Sneak Peek: Nike Air Tech Challenge 2

The Nike Air Tech Challenge II.  Andre Agassi's shoe of choice in the early 1990s

The Nike Air Tech Challenge II. Andre Agassi’s shoe of choice in the early 1990s

In the early 90s, a young and brash Andre Agassi was redefining tennis. His long hair and jean shorts combined with his aggressive playing style and natural rock star flair to ignite a revolution in the game.

His Nike shoes embodied his personality and aggressive style of play. With the help of legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, one of the most memorable tennis shoes of all time was created, the Air Tech Challenge II.

They’re back and available soon at Tennis Warehouse.  Get your pair of these limited edition kicks while you can. They drop on Saturday, April 26.

Fun. Fit. Fabulous. 10 Nike Tennis Spring Pieces worn on court and everywhere in between!

If you are anything like me or my tennis friends, your life is busy and you are usually juggling your outfits with your daily activities — from the gym, to work, to the court, to running errands, etc.! So we wanted to help you out and grabbed 10 super cute pieces from Nike and made several different outfits perfect for all areas of your day — from sporty to sassy to strong looks — we’ve got you covered!

OutfitCollageBannerLike the professional athletes of our sport, today’s tennis players don’t just play tennis anymore to get their exercise in — you can find them in the gym, running, hiking, taking barre classes, kickboxing, cross-fitting, etc. Which is why this blog is a shout out to those dynamic ladies out there who find themselves on the court, off the court, in the gym and every where in between on a daily basis. These are the looks the active, athletic tennis ladies live in.
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Petra in Purple in Instanbul!

I’m really loving a bunch of the pieces in the Nike Winter group that we have right now. We are seeing a lot of purple from several brands right now and the Purple Dynasty from Nike is really standing out as a great seasonal color. My favorite WTA player, Petra Kvitova, has one of my favorite looks at the moment.

pppThe big serving lefty from the Czech Republic is wearing the Nike Winter Printed Knit Top, (which is similar to the top Li Na wore at the US Open, which I also loved). Despite the chill in the air, some of us will continue to benefit from the SPF protection (UV 40+) this top offers while playing outside, while everyone else that moves indoors for the fall/winter season will enjoy how lightweight this top is so it won’t weigh you down on the court.


She pairs it with the Nike Winter Woven Pleated Skort in purple dynasty. I love this skort because of it the fit, but also that line toward the middle that looks like a ribbon encircling the skort. Her shoe of choice is the Nike Zoom Vapor Tour 9s in the White, Pink, Purple colorway. I love the the swoosh on this shoe because it has a sparkly pop of that purple dynasty to tie the whole look together.


Hope you all are enjoying the great tennis in Instanbul at the BNP Paribas WTA Championships!


Play with heart,

2012 Favorites: Shoes

Yesterday we kicked off our favorites of 2012 countdown with the playtesters’ favorite racquets of the year. Next up, we pick our favorite shoes from the past year.


Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

Completely redesigned for 2012, the Vapor impressed our playtesters. Roger Federer’s shoe looks great and fits a variety of foot shapes well with its adaptive fit technology. It did so well in our tests that Chris went further than saying it was his favorite shoe of the year.

Chris: “With its unbelievable fit and feel, the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour quickly became my favorite shoe of all time. The adaptive lace system allows the shoe to wrap my feet in incredible support and comfort. The shoe is lightweight, very fast feeling, offers great traction and looks absolutely killer. Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield took tennis shoe performance to a whole new level when he penned this one.”


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2012 Gift Guide: Brittany’s Picks

Now that the turkey has been eaten and the shopping season has kicked off, let’s take a look at some of our staff’s picks for the season. We asked them to pick which racquet, string, shoes, apparel and one “wild card” they would like to get as gift this year. Check out the entire Staff Picks. Below, Brittany explains her choices.

Racquet: Babolat Pure Drive

I was excited to playtest this updated version of the Pure Drive because it was like reuniting with an old friend. I used a previous version about five to eight years ago, so when I got the new Babolat Pure Drive in my hands I was not disappointed. Between the sleek new black cosmetics and the power and feel, this racquet is my pick for 2012. It is the perfect racquet as well as gift for a variety of players and game styles.

Shoes: Nike Lunar Speed 3 Black/Volt

The Nike Lunar Speed 3 was a highlight shoe for me this year. It was super light and comfortable (after a break-in period) and came in a wide range of fun, bright  colors. I have been waiting for years for Nike to come out with a black women’s shoe, and the Black/Volt colorway was worth the wait. Worn by No. 1 WTA player Victoria Azarenka, this is perfect for the competitive player who wants to feel lightning fast on the court.

String: Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution 17

Strings have never been my forte. Now that I have worked at Tennis Warehouse for more than two years, I have learned so much about strings. The Kirschbaum Pro Line Evolution 17 string has been a go-to for me this year. First, I will start by saying I love the awesome blue color that looks great in every racquet. Secondly, this soft feeling poly, gives me the perfect combo of power and spin as well having great durability.

Apparel: Nike Tie Break Knit Short

I love practicing in shorts. Growing up, the Nike Statement Short was my all time favorite. I had it in a variety of colors and updates and was super excited when Nike came out with the new Nike Tie Break Short this year. It is the perfect short for practice as well as match play. With tons of colors to choose from, the short also features built-in compression shorts and a super cute elastic waistband that folds over to read “Love Tennis.”

