If you’ve played in a Babolat JET, you know what to expect. Tere is the Maori word for quick or fast, and the newest JET model is certainly that. Like other entries in the line, it’s feathery light and aimed at players who prize speed and responsiveness over all else. However, when compared to its heritage, overall comfort has become a bigger part of the equation.
The primary reason being a change in the upper material. Previous JETs came with a Kevlar and Polyamide blend that managed to provide respectable support while minimizing weight. But the tough fabric along with the shoe’s snug, narrow fit could make for a rough ride over a long match. A softer, airier mesh is used on the Tere, making the upper more pliable and easier on the feet. It does make the shoe slightly heavier, but the added forgiveness means you don’t feel the urge to tear them off your feet when finished playing.
The downside was the shoe didn’t have quite the same level of support I’ve enjoyed in other JET models. It was most noticeable moving aggressively in and out of lateral cuts. I never felt insecure or feared rolling an ankle, but it just wasn’t at a high-performance level. However, it will be more than adequate for recreational players who aren’t as demanding of their shoes. And the added comfort and breathability will be marked improvements.
Cushioning, courtesy of the KPRS-X EVA pad in the midsole, was typical JET: sufficient to absorb court impact and shock, although not overly plush. The heel tab did feel larger and thicker than I remembered, but otherwise the shoe remained lean and mean. They’re the type of model I generally prefer for a match rather than an extended practice session, especially on an unforgiving hard court. Heavy movers with loud footfalls may not find the padding quite to their needed level. But again, even with the improved comfort, it’s aimed at the speed and agility crowd.
Like all Babolat shoes, the JET sports a Michelin rubber outsole. It possessed good traction from its all-court tread, but I found it better-suited for hard courts. (There’s currently no clay-specific version as with the older Mach models). I could slide into shots, yet there was enough grip to feel secure and balanced. There is not outsole guarantee, but that’s offset by a favorable price point in this category.
However, the biggest determinant for appreciation of the JET (arguably) remains the cut. When compared to most competitors, it remains unusually narrow and short. My tennis shoe size is an 11.5+, meaning depending on the brand/model I take an 11.5 or a 12. I’ve always taken a 12 for the JET, but this time around I actually needed to go up to an unprecedented 12.5. Once I got my size dialed-in, I had no issues with the fit. But there was some trial and error involved and I would suggest any interested wearers to definitely try them on before purchasing.
Overall, the JET Tere is a welcome addition to the family. It keeps the lightweight nimbleness the line has become known for, while elevating the comfort. I probably prefer the toughness and assuredness of the Mach II for serious play, but the softer upper should appeal to a wider audience. The narrow cut remains a limiting factor and the sizing takes experimentation. But if the fit works and you like a lightweight shoe that brings comfort on and off the court, don’t be afraid to take a ride in this JET.