Babolat Propulse 4 Shoe Playtest

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by TW Staff, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    Come hang with us at Indian Wells!
     
  2. frunk

    frunk Semi-Pro

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    Kinda bad news - the strap on my left shoe ripped off. I'm assuming this is because I drag my left foot on its side..
     
  3. Babolat Official

    Babolat Official Hall of Fame

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    send it in for warranty
     
  4. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    I wore mine to play tennis in for the first time tonight. Not overwhelmed......the shoes are just W I D E, especially in the midfoot and heel. I just didn't feel secure in moving around the court. The shoes just will not snug up enough, and they feel stiff and not flexible. I think that a lot of people complained about the Propulse 2 and 3 digging In and irritating their heels, so they over corrected on the 4 and they are too loose in the heel area, no matter how tight I pull the heel straps. And I am wearing the thickest Level 3 Thorlos, by the way......
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  5. Murray_fan1

    Murray_fan1 Professional

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    Second outing in the shoes and I am very happy with the fit, comfort and durability thus far. I am lucky to have a fairly normal foot width and arch so i don't have too many fit issues but compared to other shoes ( res 4's and 2k11's)i would say these do fit slightly wider. 4.5 hours logged thus far and the only wear I can see is a little bit scuffing on the inside forefoot area of the cell shield where my foot drags on a slide. Seems Babolat really did their homework here as it is beefed up in the exact spot I would slide. (something I wish my Asics Res 4's would have as I always seem to rip through the seam at this location)

    Full review to come but very impressed so far.
     
  6. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    Mad Dog1's Babolat Propulse 4 Full Review

    Mad Dog1's Babolat Propulse 4 Full Review:

    Tennis experience/background: I’ve played tennis since I was 13. After college, I stepped away from the game and got back into the game 3.5 years ago. I play for fun and exercise. Tennis is also a healthy and safe outlet to relieve stress after a long day or week at work. I can go to the court and take out my aggression on a poor hapless ball without breaking any laws and hurting anyone. :) I play with a bunch of guys who range between 4.0-4.5 in skill.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I was a serve & volleyer in my younger days. Having lost a step or two or three due to age (42 yo), I now consider myself a baseliner, but am not afraid of approaching the net to get passed or to flub a volley. :mrgreen: i appreciate a shoe that is light, comfortable and durable since I treat tennis as exercise and don't mind running alot. Weighing in at just under 160 lbs, I'm not an excessive toe dragger nor am i excessively hard on my shoes.

    Current shoe: New Balance MC 851 – this is one of the lightest and as a result one of the most comfortable tennis shoe I have worn. Positives: The light weight and low profile make it a very fast and fleet feeling shoe. I can definitely get to the ball quicker in these. Running shoe like comfort. Negatives: Not very durable. I’ve almost worn through the outer sole on the medial side of the forefoot in less than 2 months playing 4 hours a week.

    Previous shoes: Nike CB 3.3 – this shoe weigh a ton. Positives: Incredible outer sole durability and heel cushioning. These last me a little over 5 months before I broke into the midsole. Negatives: Long and uncomfortable break in period. Lace straps snapped after 3 months so I ended up punching lace eyelets in the upper. Traction eroded as the outersole wore down. The AirMax heel does not offer great stability. An enclosed air packet is not inherently stable. Think trying to pop a balloon by sitting on it. Narrow forefoot fit. I normally wear a 9.5 and had to go up an entire size to fit comfortably and even then it wasn’t great. The narrow forefoot fit caused some pain under the ball of my foot that disappeared as soon as I switched to new shoes.

    Adidas Barricade 5 – this is another tank of a shoe. Heavy in weight. Positives: felt lighter than they weighed. Another extremely durable shoe. These last me almost as long as the CB 3.3s. toe durability wasn’t quite as good as the CBs. By the time I wore a hole under my big toe, the rest of the outersole still had another month or 2 of life left. Once broken in, these shoes were very comfortable. AWESOME heel cushioning offering more stability than the CBs. Fantastic forefoot stability. Great traction for the entire life of the shoe. Fit was a bit wider than medium in the forefoot. Negatives: Long and uncomfortable break in period. Weighed a lot and felt kind of tank like.

    Babolat Propulse 2 – lighter, lower profile, high performance shoe. Forefoot fit was a bit tight which I remedied by wearing thinner socks. Positives: Loved the close to the ground, low profile feel. Ventilation was the BEST. The vents underneath the shoe were extremely effective in keeping the feet cool and moisture free. The Michelin rubber compound provided some of the best traction – even better than adidas. Relatively quick break in period. Outersole durability was very good. Last me about 4 months so not quite as durable as the B5s or CB 3.3s. Very good support. Negatives: Forefoot cushioning was a bit thin especially as the outersole under the ball of the foot wore away. Landing on the forefoot was a bit jarring on the feet and knees. My joints would feel more fatigue wearing these vs the B5s.

    KSwiss Defier DS – Generous medium width fit. nice wide stable shoe last that works well with hard orthotics. Positives: decent durability and an all around solid performing shoe. Didn’t feel too heavy. Durability was acceptable. I wore through the outersoles in 4 months.
    Negatives: Ventilation wasn’t great. Feet sweat a lot in these. Felt a bit clunky and clumsy.

    Nike Air Breathe Cage, Asics Challenger 7, KSwiss UltraNatural – Since these shoes are much older, I won’t offer any comparisons.

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? 25 hours so far

    Comments on shoe performance: 9/10 I really love the new P4s. If these shoes offer durability as good or better than the P2s, I can say that out of all the shoes that offer excellent durability that i have tried to date, these are at the top. The P4s offer great comfort, fit and performance. They accommodate my orthotics well. They fit very comfortably and they offer excellent stability and traction. They hug my feet and do not feel heavy, clunky or tank-like. Babolat has done a SUPERB job with their newest shoe offering! BRAVO!!!

    -comfort: 9/10 AWESOME! Super comfy. This is the 1st tennis shoe of the more durable offerings that is just so comfortable after the brief break in period that i would wear these around on the weekend. There are no tight spots causing any pinching; no hard plastic materials that dig into the ankle or the outer part of the forefoot and toes, etc. The Cell Shield upper molded nicely around my feet. The cushioning is first rate! I really liked the low to the ground feel of the Propulse 2s but my only complaint was that the forefoot cushioning seemed a bit thin. The Propulse 4s aren't quite as low profile as the 2s, but they are still feel closer to the ground that than the CB 3.3s and the Barricade Vs both of which had really thick cushioning under the heel. While the Propulse 4 heel cushioning isn't as thick as the CB3.3 or B5s, the heel Kompressor cushioning system offers comparable levels of shock absorption while still allowing me to feel connected to the court. The forefoot cushioning is the best i've felt in any tennis shoe. it's not overly rigid like the CBs and Barricades but it's more cushioned. When i bounce on the balls of my feet, i can feel the Side 2 Side technology with the 3D Dynamic Fishbone providing the cushioned feel and then springing back like a shock absorber. While I'm not sure it helps get me to the ball quicker, it sure does an excellent job at providing effective cushioning.

    -arch support: I can’t comment on the built in arch support since I wear prescription orthotics; I will say that my hard orthotics seated in the heel cup very nicely. I believe this is due to the Propulse heel cup design. Most shoes have a rigid plastic cup for the heel counter. If the plastic cup is too narrow, the orthotic never seats quite right into the heel cup. The Propulse heel counter is 2 pieces rather than 1 fixed piece. There’s a rigid counter on the left and right side; the width is adjusted by the heel strap. You pull the strap tighter to tighten the heel counter and loosen the strap to accommodate a wider orthotic. I find this design to work exceptionally well with hard orthotics. I had a hell of a time getting my orthotic to seat comfortably in the Nikes, Adidas and Asics. The narrow heel cup would squeeze my orthotic forward in the shoe bed. The friction of the orthotic rubbing on the inside would create a very annoying squeaking sound as well. Over time, the orthotic eventually seated properly in some shoes while they never did in others. This wasn’t a problem with the Propulse 4. I give the Propulses big props for this design.

