The Prince Warrior ($109) is an aptly named shoe. As we said in the 2014 shoe guide that ran in the May/June issue of Tennis Magazine, it’s like putting a suit of armor on your feet as you go do battle on the court. It’s in that category of shoe, like the Adidas Barricade, Asics Gel Solution, and Babolat Propulse, that’s a little on the heavy side, but makes up for it by being incredibly stable. And volume players will also appreciate its six-month outsole warranty.
However, when we reviewed the Warrior, we were unable to get it tested for women. So to cover our bases we sent a sample pair to one of our racquet testers, Paula Smith. Paula played on the WTA tour for 12 years in late 1970s and through the 1980s, reaching the Top 50 in singles and Top 10 in doubles. Since retiring she has coached other pro players, and worked with juniors privately and through the USTA developmental programs in the Los Angeles area. Here are her impressions of the Warrior:
Paula Smith: I really like the look of these shoes and they fit my feet rather well. The outer sole felt sturdy and gripped well on the hard courts. It has a firm feel to it, but it didn’t take long to break in and get comfortable on my feet. There is quite a nice cushion, especially in the heel, which I really appreciate. Most importantly, after a week of steady play, the outsole showed almost no wear.
The upper is relatively light and cushy and didn’t sit heavy on the top of my foot. It has good protection on the tip, which will help with durability, especially for toe-draggers. The plastic side supports (4foot Wrap), which also goes through the lacing, locks your foot in the shoe. It kept my feet stable on side-to-side movement, positioning my foot directly on the sole rather than rolling over the edge. I think this is a hugely important characteristic for a dependable performance shoe.
The one problem I had with the Warrior was the left shoe rubbed my ankle bone to the point that it broke skin. My right ankle was fine, so it could simply be a manufacturing problem with that particular shoe—maybe the tongue was a little shorter. Or it could be my ankles aren’t exactly the same, and the way this shoe is designed doesn’t suit my left one. I tried different socks and lacing the shoe tighter and loser, but nothing solved the problem.
Which was a shame, because other than that issue, I thought the Warrior was a great shoe. It had everything I generally look for in an all-round performer that can work on hard courts as well as clay. As long as the shoe sits right on your foot—no rubbing by the ankle—and, like me, you prefer a sturdy shoe, this Warrior is worth bringing to the fight.
To buy or learn more about this shoe, go to: