Facts: Remember the days when Gustavo Kuerten romped through Roland Garros with gangly grace, wearing Diadora clothes and shoes while exuding charisma the way most players shed sweat? Kuerten cultivated one of the most colorful and coolest looks of any man in his era. Guga is in the Hall of Fame now, but his former brand is back with a new line of tennis shoes.
The red, black, and white Diadora Speed Pro is a relatively light shoe built for the agile player who places a premium on maneuverability and fast feel on court. Diadora’s double action midsole is designed to both soften shock on impact and impart increased flexibility when players push off. A unique “uni-tongue” design—the tongue is fully attached to shoe—padded heel, and off-set lacing system is built for a secure fit to prevent the feet from floating in the shoe during play. The Ortholite insole is removable; Diadora says its anti-bacterial treatment of the lining minimizes foot odor. The outsole, comprised of a Duratech 5000 compound, features deep treads providing riveting traction, with reinforced rubber strengthening high stress areas. An abrasion-resistant toe cap is added to safeguard toe draggers; the shoe is available domestically at Holabird Sports.
Impressions: The uni-tongue design created a snug, stable fit. “I've never worn a tennis shoe with this type of design and was worried that the fit might be impacted negatively,” one 4.0 male wear-tester said. “But once I slipped into the shoes, they were never loose and molded to my feet comfortably. I would recommend tying the laces tightly, though.”
The Speed AG may rouse your desire for a running rally, with its "Air Mesh" upper contributing to the shoe's light weight and breathability. Wear-testers reported no break-in time and wore the shoes on court right out of the box. Its combination of comfort and traction is a strength: This shoe provides a plush feel, but that comfort does not come at the cost of added weight. The Speed Pro AG won’t make you run faster, but it may well make your feet feel quicker on court. “It's a very light shoe, with ample ventilation,” one male wear-tester said. “You can only blame yourself if you're too slow while wearing these kicks.”