Tennis Warehouse Playtest: Babolat SFX3 Shoes

TW Staff

Administrator
#1
Attention Talk Tennis Members:

We will be sending out a very limited number of the soon to be released Babolat SFX3 shoes for a playtest on the message board. Playtesters will be responsible for wearing the shoes for the given time and writing a thorough review. Playtesters who are picked will be notified via email. This playtest is open to both men and women in the USA only.

****Application period is now closed. Selected participants will receive an email by Thursday, July 12th.****

We select playtesters based on a number of factors, including past performance on playtests, user history, posting in topics similar to playtest, etc. Due to the very limited number of samples, we will not be able satisfy the large majority of requests. It is absolutely essential that everyone who receives a pair of shoes posts a review.

***This playtest is FREE of charge. Your review is due by August 17th at 5 pm PST.***

If you do not post a review or if your review is clearly lacking effort, you will be excluded from future playtests.

Please use the following to write your review:

Tennis experience/background:
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
Current shoe:
How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Normal Size:
Playtesting Size:

Comments on shoe performance:
-comfort:
-arch support:
-stability/support:
-ventilation:
-sole durability:
-toe durability:
-traction:
-weight:
General reaction/comments on overall performance:

As always, we ask that this thread to be used only for questions, discussion and playtest reviews. Extraneous comments such as "email sent!" will be deleted.

Thanks,
TW Staff
 
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TW Staff

Administrator
#2
Thank you to everyone who applied for this playtest. We have sent out emails to those who have been selected. If you were selected, congrats and make sure to follow the instructions on the email. If you weren't chosen, please note we are have more opportunities coming up as we already have multiple playtests scheduled in the next few months.

Thanks,
TW Staff
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#6
those look pretty dope! Congrats! How is the fit? Are they heavy like Barricades or light like the Ubersonics? SFX2 was wide toe box and great option for those with wider feet. I hope they keep it that way. My biggest concern would be the colorway. This will get dirty super quick!
I just put them on to get the feel and found that they run larger than the indicated size. I also have wide feet, and the SFX3 was really comfortable. The cushioning and comfort seems to be the main focus. The all mesh design feels light and breathable. To me, the SFX3 feels lighter than the AGR7 and Adidas Boost tennis shoes I have been wearing. I actually love the color scheme. I only play on the hardcourts, and my shoes usually wear out before they get too dirty to wear, so I like to see more whites in my shoes. Excited!
 
#8
I just put them on to get the feel and found that they run larger than the indicated size. I also have wide feet, and the SFX3 was really comfortable. The cushioning and comfort seems to be the main focus. The all mesh design feels light and breathable. To me, the SFX3 feels lighter than the AGR7 and Adidas Boost tennis shoes I have been wearing. I actually love the color scheme. I only play on the hardcourts, and my shoes usually wear out before they get too dirty to wear, so I like to see more whites in my shoes. Excited!
Sounds awesome! Good luck to u! Can you compare to Babolat Propulse Fury by any chance? ty again!
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#9
Sounds awesome! Good luck to u! Can you compare to Babolat Propulse Fury by any chance? ty again!
Sorry. I am not too familiar with Babolat shoes, honestly. This is my first go with their shoes and am pleasantly surprised. Usually I went with companies known for making shoes, like the Nike, K-Swiss, Adidas, New Balance, and Asics. I’m excited to be trying something that I have not before.

Of course there are both pros and cons, but my biggest concern in buying a pair of tennis shoes is the comfort. The SFX3 has a plenty of comfort, along with the real light feel. I love the fact that it isn’t so low to the ground. Those type of shoes really hurt my feet after the match. I don’t think it’s as supportive in the ankle and the back of the heel area because the material felt not as rigid and supportive as the Asics Gel Resolution 7, but it was only during a light rallying. I would have to put these shoes through a match and see how it does.

Really loving thr all mesh design. Really helps my feet stay cool.

Will be writing the initial impression review after this weekend.
 
#10
those look pretty dope! Congrats! How is the fit? Are they heavy like Barricades or light like the Ubersonics? SFX2 was wide toe box and great option for those with wider feet. I hope they keep it that way. My biggest concern would be the colorway. This will get dirty super quick!
I am also play-testing these shoes. They definitely feel light. The upper is soft and has generous width through the forefoot. I've put 2 hours of court time (doing drills) on them so far and found they needed no break-in. I had a little heel slip at the beginning until I locked down the lacing. However, the heel area is well padded and I had no friction issues.
 
