When it comes to tennis shoes, we all have different wants and put more importance on one factor versus another. While I’m pretty sure no one wants an uncomfortable shoe, for some comfort is indeed king and is more important than say lightweight speed. When I think of the most comfortable, cushioned shoes, the first two that come to mind are the Babolat SFX and the Diadora Speed Star K II shoes.
With either option, you’re going to find good support, stability and plush comfort, but let’s take a look at the nuances to help you make the choice that best fits your wants and needs.
What’s your shoe width?
If you have wider feet, the SFX might be for you. It has an ergonomic fit, making it wider in the forefoot — noticeably wider than a standard width tennis shoe. Our Tennis Warehouse playtesters with medium width feet actually chose to drop a half-size because of the wider fit.
The Speed Star K II is a medium width shoe, but it fit everyone on our team from narrow to wide width feet. This is likely due to the kangaroo leather upper, with its super soft, buttery feel.
Are you tough on your shoes?
You’ll be happy to hear that both shoes offer a six-month outsole durability guarantee. They’re pretty equal in terms of outsole durability, but if you’re a toe dragger, you’ll find better toe protection from the SFX’s plastic S-Shield upper. On the flipside, the leather upper of the Diadora offers a more flexible feel.
Do you prefer to sit low to the ground or higher up?
For those who like a lower, faster ride in their shoes, the Speed Star K II is the choice. The cushioning is plush, especially in the heel, but these still offer a speedier feel and sit closer to the ground in the forefoot.
There’s no doubt the SFX is cushioned, and all that cushioning means your feet will sit higher up off the ground. This translates into great impact protection, but the SFX will not feel as fast around the court.
Do you put an emphasis on lightweight?
Neither shoe falls into the lightweight category, but the Speed Star K II is going to feel lighter on the court. As a trade-off for weight, the SFX is more durable in the toe and more cushioned in the forefoot.
Classic or bold styling?
Each shoe is only available in one color, so this one is pretty simple. If you prefer or require a mostly white tennis shoe, the SFX is for you. For those who lean toward bolder color options, the Diadora is courting you with its black-purple styling.
Bottom line: Both shoes are going to deliver comfort and all-around performance, so you really can’t go wrong. For those who need a wider fitting shoe or prefer a more classic-looking and feeling shoe, the SFX is the way to go. The Speed Star K II is for those seeking a speedier, more aggressive option that still delivers plush comfort.