njsigman's review of the Babolat Propulse 4
My tennis experience/background: I am 40 years old and play club tennis and USTA Menís 4.0 league. Both Singles and Doubles. I took the game up seriously in my late 20ís 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 didnít 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 ďThe Michelin ManĒ tire tread soles have delivered once again. The sole is quite durable and I donít 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 donít 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 2ís and 3ís 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 4ís, 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 2ís and 3ís in this department, however, my Yonex SHT 308ís give me a more comfortable feeling that I am ďstickingĒ to the court.
Weight: 8/10 The shoes felt much heavier than my Yonex SHT 308ís. 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 4ís are not for you.
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 Roddickís 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 4ís 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!
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