“Aaaaahh!” What’s that sound, you ask? Those are my feet relaxing as I slip into my Babolat SFX shoes. We recently started playtesting Babolat’s latest shoe, and I am giddy with excitement over the level of cushioning in the SFX. I can feel my feet sink into the cushioning, and my feet feel cradled with love when I’m wearing them. The toe box does not constrict my wider feet, and while everyone else at TW who has tried on the shoe dropped a half-size, I felt best in my usual size 6.
Cushioning in a shoe usually relies on the midsole material. The SFX shoe is built with the Ergo-Motion midsole. The midsole equalizes pressure points by using two different materials. On the medial side, a rubber and EVA mix provides the resiliency to absorb impacts and more pressure. That’s where many tennis players put the most pressure as we are up on our toes a lot. On the lateral side, EVA Light provides additional cushioning. The heel’s Kompressor System aids with cushioning as well. It’s a rubber heel insert with rubber tubes that compress as you step and straighten back up as you lift your foot.
Another impressive feature the SFX is the Ergo-Motion Insole. Have you ever pulled out the insole of your tennis shoe? (Nearly all tennis shoes have removable insoles.) In general, the insole is a single layer and quite thin. Pull out the Ergo-Motion Insole, and the difference is immediately noticeable. Instead of one layer, there are five, plus soft EVA heel insert. Let’s break it down.
1. Anti-slip mesh: This top layer helps wick moisture and keep your feet in place.
2. Memory foam: Think of it as Tempur-Pedic for your feet. This is likely why I get that cradled feeling when I’m wearing the shoe. The memory foam molds to the shape of my foot.
3. PU Ortholite: This third layer offers long-lasting cushioning.
4. Spring EVA: Even more cushioning!
5. 3D EVA hard cup to offer heel support and stability. If you pull out the insole, you can see it. It’s the black, web-like material.
6. Soft EVA pad: This offers extra cushioning and sits into the heel cup. It’s the blue pod you’ll see on the bottom of your insole.
If you pick up a pair of these SFX shoes, take the insole challenge. Match up the insole from your last pair to the Ergo-Motion Insole and note the difference. These shoes are perfect if you’re looking for super comfort on court. And those with wider feet take note, there’s some room in this toe box. Rejoice!