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 gave some wear testers the appearance of excessive elevation because of the outsole wrap and Tubes technology, however 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. Most wear testers said comfort was good, though women did not score the shoe’s comfort level quite as highly as their male wear tester counterparts. A few women wear testers said it took two or three on-court sessions to fully break in the shoe, but said that stiffness diminished by the third wearing. A molded synthetic leather upper aids the shoe’s fit. Some testers noted the shoe had a narrower cut. "This shoe really hugs your foot," one tester commented.Dislikes:
Flex point and ventilation were areas of concern for some; women wear testers did not score the shoe as highly as men did. Dr. Sharnoff said the flex point was a little bit too far back in the shoe, preventing some wear 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. Some women said the narrower fit made them feel as if their feet shed more sweat in initial wearings; adding a bit more mesh material in the upper or in the arch area could improve the shoe’s breathability. Unlike K-Swiss' flagship shoe, 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 shoe did not score as highly with women as it did with men. 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.