When you come out with a new tennis shoe, and the word “Vapor” is part of the name, tennis players of all levels will take notice. This is certainly the case with the eye popping NikeCourt React Vapor NXT. The shoe is also the first tennis shoe to feature Nike’s React foam technology. Though there are similarities to the Vapor X Knit, the NXT has been redesigned to be the ultimate match day shoe.
There is something very important to note about the shoe’s fit. While the Vapor X and X Knit were pretty narrow in the forefoot, the NXT offers a more spacious toe box. I had to buy a half size larger than normal to be able to wear the Vapor X comfortably, but this is NOT the case with the NXT. The shoes fit true to size, and they didn’t constrict the mid-foot or forefoot whatsoever. I was also pleased with the full-length sleeve that fits around the foot. It has some good stretch for comfort but it also offers some extra support, and it keeps the foot centered in the shoe. During my initial fitting, I tied the shoes way too tight, but after I adjusted them a little bit looser, they felt really nice.
Cushioning & Breathability
The wait is over, and React technology has finally made its way into a tennis shoe! The foam material is located under the arch, and in my opinion it makes the NXT more comfortable than the Vapor X or Vapor X Knit. The lateral side of the midsole offers a slightly firmer foam for greater support during side to side movements. To be fair though, the NXT felt very cushioned and not stiff or hard in terms of comfort. As far as ventilation goes, the upper and inner-sock allow the foot to breathe thanks to the Flyweave material. Flyweave allows for airflow, but is durable enough to handle some hard court tennis.
Durability & Support
I will say from the outset that Nike doesn’t classify the React NXT as a durability shoe. That being said, they have taken a tough plastic material and substantially reinforced the medial side of the toe box. A common gripe of mine with higher priced tennis shoes, is that brands spend a lot of time and energy reinforcing the outsole and the toe box but then it’s the laces or eyelets that get torn up long before the reinforced areas. Nike borrowed from their popular Vapor Cage design, and built shielded medial shoelace eyelets in the NXT, which protect the laces from tearing or breaking from aggressive hard court slides. The outsole design of the shoe is quite different from the Vapor X, and while the traction is adequate, I can’t recall a shoe easier to control a slide in than the NXT. This can be a really great feature or a terrible one depending on how you move on the tennis court.
I would give the nod to the aforementioned Vapor Cage in terms of overall support, but the Vapor NXT offers solid support and it is more supportive than the popular Vapor X. I liked the stiffer frame on the lateral side, and it gave me a lot of confidence in the ability to change direction.
The React Vapor NXT is my favorite Vapor since the 9.5. The slightly wider toe box, and React foam make this a more comfortable shoe than the previous version. While the price is steep, Nike has engineered a tennis shoe that is comfortable and responsive where it needs to be, and supportive and stable everywhere else. The inside of the shoe offers the comfort you would expect from Nike, and the shoe’s exterior has some of the stiffness and toughness you would want in a ski-boot.
Meet the next generation of tennis performance. Built using years of athlete data, the NikeCourt React Vapor NXT brings top-notch traction and an innovative cushioning system so you can play at your best during your fastest and fiercest matches.