Best of 2013: Tennis shoes

We started with racquets, but the shoes we tennis players put on our feet are just as important as the racquets we put in our hands. So next up is our playtesters’ picks for their favorite shoes of 2013.

Ladies first. Hands down it looks like Nike ruled with the release of the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour. Three of our female playtesters chose this as their favorite shoe of 2013.

Women’s Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

Brittany: “All I can say is … finally! I have been watching/listening to our male playtesters rave about Roger Federer’s shoe of choice for almost two years. And this year, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. And, boy, I was definitely not disappointed. This shoe lived up to my expectations; it was lightweight, stable, stylish and comfortable. In my playtest review, I rated it my highest scoring shoe of all time. If I had to go play a tournament right now, this would be my shoe of choice.”

Karly: “This shoe blows the competition out of the water. The Vapor 9 Tour is easily the lightest shoe I’ve played in, but it’s not just the weight that makes it my favorite shoe. It’s the combination of durability and stability that puts it above the rest. Most of the time you can’t have a shoe that’s lightweight and durable or lightweight and supportive. Well this isn’t the case with this high performance shoe, no siree! Nike set the bar high with the Vapor 9 Tours by disproving that a lightweight shoe can’t be durable or supportive.”

Tiffani: “Easily my favorite shoe of the year, the Vapor 9 Tour is one of few shoes that have made me think women’s tennis footwear has taken a step forward. The Vapor 9 is low profile, light and supportive. I move better with this shoe than in any others in the current crop of shoes and am more confident on the court as a result. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of the best looking court shoes either. Now I can’t wait to try the Lunar Ballistecs in 2014!”

Women’s Propulse 4

Michelle leans toward more durable options in her footwear and went with the stylish Babolat Propulse 4.

Michelle: “First of all, this shoe cosmetically appeals to me right off the bat, the red (not pink) and black combo is my favorite, and we just got the new colorways in — this shoe takes color well! Plus, this shoe is super plush and comfortable and comes with a Michelin outsole and six-month warranty. This shoe matches up well with my game — great traction and support for quick movements with a perfect fit for my foot. I love this bold looking, plush, comfortable shoe.”

Men’s Gel Resolution 5

Asics continues to impress and is building a legacy of performance tennis footwear with the Gel Resolution. The fifth generation of this player favorite ranked as Andy’s top shoe of 2013.

Andy: “The reigning king of tennis shoes (once again, in my opinion) gets updated with an improved fit and softer upper for even more comfort. Couple that with nice stability, durability and support, and you’ve got one of the best all-around performance tennis shoes on the market.”

Lotto Raptor Ultra IV

Lotto doesn’t get as much as attention as the bigger brands, but maybe it should. The Raptor Ultra IV Speed has just about it all, according to Chris.
Chris: “This shoe checks all the right boxes. It is supportive, stable, comfortable, well cushioned, offers great traction and is decently durable. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out!”

Men’s Air Max Cage

Nike impresses again and is the only brand to land on both the men’s and women’s list. It is the Nike Aix Max Cage that impressed Jason the most in 2013.

Jason: “Excellent performance and durability, like the Air Court Ballistec 4.3 but these fit my feet better.”

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