K-Swiss Defier Misoul & my wide-load feet.

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
Wanted to add my 2 cents to the Misoul party since a few other TWers had tried them. Bought the K-Swiss Misouls off TW about 2 weeks ago. Got a chance to play 3 times in them, 2 hard court & 1 clay session, about 6 hours in total.

Bottom line first: These are solid, classic feeling tennis shoes with nice technology updates that make it an all-around performer, especially for those with wider feet looking for a nicely cushioned ride.

Construction: K-Swiss has always used plasticky leather to me. Never seemed the highest quality, nor the most breathable stuff. These are an upgrade I'd say, materials feel on par with any other shoe brand... it is a fully synthetic material and feels better to me than the old Defiers. Certainly a different feel to the touch than other K-Swiss shoes I've had. The tongue is a bit weird, it's very plasticky where you tie the laces and squeaks often. The removable insoles work well, are stable, but also squeak in my shoes. Walking around the house, my shoes were talking back to me with every step. Fortunately out on the court that sound fades and I don't really notice it.

Style: Liking them more and more. Not a big fan of huge color blocks, would prefer a mostly white or blue shoe with accents, but it's growing on me. A nice traditional look. Got a thumbs up from the fiancee, so who am I to argue with that.

Fit: I have a wide foot with a lot of volume. It's a chunky brick with short toes to boot. Wide enough where the only shoes that I can fit are NB 2E's, Yonexes, K-Swiss Defiers (orig), and some Diadoras. Recently I've had the NB CT-2002, Yonex 304s, 305s, and 306s, and the original Defiers. These shoes fit me just right. The forefoot toe box has a generous volume, especially with the white (competition) insoles. Heel is pretty typical, if not on the wider side (I can't wear Adidas due to their narrow heels). While comfort wasn't quite "out of the box", I'd say within 15 minutes they settled right in. Because of my foot volume, the white competition insoles feel better. In both the training & competition insoles, the heel felt a bit slippy walking around casually, but somehow on-court I never got that sensation. After a session or two, they settled in though and I haven't worried about it. They certainly have a higher heel than I'm used to, but that is more than offset by their cushioning.

Feel/Cushion: WOW! These have to have the softest heel I've ever felt in a shoe--and that's with the firmer of the two insoles in. They were positively pillowy with the training soles in, but again I opted not to play in them. Even the forefoot feels somewhat cushy. Probably more cushioned than any Yonex shoe I've had, right close or slightly edging out the old SHT-304. This is one soft shoe. Feel like I could play all day in them for sure. Another nice feature is the interior fabric of the shoe. It's very slippery, meaning there are no hotspots or anything in the shoe. The seams are also not very noticeable, so it's a "clean" shoe inside. Some Yonex shoes I've felt like they have a lot going on inside the shoe w/ their arches and tongue strap system. This is a very clean & simple design inside.

Ventilation: A little tough to tell in this cooler weather, but I did get out on an 80 degree day for the clay session. Had no issues with that mild heat, so I'm guessing it'll be no big deal during the summer. The side vents are a nice addition and am sure they'll work well, while the tongue is quite breathable too. Definitely an upgrade from the old Defiers.

Traction: Ooooo boy! Finally some good all-around herringbone soles. After a bunch of "all-court" type modified herringbones, it's nice to have a traditional sole on this shoe. On clay or hards, I felt planted in these shoes. Definitely gold stars on traction, a contrast from other recent shoes I've worn where I played slip'n'slide on Har-Tru. Yonexes & Diadoras come to mind. The Defier Misouls have a very "sharp" herringbone that digs into clay nicely. Certainly just as good on hards.

Stability: Nothing really to note here. I guess that's a good thing? I've never had any ankle problems, so I'm not a stability fiend by any means. I never noticed any extra roll, and movement was crisp in these shoes. Changing directions never seemed sloppy and my foot didn't move around much. What else to say? The Defier Misouls are solid.

