Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Anyone for tennis shoes?

For decades manufacturers have researched biomechanics and sports medicine to produce shoes which incorporate all that is known about shoe making and polymer technology so as to control unwanted motion, add stability and soften the shock of impact on feet for those who run, twist and jump for recreation. Of all ath leisure footwear probably tennis shoes are the most frequently worn shoes, and unlike all other sometimes the shoes even grace the court. This seasons shoes combine more comfortable fit, increased durability and what seems to have become a popular requirement a lightweight shoe. The Adidas Feather VI , is a very light shoe. According to the company the low heel replicates foot flat which gives the player greatest stability and when combined with sole traction helps players hug the court. As the name suggest Adidas Feather VI are lightweight with thin Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) midsoles. Some critics believe this limits cushioning and durability. A more durable shoe is the Asics Gel-Invasion . This shoe includes Asics’ Impact Guidance System (IGS), which encompasses various components including gel in the heel and forefoot, a support piece around the heel, and flex grooves in the outsole. According to the manufacturer, I.G.S. dampens shock at heel strike before providing recoil at heel lift to spring into propulsion. Fila U.S. Open Speed 2 is a medium weight shoe for hard courts. The speed 2 has added cushioning in the heel and an upper reinforced with a durable fabric (FiberTech). The K-Swiss Surpass is a tennis shoe made for comfort with the emphasis on cushioning. Features of the clay court shoe include an insole and Shock Spring Technology, polyurethane injected with K-Swiss' patented silicone formula, in the heel. The herringbone sole (reminiscent of the original Volleys) helps grip on clay surfaces and the shoes can be worn for road walking. The New Balance CT801 offers a variety of width sizes but is only available in men’s sizes. It has a durable outsole and graphite runs along the bottom of the sole which combined with thermoplastic urethane in critical areas to give the dynamic foot extra stability. Nike’s new Nike Air Zoom Breathe Free is available for both men and women. The shoe is rather heavy and made in unibody construction (the upper is pulled over the midsole and attached to the outsole). According to Nike this adds to support. The shoe includes an extensive mesh in the forefoot to keep the active foot cool. By contrast the Yonex SHT 303 (available for men and women) is light, hardwearing and fashion statement on the court. The manufacturer has combined strong yet light materials in their shoe with a graphite shank for support and mesh in the upper. The SHT 303 has a very roomy toe box. The Reebok Kickserve DMX is made in women’s sizes. The Kickserve DMX has a thermoplastic urethane shank under the arch with a supportive upper. The DMX Flow Pak system allows air to travel between the forefoot and heel which keeps the foot cooler. The shoes provide adequate support and cushioning. The Wilson Fantom comes in male and female sizes. A light weight shoe it offers stability and like Nike the Wilson Fantom is constructed using unibody construction. Wilson introduced the unibody construction to tennis and added Stable Wrap, which allows laces to be thread through the midsole. Players who like the unibody Wilson Crossfire DST02 but want something less bulky will appreciate the Fantom, which weighs 2 ounces less.

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