While perhaps not always top of mind when it comes to high-performance models, my recent encounters with Diadora shoes rarely disappoint in terms of comfort. And the new Speed Blushield AG certainly continues that trend. When I first stepped into the shoe, I immediately exhaled “ahhh,” thanks to the softness of the sockliner and the incredibly plush cushioning. The molded EVA midsole and Blushield technology in the forefoot is on the thinner side, which allows for more court feel, but at the expense of even more potential comfort. So, while a perfect 10 out of 10 when standing, it drops to a more than acceptable 9 out of 10 during play.
Thanks to the shoe’s excellent flexibility it felt great right out of the box. The Air Mesh/PU upper is on par with the top brands in terms of pliability; it feels very light on foot, while the overall shoe weight plays slightly heavier. The length runs true to size, the arch support is moderate, with the cut in the toebox being medium to slightly wide. The fit is a little wide for my foot, so there is some bunching when the laces are pulled tight, and a little movement inside the shoe on hard lateral stops.
The softness of the upper extends to the top of the heel collar, which I found to fold over too easily when putting the shoes on. Without that heel lock, I did encounter some slippage and movement within the shoe when running forward. However, the wider shape of the forefoot erased all fear of rolling over on lateral cuts. The low to the ground profile also promoted quick changes of direction. Ultimately, I felt pretty agile in the shoe.
My feet run pretty hot, so breathability is always an important characteristic. I found the open mesh at the toebox to provide good ventilation, and Diadora did a respectable job breaking up the PU upper with numerous perforations (though I think they could have been slightly bigger).
Overall, I really liked the Speed Blushield. The comfort features—both the cushioning and the softness of the upper—are superb. Highly aggressive movers may not find it tough enough, but those with less demanding playing styles that are looking for a low profile, fast-feeling shoe with a wider fit in the forefoot—not to mention coaches (like me) who want something they can wear all day—will certainly like this shoe.
Mitch Case tests racquets, shoes and strings for Tennis Magazine and tennis.com. He is also the tennis director at Woodridge Lake in Goshen, CT, a PTR professional, and a USRSA-certified master technician.