Toughness and durability are not traits commonly associated with lightweight, speed shoes, but that’s exactly what you get from the Head Sprint SF. This men's only addition to the Sprint line is made with SuperFabric on the upper—an abrasion resistant, snakeskin looking material that lowers the weight while upping the resiliency. In fact, Head is so confident in the sturdiness of the Sprint SF, it’s offering an unusual introductory 3-month upper guarantee. Any pair bought between now and the end of the year that develops a hole on the SuperFabric under normal playing conditions will be replaced free of charge.
But a guarantee isn’t worth much if it’s insuring shoddy merchandise. Fortunately, the Sprint SF meets the standards of a high-performance model that’s built for speed and competition. The shoe has an overall feel of serious equipment. The fit is snug and secure, without a great deal of wiggle room to spread your toes. If you like thick, or two-ply socks—or have wide feet—get ready for a tight squeeze. Unlike the classic tongue design of the Sprint Pro, the SF has a full sock, bootie construction, which hugs the foot and adds to the fast feel of the shoe. However, it doesn’t offer a great deal of padding, certainly when compared to a plusher tongue setup. After one particularly hard workout I noticed that the wrapped lacing system caused some tenderness on the top of my foot.
The upshot of less material is that my 11.5 checked in at 13.7 oz., more than an ounce lighter than the Sprint Pro, which is far from a heavy shoe. Along with the low-to-the-ground midsole construction and minimal heel-to-toe drop, it made the SF model super quick and responsive around the court. Like a racecar, the shoe kept a strong connection with the track. The anti-torsion shank underfoot added to the security when making sharp cuts and changes of directions.
The hybrid outsole is adaptable to all surfaces. It has open treads in areas to promote traction on clay, and denser, thicker zones to better withstand hard courts. I never incurred noticeable footing issues, or felt unsure of my movements. Adding to the durability, the outsole comes with a 6-month guarantee.
While fast, stable and supportive, the one knock I had on the Sprint SF was the comfort. It wasn’t painful or unpleasant, and did neutralize the shock of court contact well, but it wasn’t easy-wearing, either. In addition to the pressure from the laces on the top of my foot, there was a lack of give in the cushioning. Even after numerous hours of play, it still felt somewhat rigid underfoot. I wouldn’t have the slightest hesitation trusting these shoes in competition, but I wouldn’t want them on my feet much after that.
So, if you’re the type of player that likes a cushy, padded, roomy shoe that oozes comfort and off-court appeal, there are better choices than the Sprint SF. But in terms of covering the court with speed and security, it’s more than up to the task. Serious competitors looking for a sturdy, lightweight game day shoe will definitely want to check this one out.