    -stability/support: 10/10 Because of the Propulse 4s low profile design, stability is excellent as is support. Additionally, like the prior generations of Propulses, the FootBelt straps do a great job of securing the foot as well as securing the shoelaces to keep them from coming undone. The heel cushioning is excellent while being very stable. The CB 3.3 heel cushioning was excellent but not very stable.

    -ventilation: 9/10 Ventilation is xlnt. Not quite as airy as the Propulse 2s with the built-in underfoot air vents, but superior to the Defier DS, CB 3.3s and B5s.

    -sole durability: After 25 hours, the medial side of both shoes is starting to show significant wear. the tread under the ball of the right shoe is showing approximately 50% wear. tread is balding, but traction is still excellent.

    -toe durability: After 25 hours, the medial side of the left big toe area has significant wear.

    -traction: 9.5/10 Traction is excellent. The Michelin rubber provides the right amount of bite, grip and give. The P4s really excel when making sharp stops and quick acceleration to the ball. They feel connected to the court. With the CB 3.3s, the feedback was always rather vague i think in large part due to the Air Max cushioning. The B5s were pretty good after they were broken in.

    -weight: 8/10 These shoes feel lighter than the B5s and CB 3.3s for sure. I think the P 4s are about the same weight as the KSwiss Defier DS but they feel much more agile and nimble. The only shoes that feel noticeably lighter and quicker are the NB 851s but at the expense of durability.

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: The P4 is a good looking shoe! The Pittsburgh Steelers colorway looks like it means business! Per the TW product description, slight break in required and I agree. VERY quick break in period. Took about 10-15 mins. After a few hard cuts on the court, i had to tighten the laces and VOILA! the Propulse 4s were broken in. Per the TW product description, length is true to size; width is medium. I agree on the length. I am finding the width to be a bit wider than medium. I describe it as a generous medium fit in the forefoot/toebox. These are a bit roomier than the Propulse 2s. The fit of the heel is medium.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  7. frunk

    frunk Semi-Pro

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    Propulse 4 Review (One Week)

    Comfort:
    I'll preface this with saying I double socked at all times, both for style points and for comfort. I only double sock with Barricade 7's, as they are uncomfortable. 4.3's fit like a glove. That being said, double socked, the pp4's felt really nice. Almost strangely nice. The shoe isn't exceptionally light, as I personally couldn't feel the difference of 1.5 ounces or whatever, but I did feel lighter on my toes and I could bounce more on them and contort my foot without any pain, as I get from the B7's. No blistering for me!

    Support/Stability:
    One thing I'm very happy with is the lateral stability. At the playtest, we did side to side plyometric drills, and I could really lock in my foot on those sharp turns. This carried on with the rest of my playing. I could easily change direction and even lunge for a ball I would've normally slipped away from. Very very good thing for me. There is supple support with the shoe as is, and the straps help people lock in the heel if there is slippage, or if there is extra breathing room up top. Overall, very pleased with the support I got.

    Ventilation:
    Average. Nothing insane to boast, nor was it a sauna with two socks on. There is a lot of mesh on the shoe, though, so some people will feel the extra ventilation. Nothing exceptional for me, however.

    Durability:
    The caveat of many good shoes - durability. I've heard stories about propulse's wearing out in a matter of a month, yet some swear it lasts ages. Sole durability is very relative to the player you are and how much you do move your feet. For me, I wear through barricades and courtballistecs in about 2.5/3 months, and vapors in about a month. Average wear and tear on the sole, for just a week. Keep in mind I've put in about 15 hours in these shoes. Another part of durability is the side durability. I drag my left foot when I slide, especially I drag it on the inside area. 9 times out of 10, this is the first part of the shoe to really suffer any damage, and this was apparent when the strap system broke apart. The friction of the court had literally destroyed it. Totally a personal issue, however! I doubt many of you suffer from the same issues. For me, durability of the inside median shoe is always a difficulty, and this proved similar to the competition.

    Background Info:
    I'm the youngest TT-TW playtester for this shoe, I believe, and I play about 4.5-5.0, where I can beat a 4.5 and put up a good hustle against a 5.0 and get a set or two or three. Keep in mind that I am from Orange County, where a 4.5 can be similar to a 5, and a 5 is like a 5.5 or low 6. I am 16 years old and play Varsity Singles tennis in High School. I am a junior, and have been on varsity for 3 years. I usually play with the CB4.3's and now recently (unfortunately) the B7's. I've never used Babolat shoes prior to this experience. I was pleasantly surprised. As of now - would I switch to the propulse 4? Probably not. I still love the comfort and durability that the CB's have given me over the years. It's a personal affair, yet the PP4's are SOLID, solid shoes and you should seriously give them a shot!
     
  8. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    I played a mixed doubles match last night on clay in my playtest shoes, and I found the sock combo that makes them fit snug enough....double socked with a pair of Elites and a normal thickness Nike mostly cotton socks. I felt much more locked in and stable in the shoes with this double sock combo, and very comfortable.
    Doubles match today on indoor hardcourt for further testing!
     
  9. tbln

    tbln New User

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    Is this thread just for the TW play testers? I have been playing with this shoe for a short while here in Australia and would be happy to contribute my own review on it.
     
  10. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    while it is a thread specifically for the TW playtesters to post their reviews, i imagine your review would most certainly be welcome. :) and a warm welcome to the forum!
     
  11. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    I am starting to think, that the 11.5 I got is just too big. I am thinking the new Propulse 4 fits more like the SFX that I wear an 11 in..... I have worn 11.5 in every incarnation of the Propulse, so I felt pretty confident in requesting 11.5 for the playtest. Kinda sucks.
     
  12. Murray_fan1

    Murray_fan1 Professional

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    Murray_fan1 Propulse 4 Review

    Murray_fan1's Review of the Propulse 4

    I will update durability and overall comments in the coming weeks


    Tennis experience/background: My Dad introduced me to the game when I was 9 years old and haven't looked back since. I played competitive tennis (league, junior tournaments etc) at a fairly high level up until I was about 19 yrs old when the usual facts of life kicked in (School, Job, Family). I now play generally to keep fit, hitting with others players at my club around the 4.5-5.5 level. I plan to play league tennis this spring/summer and some select tournaments along the way when time permits.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I would describe myself as a base liner with aspirations of becoming an all court player. Although I don't consider myself old I do feel that I would be better off finishing points as quickly as possible (moving in) instead of slugging it out all day from the back with these young 20 somethings :). Needless to say, I feel most comfortable at the baseline so if you were to catch me on the court no doubt that is where I will be.

    Current shoe: Asics Gel Resolution 4's - The Resolution line since it's introduction has been my go to shoe and IMO this shoe is the Hallmark in terms of overall performance ( Speed, Stability, Traction, Fit and Comfort). It does lack the durability I have been longing but comes with a painless 6 month durability guarantee (shoes last me 2 months) through TW so I can't complain.

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? Approx 9 hrs

    Comments on shoe performance:9/10 This shoe has really surprised me. Going into the play test I had some preconceived ideas on how this shoe would perform. Based on the styling I had pegged this as a typical durability shoe which lacks the speed, comfort and traction I desire to play at my highest level. Well let me tell you the Propulse delivers on a high level in all the key categories for me with only the Resolutions slightly ahead in terms of overall performance.

    Comfort-I found these shoes to have a very nice balance of comfort to performance. I like the fact that these shoes play low to the ground and have great feedback but don't punish you for that feel either. The resolutions may be a little better in this regard but it is very close. Heel cushioning is outstanding. The Compressor heel cup does a great job in absorbing shock without losing the feedback that you would get with an Airmax system.

    -arch support: 10/10 I am lucky enough to have a fairly regular arch so nothing special is required here. I felt the Propulse was adequate in this regard for my foot type. No issues here.

    -stability/support: 9/10 This is a very stable shoe that takes very well to side to side movement, lateral cuts and movement in general around the court. The cell shield upper is pliable but not overly constricting and the heel and foot belt straps keep my foot locked in place with no fear of foot slippage. Stability is on par with the best in this category ( Barricade, Court Ballistecs, Resolution 4's)

    -ventilation: Although this time of year ventilation is not a concern for me (play indoors during the winter). The construction (Cell shield Cage) of the upper seems to be designed with this in mind. Ventilation seems more than adequate for even the hottest of summer days.