#11
Sorry. I am not too familiar with Babolat shoes, honestly. This is my first go with their shoes and am pleasantly surprised. Usually I went with companies known for making shoes, like the Nike, K-Swiss, Adidas, New Balance, and Asics. I’m excited to be trying something that I have not before.

Of course there are both pros and cons, but my biggest concern in buying a pair of tennis shoes is the comfort. The SFX3 has a plenty of comfort, along with the real light feel. I love the fact that it isn’t so low to the ground. Those type of shoes really hurt my feet after the match. I don’t think it’s as supportive in the ankle and the back of the heel area because the material felt not as rigid and supportive as the Asics Gel Resolution 7, but it was only during a light rallying. I would have to put these shoes through a match and see how it does.

Really loving thr all mesh design. Really helps my feet stay cool.

Will be writing the initial impression review after this weekend.
I am also play-testing these shoes. They definitely feel light. The upper is soft and has generous width through the forefoot. I've put 2 hours of court time (doing drills) on them so far and found they needed no break-in. I had a little heel slip at the beginning until I locked down the lacing. However, the heel area is well padded and I had no friction issues.
Thnks a lot gentlemen I really look forward to your reviews!!
 
#14
The SFX arrived on my doorstep 5 minutes before I was heading out to drill this evening so I ripped open the box and stuffed them into my bag on the way out the door.

First impression after I arrived at the club and took them out of the bag was how good the shoe looked. Compared to the first generation, the SFX 3 looks like it is made out of higher quality materials. It is lighter than the first gen and definitely made out of a more breathable material. I also like the added touch of eyelet rings as my pair of first gen SFX ended their usefulness when one of the laces pulled through the eyelet material that was not protected by a ring.

Putting the shoes on my feet reminded me how much of a comfort shoe these really are. Literally the most comfortable tennis shoes I have ever put on my feet. I have tried most of the comfort shoes available including the KSwiss Ultra Express, Nike Cage Air Max, Lotto Viper, Diadorra Blue Shield 2, Asics Gel Res 7, and the original SFX and only the original SFX comes close. I do have a wider foot, so the extra room in the SFX is greatly appreciated.

Tonight’s drill was on Har Tru Clay, so it was probably not the surface the SFX was designed for but it held its own. Grip was decent on the clay, and there was no noticeable slippage or times I felt like I needed additional grip. My normal clay shoes are the Diadora Blue Shield 2 and the Y3 Adizero French Open Shoe which both have dedicated clay soles so they do provide more grip than the SFX, but the SFX handled the clay quite well. Good enough that I will have no worries about wearing them on the Har Tru through out the play test.

Probably the biggest improvement I noticed from the first gen SFX was the breathability of the SFX 3. The original did not breath well and ran noticeably hotter than any other shoe I have played. The SFX 3 is probably the coolest shoe I have had on my foot. It was 107 degrees in North Texas today and feet felt cool through out the entire drill. When the wind picked up a bit during the drill I could actually feel the wind flowing in my shoes providing a cooler flow of air. Amazing.

I am looking forward to getting the SFX out on the hard courts Wednesday night.
 
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haqq777

Hall of Fame
#15
Initial Observations:

So far, I will agree with what most posters have posted above. Received my play test shoes and I have about 4 solid hours of matchplay and drills and I am making notes so I can add to my full detailed review.

I have medium to wide feet and I am loving the feel of this shoe. I hustle a lot on court and sole has shown minimal wear so far. That is one thing about the Michelin treads that continues to impress me. I loved the durability aspect of my Propulse Fury shoes as well. Seems SFX is no different even though the the shoe's main strength are comfort and support.

The SFX3 did not require breaking in, was very soft out of box (it is all mesh on top) and that also helped feet stay cool in hot and humid conditions. I did feel a little heel slippage initially but after I tightened up my shoes, I did not have any slippage at all after that. The insoles have extra cushioning as well. So yes, it is extremely comfortable.

The grip on hard courts was excellent as well so kudos to the tread. Lateral and front/back movement was no issue whatsoever. Makes the squeeky noise I love as well (tells me I am moving my legs). No issues with stability with these shoes.

