When I look back at my notes regarding the original Wilson Amplifeel it doesn’t paint a flattering picture. The broad strokes were a boxy fit, too much weight, suspect breathability and a challenge to get on. Even the ankle strap, which did provide some additional support, bunched in an irritating way. The shoe hung on the foot and smacked the court loudly, rarely inspiring quick or responsive movement. So, when the new Amplifeel arrived for testing, let’s just say I wasn’t brimming with enthusiasm. After trying them out, that sentiment changed quickly.
The 2.0 version got an extreme makeover that greatly improved the shoe. The most significant upgrade? It went on a serious diet—it’s 2.15 oz. trimmer. A huge positive because the original model was just too much shoe. The SensiFeel upper is also more tailored. Along with the weight loss, the shoe was much more responsive and nimble in action. I remember an almost “slapping” sound when moving with the previous model; this time the shoe hugged the court, with quieter footfalls and desirable squeaks. It probably falls short of being classified as a true lightweight model, but it left cumbersome way in the rearview.
Simply accessing the unisex shoe also got easier. It’s still a mid-cut with a full-bootie construction and no breeze to get on, but I didn’t need to wriggle my foot as extensively to complete the process. If you like a seamless entry, it probably still won’t measure up, but it was no longer a major demerit. Once on the foot, the suppler upper resulted in a relatively short break-in period that probably could go straight from the box to the court.
The ventilation underwent improvement as well. The use of thinner materials and more mesh increased the breathability. I didn’t try the previous generation in extreme conditions, but testers who did reported back unusually sweaty findings. Some of that is the price paid for the added material of a higher ankle closure. The new heavily black colorway could be a sun magnet, but from a purely technical standpoint the issue was not ignored.
Cushioning courtesy the R-dst+ EVA midsole and Ortholite insole was respectable. There was enough shock absorption and rebound into the next step for a mostly comfortable ride. There are bouncier and softer options around, but unless you need heavily-padded shoes it shouldn’t be a glaring negative.
Because when analyzing a mid-cut shoe, the true barometer is the lateral stability. After all, that’s really the point. And, once again, the Amplifeel was much more adept in this department. The ankle collar and Velcro strap closure cinched effectively to bolster support and provided lockdown to the heel. I’m not an ankle-roller or suffer from a weak joint, but it should help those who suffer from either issue. The heel-to-toe 4D Support Chassis also limits lateral twisting; the 9mm drop from tip to tail gave enhanced court feel and balance in and out of cuts. The Duralast outsole—familiar to fans of the Wilson Rush Pro series—offered good grip, with a deep tread that translated to any surface. Add it all up, and I felt perfectly confident covering the court.
Whether it’s a backhand volley or, in this case, a pair of shoes, one of the sport’s pleasures is improvement. Part of my approval of the Amplifeel 2.0 was undoubtedly due to my disappointment in its predecessor. The profile and fit are more streamlined, giving it a much quicker, aerodynamic feel. And the ankle strap is snugger, giving it even better support. Most of all, it’s just a much more enjoyable, comfortable playing experience that earned repeated wearings. Its features are unique in the tennis landscape—the closest comparison I can make is the Nike Hyperdunk basketball shoe—which should attract mid-cut fans seeking increased lateral support for aggressive baseline play. If you were let down by the original Amplifeel, this second try is worth a second look.