    -sole durability: I will update this as the time goes but very little to report here. Sole seems near new at the 9 hrs mark with only the slightest signs that these have been worn on a hard court.


    -toe durability: Beefed up in all the right places, I think this will bode well for this shoe over time. I tend to drag my toe on service returns and when serving so this will definitely get a true test with me. I also like the fact that they beefed up the section on the upper which is exactly where my would drag when sliding out wide. Asics please take note of this if you are reading this. Babolat got it right here.

    -traction: Traction to me due to the spacing on the indoor courts I play the ability to start and stop abruptly when chasing balls out wide is paramount. The Propulse has the right mix of grab and give (slides) that allows for complete confidence around the court.

    -weight:-The weight of this shoe is slightly more than what I am used to and yes I would love for these shoes to weigh less but I know with that comes some compromises i.e durability, support, cushioning stability. I would take the extra weight in this case as I don't feel the reduction in weight would be worth it.


    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Well I would like to thank Babolat and Tennis Warehouse for allowing me to be apart of this play test. These shoes are a real contender to become my shoe of choice. I really like my current shoes but if these continue to perform this well I may be switching. The overall performance to date has been nothing less than outstanding and has been a pleasure to be apart of.
     
  13. tbln

    tbln New User

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    Thanks! :) I've been a long time lurker so here goes..

    Tennis experience/background: I'm 29, fit and play mostly singles 3-4x/wk at a NTRP level around 5.0 on plexicushion hard court here at Melbourne Park, home of the Aus Open. :)

    I'm a heavy heel-striker and wear out most shoes in 2-3 months based on either the condition of the midsole or the whites showing through on the outsole, whichever comes first. I know that the midsole is worn when my feet start hurting on court but goes away when I slip on a new pair of identical shoes.

    I have EE wide feet and often have difficulty finding shoes that fit comfortably. For example, the courtballistecs 4.3 are too narrow if I don't put them in a shoe stretcher first and I can't even put my foot inside an adidas barricade. I can fit into size D wide shoes with a break-in. To make matters worse, I also wear 3/4 length hard custom orthotics and ASO ankle braces.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): My natural game is a defensive baseliner--rely on my fitness to grind out the point until my opponent (or I) crumbles into a crying cramping sweaty heap of frustration, heatstroke and resignation.

    Current shoe: Babolat Propulse 3
    Past shoes: Nike Courtballistec 3.3/4.3 (used shoe stretcher to widen), Nike Lunar Vapor 8 (wore out too quickly), Head Insane Pro (nice width, wore quickly, poor toe guard, uppers were too soft)

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? 3 hours, singles

    Comments on shoe performance:
    -comfort: Out of the box, I felt the PP4 was slightly more comfortable than the PP3 with more cushioning under the ball of the foot and on top of the toes. With my fat feet, orthotics and ankle braces the fit was snug but not unplayably tight. I could barely knot the laces before running out of string. However, after a 15 minute warm up, the shoes felt loose and I had to tighten the laces and at this point the shoe felt near-perfect for me (still a tad snug on the sides). The shoe feels a tad higher off the ground than the PP3s but, comparing to the two aforementioned shoes I wore in the past, feel in-between a courtballistec and a lunar vapor when running around the court. It has excellent cushioning (but not as much as the courtballistec) but feels light (but not as light as the lunar vapor).

    I should comment that, just like the PP3, I get some odd rubbing on top of the 4th toe at the proximal/middle phalanx joint that I only notice when I take off my shoes and see a broken blister. This is not a deal-breaker for me since I can preventatively wrap the joint up with some medical tape before play.

    -arch support: I can't comment aside from the fact that it readily accommodates my 3/4 length hard plastic orthotics without feeling any extra lumps or like I'm running on high heels. I usually places these underneath the insole.

    -stability/support: Pretty darn amazing. To me, what separates a good shoe from a so-so shoe (that still fits well) is how it feels at the high end of athleticism like when I'm changing directions quickly, taking full cuts, or stopping at full stretch to retrieve a good drop shot. The PP4 really excelled here. Like the PP3, I found the rear strap pretty useless but accredited the top strap to improving my stability during high energy situations. However, I should note that the top strap is shorter and thinner than the PP3 with uneven velcro proportions. There is to too much soft velcro and not enough rough velcro to overlap, and with my bulky feet I was only able to overlap about half an inch but it never came undone during play.

    -ventilation: Pretty good but I don't really rate ventilation as a necessary criteria in selecting my shoes. For me, my choice depends on fit>comfort>durability/price >>> weight>ventilation.

    -sole durability: I can't comment too much on this yet but I would be very happy if it lasted me 3 months.

    -toe durability: I'm a left-toe dragger when hitting my backhands and I was glad to see these shoes cover those areas quite well. The uppers are quite durable and abrasive-resistant as well as I completely pronate my foot sideways when I lunge and found minimal wear as a result.

    -traction: Absolutely amazing. The outsole feels like softer rubber than the PP3 and it just grips the gritty hard court like a sports tire. In the PP3, I sometimes slide a little on the hard court but I felt more glued to the court in the PP4s. Time will tell if its at a cost to durability.

    -weight: This is not a major consideration point in my shoe selection but I guess I tend to wear and favor heavy tank-shoes anyway. I don't usually find light vs heavy shoes to really affect my play.

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Overall, I really like this shoe and it will probably be my new go-to shoe for the next year. Like the PP3, I love how the top strap keeps the shoe molded to my feet and the heel planted, particularly when on the balls of my feet or sliding out wide. I love how protected my feet feel on court. Most of all, I really love the traction and stability that these shoes provide to give me just that little bit more confidence to run after that ball on the full stretch and make my opponent hit just one more shot.

    Its funny that these shoes are associated with michelin because I really do think that these shoes are analogous to sports tires. Expensive, wears quickly (to be seen), but amazing performance/traction. Might be overkill for the beginner/intermediate player though.

    I only wish that it came in red like the PP3 to match my red shirts and prestige racquet. :cool:

    I hope this review was helpful to anyone out there considering these shoes.
     
  14. samprasbackhand

    samprasbackhand Semi-Pro

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    Tennis experience/background: I played high school varsity for a couple years and played casually in college. I don't get to play as much now as I used to (probably once every 2 weeks). I would say I'm a 4.0 - 4.5


    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I'm an aggressive baseliner, always looking to hit the forehand. I like coming to net so I can dump volleys into the net.


    Current shoe: Asics GR4, Adidas Barricade 7's

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? About 4
    Comments on shoe performance:
    -comfort: Probably the most comfortable out of the box shoes I've worn, just as comfortable out of the box as GR4's, which is a big reason why I switched to Asics over Adidas in the first place.
    -arch support: Very good, no complaints here
    -stability/support: I liked it a lot, the shoes feel very snug. I felt no problems moving from side to side and the shoes offer a nice low to the ground feel. I didnt' feel like the straps helped with anything though.
    -ventilation: Good
    -sole durability: Cannot comment yet but seems good to me.
    -toe durability: I am a heavy toe dragger so the toes usually wear out first on me. Won't know until I put many more hours in.
    -traction: Great! The shoes grip the court very well. I generally try to play very aggressively and move as little as possible so I'm not really sliding around or anything.
    -weight: The shoes feel pretty light to me but weight has never been an issue with shoes for me. Asides from Asics shoes I've been playing in Barricades my whole life so I don't mind having weighty shoes.
    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Great comfort out of the box so I'm satisfied. Most of my issues with shoes in the past has been break-in time so I like how I can start playing in the shoes immediately instead of having to wear them around the house or anywhere else. I am probably not going to wear Barricades anymore and would either wear Asics and wouldn't mind switching to this shoe either.
     
  15. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    I reached the character limit in my review above so i have to start a new post to add comments.

    I've noticed some pros and cons regarding the footstrap across the top of the shoe which i discovered when i had my Propulse 2s.

    Cons: the velcro strap can and does snag the laces so it takes a few seconds longer to get the shoes tied initially.