Weight: Didn't really notice any hindrance as far as weight goes. In fact, I was able to forget about them and just play, which is a good thing. My size 9's weigh in at 14.5 oz apiece, a perfectly acceptable weight. They certainly felt quick around the court and never clunky or heavy like other shoes for wider feet (cough, NB CT2002, cough).

Durability: Impossible to say at this point, but after about 6 hours on court, everything's looking fine. I gave my last Defiers a thrashing, so am expecting these to be about the same.

Overall Impressions: The only negatives I can find so far in this shoe are in it's materials and construction...and that's not to say it's poorly constructed, it's just that the certain types of synthetic materials and plastics they chose turn the shoe into a squeaky chatterbox. I think it's partly coming from the changeable soles, and another part coming from the tongue. Oh well, like I mentioned before, on court I don't notice it, so it's not that big of a deal to me. If that's the only negative thing I can say, K-Swiss has a winner here. The Misoul technology is certainly noticeable, with each sole having a distinct feel. I proved that to myself by wearing different soles in each shoe at the same time. These are probably the most comfortable K-Swisses I've ever had thanks to the Misouls. Beyond the sole technology, everything else is a solid, well designed traditional tennis shoe. Sort of reminds me of a upgraded Si-18. Great fit for wide feet, pretty light feeling around court, decently ventilated, stable enough that you don't have to worry about your feet, and true all-court surface traction. For a guy with my feet who has a real hard time finding well-fitting shoes that are quick around the court, these are a gem.

[size=+1]Solid "A" in my wide foot book.[/size]
 
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drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
Craig, very well written review. Thanks for taking the time to post. Your experience echoes mine. These are really great shoes. I especially enjoyed reading your thoughts on the heel. This area of the shoe was particularly interesting to me, because I have been rehabbing from a achilles heel injury, and I noted that the shoes really gave me a lot of relief because of the cushion in the heel area. Now that I am using the lighter soles, there is still significant cushioning in the heel.

Thanks again for your review.
 

Il Mostro

Banned
Very nice review. Between you and Drak I think every aspect of these shoes is thoroughly covered. I am disappointed about the wide heel, though. I need shoes with a roomy fore and mid foot and a narrow heel. Otherwise I might give these a try. Seems like KSwiss really got it right.
 

Craig Sheppard

Hall of Fame
Craig, very well written review. Thanks for taking the time to post. Your experience echoes mine. These are really great shoes. I especially enjoyed reading your thoughts on the heel. This area of the shoe was particularly interesting to me, because I have been rehabbing from a achilles heel injury, and I noted that the shoes really gave me a lot of relief because of the cushion in the heel area. Now that I am using the lighter soles, there is still significant cushioning in the heel.

Thanks again for your review.
No sweat...your review is what got me to buy them in the first place. ;-)
 

siow_a

Rookie
No sweat...your review is what got me to buy them in the first place. ;-)

Had these for over a month now and played in them about 6-8 times. The cushion is really good. Better than the Yonex and the Asics. Best way I can describe this shoe is that it is like a Barricade V with a wider toe box and wider heel area with lots of more cushion. I tried both insoles and liked the cushioned one better only for the padding. My knees felt better than the Asics and Yonex(304-306). However the Yonex and Asics 1/2 beat it out slightly on the speed side.

These shoes are truely formulated after the original and the Si-18. I grew up with those Si-18 and these are much more cushion but a bit lighter.
 

GPB

Professional
Very nice review. Between you and Drak I think every aspect of these shoes is thoroughly covered. I am disappointed about the wide heel, though. I need shoes with a roomy fore and mid foot and a narrow heel. Otherwise I might give these a try. Seems like KSwiss really got it right.
Have you tried the KSwiss Stabilor? Roomy fore/mid and narrow heel is exactly how I'd describe those. Check 'em out if you haven't yet.
 

*breaksracquet

Semi-Pro
Just recently tried them on in a size 10 and they were such a comfortable shoe. materials did seem different in appearance and texture. The store still had the old model on the shelf, so it was easily comparable. unfortunately, i was unable to feel the lighter sole, as I was in a rush back to work. I really want to court test them. Gosh, they were comfortable.
 
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