennis nets

In 2020, more than 20 million people in the US decided to play some tennis. However, many amateur tennis players aren’t aware of the dress codes associated with this sport. This can lead to ruined clothing and embarrassing situations, especially for those that wear leggings. 

Tennis players can wear a pair of leggings beneath their skirt, dress, or shorts when playing in cold weather. Athletic leggings are durable enough to withstand the fast-paced sport. Some tennis courts impose specific dress codes, and players should reference these when selecting tennis attire. 

Tennis is a fast-paced, highly aerobic sport, and players need to keep this in mind when choosing their tennis clothing. While leggings during tennis might be appropriate in some cases, they could also be a faux pas. This article will explore both instances to help you answer the question: Can you wear leggings to tennis? 

Do Leggings Affect Athletic Performance?

One of the first questions that tennis players should ask themselves is: Is my clothing hindering or helping my athletic performance? If you’re not sure about the answer, you may want to take a critical look at your current tennis attire. 

The best tennis clothing allows players to move quickly and easily, and it isn’t restrictive or heavy. So, playing tennis while wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a loose t-shirt can hinder your performance. 

But what about leggings? Can these pants-like clothes slow you down? 

Leggings do not affect athletic performance. They are lightweight and won’t overly restrict your movement. That said, the primary issues surrounding leggings don’t have anything to do with restricted movement. Instead, the more significant problems tend to be durability and appropriateness

Are Leggings Durable Enough for Tennis?

Your average pair of leggings is bound to be made of thin, breathable material. This makes leggings an excellent choice for fitness enthusiasts, but it does come with a few drawbacks. 

Some leggings can quickly fall apart after extended athletic activity. 

Many of the types of leggings you’ll find in the casual section of a woman’s clothing department cannot withstand that fast-paced nature of a tennis match. They rip at the seams or develop holes in high-stress areas. 

girl in leggings in a park on the tennis grounds holds a tennis racket

However, there are a handful of leggings that can endure aerobic activities like tennis. Compression leggings and athletic leggings are both made of thicker materials and feature more robust stitching. 

These leggings could be a smart option for tennis players looking to keep their legs covered during matches. That said, compression leggings may feel too restrictive for some. These garments are designed to increase circulation, and they typically fit tightly around the legs and hips. 

Players looking for the most lightweight and durable tennis-appropriate type of leggings may want to invest in athletic leggings. These tend to feature superior stretch and durability and aren’t nearly as restrictive as compression leggings. 

Are Leggings Appropriate for Tennis Clothing?

Leggings are often thin and slightly sheer pants-like clothing that goes over a person’s underwear but beneath their pants or skirts. However, they’re usually worn without secondary layers. 

While this look might be appropriate for a yoga class or a trip to the gym, it might not be suitable for tennis. 

Leggings on their own aren’t considered appropriate attire for tennis. When worn beneath a skirt, dress, or pair of shorts, leggings may be allowed. This is especially true of players living in cold locations or practicing during the winter season. 

If you tend to play tennis on an indoor court, you may also choose to add leggings beneath your tennis shorts or skirt. After all, these areas are typically air-conditioned and can get quite cool to combat the body heat of the players. 

What Clothing Is Best for Tennis?

The best clothing for tennis often varies depending on the type of weather. As you might expect, shorter and lighter clothing is the preferred option during warm, sunny weather. But thicker, more protective clothing is the natural choice in cold weather environments. 

Consequently, we’ve divided the best tennis attire into two distinct categories based on temperature. That way, you can dress for success no matter the weather.

Warm-Weather Tennis Clothing

Those looking to hit the courts during warm summer weather can choose from a wide array of clothing options. 

Some of the essential warm-weather clothing for tennis players are: 

  • Cotton polo shirts 
  • Tennis tank tops 
  • Y-tank tops 
  • Breathable shorts 
  • Tennis skirts 
  • Skorts 
  • Tennis dresses 
  • Cotton socks 
  • Visors 
  • Hats 
  • Tennis shoes 
  • Wristbands 
  • Headbands 
  • Sunglasses 

Remember, staying cool and protected from UV rays is one of the most significant challenges of playing tennis during the summertime. As such, players may want to invest in clothing with UV protection or that features improved breathability. 

For example, this short-sleeved Men’s UV Protection Shirt is an appropriate option for most tennis courts. It’s lightweight enough to make for comfortable wearing, even in sweltering temperatures. 

This top also offers 50+ UPF protection, one of the highest levels of UV protection available. 

Of course, women can also enjoy breathable tennis tops that offer additional protection from the sun’s harsh UV rays. The BALEAF Women’s Sleeveless Golf Tennis Shirt is a prime example of a tennis tank that does just that. It comes in several court-appropriate colors and offers extra stretch, making it an excellent choice for fast-paced activities like tennis. 

Cold-Weather Tennis Clothing

Tennis players looking to get a few matches in during the winter season will want to dress appropriately for the colder weather. This means wearing long-sleeved shirts, jackets, and sweatpants. 

woman in sports leggings holds a bottle of water

Players can also choose to wear a pair of leggings beneath their regular tennis shorts or skirt. However, this option is only appropriate for mildly cool weather. Those playing in snowy conditions should always incorporate layering techniques and longer articles of clothing. 

For example, tennis players in colder climates may want to wear a long-sleeved shirt beneath a zipped jacket. They can also wear a thick pair of leggings beneath sweatpants to help insulate body heat and stay warm

Some of the best tennis attire for cold weather conditions include: 

  • Long-sleeved shirts 
  • Jackets 
  • Sweaters 
  • Leggings 
  • Sweatpants 
  • Cotton socks 
  • Tennis shoes 
  • Headbands 

Is There a Dress Code for Tennis?

There is an unofficial dress code for tennis. It’s unofficial because precise dress code rules are enforced by the courts, not by any single organization or official tennis league. Additionally, many of these tennis courts employ vague language to describe their dress code. 

It’s common for players to be told to wear “suitable” tennis attire. Naturally, this terminology leaves a lot of room for discrepancy. As such, a good rule of thumb for players is to do as others are doing. 

If you’re visiting a new court, take a quick moment to scout out the outfits of other players. More often than not, imitating the look of a court’s current players can help you avoid any flack from the court owners or fellow players. 

Naturally, you could also ask your chosen court to provide examples of appropriate tennis attire. You can also ask direct questions like, “Do players at this court need to wear white?” These kinds of inquiries are bound to help you select the perfect tennis ensemble. 


Tennis players can wear leggings when playing outdoors in cold weather or indoors in an air-conditioned environment. However, some leggings may be too thin to withstand athletic activities. 

Players wanting to wear leggings during a tennis match may want to consider choosing athletic leggings. These may improve circulation, particularly in the lower half of the body. 

Tennis dresses, skirts, and shorts are appropriate for warmer weather. Lightweight cotton shirts or breathable nylon tops are also proper forms of tennis wear. Tennis courts may also pose specific dress codes, so it’s crucial to confer with court owners before playing.

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