Release Date: February, 2013
Facts: A familiar friend supports the sole of Babolat's new shoe. The Propulse 4’s new Michelin OCS2 high-abrasion outsole is based on rally racing tires built by brand partner Michelin—the image of the distinctive Michelin Man even appears on the heel and toe. The new lateral stability system, which Babolat calls “the true core of the shoe,” provides support and stability.
Aiming to create a more dynamic shoe, Babolat also installed Side 2 Side technology beneath the forefoot, which is designed to further improve lateral movement and help restore balance. Footbelt technology locks the foot in the shoe to enhance stability and help minimize the risk of rolling an ankle.
Men’s sizes are 6-13 and 14; the women’s shoe is available in sizes 5.5-10.5. The men’s Propulse 4 comes in yellow/black and white/blue; the women’s model is available in pink. (Click each colorway to see large, high-resolution images.) A men's size 8.5 weighs 15.2 oz. The shoe comes with a six-month outsole limited durability warranty. There is also a junior model, the Propulse 4 All Court Jr., which retails for $64.95, and is available in sizes 13.5-3.5 and 4-7 (6.5 and 7 are new sizes; last year the junior shoes were only available in sizes 13.5-3.5 and 4-6).
Impressions: This is a performance shoe that can take the pounding your feet dish out on all surfaces. Babolat says it developed the Propulse 4 in close consultation with Andy Roddick (see his signature near the heel), and like the American's serve, the shoe demands attention. The Propulse 4’s name comes from the shoes’ aim to assist forefoot propulsion, and indeed, it places a premium on aiding explosive movements and sudden change of direction.
This is a sturdy shoe bolstered by Babolat’s leading technologies and built on a durable outsole, providing gripping traction on all surfaces. The cell shield, installed on high stress areas of the shoe to minimize effects of abrasion, provides ventilation and comfort. Strong players who beat up shoes during the course of play should appreciate the traction, stability, and durability the Propulse 4 provides.
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