    Pros: I secure the shoelaces by tucking them under the strap and found that my shoelaces never come undone any more so no need to double tie my laces. By securing the laces in this fashion, they never get dragged across the court. the KSwiss Defier DS and NB MC 851 have longer laces and i found that even when i double tied my laces, they'd still drag on the court and get abraded and eventually break because i'd be stepping on and sliding on the long laces. No need to buy new laces due to breakage! :)
     
  16. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Sad, but true.....my test shoes are too big after all. I tried on a size 11, and it fits. Like I said, I have worn 11.5s in EVERY previous Propulse, so I was confident in requesting the 11.5. Babolat is on a trend of making their shoes roomier, a la the SFX which runs huge. I think the reason most everyone is saying that double sox and thickest Thorlos are required is that the Propulse 4 runs bigger than the 3s.......my recommendation is to order a half size smaller in the 4 than you wore in the 3.
     
  17. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    yeah, i found that the propulse 4 are definitely roomier than the propulse 2s. w/ the P2s, i ended up wearing thinner socks and the shoes fit pretty well. the P4s fit comfortably with my thicker socks.
     
  18. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    Is this even with two pairs of socks? (not sure if you normally use the Elite plus regular dri-fit with all your shoes).
     
  19. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, even with level 3 Thorlo the 11.5 is roomy. I usually wear single Elites, or single normal cushion foot socks......not normally a double sock wearer.
     
  20. TahoeTennis

    TahoeTennis Professional

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    915
    Dear Babolat,
    please start making a shoe in size 15.
     
  21. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    If they make it in a 14.5 it would work according to THE playtester(s).
     
  22. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
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    3,879
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    states
    almost done with these beasties, just have over 20 hours on them. full review to come on sunday after big bragging rights match.
     
  23. Maroon_Tenniskid

    Maroon_Tenniskid Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
    628
    Maroon_Tenniskid's Full Babolat Propulse 4 Review

    My tennis experience/background: I am 19 years old and play club tennis at my university. I played 2.5 years of varsity tennis (5A Texas High school). I am a 4.0-4.5 player.

    My playing style: All court with a lot of variety and good movement.

    Current shoe: I played a lot with the New Balance 851's and loved them after I got used to the fit and low cushioning. However, my previous shoes have been: Barricades 5,6,7, CC Genius 1 and 2, Propulses 2,3, CB 2.3 and 3.3's and Breathe 2k12's.

    Hours played in the PP4: 20 hours.

    Comments on Performance:

    Comfort: 9/10 This is a very comfortable shoe. It was a little stiff at first, but never to the point where it was uncomfortable. The break in process was very easy for me. I did have to wear two pairs of socks at a few points on these, which isn't unusual for Propulses which I usually had to wear two pairs of socks to get the most comfort and stability from them. I had a problem with the heel area rubbing on my Achilles with the PP2's and PP3's, and Babolat fixed this issue on the 4, it is no longer constraining and aggravating on that area now.Cushioning is low to the ground, but not as low as the NB 851's and is not harsh if you land in a certain way like the PP2s and PP3s.

    Fit: 9/10 Right away, these shoes felt like a slightly narrower, more stiff, more cushioned Propulse 3. As they broke in, they loosened up and felt better than the 3's in terms of comfort and fit my foot even better with 2 pairs of socks, however for a light hit, 1 pair worked just fine. I guess comparing with other brands, they fit slightly like the Nike Breathe 2k12 with less stiff arch support, and a way more beefed up version of the NB 851, and I can't compare to any adidas model. I'm pretty sure Babolat used the same mold as the other Propulse models.

    Arch support: 8/10 my arches are about medium and this shoe did not dig into my arches at all and actually was a little low for me and my caused the fit to be a little weird when I didn't wear two pairs of socks.

    Stability/Support: 10/10 I have never had much of a problem with Propulses and stability. They're aways very solid and I'm never afraid about rolling an ankle or anything of the sort. The low to the ground feel makes it even more stable feeling. The velcro straps always help if cinching the laces doesn't cover it, and the heel belt helps heel slippage that may occur. I never had much trouble with them and Babolat made them smaller to be more out of the way if you weren't a fan of them. Overall I think stability is comparable to top models from other brands and more customizable with the straps.

    Ventillation: 9.5/10 This is a very breathable shoe and I didn't have any problems with blistering. I'm kind of sad that they removed the vents on the bottom, but they're still breathable enough in the hot Texas weather.

    Sole Durability: 9/10 Babolat Has definitely improved this aspect for me. I don't know what it was about the previous propulses that I owned, but they wore out fairly easy for me (about 2 months playing a few times a week), whereas I can't see much wear so far on these. I still don't think they are comparable to Barricade durability and that's why they didn't get a 10/10.

    Toe Durability: 10/10 I'm not much of a toe dragger, however I did manage to wear out the toe on the NB 851's, but they weren't known for toe durability. I've never had a problem with Propulse toe wear and these appear to be up to par if not better than the previous ones.

    Traction: 8/10 So the 8/10 is how sticky they are. For me, most Barricades and a new pair of NB 851's are close to a 10 on the traction scale here. I am a fan of shoes that don't slide too much when I recover and these didn't slide nearly as much as the other propulses I've previously worn. I like this new outsole pattern that Babolat used for this shoe, it is vastly improved over the other PP's in terms of slipping and sliding around. These however don't provide too much traction and do allow you to slide if you really want to or need too. I felt in control of my footwork very well with these and I have no complaints about traction.

    Weight: 8.5/10 I recently came from wearing the NB 851's for several months and I got used to the super fast/lightweight feel of those, so at first, these felt very clunky and I was not a fan. However, once I got used to it (I have played in and gotten used to the clunkiest shoes (CB 3.3's and Barricades)), They were fine and I enjoyed playing with them. They feel very fast compared to other top models by other companies and I enjoyed the feel. However, they are by no means running shoe light and aim to be fast, yet still durable which babolat has accomplished in these.

    Overall: 9/10

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: I really enjoyed this playtest and love seeing the improvements Babolat has made over the previous versions of this shoe. I think if you love the propulse 3's and 2's, you will still love the 4's and if you thought the 2's and 3's were too flexible and lacked cushioning, well Babolat has fixed those two aspects in the 4. Note, I did wear two pairs of socks with these shoes most of the time for added cushioning and a tighter fit as these do run slightly big as I wore a size 11 in the PP2 and 3 and these are a 10.5 and fit about the same as those. It is a very good top of the line shoe for babolat and very comparable to other top of the line shoes. The look is very cool (I got the black with Yellow) and I never feel like they're too flashy, but at the same time, they feel just flashy enough. The only thing Babolat still needs to figure out is how to make a pair of shoes that makes the user win every match they play while wearing them. Then they'd really have something going. :wink:

    Thanks so much TW for allowing me to be part of this awesome playtest!
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  24. MadisonTennis

    MadisonTennis New User

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    69
    I recently bought this shoe and have previously been using the Propulse 3 on hard courts and SFX on Clay. I just found the 3 was a great shoe for hard courts but no so great on clay. I think the biggest improvement with the 4 is that it is great on both surfaces. It seems to grip better on clay than the 3s while still maintaining great traction on hard courts. Like some others did say I did find it was snug at first but after about an hour of playing, the shoe felt great. I wore a 9 in the 3 and SFX and find the 4 to fit the same after it breaks in. I have a wide foot and previously used the Nike 2K series. I tried other shoes in the past like the Vapor line but they were just too narrow and ended up hurting my feet. I think Babolat has really improved a great shoe with the new Propulse 4. If you have a fairly wide foot and looking for a great support shoe for multiple playing surfaces, the 4 is a great alternative.
     
  25. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
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    states
    Babolat Shoe Review

    Tennis experience/background: I first picked up a racquet when I went to tennis camp in 7th grade. I played all four years in high school varsity. I played some doubles, but I mostly played #3 singles. I am now a third year student at Purdue University. I have played on the club team all three years, it also has some very respectable players that could give some D2 players trouble. The last time I shelled out money to be pro-rated, I was at a 4.0 but since then I would self-rate somewhere in-between 4-4.5

    Describe your playing style- I used to play mostly on clay and I would consider myself a hardcore counterpuncher, but in the past couple of years I have been playing way more on hard court, thus I would say I have developed a pit of an all court game. I am not as afraid of the net as I used to be, but I will go in to finish a point. I still love just camping on the baseline though and reacting to others shots. I am left handed, full western fh, 2hbh, but I love the slice to mix it up.

