Here is the second in a series of our favorite products of the year. Today we’re looking at our favorite shoes for the year. So just who picked them? We’re all familiar faces on the playtest team, and our jobs put us in contact with all of the newest products that go up on our web site.
Jason, or “Wheels,” if you will, is the resident wide foot playtester for the guys. If you have wider feet and want to know which shoes might be good for you, this is the guy you’ll want to hear from.
Jason: “Great traction, superbly comfortable, dynamite stability and supportive. Looks great, too!”
Britt likes to have fun with her shoes with design and color and also likes to be quick on her feet as an aggressive baseliner.
Brittany: “The New Balance 851 shoes in black/blue were a definite surprise for me! When I think of New Balance I think of classic white tennis shoes. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I saw these at my desk for playtesting! First off, I have been waiting for black women’s tennis shoes and here they were in a black with a fun blue accent color! In addition, these shoes are super lightweight and I feel so fast on the court.”
Chris has been on just about every shoe playtest since 2003. That’s a lot of shoe knowledge and experience from one guy.
Chris: “I love the stylish looks and cutting edge performance. This shoe looks great with jeans, yet it rocks on court. With the JP Evo, you can have your pecan pie and eat it, too.”
Tiffani can’t put the ball away to save her life, so she has to put a lot of footwork in to win a point.
Tiffani: “I’ve been on a search for a favorite shoe since the original Asics Gel Resolution. The Zoom Breathe 2k11 has a similar comfort-to-performance ratio for me. It’s by far the most comfortable shoe I’ve worn all year. The shoe molded to my foot and is flexible while still offering good support.”
Spence is a big fan of Federer, but that’s not the reason he picked the Vapor 8’s as his favorite shoe of 2011.
Spencer: “The comfort, fit and performance. I like the look of them as well.”
Check back in later this week for our next installment of playtester favorites. We’ll take a look at strings next.
When it comes to junior shoes, a question that often comes up is sizing. At Tennis Warehouse, the shoes are on the men’s sizing scale. For example, we offer a size 7 in junior shoes as well as a size 7 in men’s. Minor sizing discrepancies between brands aside, these shoes should fit the same on your feet.
With the sizing question out of the way, let’s dive into what’s out there. Within our junior shoe lineup, there are shoes designed to meet the needs a range of players from the competitors who are out on court several hours a week to those players who are just getting started with a lesson or playing once a week.
The adidas Barricade 6.0 xJ and Nike Air Court Ballistec 3.3 — are two of the biggest names and easy choices. They’re modeled after what some of the pros are wearing. The Babolat Propulse 3 is gaining favor with plenty of adults and graces the feet of Andy Roddick. The junior version sports a striking red cosmetic, and the foot strap technology to lock in the feet. Juniors can also now sport Asics shoes with the Gel Resolution 3, the first junior Asics model. The popular Gel Cushioning system is found in this one, and there’s plenty of support too as well as two color options.
1. The adidas Barricade Team xJ has similar looks to the Barricade xJ 6.0 but is missing some of the more technical features. It is still going to offer solid performance and comfort, though, and the bonus is players have more than one color option. The Team version is $44.95 vs. $74.95 for a full price adidas Barricade xJ 6.0.
2. The Nike Air Max Court Ballistec 3.3 gets another mention. This top notch shoe is now on sale, marked down from its original $80 price. It has the visible Max Air in the heel and a durable cage-like structure on the upper to please the hardest of competitors. It’s now $64.95.
3. Prince’s T22 is a favorite model among adults and is offered for juniors at a great price and with a few color options. The T22 is a great all-around shoe, blending comfort, durability and stability. This shoe performs beyond its $49.95 price tag.
4. The Wilson Trance Impacts are built for heavy play and are at a killer price right now. This shoe has lots of cushioning and doesn’t skimp on durability features with a hefty toe guard. Go for the black/yellow shoe for an aggressive look or for the white/black/red one for a more traditional tennis color option. The white based shoe costs $29.95, while the black/yellow is a steal at $24.95.
5. The adidas Barricade xJ 6.0 white/blue is on sale now as well. This is the top-of-the-line junior tennis shoe in the adidas lineup. This is an older color, allowing you to take advantage of the lower price. While juniors may be limited to one color at this price, they do get the fully loaded Barricade xJ 6.0. That package includes a lot: durable adiWEAR 6 outsole, functioning support claws, adiTUFF protection on the upper, signature adiPRENE cushioning and Torsion System stability. Get this one at $64.95, $10 cheaper than the new colors.
Check out the entire Junior Shoe page for more options and check out the customer feedback, too. Be sure to visit often to check for new markdowns as well.