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!
Head MG OS w/Prince Topspin 15L 57lbs, Adidas Barricade V Classics; GHOATs: Black, White, Black/lime, Photo blue, Nano gray, Dark Grey.
Last edited by hcb0804; 03-25-2013 at 02:09 PM.