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Old 03-18-2013, 01:51 PM   #126
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Default 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:

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 dayís 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 canít 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 donít like to be thinking about my shoes during play, so itís 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 Iíd feel the shoe loosen up a bit and Iíd 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 Ďedgeí 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 Iíd like it to be Ė I think if it sat a bit lower like the front of the shoe Iíd feel more secure Ė but never came close to an ankle roll so I canít complain.

Ventillation: 8/10. Not nearly as breathable as my Vapors, but then, what shoe isnít? These seemed perfectly fine, though, as I never felt like my foot was Ďhotí 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 Iím used to (the Vapor sole evaporates so quickly), these seem fantastic. Iíd 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 canít really complain. Would prefer too much grab to too little grab and me sliding TOO much on the court.

Weight: 7/10. These arenít bricks, which is how I feel a lot of Barricade or Court Ballistec versions feel to me, but they also arenít super light and Ďfreeí 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 Ė my preferences being to have a shoe thatís 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 doesnít get in the way or that I Ďfeelí, so I can concentrate elsewhere. For me, though, I always kind of Ďfeltí the shoe when I played Ė 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. SoÖ 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.
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