    Current shoe: Nike zoom Vapor 9 tour

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? I played with this shoes for a little more than 23 hours.

    Comments on shoe performance

    -comfort: the comfort of the shoe was pretty good. It took a little bit of time to get used to as it feels a bit different than other shoes on the market, but overall I would rate comfort as a plus for these shoes. 8/10

    -arch support: the arch support of the shoe was one of the best parts of the shoe, I really enjoyed the low to the ground feel of this shoe. 9/10

    stability/support: this is where I felt somewhat frustrated with the shoe. Due to the fact that I felt that the shoe ran a bit large, sometimes I felt that my foot would slide around inside the shoe. It was not as snug as I would have liked. I really had to pull very tight on the straps to get them to fell even semi tight. I want my feet to feel like they are locked in with a tennis shoe, the babolat propulse 4 did not do this for me. If I bought a pair of these I would go down a half size next time and I think the problem would be fixed for my feet. 6/10

    ventilation: ventilation with this shoe was very good. My feet felt very cool throughout the time that I played in them. The shoe did not have as good as ventilation as say the vapor 9s, but compared to say my old B 7’s it was awesome. I was surprised in the end how a shoe with a 6 month guarantee could have such good ventilation. 8/10

    -sole durability: the shoe durability was better than the vapor 9s, by the end of my 20 hours, the shoe was looking to be in pretty good condition on the bottom part of the sole, I was just start to wear through the traction, but they still had plenty of hours left in them. The only part of the shoe where I put a whole it it was the sides, (I do the same thing with my vapors, because I slide.) the material was just not thick enough and the cage part of the shoe eventually blew out, I would have licked it to have a little bit more protection, but then you would have to give up ventilation, so pick your poison I guess. 7/10

    toe durability: good enough for me, I don’t beat up on the toes of my shoes that much, I had no problems with the toe durability in my hours, just the normal scuffing, but the rubber stood up to it. 9/10

    traction: this was another part of the shoe that I greatly enjoyed. The shoe really gripped the court, but not so much that it hindered changing direction quickly. It was almost as good say to a tank shoe like the barricade 7s. 9/10

    -weight: the shoes felt a little heavy compared to my vapors, but compared to the barricades the felt significantly lighter. It just took me a little time to get used to the extra weight, but once I got used to it in the first couple of hours they did not feel that heavy to me. 8/10

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: over all I was pretty happy with these shoes, I really liked that the durability was better than the vapors which are costing me a fortune. The only thing I did not like about them was the fit and that I had to always pull the straps so tight. Other than that it was a pretty good shoe in my book. A very solid shoe that held up for the most part to the hours that I put on it, in the future I would just buy a half size smaller. my favorite parts of the shoe where its arch support and traction. It felt on par with barricades, while still having characteristics of a speed shoe. I also enjoyed the cosmetics. The black looked sick with the yellow. It was a bit refreshing from some of nike’s out there color ways, but more importantly that the cosmetics was how the shoe delivered on the court. For the summer season I have a little bit of a choice between these and the vapors. Thinking about making a switch perhaps. 8.5/10 for overall score.

    Hats off to babolat for birthing the shoe
    And
    Thanks to tw for the chance to playtest,

    Rdis10093
     
  26. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    4,343
    PP4 Review

    My tennis experience/background: On and off since I was very young, and just when I was making my way up the ladder on a Top 10 state-ranked high school team, needed knee surgery that basically ended tennis for me for six years.. But picked the sport back up again and have been playing consistently (3-5x per week) over the last five years.

    My playing style: Baseliner. Come to the net when I push the opponent deep to the corner, but definitely more comfy at the back of the court.

    Current shoe: Nike Vapor 9 is my go-to for match play but I also practice a lot in the more cushy Asics Gel Resolution 4s to save the knees and the Vapor9 tread, which wears so quickly.

    Hours played in the PP4: 14

    Comments on Performance:

    Comfort:
    7/10. After a brief break-in period of about an hour (initially the shoe just felt a bit stiff around the edges), these were decently comfortable, probably a little better than the average tennis shoe, but still nowhere near as plush as my Asics and also not as comfortable (particularly in the uppers) as my Nike Vapors. I notice that my foot kind of slopes downward from back to front with the PP4, more so than my other shoes, noticeable especially after I logged a few hours in them. The forefoot cushioning is extremely minimal, whereas the heel is more plush. As a result, after playing about 90 minutes in these the front balls of my foot will feel the day’s work and are aching a bit, unlike my two other shoes. When I put my Superfeet Orange insoles in them, the shoe felt more cushioned to my liking, but I was also sitting too high up in the heel, so I ended up preferring them with the stock insole so that my foot/ankle rested lower in the shoe for a bit more security.

    Fit: 6/10. I have wide feet and these are just too narrow for me personally in the midfoot. Not so much that I can’t wear them (like a Nike Ballistec or an Adidas Barricade), but enough to where I feel my foot meeting the edge of the shoe bed and am thinking about it during play. I don’t like to be thinking about my shoes during play, so it’s an issue. The forefoot opens up (after break-in) nicely and roomily, though, and another thing I did really like about this shoe was the belt system. They actually work. Occasionally I’d feel the shoe loosen up a bit and I’d just tighten up those belts and felt locked in again. I always thought these belts seemed a bit gimmicky but they really do help to lock in the foot and ankle.

    Arch support: 7/10 Decent arch support. I have a very high arch so most shoes fall short in this category for me, but this one, while falling just short of optimal for me, was suitable enough to where I never really thought about it.

    Stability/Support: 7/10. Initially I was worried about this because of the more narrow feeling midfoot and the fact that, compared to my Vapor 9s, which seem to sit much lower to the ground for me, that an ankle roll might be possible. I just felt that ‘edge’ to the shoe that made me worry a bit that I might easily go over that edge on a hard stop and tip over and roll the ankle. But that never happened. The higher heel is still higher than I’d like it to be – I think if it sat a bit lower like the front of the shoe I’d feel more secure – but never came close to an ankle roll so I can’t complain.

    Ventillation: 8/10. Not nearly as breathable as my Vapors, but then, what shoe isn’t? These seemed perfectly fine, though, as I never felt like my foot was ‘hot’ by the end of a session. Granted, these were used in cooler temps so not the ideal testing conditions for this.

    Sole Durability: 10/10 Barely any visible wear on these now, so compared to what I’m used to (the Vapor sole evaporates so quickly), these seem fantastic. I’d imagine these soles last a good long while before needing to be replaced.

    Toe Durability: 10/10. Same as above. Very little sign of trouble, a good sign for longer term use.

    Traction: 9/10 Good grab here. Might actually like a tad more give in this department, as some stops almost seemed TOO harsh, but can’t really complain. Would prefer too much grab to too little grab and me sliding TOO much on the court.

    Weight: 7/10. These aren’t bricks, which is how I feel a lot of Barricade or Court Ballistec versions feel to me, but they also aren’t super light and ‘free’ feeling like my Vapors or even my Asics. Kind of right in between Brick Shoes and Speed Shoes in the tennis genre.

    Overall: 7/10

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Pretty solid tennis shoe but just not quite made for my wider foot or for my personal preferences – my preferences being to have a shoe that’s either nice and plush feeling for the many hours I log practicing, or very fast feeling for league and match play. All in all, I like a shoe that I completely forget about during play, that doesn’t get in the way or that I ‘feel’, so I can concentrate elsewhere. For me, though, I always kind of ‘felt’ the shoe when I played – the narrower midfoot, the rubberish uppers/outside (the tongue is nice and soft, though), the sloped-downward last that left the front of my feet a bit achy by the end of a long session. So… these are not quite on par for me as my Vapor 9s or Asics Resolutions, but a lot of that also has to do with the wider fit that I prefer. For those with a more narrow midfoot than mine, and/or for those whom durability is a top priority, these are a very solid offering.

    An enormous thank you to TW for letting me be a part of this playtest.
     
