Nike tennis footwear took a big step forward at the beginning of 2012 with the introduction of the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour. Its Adaptive Fit construction, lightweight design and low-to-the-ground profile created an ultra comfortable, stable shoe that could fit virtually any type of foot.
Nike tennis footwear continues to evolve in 2014 with the introduction of their latest and greatest shoe, the new Lunar Ballistec. With contributions from one of the best players in the game, Rafael Nadal, Nike set out to improve every aspect of the shoe; make it lighter, faster, more comfortable, more stable, more durable and make it look better too.
Well, in our playtest of the new Lunar Ballistec, we think Nike did just that! Here are the top 5 things you need to know about the new Lunar Ballistec:
1. Lightweight + Durability
The game of tennis is faster and more physical than ever, so a shoe that can meet the game’s modern demands has to be both fast AND durable, not one or the other. The Lunar Ballistec is the lightest shoe in Nike Tennis’ premium line, lighter even than the Vapor! Yet, it’s also backed by a six-month durability guarantee. How is that possible?
The outsole uses a zonal tread pattern that serves a number of purposes. First of all, areas of the outsole that typically get worn out (like under your big toe) are made with a thicker “wear shelf” in order to provide extra durability. Next, weight was carved out of the shoe in the areas that don’t usually take as much of a beating. This keeps the weight of the shoe down while at the same time helping the outsole wear more evenly, allowing you to have better balance wth more consistent traction across the outsole.
In addition to the outsole’s zonal tread strategy, the upper of the shoe is made of a very lightweight synthetic material that, when combined with the other technologies in the shoe, still provides more than enough support and stability. This synthetic material in the upper is also durable and helps mold to the foot to provide a nice, glove-like fit,
2. Adaptive Fit technology
This technology was introduced in the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour, and was a big reason why it was so comfortable and stable. Individual “fingers” of the lacing system can be tightened or loosened independently, providing a fit that is customizable to your foot shape and liking. Supreme comfort meets lock-down stability! Building on the success of this technology in the Vapor 9, Nike re-introduces it in the Lunar Ballistec to offer the same super comfortable personalized fit.
3. Lower to the ground = More stability
The lower to the ground your foot is, the more stable it will feel, just like how a low, wide base of a car provides a more stable ride compared to a car that sits higher off the ground. Nike took out the Max Air bag that was in the heel of the Court Ballistec 4.3 that, while it provided lots of cushioning, lifted the foot higher off the ground. Replacing the Max Air technology is a bed of Lunarlon cushioning that’s lighter and lower in profile. This brings your foot back down closer to the ground while still providing lightweight cushioning and support for those long hours on court.
4. Innovative new shank design
In a typical tennis shoe, the hard shank that runs across the outsole under the arch area of your foot is stiff and linear. It provides support and stability only in one plane of motion. In the new Lunar Ballistec, the shank is more dynamic and able to rotate while still remaining firm and rigid enough to support you.
Your foot twists and turns while you play tennis. It doesn’t just strike the ground in one direction like it does if your jogging. The shank of the Lunar Ballistec discretely twists and turns with your foot, supporting your natural movements on the court. This results in a more natural and responsive feel with every type of aggressive move you’ll make on the court.
5. Rafa’s personality into the product
The best tennis player in the world deserved to have a shoe that reflected his personality and style of play. He’s fast, physical and is the personification of the modern game of tennis. The Lunar Ballistec is lightweight, durable and modern in design. It’s the most extreme Nike tennis shoe yet, just like how Rafa’s extreme game has revolutionized the sport.
In addition, you can see the soccer design influence in the shoe. The large Swoosh across the upper resembles the look of some of the popular Nike soccer cleats. Rafa’s roots in soccer played a big role in that particular look of the shoe.
Well, now that you know everything you need to know about the new Lunar Ballistec, it’s time to get a pair for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. We knew this shoe was going to be full of technology, and in our opinion Nike pulled it off in what may be the best tennis shoe we’ve ever worn. Now, go get a pair and see for yourself!
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