The K-Swiss Ultrashot is the company’s hero shoe for 2018. Tapping advanced, young, tournament players—the type who play 5-7 days per week—K-Swiss created a new streamline design DNA and updated support technologies to appeal to the high-performance crowd. If you fall into that category, the Ultrashot brings lots of benefits to the court.
The cut of the shoe is neutral to slightly wide. I generally find K-Swiss shoes to be roomy, but the Ultrashot felt narrower than expected. The length felt fairly true, if perhaps just slightly short.
It’s mostly a comfortable shoe to start. The GuideGlide midsole combines lower density foam under the foot for long-lasting cushioning with firmer foam around the outside of the shoe for support. It also centers the foot from heel to toe for a stable ride. The new upper design with durawrapX technology provides support on aggressive movements, while the lightweight mesh and synthetic leather construction affords breathability. However, the forefoot region initially proved a bit unyielding. I encountered a few unpleasant instances of toe-jamming executing hard cuts and stops. But after a short break-in period, the area opened up and the problem noticeably subsided. It started feeling supple while still very supportive.
My size 11.5 shoes weighed in at 17 oz., making it a bit on the heavy side. And while I certainly wouldn’t classify it as a speed shoe, the Ultrashot didn’t feel sluggish or too burdensome to maneuver over a long day on the courts. It seems best for players who prefer a shoe that favors substance, cushioning and support over ultimate quickness.
The tongue on the Ultrashot is unique—unusually thin and wide and somewhat on the long side. I had to take a little extra care to make sure it lay flat across the top of my foot or risk bunching under the eyelets. I didn’t incur any discomfort, but I could envision a player wearing thin socks with a penchant for very tight lacing to suffer pinching issues. The underside of the tongue is also made of what feels almost like Neoprene. It has a soft feel, but didn’t breathe well and soaked up sweat—where it sat on my foot got toasty. Otherwise the ventilation was decent, but I wouldn’t classify it as one of the shoe’s strong suits.
The Aosta II high-density rubber outsole sports a deep herringbone tread on the lateral side for dependable traction, while the medial side has a shallower tread to combat abrasion. Many shoes claim to be all-surface performers, but the Ultrashot lived up to it. I found it to provide reliable footing on clay, yet slick enough to allow give and slide on hard courts. It also includes DragGuard strategically located in high wear areas of the toe and heel to enhance durability. The 6-month outsole warranty is the icing on the cake.
One last mention; I really like how the bulbous laces hold a knot. So many shoes require a double knot to stay tied—not so with this one. A minor advantage, but it’s often the little details that can make a difference, and from the cushioning, stability, durability and even its appearance, the Ultrashot gets most things right.