  27. Chace

    Chace Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    578
    Babolat Propulse 4 Review

    Tennis experience/background:
    Started playing tennis on a regular basis when i was around 13 years old. Played on the varsity high school team each year. After high school I played in K-Swiss leagues(now Ultimate Tennis) and played some open tournaments. I stopped playing tennis for the most part from around age 20 to my late 20s. I am now in my mid-late 30s and play tennis 2-3 times a week. Mostly now for just fun, exercise and the joy of the sport. I hit with a group of guys that are solid 4.5s.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
    Aggressive baseliner and will come to the net to finish the point off when i get a short ball.

    Current shoe:
    My current shoes are the Adidas Barricade 7s. I mostly play on hardcourts and enjoy the durability and lateral support of the barricades. To me the downside of the barricades are that they are a little on the heavy side. Other shoes i have used are previous iterations of the barricades, asics gel resolutions, nike breathe free 2, and nike cages.

    How many hours did you play with the shoe?
    About 15.

    Comments on shoe performance:

    -comfort: 9/10, definitely more comfortable than the barricade 7s. The shoes have a nice balance of performance and comfort. They almost feel like an extension of my legs. I do not notice that they are there (no bulkiness like the barricade 7s). I really enjoy the straps, they allow you to really lock in your foot. I have a narrow heel and the heel strap allows me to lock it in and there is no slippage.

    -arch support: 10/10
    I would say that i have a pretty normal arch. No issues there.

    -stability/support: 10/10
    I am very pleased with the stability and support. Again I feel the straps allow you to really lock in your foot. Excellent lateral support, no problems moving side to side or with lateral cuts and changing directions. I feel the Propulse 4s are equal to the barricades when it comes to support and stability.

    -ventilation:9/10
    No issues here. Definitely a little more airy/breathable thean the barricade 7s.

    -sole durability:7.5/10
    After about 15 hours of play the shoes are showing a decent amount of wear in the medial areas. The barricade 7s definitely have the edge here. I would questimate that the shoes might last 3-4 months. Not really an issue though since they have the 6 month durability warranty.

    -toe durability:
    No issues here but then again i am not a big toe dragger.

    -traction: 9/10
    The traction is great. Excellent amount of bite with just the right amount of give. I feel very confident when starting/stopping and changing directions.


    -weight:9.5/10
    To me they seem much lighter than the barricade 7s. I feel quick on my feet. If they were a tad bit lighter that would be even better but then most likely would have to sacrifice some durability and support to accomplish that.

    General reaction/comments on overall performance:
    Very slight break-in period of about 20 minutes on the court and after that they were superb, very comfortable. The black and yellow colorway looks much better in person than i expected. I am interested in seeing what colorways there will be down the road for the Propulse 4s. I could see myself switching to these shoes. I am very pleased with the overall performance of the shoes. A big thanks to TW and Babolat.
     
  28. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,286
    Babolat Propulse 4 playtest review

    My tennis experience/background: I have played for over 30 years after starting at around age 30 getting serious about the game. I had mainly played golf up until then, then picked up tennis because it was less time consuming to play, less expensive, and better exercise.

    Playing style: I mainly play doubles, about 50/50 on clay and hard court.

    Current shoe(s): Yonex 308 black, and Nike Vapor 9 (on clay).

    Hours on playtest shoes: I have faithfully worn these Propulse 4's every time I have played tennis for the past month, for about 20 hours in the shoes. The time has been spent split about evenly on hard and clay courts.

    Comfort: I found the shoes to be comfortable after the first wearing for tennis. Stiffer than the Propulse 3, so a little more break in was required. I found that I must wear two socks (on each foot!) to get them to be comfortably snug and feel that my foot would not slide around in the shoes. I wear one Elite and one regular thickness sock. I wore an 11.5 in all other Propulse versions, but these seem to run longer. I went to a store and tried an 11 in the Propulse 4, and I believe the 11 fits me better with just one sock than the 11.5 test shoe that I got. I am not normally a double sock guy. My advice is to get half size smaller in the 4 than the Propulse 3.

    Arch Support: I felt the arch support was adequate and comfortable for my high arch feet.

    Stability/Support: I felt very stable in the shoes on both surfaces, and confident in my side to side movements. Never felt any tendency to roll over the sides when changing direction.

    Ventilation: The shoes are very breathe-able; I felt very comfortable with no excess heat build up in the shoes, although where I am the weather is still very cool and court surfaces are not hot.

    Sole/toe durability: I see no significant wear on the soles or toes as yet after 20 hours. I am not a toe dragger, so that is never an issue for me.

    Traction: The shoes have provided excellent traction on both hard court and Har Tru clay. I do like that the sole tread pattern is such that the soles do not pick up and hold a lot of the clay like a lot of shoes do.

    Weight: I did not feel the weight of the shoes was an issue, although I can feel a difference between the 13.9 ounce Yonex 308 and these tipping the scales at 16+ ounces! I did not feel, however, that my movement was diminished by the extra weight.

    Overall : I like the shoes, more so on hard courts. They are comfortable, I believe they will be very durable for my style of play, and I think the black/yellow is a very sharp looking shoe. I honestly liked the Propulse 3 better due to the more pliable softer uppers, but the Propulse 4 is a worthy successor that is worth a try if you are looking for a stable, durable, and comfortable shoe that will take a licking and keep on ticking!

    Thank you TW and Babolat for allowing me to be a part of this playtest!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  29. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Messages:
    24,323
    Location:
    Tennis-Warehouse.com
    Attention Playtesters:

    For those of you that haven't written your review yet, this is a reminder that it is due this Friday, March 29.

    Thank you!

    Brittany, TW
     
  30. njsigman

    njsigman Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    215
    njsigman's review of the Babolat Propulse 4

    My tennis experience/background: I am 40 years old and play club tennis and USTA Men’s 4.0 league. Both Singles and Doubles. I took the game up seriously in my late 20’s and have never looked back. I love the game with a passion and am always looking forward to my next practice or match!

    My playing style: I play mostly on hard courts and har-tru. Still trying to get on a grass court one of these days! I am essentially a baseliner with a big forehand and serve.

    Current shoe: My current shoe of choice is the Yonex SHT 308. My most recent previous shoes have been: Prince T24, Prince T22, Babolat Propulse 2 and 3.

    Hours played in the Propulse 4: Approximately 20 hours.

    Comments on Performance:

    Comfort: 9/10 This is a very comfortable shoe. Although it required a slight break in period, it always remained comfortable. I paired them up with the Thorlo Level 3 tennis sock and it provided some extra width and padding

    Fit: 8/10 These shoes felt much wider than the Propulse 2 and 3 models. I have a slightly wide foot and it was very accommodating. The strap systems helped lock in my foot and heel, however, I had to tighten them all the way. Even with a slightly wide foot, I needed the Thorlo Level 3 to help fill up the shoe.

    Arch support: 8/10 My arches are medium. This shoe did cause any discomfort in the arches. They were a tad low for me and my caused the fit to be a bit off when I didn’t wear the Thorlo Level 3 socks.

    Stability/Support: 10/10 I have never had much of a problem with Propulses and stability. They're aways very solid and I'm never afraid about rolling an ankle or anything of the sort. The low to the ground feel makes it even more stable feeling. The velcro straps always help if cinching the laces doesn't cover it, and the heel belt helps heel slippage that may occur. I never had much trouble with them and Babolat made them smaller to be more out of the way if you weren't a fan of them. Overall I think stability is comparable to top models from other brands and more customizable with the straps.

    Ventilation: 10/10 This is a very breathable shoe. It offers a nice ventilation system and breathes nicely. My feet did not feel hot, sweaty or uncomfortable, even with the thick Thorlo socks on.

    Sole Durability: 9/10 “The Michelin Man” tire tread soles have delivered once again. The sole is quite durable and I don’t have much wear at all on them after 20+ hours of play on hard courts on them. This has been consistent with my past use of the Propulse 2 and 3 models.

    Toe Durability: 10/10 Although I don’t often drag my toes, I did a couple of times in order to fully test the shoe. They held up extremely well with no visible wear or damage. I've never had a problem with Propulse toe wear on the 2’s and 3’s and these appear to be consistent with those prior generation models.