Overall, not going to lie, very impressed by SFX3 so far - and I am usually one of the more skeptical play testers. I generally go for the beefier, more stable and durable lines in shoe brands (Barricades, Propulse Fury, Lunar Ballistics, etc). So this lighter shoe was a welcome change.

Thanks, @TW Staff, for giving me the opportunity to playtest these. I will be giving a full detailed review after I have put in a good 25-30 hours (which shouldn't take that long, I am playing a lot of tennis these days).
 
#16
Wish I had seen this thread earlier cause my shoe of choice is the Babolat SFX 2.

Might be off-topic but here are my comments on the SFX 2.

Comfort: Initial impressions were supreme comfort. Plush all around noticeably more towards heel area. Hugged my wider feet very well.
Arch support: Have low arch and felt supported. This factor isn't usually an issue with me.
Stability: Due to stronger outer material and general flex of the shoe, it moved well with me. Starts, stops, and lateral cuts were not an issue.
Ventilation: Initially it breathed well, never felt hot inside the shoe however on much more humid days, the shoe after playing did not ventilate well at all. Due to its thicker cushioning, moisture from humidity and sweat tended to soak and stay with shoe.
Sole durability: Wore through a couple pairs and both times they lasted 5-6 months. Worst feature of this shoe for me was how the outsole wore out and thinned towards the forefoot area. Once it thinned out, my forefoot got sore after playing from pounding on court.
Toe durability: Do not drag toes anymore so not an issue, the guard was plenty strong.
Traction: Good, not stickiest shoe nor most slippery. The way outsole was shaped gave it good traction.
Weight: It was first time using "heavier" shoe but soon became accustomed and prefer the comfort over being light weight. Not much of a downgrade in speed.

Overall: I have also used Hypercourt Express and Babolat SFX 2 still remains most plush however for me the thinning of outsole was inconsistent and towards the forefoot, it was no longer comfortable underfoot at the end of the shoes life. Otherwise its a favorite of mine being roomy in forefoot and super cushioning even in the tongue.
 
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#18
I was able to get the SFX 3 out on a hard court last night and was happy with the results.

Still love the step in comfort that SFX 3 provides, by far the most comfortable tennis shoe I have put my foot into. The shoe felt as though they stretched out a bit after my initial session, but the support system on the laces really let you tighten up the fit by tightening the laces up.

On the hard court, the ride is not quite as comfortable as on the Har Tru, bit still very plush. I could definitely feel the court more through the sole than I did on the clay, but it was never uncomfortable. My normal shoe is the Gel Res 7, and the SFX does not quite have the same stability that the Gel Res provides but it is only a step or two below the excellent stability of the Gel Res 7. Traction wise, the SFX 3 is a bit more grippier that the Gel Res 7 on the hard court, bit not excessively so. We’ll see if this changes through out the play test as the sole wears in.

So far, so good with the SFX 3. Tomorrow night we hit in the barn which has some very slick and fast hard courts so it should provide another good test of the SFX 3.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#19
The SFX3 is seriously comfortable. It makes me think about the shoes I have preferred to wear, which are tank-like shoes with stability and comfort. This shoes offer stability in a lighter package than I am used to, and I actually feel great playing in them and afterwards, as well. Highly impressed, so far.
 

haqq777

Hall of Fame
#20
The SFX3 is seriously comfortable. It makes me think about the shoes I have preferred to wear, which are tank-like shoes with stability and comfort. This shoes offer stability in a lighter package than I am used to, and I actually feel great playing in them and afterwards, as well. Highly impressed, so far.
I have close to 13-14 hours on the shoe and my in-depth review will be coming in a day or two. I share the exact same sentiment; a light weight, fast-feeling and very comfortable shoe with stability and sole durability that matches big boys (Propulse Fury, Barricades etc) at a cheaper price? What is not to like? I am very impressed.
 

haqq777

Hall of Fame
#21
TW Playtest Review: Babolat SFX3 Shoes


Alright folk, I will be the first one to post my full review of the Babolat SFX3 shoe. Before I proceed, let me give a big shout out to @TW Staff and @Babolat Official for making this playtest available and giving me this opportunity to play test. I really enjoyed this play test and really liked the SFX3 shoe. I will be recommending this shoe to friends if they are looking for a good performance, light weight and comfortable shoe. This is the complete package!

