Calling the Babolat Jet Mach II a lightweight shoe is a little like calling King Kong an ape. Sure, it’s accurate, but not quite the whole story. The original Jet set a new standard in terms of marrying minimal weight with high performance. And as quick and responsive as that shoe was, the Mach II aims to raise the bar by being even lighter and faster.
Just like its predecessor, the fit of the Mach II remains rather narrow to enhance the streamlined silhouette of the shoe. It also runs a little short, so it’s definite try-on before purchase. The shape agreed with my foot—I didn’t find it uncomfortable or incur any pressure points—but if the previous model was too snug, this one will not change your mind. The tighter squeeze may also deter using a thick or two-play sock set-up as breathability could be compromised, resulting in hot/sweaty feet in warm conditions.
The Matryx 2.0 one-piece upper of the shoe is constructed with woven Kevlar and polyamide fibers with zero elasticity to provide stability on lateral movement without adding bulk. It has been reinforced in the Mach II with four rigid monofilament straps—constituting the “Stability Arch” system—to toughen the sidewalls for increased support on the sharpest cuts. The formula continues to work, as I had no issues moving quickly and responsively in any direction. Yes, there are probably more secure shoes available, but ounce-for-ounce there aren’t many better than the Jet.
Shock absorption and cushioning come courtesy of the KPRS-X system in the midfoot. It’s an EVA pad strategically shaped and placed to better protect the heel and foot at impact. It worked well, but I wouldn’t categorize the padding as plush or abundant. As with the original, I noticed this most around the forefoot, where the cushioning felt on the thin side. Again, it’s a trade-off between the softer ride of even other lightweight models, and the quickness and responsiveness of the Jet.
The Michelin DIN 20 compound on the outsole has increased abrasion resistance and more durability than the DIN 35 of the previous generation. Even without an outsole warranty, this will please hard-courters, who should be the primary audience for this model of the Jet. The geometric studs on the outsole are designed for stability and traction during aggressive movements, and it performed best on hard surfaces. It was suitable for a well-maintained clay court, but didn’t have enough grip for slipperier conditions. Fortunately, there’s a clay outsole version for players who frequent the dirt.
And anyone who prefers lightweight shoes with an emphasis on speed and agility for competition, should consider the new Mach II. The franchise continues to successfully refine its minimalist approach to high performance support. The narrow fit and frugal padding will most likely be turn-offs for players who seek a roomy cut and plush cushioning. But those who like to fly around the court should strap on a pair of these Jets.