Misc: Head Dri-Fit Head-Tie

For my miscellaneous category, I thought long and hard about a funny or creative product to pick. After considering many options, I realized that a product that I used frequently this year that is extremely functional is the Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie. It comes in a variety of colors and is the best product I found to keep both the sweat out of my eyes and my hair out of my face (without having to wear a visor or hat). I am also not going to lie that I feel pretty badass wearing it!

Couples therapy – workout style

Couples therapy - workout style

Does a couple who plays tennis together and works out together stay together? I have no idea, but a good workout always sounds good to me — on court or off. So cheers to couples who look great together on and off the court!

The anatomy of a tennis shoe: Support

Shoes are not just something we put on our feet anymore. They’re a bevy of technology, sciences and theories mixed together to offer the best possible support system for our feet while we’re on the court.  Each shoe offers something different, and we individually look for qualities and features that best serve our specific needs. Shoes not only help us move faster, they allow us to change directions quicker, prevent slipping, support injuries, provide comfort during long hours on court… It’s endless. Every player wants something different – we can just look at the pros to see this: Federer loves his Nike Vapor 9 Tours, Tsonga in his adidas Feather IIs, Roddick and the Babolat Propulse — each shoe offers certain qualities that these players have come to rely on.

Tsonga at Wimbledon. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

This blog is the first in a series that will focus on certain qualities of shoes, and different shoes that offer these qualities. I like to think of the anatomy of a shoe as something we sometimes overlook. If we don’t know what we’re really looking for, then how do we know that the shoe we’re wearing is the best for us? There are so many parts, that when put together, create the perfect tennis shoe. I will focus on five aspects: support, weight, comfort, stability and durability.

1. Support

What makes a shoe supportive?

Lace system: Haven’t really thought about your laces before? Let me explain. The laces on your shoe weave through the upper to tighten the shoe, and by doing this, they pull the shoe in certain places to wrap around your foot. This provides some of the support you get  from the upper of the shoe by holding your foot in place, and by providing comfort and pressure. The top eyelet is the most important because it is the one that holds and locks the lace system, and keeps your foot securely and comfortably in your shoe. The Nike Vapor 9 Tours have a technology called “adaptive fit construction” — finger-like synthetic upper pieces that attach to the lace system allow how tight the support is around the shoe, which means you can customize the wrap around your foot.

Upper: When it comes to this part of the shoe, the structure is more important than the materials used in regards to support. “Cage” systems wrap around your foot and stop the material from flexing out of shape when you’re moving. There’s a bit of a trick to it: if it’s too stiff it can cause discomfort, blisters and be uncomfortable, and if it’s too soft it can lose support and stability. A technology that works for this is Nike Flywire, which is a thread made of a substance called Vectran (a manufactured fiber spun from liquid polymer). Instead of using layers of (sometimes bulky) materials to support the whole foot, Flywire can be added. It’s placement in the shoe at key points maximizes the support that more materials would normally produce (the shoe stay light and comfortable, while still offering the support).

Fit: None of us has exactly the same shape feet, and although we are able to adjust the length, sometimes it can be hit and miss with the width. If the shoe is too wide for our narrow feet, or vice versa, how can we expect to get the most efficient support? Although general sizes normally function well for most people and support is provided through features of the entire shoe, sometimes the little extras make all the difference and the right fit is essential to give the proper support needed. Every brand offers a slightly different fit, but New Balance is the only brand that we sell at Tennis Warehouse that gives width options, and we carry two or more widths in each model.

Heel security: To keep your foot in place your heel needs to be secured. It can’t slip around because sliding within your shoe can almost be as bad as sliding unintentionally on the court. To be snug and secure in the right places can make all the difference, and if your heel is locked into place, the rest of your foot can be supported correctly. One technology that locks the heel into place for better support is the Yonex TPU strap. It functions as an external heel cradle that wraps around the outside of the shoe to add support for your foot and stability for the entire shoe.

Arch Stability/Support: While support around the outside of the shoe is important, the inside also plays an important role. We all have different arch heights, and although the arch support doesn’t necessarily have to fit exactly the height of our own arches, it can add or take away from support and comfort. If your arch isn’t supported properly, it can cause pain, and conversely if it’s too high, or too far forward, it’s also not comfortable. Many companies are now taking a progressive approach to creating a supportive insole (a good example is Babolat with its SFX shoe). Also, a welcomed addition can be separate insoles that suit your specific foot shape and arch type, and these can make shoes a lot more supportive, particularly if you have an injury – you just slip out the one that the shoe already has and slip your specific fit in.

Despite many shoes that we sell offering really great support, the playtesters rated their favorites right now:

  •  Asics Gel Solution Speed - Defying traditional lightweight shoes, this shoe provides higher than expected durability and support. It also provides great out of the box comfort, and of course, great support.
  • Nike Vapor 9 Tour - The fit of the shoes is designed around Federer’s desire for a running shoe-like feel with the support and stability of a tennis shoe. It is lightweight, breathable, with no break-in comfort and excellent support (take note, this is Chris’ favorite shoe OF ALL TIME).
  •  Asics Gel Resolution 4 - Offering great cushioning, durability, high performance stability and as per this blog, great support. Don’t sacrifice any features, as this shoe,  (according to Jason) it just “does EVERYTHING well.”
  • Yonex Power Cushion 308 - This shoe does well in the comfort and support areas. Designed with the Power Cushion technology in the midsole and insole for a responsive and comfortable ride, it also looks really cool in the men’s all black colorway!

See you again soon,