Tennis experience/background:
A little about myself. I’m a 5’9”, 175 lbs, former Div II college player. I am in my mid thirties. I usually play with local college team guys and the coaching team at least twice a week in summers and time-permitting in winters. Have so far used a variety of tennis shoe brands and currently I'm using Babolat Propulse Fury, another great offering from Babolat. My backup in my bag is a pair of 2017 Adidas Barricade Boosts. I have a bunch of other tennis shoes in the closet as well which I rotate depending on my mood mostly.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I will describe my style as an aggressive, moving baseliner who is consistent, and rate my forehand as my weapon. I have noticed however that I have recently started playing a more all-court type of a game but majority exchanges still are at baseline. I hustle a lot all over the court and go through shoes quicker than average recreational players. My serves are not huge, just well placed. I have decent groundies with ample spin. Have a one handed backhand. My favorite shot is inside-out forehand so I am always shuffling feet. I am a chronic toe dragger on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing split steps while moving laterally, and that is where I can tell how durable the shoe is going to be.

Current shoe:
I am wearing Babolat Propulse Fury these days. I will compare SFX3 to Propulse Fury to give a good idea. I was a big fan of the HEAD Nitro Pro before my current shoes and HEAD Sprint Pro before those Nitros. That said, the HEAD offerings were much different playing and feeling wise than Babolat Propulse Fury. I will add that I have played with nearly every flagship shoe of the current major brands available in US.

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Eighteen hours total on outdoor hard. Out of the eighteen hours, roughly 12 hours were singles play, rest were doubles and warm-up drills.

Normal size:
9.5

Playtesting size:
9.5

Comments on Shoe Performance:

Comfort:
SFX3 were very comfortable right out of the box. Did not require breaking-in. They were ready to go as soon as they arrived. Since I have medium to wide feet, I loved the roomier toe box they had to offer. For comparison, SFX3 have similar level of comfort as Propulse Fury only difference being SFX3 to me feels roomier in the toebox. After putting in a few hours, the shoe slightly opened up a bit more for me but nothing of concern. I just tightened the shoelaces and fit was great even after playing for 18 hours. The whole mesh upper is very soft, felt very comfortable and my forefoot felt comfortable while being snug. Had no comfort issues moving laterally and forward/back. Did have heel slippage in the first few hits but after tightening up shoelaces, it went away. The lacing was great, it locked foot movement on top too giving entire foot a snug yet comfortable feel. Insole had added padding which felt great as well. Definitely one of the most comfortable shoe I have tried in recent times.

Arch support:
I have medium arches so this has never been an issue for me. The SFX3 have medium arches and that suited me just fine. I had no pain in arches at any time during or after play. No pain or feeling of pressure either.

Stability/support:
The lateral support and stability were great for me. Minus the heel slippage incident in the beginning, I felt heels were deep enough inside the shoe to stop slippage. No toe-jamming or feet moving inside toe box either - even with a wider toe box - which felt great. In the end I felt feet were snug and secure and ample support was there. If I were to compare with Propulse Fury though, I would say SFX3 falls slightly short in stability and support department. SFX3 are great, don't get me wrong, it is just that Propulse have set the bar very high in my opinion.

Ventilation:
Ventilation was the part where this shoe performed the best in my opinion. Full mesh upper gave way for lots of air entering the shoe and my feet never once felt hot or suffocated even in hot and humid conditions. Played a couple of long and tough matches in them and feet never once got hot & juicy (lol). That alone deserves full stars and then some.

Sole durability:
After eighteen hours of play, I am happy to report very minimal wear & tear. I run a lot on court and could tell this Michelin sole was going to last, just like the Propulse Fury ones. I don't think any shoe in this price range can beat Michelin durability. The sole squeaked for the first few hours but the squeaking is gone now. Shoes usually start showing some baldness in ball/toe area for me after I have logged this many hours on them. This one seems to be doing better than others.

Toe durability:
As I mentioned above, I drag my toe a lot especially on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing the split steps. Toe durability was excellent. If you notice closely you can see that there is dense rubber in the toe area. And that showed no signs of serious wear and tear. In fact I think it is still minimal. I continue to be very impressed by Michelin rubber outsoles that Babolat produces. Definitely on par with some of the Barricade sole durability I have seen in the past, if not better.

Traction:

Traction was wonderful. I was able control my movement as I wanted, when I wanted and go forward /back and laterally with confidence. I was able to do everything: stop/start, shuffle, move forward, backward, move sideways (left/right), and do abrupt changes in direction without hesitance. As mentioned above, the squeaking sound stopped after a few hours but traction was great right up till the 18 hour mark. I can tell you traction will not be an issue for a long time given how slowly this tread is wearing out.