    Traction: 8/10 I do not slide by nature. I am not Gael Monfils or Novak Djokovic. I prefer shoes that stick to the ground a bit. With the Propulse 4’s, I noticed that they do offer you the ability to slide as needed, however it is not something that I want to make a practice out of. I think they are far superior to the Propulse 2’s and 3’s in this department, however, my Yonex SHT 308’s give me a more comfortable feeling that I am “sticking” to the court.

    Weight: 8/10 The shoes felt much heavier than my Yonex SHT 308’s. While they do add some stability, I felt as if they weighed me down a bit and did not allow for more explosive movements. They do feel lighter than some of the Prince models I have used in the past, but if you are looking for more of a running shoe feel, these Propulse 4’s are not for you.

    Overall: 9/10

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: Overall, I really enjoyed the latest incarnation of the Babolat Propulse line. I loved the bumble bee color scheme of black and yellow. It was nice to see Andy Roddick’s name on them even after retirement. I think that Babolat makes a very good product and does take their customer feedback seriously. I know that these Propulse 4’s were much wider than their Propulse 2 and 3 siblings and they reinforced the straps and made the shoes more breathable. Definitely fantastic plusses! On the downside, the weight was definitely heavier than what I was looking for, but overall this is a really good shoe that plays well and looks great.

    Thank you TW and Babolat for selecting me for this playtest opportunity!
     
  31. davedomart

    davedomart Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    438
    davedomart's Review

    Thanks TW & Babolat! This has been a fun playtest.

    Tennis experience/background: Playing for 7 years, played competitive junior tennis in Florida including High school tennis. Now I don't play competitively.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I'm a counterpuncher, very consistent, like to wear people down.

    Current shoe: Babolat Propulse 4? Before this I was using Nike Breathe 2k11. I definitely like the Propulses more.

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? 25 hours playing tennis, but all on clay. Also used these for running, which was maybe 6 hours.

    Comments on shoe performance:
    -comfort: Very comfortable, but not too cushy. I even used these for running track and they were comfortable.

    -arch support: Almost perfect, wish the arch was a little further back. But the height is perfect. I have a low-medium arch.

    -stability/support: Very good, but I really had to use the straps! The heel is REALLY wide, but the front of the shoe is perfect. Hope the straps don't break!

    -ventilation: Not the best part of the shoe, not as good as my 2k11s. I'd say its average. My feet didn't get wet, just really hot.

    -sole durability: Nothing's worn down, but I play on clay only. Not even slight signs of wear.

    -toe durability: Not a toe dragger, so no signs of wear. However, the toe does not look that sturdy, but I wouldn't be able to test that.

    -traction: I was surprised with the traction on clay. Since it wasn't a standard herringbone sole, I thought it wouldn't be good. Turns out it's better than my 2k11s, as no clay gets stuck in the tread.

    -weight: Slightly on the heavy side, but I didn't mind for tennis. Felt it for running, but that's what running shoes are for!

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: I really liked this shoe, but thought the fit was funky. The heel was way too wide, the forefoot was perfect. Also, these either run small, or the 2k11s run big. Both are size 11, but these were definitely smaller.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  32. embot

    embot New User

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    27
    My tennis experience/background: Male, 47 years old, USTA So Cal 4.0 level player (8-3 win-loose record in 2012).

    Playing style: All courter in singles, Serve and volley in doubles.

    Current shoe(s): Current version of the Adidas Barricade

    Hours on playtest shoes: Approximately 40 hours, all on hard court.

    Comfort: Compared to the Barricade this shoe felt a little more snug in the forefoot area, which I liked since my feet are on the narrow side. It was comfortable right from the beginning. It did not need any break-in, at least not for me. Cushioning was good. I have heel pain on my left foot and need shoes with good heel cushioning, which is the primary reason I play with Barricades. The heel cushioning on this shoe is more firm compared to my regular shoe, but its still good. I have not experienced any heel pain while wearing this shoe.

    Arch Support: I have medium arch feet and the arch support on this shoe is fine.

    Stability/Support: I have very good mobility, even at my age. In fact mobility is one of the strong areas of my game. This shoe is very good in this area. I like how snug my feet are inside the shoe. Whereas on my regular shoes, my feet will slide inside the shoe, this shoe just holds my feet in place. It gives me a lot of confidence in my movement.

    Ventilation: I’ve never felt my feet getting too hot when wearing this shoe. Ventilation is good. I’m saying good only because its been cool here this past month and I haven’t worn this shoe in warm weather.

    Sole/toe durability: I’m a toe dragger and like how the toes the toe area on this shoe is holding up. The toe area of my shoe usually have significant wear after a month of usage. These shoes’ toe area is holding up really well. I suspect I’ll wear out the sole of these shoes before I wear out the toe area.

    The sole has some signs of wear in the usual areas but its nothing unusual. I would say that wear and tear is typical compared to other shoes with the 6 month outsole warranty.

    Traction: I had a lot of confidence moving around the court while wearing this shoe. I’d say traction is very good.

    Weight: This shoe felt light compared to my regular shoe. The weight of these shoes is not an issue for me.

    Overall : I like these shoes. Support, comfort and traction are all strong points. I’m just waiting to see how fast I’ll wear through the soles but I think I found my new shoes.
     
  33. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,879
    Location:
    states
    update, I put like 3ish more hours on these, and they still feel really good despite the small hole. I just wish the had a little bit more material on the side for extra protection.
     
  34. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,543
    I wasn't in this playtest as I actually bought mine outright, but I have this to say. Adidas struggled constantly to match the excellence of the Barricade II and III and still to this day hasn't gotten it. Babolat, however, had their great shoe moment with the Propulse 2. They made a softer and yet quicker version with the Propulse 3. The Propulse 4 feels like an exercise in engineering. Instead of with the 3s where the weight feels as though it's in the sole, the extra rigidity of the shoe makes it feel as though it's perfectly balanced.

    So, in other words, it combines all of the great features of their prior shoes, and leaves nothing out. As someone who has owned 5 pairs of Propulse 2s and 6 pairs of Propulse 3s, my first pair of P4s is simply a different league of shoe.
     
  35. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,510
    uniqness of propulse 3 was that its low profile on the front side while
    fat on the heel(especially on the side, heel outsole is not that high).

    I could run very fast like low profile shoes while has ample cushioning
    on the heel.

    But toward the end of shoes life, I felt its front foot's sole get too thin.
    I wonder how they update it in BP4...
     
  36. jonnyjack

    jonnyjack Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Tennis experience/background:
    I never played tennis until high school but played all four years up to graduation in 2000 at a 3.0 or 3.5 level. Played sparingly from 2000 to 2007. At the end of 2007, I started playing USTA and I'm about to start my third year at the 4.0 level.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
    I mainly play doubles so I serve and volley a lot or chip and charge on the second shot. I try to get to net as quickly as possible before my opponents do. Mainly slice on the forehand but will hit a semi-western with an uppercut swing on sitters or if I decide to be aggressive with a second serve return. Backhand is a mixture of topspin and flat, not too much slice on this wing since I'm not that consistent with that shot yet. I really like to run a lot on the court so I definitely put some stress on shoes.

    Current shoe:
    adidas Barricade Team and Nike Courtballistec 1.2

    How many hours did you play with the shoe?
    Just under 37 hours of court time.

    Comments on shoe performance:
    One word: Awesome!

    Comfort:
    Pretty comfortable straight out of the box though the material on the top at the front of the shoe was just a little bit stiff at first but most new shoes usually feel like that. I like to wear shoes for 3 days to work or wherever just to break them in a little bit and get used to them before taking them out onto the court. The top front of the shoe (that bends when you take a step) softened up after about 2-3 hours of court time so the initial slight stiffness went away. After that, I didn't even think about what was on my feet and just worried about running down every ball!

    Arch support:
    I have a fairly normal arch and had no issues in this area. No soreness after 3 straight hours of practice. I've had shoes (can't remember which ones but not tennis) that pushed up against my arch and made it uncomfortable just standing.

