Size: 6.5-13, 14
Weight: 13.6 oz. (men's 11.5)
Outsole Warranty: None
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Shoe Review: Babolat JET Mach 3
The speed shoe gets updated with a wider forefoot for improved comfort and stability.
Published Sep 29, 2021
Faster To The Ball.
That’s the goal—and slogan—of Babolat’s JET franchise. It’s even printed on the heel and insole of the shoe. The line has established itself as one of the lightest models on the market that still maintains enough support to be a dependable match day option for serious competitors. The low-to-the-ground profile and streamlined cut also add to its speediness. However, these elements—especially the tight fit—has been a limiting factor for some players.
Enter the Mach III. For the latest installment Babolat decided to make some changes to the JET to increase its comfort and accessibility. This time around the shoe was made on the same last as the company’s Propulse Fury shoe. For those unfamiliar with the Babolat models, this gives the JET a wider forefoot and truer sizing. Previous models could be run narrow and short, which some found both confusing and unforgiving. This change should broaden the range of players capable of using the shoe.
Indeed this JET comes with more (metaphorical) legroom. My toes could spread out freely on contact, and it offered a secure feeling when making cuts. In a sense, the wider platform and increased court contact made this model a better balanced mover. It should be a blessing for players who felt cramped in earlier models. And having the extra space in the forefoot did give my feet a more comfortable, less restrictive feel, which was welcome over the course of a long match.
However, as an owner of rather narrow feet, I didn’t mind the more streamlined cut of the previous versions. And if I had to pick which felt faster, I’d probably go with the predecessor. The added weight—an extra 0.8 oz.—could be a cause for my conclusion. Although at 13.6 oz. for a size 11.5, it’s hard to complain about excess baggage; compared to its competition and not its lineage, the shoe remains exceptionally light, quick and agile.
One of the reasons the JET manages to have enough support with such low weight is its Matryx upper, a staple of the shoe. The jacquard-woven fabric combines high-strength Aramid and Polymid fibers for enhanced lateral stability. This update has a new yarn diameter and zero monofilaments to increase elasticity and comfort in the upper.
As with previous models, it didn’t seem like there was much security around the forefoot. The upper is resilient, but it’s so thin that the toes and upper part of the foot can feel unprotected. Yet I had no issues feeling stable and supported. It helps that the lacing system has nine eyelets so you can really lock in the foot. I didn’t experience much in the way of movement inside the shoe or heel slippage.
In a sense, the wider platform and increased court contact made this model a better balanced mover. It should be a blessing for players who felt cramped in earlier models.
In terms of cushioning, the KPRSX system has been upgraded with a softer, shock-absorbing EVA foam to take more of the sting out of harsh landings. The heel rocker has also been enhanced for better stopping and smoother transitions. Again, the goal being to create a more comfortable ride without sacrificing speed.
As such, I would classify the overall cushioning level as modest. The padding in the midsole is on the thin side, especially toward the forefoot. It has some bounce and shock absorbing to it, but there are other lightweight models offering a plusher experience. The upside is it fosters a low to the ground ride and enhanced court feel for more reactive movement.
The Michelin outsole returns with some modifications. The surface and thickness have been increased at pressure points for less abrasion, as well as reduced at low impact points. It also has a wider lateral flange to promote a more stable base. The changes aim to make the shoe even more responsive.
That said, my caveat from previous JETs remains: I’m not sure it’s not designed to take a beating. Players who are rough on their shoes, or prefer hardy, durable models—there is no outsole guarantee—may not find enough toughness. After just a few weeks, the Babolat decals on the inside of my right shoe even starting peeling off. Heavy movers who require extra security from the shoe’s upper and cushioning under foot may long for more substance.
Because as the name implies, this shoe is all about speed. Even with the wider, more comfortable fit, and slightly added weight, at its heart it’s still a minimalist design. It retains enough of its core elements to satisfy fans of the first two editions, while the roomier cut should attract a bigger audience. Lightweight enthusiasts will not be disappointed how well this update enhances their quickness and agility. Put on a pair of JETs and you will fly around the court.