Weight:
Definitely a lighter shoe. On my kitchen scale each shoe came out at 14 oz. It is very fast-feeling and not clunky at all. I want to say it feels as light as Vapors or Ubersonics (or Feathers III even) maybe even though it weighs more than both on scale. It did not feel as low profile either which works for me. Weight is ideal for those looking for a good mix of speed and stability with cushioning.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
  • I am overall extremely impressed by the SFX3. This is a premium quality shoe on par with big name offerings from Nike, Adidas, Asics etc. and at a great price too (I think at $100 it is a great buy from Tennis Warehouse). I think the black and white colorway is excellent and the shoe looks great with dark pair of socks, which I prefer. The blue colorway also looks amazing on screen although I can not speak for it's aesthetics as I have not seen it in person.
  • To those looking into buying a new tennis shoe, I would highly recommend this shoe if you are in need of a durable and fast-feeling shoe which is stable and on the lighter side. I mean, a light weight, fast-feeling and very comfortable shoe with stability and sole durability that matches big boys (Propulse Fury, Barricades etc) at a cheaper price is an ideal offering in my opinion.
  • If any of the posters/readers have absolutely any questions whatsoever, please feel free to ask me.
Thank you once again Tennis Warehouse & Babolat for giving me this opportunity to playtest this shoe. It was an absolute pleasure.
 

haqq777

Hall of Fame
#23
Great review @haqq777 thanks for taking the time to include pictures of the shoes as well, one thing I was thinking while reading though is that it would be good to see a picture of the sole and toe area after 18+ hours of hard court use.
Thanks @Grieeegoorr - I am actually out of town for this whole month unfortunately and I have a feeling by the time I get back the playtest would be over. I didnt bring the SFX3 with me. I will however update with pictures whenever I am back home.
 
#24
TW Playtest Review: Babolat SFX3 Shoes


Alright folk, I will be the first one to post my full review of the Babolat SFX3 shoe. Before I proceed, let me give a big shout out to @TW Staff and @Babolat Official for making this playtest available and giving me this opportunity to play test. I really enjoyed this play test and really liked the SFX3 shoe. I will be recommending this shoe to friends if they are looking for a good performance, light weight and comfortable shoe. This is the complete package!

Tennis experience/background:
A little about myself. I’m a 5’9”, 175 lbs, former Div II college player. I am in my mid thirties. I usually play with local college team guys and the coaching team at least twice a week in summers and time-permitting in winters. Have so far used a variety of tennis shoe brands and currently I'm using Babolat Propulse Fury, another great offering from Babolat. My backup in my bag is a pair of 2017 Adidas Barricade Boosts. I have a bunch of other tennis shoes in the closet as well which I rotate depending on my mood mostly.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I will describe my style as an aggressive, moving baseliner who is consistent, and rate my forehand as my weapon. I have noticed however that I have recently started playing a more all-court type of a game but majority exchanges still are at baseline. I hustle a lot all over the court and go through shoes quicker than average recreational players. My serves are not huge, just well placed. I have decent groundies with ample spin. Have a one handed backhand. My favorite shot is inside-out forehand so I am always shuffling feet. I am a chronic toe dragger on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing split steps while moving laterally, and that is where I can tell how durable the shoe is going to be.

Current shoe:
I am wearing Babolat Propulse Fury these days. I will compare SFX3 to Propulse Fury to give a good idea. I was a big fan of the HEAD Nitro Pro before my current shoes and HEAD Sprint Pro before those Nitros. That said, the HEAD offerings were much different playing and feeling wise than Babolat Propulse Fury. I will add that I have played with nearly every flagship shoe of the current major brands available in US.

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Eighteen hours total on outdoor hard. Out of the eighteen hours, roughly 12 hours were singles play, rest were doubles and warm-up drills.

