Likes: K-Swiss brings its Tubes technology to tennis for the first time with impressive results. The company has succeeded in creating a high-performance shoe, featuring full-length Tubes technology cushioning. The shoe scored extremely high marks in stability, comfort and cushioning—Dr. Sharnoff gave it a perfect 10 score in both categories; male wear testers graded it a 9.2 in stability and a 9.0 in cushioning—and offered the best technological advancement of any shoe we tested this fall. The shoe is about an ounce heavier than the Big Shot, K-Swiss’ flagship shoe, and 1.5 ounces heftier than the Approach, however wear testers universally praised the weight. Whether they were moving laterally on the baseline or racing forward to serve-and-volley, testers said the shoe was fluid and supportive. The shoe gave some testers the appearance of excessive elevation because of the outsole wrap and Tubes technology, but there were no balance issues pushing off the outer edge when recovering from running forehands or making quick stops and starts. The Aosta 7 mixed herringbone rubber outsole is durable, offers good traction and withstood the punishing pounding of hard courts as well as grittier clay-courts without significant signs of wear and tear on the sole. DragGuard on the toe provides added protection for players who skid and slide on various surfaces.
Dislikes: Flex point (7.5) and ventilation were the only areas where the shoe scored less than stellar marks from wear testers. Dr. Sharnoff said the flex point was a little bit too far back in the shoe, preventing some testers from optimum flex. Reducing the arch a bit, using lighter-weight material in the midfoot area and/or changing the flex grooves in the outsole are a few of the enhancements Dr. Sharnoff suggests for improving the shoe’s flex point. Adding a bit more mesh material in the upper or in the arch area could improve the shoe’s breathability. Unlike the Big Shot, the Tubes Tennis 100 does not offer a six-month durability guarantee.
Bottom Line: The Tubes Tennis 100 is well-designed equipment that effectively applies new technology in creating a comfortable, secure, durable shoe. This is a high-performance shoe that works well for both the strong, power player and the faster, agile competitor. The Tubes Tennis 100’s universal appeal is reflected in high overall scores from wear testers (9.1) and Dr. Sharnoff (9.0), who said he would have scored the shoe even higher if it had a few refinements to enhance flex and ventilation. This is likely the first generation in the Tubes Tennis series, and based on its impressive performance it will be well worth watching this family of shoes grow.
Dr. David G. Sharnoff is a podiatrist practicing in Shelton, Conn. He has served as TENNIS’ shoe adviser since 1986 and as a consultant to the WTA since 1989. A graduate of Ohio State, he played on the university’s varsity tennis team for four years and remains an avid and accomplished player.
A high performance tennis shoe with full-length Tubes Technology ™ cushioning. Midsole/Outsole: High performance solid rubber herringbone outsole for traction and durability. Upper: A very supportive molded synthetic leather upper with Dragguard ™ toe for
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