Shoe Ins and Outs

by: Jon Levey | April 08, 2009

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TENNIS.com

In the May issue of TENNIS, the magazine reviews nine new models in its 2009 Shoe Guide. Not included in those pages are these three web exclusives. If you're looking for a new pair of shoes, you're bound to find one from the dozen evaluated that suits your game. Either way, let us know what you think about this season's crop of kicks.

 

(TM: TENNIS Rating; WR: Weartester Rating)

2009_04_08_adidas225 Adidas CC Feather IV RG 
 
MEN (women’s model not available for testing)
Price: $100
Weight: 12.5 oz.
Sizes: 6-14

Ideal foot types: Neutral, pronated, and supinated
Best surface: All

Final Analysis: The strength of the CC Feather IV is that for a lightweight shoe it does an impressive job of providing a high level of stability and support. It’s also extremely breathable making it a nice choice for those who compete in warmer climates. The “RG” in the name stands for Roland Garros, which would indicate clay is the preferred surface for the shoes. But the little cups cut into the outsole are perfectly acceptable to use on all surfaces. The reason you might hesitate to use the Feather on a hard court is the cushioning in forefoot is a little thin. That’s great for low-to-ground responsiveness, but it’s not ideal for absorbing shock. The only other knock some of our weartesters had was that, unlike previous Feathers, this model felt a little stiff (particularly around the forefoot) and took some wear before it started feeling good on their feet.

Test Scores

Stability
TM: 9; WT: 7.2
Cushioning
TM: 8; WT: 6.2
Arch Support
TM: 9; WT: 7.5
Weight
TM: 9; WT: 8.6
Ventilation
TM: 8; WT: 7.9
Break-in time
TM: 7; WT: 7
Overall Satisfaction
TM: 8.3; WT: 7.4
Combined Score
7.9

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2009_04_08_babolat225 Babolat Propulse 2 
 
MEN (women’s model not available for testing)

Price: $109
Weight: 14.8 oz.
Sizes: 6-13, 14

Ideal foot types: Neutral
Best surface: Hard

Final Analysis: The Propulse 2 is intended for serious audiences. It’s built low to the ground for effective changes of direction and has top-notch stability and ventilation. There’s a Velcro strap over the midfoot and another around the heel (new to the update) which helps lock your foot in place for added security. The straps add some weight, but the heavy amount of mesh keeps the shoe from feeling cumbersome, and it’s actually lighter than the original. The upper is also roomier, with softer materials than on its predecessor giving it a more relaxed feel. Still, it’s a snug fit and not the type of shoe you’re going to wear for long off the court. The tiny grooves on the outsole seem better suited for a hard court, but would work on clay as well.

Test Scores

Stability
TM: 8; WT: 8
Cushioning
TM: 7; WT: 7.7
Arch Support
TM: 7.5; WT: 7.4
Weight
TM: 7.5; WT: 8
Ventilation
TM: 9.5; WT: 8
Break-in time
TM: 7; WT: 8.1
Overall Satisfaction
TM: 7.8; WT: 7.9
Combined Score
7.8

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2009_04_08_nike225 Nike Air Max Mirabella 
 
WOMEN
Price: $82
Weight: 12.1 oz.
Sizes: 5-11, 12

Ideal foot types: Neutral
Best surface: Hard

Final Analysis: While we didn’t love this women’s shoe from Nike, we definitely had a higher opinion of it than our weartesters. From a performance standpoint, highly competitive players will appreciate the stability and support of the Mirabella. The Air Max in the heel does a nice job of absorbing shock when your foot hits the court. It also elevates the back of your foot which, when combined with the low ride in the forefoot, can feel a bit awkward. The shoe has adequate ventilation and is light enough that it won’t weigh you down. The biggest problem is it takes a while before the shoe starts to feel comfortable. The upper is fairly stiff and there’s not a huge amount of cushioning, so it’s not the softest of experiences. The Mirabella is definitely for players who like their shoes to feel tough and sturdy.

Test Scores

Stability
TM: 7.5; WT: 6.4
Cushioning
TM: 7.5; WT: 5.2
Arch Support
TM: 7; WT: 5.9
Weight
TM: 7.5; WT: 6.5
Ventilation
TM: 7; WT: 6.3
Break-in time
TM: 6.5; WT: 5.3
Overall Satisfaction
TM: 7.2; WT: 5.9
Combined Score
6.5

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