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Old 03-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #113
tbln
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad dog1 View Post
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!
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.

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