Normal size:
9.5

Playtesting size:
9.5

Comments on Shoe Performance:

Comfort:
SFX3 were very comfortable right out of the box. Did not require breaking-in. They were ready to go as soon as they arrived. Since I have medium to wide feet, I loved the roomier toe box they had to offer. For comparison, SFX3 have similar level of comfort as Propulse Fury only difference being SFX3 to me feels roomier in the toebox. After putting in a few hours, the shoe slightly opened up a bit more for me but nothing of concern. I just tightened the shoelaces and fit was great even after playing for 18 hours. The whole mesh upper is very soft, felt very comfortable and my forefoot felt comfortable while being snug. Had no comfort issues moving laterally and forward/back. Did have heel slippage in the first few hits but after tightening up shoelaces, it went away. The lacing was great, it locked foot movement on top too giving entire foot a snug yet comfortable feel. Insole had added padding which felt great as well. Definitely one of the most comfortable shoe I have tried in recent times.

Arch support:
I have medium arches so this has never been an issue for me. The SFX3 have medium arches and that suited me just fine. I had no pain in arches at any time during or after play. No pain or feeling of pressure either.

Stability/support:
The lateral support and stability were great for me. Minus the heel slippage incident in the beginning, I felt heels were deep enough inside the shoe to stop slippage. No toe-jamming or feet moving inside toe box either - even with a wider toe box - which felt great. In the end I felt feet were snug and secure and ample support was there. If I were to compare with Propulse Fury though, I would say SFX3 falls slightly short in stability and support department. SFX3 are great, don't get me wrong, it is just that Propulse have set the bar very high in my opinion.

Ventilation:
Ventilation was the part where this shoe performed the best in my opinion. Full mesh upper gave way for lots of air entering the shoe and my feet never once felt hot or suffocated even in hot and humid conditions. Played a couple of long and tough matches in them and feet never once got hot & juicy (lol). That alone deserves full stars and then some.

Sole durability:
After eighteen hours of play, I am happy to report very minimal wear & tear. I run a lot on court and could tell this Michelin sole was going to last, just like the Propulse Fury ones. I don't think any shoe in this price range can beat Michelin durability. The sole squeaked for the first few hours but the squeaking is gone now. Shoes usually start showing some baldness in ball/toe area for me after I have logged this many hours on them. This one seems to be doing better than others.

Toe durability:
As I mentioned above, I drag my toe a lot especially on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing the split steps. Toe durability was excellent. If you notice closely you can see that there is dense rubber in the toe area. And that showed no signs of serious wear and tear. In fact I think it is still minimal. I continue to be very impressed by Michelin rubber outsoles that Babolat produces. Definitely on par with some of the Barricade sole durability I have seen in the past, if not better.

Traction:

Traction was wonderful. I was able control my movement as I wanted, when I wanted and go forward /back and laterally with confidence. I was able to do everything: stop/start, shuffle, move forward, backward, move sideways (left/right), and do abrupt changes in direction without hesitance. As mentioned above, the squeaking sound stopped after a few hours but traction was great right up till the 18 hour mark. I can tell you traction will not be an issue for a long time given how slowly this tread is wearing out.

Weight:
Definitely a lighter shoe. On my kitchen scale each shoe came out at 14 oz. It is very fast-feeling and not clunky at all. I want to say it feels as light as Vapors or Ubersonics (or Feathers III even) maybe even though it weighs more than both on scale. It did not feel as low profile either which works for me. Weight is ideal for those looking for a good mix of speed and stability with cushioning.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
  • I am overall extremely impressed by the SFX3. This is a premium quality shoe on par with big name offerings from Nike, Adidas, Asics etc. and at a great price too (I think at $100 it is a great buy from Tennis Warehouse). I think the black and white colorway is excellent and the shoe looks great with dark pair of socks, which I prefer. The blue colorway also looks amazing on screen although I can not speak for it's aesthetics as I have not seen it in person.
  • To those looking into buying a new tennis shoe, I would highly recommend this shoe if you are in need of a durable and fast-feeling shoe which is stable and on the lighter side. I mean, a light weight, fast-feeling and very comfortable shoe with stability and sole durability that matches big boys (Propulse Fury, Barricades etc) at a cheaper price is an ideal offering in my opinion.
  • If any of the posters/readers have absolutely any questions whatsoever, please feel free to ask me.
Thank you once again Tennis Warehouse & Babolat for giving me this opportunity to playtest this shoe. It was an absolute pleasure.
Hi, how would you compare it to the SFX 2?
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#25
Great review @haqq777 thanks for taking the time to include pictures of the shoes as well, one thing I was thinking while reading though is that it would be good to see a picture of the sole and toe area after 18+ hours of hard court use.
Actually, that’s what I’m focusing on right now - the wear on the toe and heel area. Will definitely include pictures.
 