    Stability/support:
    I'm in between a 10.5 and 11 shoe size so just went with the 11 for this playtest. When I first put them on, they weren't snug but the straps helped especially the top strap. No issues with my foot moving around inside the shoe or anything. After the first week of playing in them, I started wearing two socks and this really helped provide more of a snug fit. I was able to change direction and stop on a dime with no fear of rolling my ankle or anything.

    Ventilation:
    Pretty good in this area, even while wearing two socks. When I take off my Courtballistec 1.2, I can really feel the heat radiating from inside the shoe but did not experience that with the Propulse 4.

    Sole durability:
    This is my first high performance shoe and also first one that came with a durability guarantee as I've always bought the cheap version (Barricade Team/CB 1.2) of shoes, whatever I can get for around $35 to $40. I also rotate my shoes so I'm not quite sure how long it takes me to go through a pair so it's tough for me to gauge durability for comparison's sake. The heel portion of the sole is usually the first to go for me though and the heel here is starting to show some wear especially on the left shoe as I tend to drag my left heel on many shots. If I had to guess, I'll probably wear these out in three or four months or so. See below for some pictures after one month of wear.

    Toe durability:
    Looks pretty good so far but I only drag my left toe slightly. I have never put a hole in the toe area before and as mentioned above, the heel goes out for me first.

    Traction:
    This is the area that sticks out the most for me. The first time I played in these, the shoe felt so sticky on the court and I was stopping so suddenly I felt like I would lose my balance! As I got used to the traction and found out what this shoe was capable of, I could stop easily with confidence. I was making tons of screeching noises on the court (with the shoes, I'm not Vika) especially when I would serve and volley and the returner lobbed forcing me stop quickly and run back. Really impressed with this aspect of the shoe.

    Weight:
    The static weight is in line with my past shoes so it had no effect on me. I didn't feel like it was weighing me down at all.

    General reaction/comments on overall performance:
    I was really happy with the performance of this shoe and wouldn't hesitate to buy these. I'm starting to realize the cheap shoes I buy aren't that great for my feet considering how much I play. Sometimes my achilles hurt after long practices (especially with the CB 1.2). I will make a hard stomp on tough to reach shots and my toes really feel it (again on the CB 1.2). Did not have any issues like this with the Propulse 4. I might try a 10.5 next time just for a more snug fit without having to wear two socks and it'd be lighter too even though that wasn't an issue for me.

    The black/yellow colorway is awesome and I heard a lot of good comments from others when I wore these, even when I wore outside of tennis. Almost everyone I hit with are Nike/adidas people so I'm glad to mix it up with these great shoes.

    Thanks TW and Babolat!

    Pictures (click thumbnails):
    New:
    [​IMG]

    After one month:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  37. neil1b

    neil1b Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    228
    Tennis experience/background:
    I am a 3.5-4.0 mainly singles player. I have been playing since high school, took a link break and picked it back up in my late 30's. I am a big guy at 6'5 265lbs, but can still move pretty well.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
    I Anna baseline player that likes to construct a quick point. I hit heavy balls with a fair amount of spin. I have a big flat serve and one handed backhand.

    Current shoe:

    My current shoe of choice is Nike Vapor 9's


    How many hours did you play with the shoe?

    I played about 30 hours in this shoe on hard courts in a warm climate.

    Comments on shoe performance:

    -comfort: comfort was good, but the shoe is not wide enough through the middle and in the toe box area. I like a snug fit, but this was borderline pain.

    -arch support: arch support is a tad higher than I like. I have flat feet and the arch in the babolats made the fit a bit harsh.

    -stability/support:
    I think this is where this shoe shined. These things are rock solid for a baseline player like myself. The positive lock heel is a dream and the shoe held up with all my weight moving around. The in soles were very comfortable for the shape and the uppers did not cause any blistering.

    -ventilation: ventilation was extremely good in this warm climate. My feet were not as wet at the end of the day compared to my vapors.

    -sole durability: this is a weak spot as the shoes soles wore through pretty quick on the hard court especially toward the toes. I won't get much more than another month out of them.

    -toe durability: as stated above bad durability on the sole, but the toe upper also began to wear quickly as I drag the toe on backhands.

    -traction:
    Traction was just fair. I think the vapors are better, but there held up OK. A little slippery on quick changes of directions.

    -weight: all my shoes in a size 14 seem heavy, but on average with my others.


    General reaction/comments on overall performance: I think overall they are decent,but not my cup of tea. For a bigger flat footed guy, the vapors and new balance are far superior. These ran a bit snug to size as well.

    Thanks for the chance to play test, but I will not buy another pair.

    Neil1b
     
  38. mlocke1322

    mlocke1322 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Thanks again for working with me Brittany and TW!

    Tennis experience/background: 4.5 primarily doubles player. A bit of singles every now and then.

    Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): All court style but I like to finish at the net whenever possible.

    Current shoe: Nike Court Ballistec 3.3 for practice. New Balance 996 for match days.

    How many hours did you play with the shoe? Around 21 hours

    Comments on shoe performance:

    -comfort: I found the shoe to be very comfortable. Had more cushion than the 996's for sure. I found it just as comfortable as the Ballistecs but without the clunky feel. It still feels like a fast shoe for how much cushioning is offered. Didn't have a break in period and was comfortable right out of the box. I enjoyed that after having the excruciating break in period of my 3.3's.

    -arch support: The Propulses have plenty of arch support for me. They offer more than the 996's and are better than the Ballistecs as well in my mind. I did not feel the need to change insoles, which is something I have been doing with my New Balances.

    -stability/support: The support was very good in these shoes. Stability was a bit off but that was because the 10.5 size in these was bigger than the same size in my other shoes. I would order a half size down from regular if I got these again. The straps were great for locking in my forefoot and heel into the shoe. During the course of play, the shoes would loosen up a bit and that's where the extra size would make them feel a bit less stable. As long as I re-laced them on a changeover, they were fine and went right back to that locked in feel that I really enjoyed about them. They support was still there 20+ hrs in which is a bit better than my 996's or old 851's. With those I could feel the support for my ankles starting to weaken. These continued to be nice and sturdy the entire way through my play time.

    -ventilation: Solid ventilation. I preferred these over my Ballistecs. They don't breathe quite as well as my 996's do so I would probably transition these to more of a practice shoe. I like match day shoes to be as light and breathable as possible. Still, the ventilation is better than the Nike's and easily better than the last Barricades I had.

    -sole durability: The soles are still holding up very well. I have been playing a mix of indoor and outdoor hard courts and the tread pattern is just starting to smooth of at the front of the shoe. Even though I only have about 21 hours on them, they seem to be wearing on par with my Ballistecs and look to be holding up a bit better than my 996's.

    -toe durability: No issues whatsoever with toe durability. I'm not a big toe dragger though. The only shoe I ever had a toe issue with was the Adizero Ace and that was just a cheap shoe. I can see some scuffing from the times I do drag, but there is no sign of any other wear on the toe.

    -traction: Traction was very solid. They are less grippy than my 996's, which I actually kind of liked. I felt that the shoes allowed to me to slide a little bit more which I tend to do when on the run on hard courts. It was a good combination as I felt I had enough traction for quick stops and lateral moves but the shoes didn't fight me when I tried to slide.

    -weight: The Propulse 4 is not quite as light as the NB 996, but it is lighter than my pair of Ballistec 3.3's. To me it also feels and plays lighter than it is. It had a solid weight and cushion to it without feeling like tanks on my feet, which the Ballistecs do. I never felt hampered or bothered by the weight of the Propulse 4.

    General reaction/comments on overall performance: The Propulse 4 is a very solid shoe. It has a fairly light feel with nice stability and support while still providing a high level of traction and cushion. I think I would have liked these even more had I gotten them a half size smaller. That would have fixed the issue of my foot moving around a bit in the shoe. I enjoyed these much more than my Ballistecs and will put them into play as my practice shoe of choice.
     
  39. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,862
    Update on outersole durability

    ~45 hours on my P4s so far and they're still going strong. i think i've got maybe another 10-15 hours left on these shoes. the medial side under the forefoot is balding and getting thin. really pleased with the overall performance of these shoes. a great blend of comfort, durability, support and traction!
     

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