#27
Well, I was spared a night on the slippery courts in the barn last week as a climate control court became avaialable. Another good session in the SFX 3’s on a normal hard court.

I must say, my favorite part of the evening is slipping on the SFX 3’s when I arrive in the locker room. They are just so comfortable to put on. No struggling with a bootie type shoe, no stuffing my foot in a narrow shoe while fighting the tongue, it’s just a simple place the shoe on my foot and tie them up.

I really cinched up the laces tight and the support system built into the SFX 3 responded with some improved stability compared to my first hard court session. Still not as stable as a Gel Res 7 or a Barricade 2015, but better than my Nike Cage 2’s or some other “comfort” shoes I have worn in the past. The lacing system kind of reminds me of the Lunar Ballistec in that it can adapt to your foot size and you can lock your foot down by cranking down on the laces where you need additional support or leave additional room where the shoe privovides adequate support.

I am starting to think the gripiness of the sole comes from its flexibility. As I mentioned previously, the sole really flexes and you can really feel the court in the forefoot. The rubber sole does not feel any grippier than most of my other shoes, but definitely grips the court more than my Gel Res 7’s and the NB 996v3’s I was using prior to the Res7’s.

Looking forward to getting back out on court again in the SFX 3’s tomorrow night after a couple of days out of town.
 
#28
TW Playtest Review: Babolat SFX3 Shoes


Alright folk, I will be the first one to post my full review of the Babolat SFX3 shoe. Before I proceed, let me give a big shout out to @TW Staff and @Babolat Official for making this playtest available and giving me this opportunity to play test. I really enjoyed this play test and really liked the SFX3 shoe. I will be recommending this shoe to friends if they are looking for a good performance, light weight and comfortable shoe. This is the complete package!

Tennis experience/background:
A little about myself. I’m a 5’9”, 175 lbs, former Div II college player. I am in my mid thirties. I usually play with local college team guys and the coaching team at least twice a week in summers and time-permitting in winters. Have so far used a variety of tennis shoe brands and currently I'm using Babolat Propulse Fury, another great offering from Babolat. My backup in my bag is a pair of 2017 Adidas Barricade Boosts. I have a bunch of other tennis shoes in the closet as well which I rotate depending on my mood mostly.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I will describe my style as an aggressive, moving baseliner who is consistent, and rate my forehand as my weapon. I have noticed however that I have recently started playing a more all-court type of a game but majority exchanges still are at baseline. I hustle a lot all over the court and go through shoes quicker than average recreational players. My serves are not huge, just well placed. I have decent groundies with ample spin. Have a one handed backhand. My favorite shot is inside-out forehand so I am always shuffling feet. I am a chronic toe dragger on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing split steps while moving laterally, and that is where I can tell how durable the shoe is going to be.

Current shoe:
I am wearing Babolat Propulse Fury these days. I will compare SFX3 to Propulse Fury to give a good idea. I was a big fan of the HEAD Nitro Pro before my current shoes and HEAD Sprint Pro before those Nitros. That said, the HEAD offerings were much different playing and feeling wise than Babolat Propulse Fury. I will add that I have played with nearly every flagship shoe of the current major brands available in US.

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Eighteen hours total on outdoor hard. Out of the eighteen hours, roughly 12 hours were singles play, rest were doubles and warm-up drills.

Normal size:
9.5

Playtesting size:
9.5

Comments on Shoe Performance:

Comfort:
SFX3 were very comfortable right out of the box. Did not require breaking-in. They were ready to go as soon as they arrived. Since I have medium to wide feet, I loved the roomier toe box they had to offer. For comparison, SFX3 have similar level of comfort as Propulse Fury only difference being SFX3 to me feels roomier in the toebox. After putting in a few hours, the shoe slightly opened up a bit more for me but nothing of concern. I just tightened the shoelaces and fit was great even after playing for 18 hours. The whole mesh upper is very soft, felt very comfortable and my forefoot felt comfortable while being snug. Had no comfort issues moving laterally and forward/back. Did have heel slippage in the first few hits but after tightening up shoelaces, it went away. The lacing was great, it locked foot movement on top too giving entire foot a snug yet comfortable feel. Insole had added padding which felt great as well. Definitely one of the most comfortable shoe I have tried in recent times.

Arch support:
I have medium arches so this has never been an issue for me. The SFX3 have medium arches and that suited me just fine. I had no pain in arches at any time during or after play. No pain or feeling of pressure either.

Stability/support:
The lateral support and stability were great for me. Minus the heel slippage incident in the beginning, I felt heels were deep enough inside the shoe to stop slippage. No toe-jamming or feet moving inside toe box either - even with a wider toe box - which felt great. In the end I felt feet were snug and secure and ample support was there. If I were to compare with Propulse Fury though, I would say SFX3 falls slightly short in stability and support department. SFX3 are great, don't get me wrong, it is just that Propulse have set the bar very high in my opinion.

Ventilation:
Ventilation was the part where this shoe performed the best in my opinion. Full mesh upper gave way for lots of air entering the shoe and my feet never once felt hot or suffocated even in hot and humid conditions. Played a couple of long and tough matches in them and feet never once got hot & juicy (lol). That alone deserves full stars and then some.

Sole durability:
After eighteen hours of play, I am happy to report very minimal wear & tear. I run a lot on court and could tell this Michelin sole was going to last, just like the Propulse Fury ones. I don't think any shoe in this price range can beat Michelin durability. The sole squeaked for the first few hours but the squeaking is gone now. Shoes usually start showing some baldness in ball/toe area for me after I have logged this many hours on them. This one seems to be doing better than others.

Toe durability:
As I mentioned above, I drag my toe a lot especially on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing the split steps. Toe durability was excellent. If you notice closely you can see that there is dense rubber in the toe area. And that showed no signs of serious wear and tear. In fact I think it is still minimal. I continue to be very impressed by Michelin rubber outsoles that Babolat produces. Definitely on par with some of the Barricade sole durability I have seen in the past, if not better.

Traction:

Traction was wonderful. I was able control my movement as I wanted, when I wanted and go forward /back and laterally with confidence. I was able to do everything: stop/start, shuffle, move forward, backward, move sideways (left/right), and do abrupt changes in direction without hesitance. As mentioned above, the squeaking sound stopped after a few hours but traction was great right up till the 18 hour mark. I can tell you traction will not be an issue for a long time given how slowly this tread is wearing out.

Weight:
Definitely a lighter shoe. On my kitchen scale each shoe came out at 14 oz. It is very fast-feeling and not clunky at all. I want to say it feels as light as Vapors or Ubersonics (or Feathers III even) maybe even though it weighs more than both on scale. It did not feel as low profile either which works for me. Weight is ideal for those looking for a good mix of speed and stability with cushioning.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
  • I am overall extremely impressed by the SFX3. This is a premium quality shoe on par with big name offerings from Nike, Adidas, Asics etc. and at a great price too (I think at $100 it is a great buy from Tennis Warehouse). I think the black and white colorway is excellent and the shoe looks great with dark pair of socks, which I prefer. The blue colorway also looks amazing on screen although I can not speak for it's aesthetics as I have not seen it in person.
  • To those looking into buying a new tennis shoe, I would highly recommend this shoe if you are in need of a durable and fast-feeling shoe which is stable and on the lighter side. I mean, a light weight, fast-feeling and very comfortable shoe with stability and sole durability that matches big boys (Propulse Fury, Barricades etc) at a cheaper price is an ideal offering in my opinion.
  • If any of the posters/readers have absolutely any questions whatsoever, please feel free to ask me.
Thank you once again Tennis Warehouse & Babolat for giving me this opportunity to playtest this shoe. It was an absolute pleasure.
Great review, mate. I hade 5-6 pair of the original, skipped the SFX2 and, because of this outstanding review, will order a few pairs of the SFX3. Well done. - KV


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#30
Great review, mate. I hade 5-6 pair of the original, skipped the SFX2 and, because of this outstanding review, will order a few pairs of the SFX3. Well done. - KV


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Seriously, I have nothing but positive things to say about the shoes. I’m just checking on the high wear area durability.
 

McLovin

Hall of Fame
#31
@TW Staff, when is our review due by? It hasn't been updated in the initial post. The weather out here in VA has been horrendous the last 2 weeks (if you've been watching the Citi Open, you know what I'm talking about). I've only got 3 hours on my shoes, but want a few more before writing the review. Just wondering how much time I have remaining...
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#32
@TW Staff, when is our review due by? It hasn't been updated in the initial post. The weather out here in VA has been horrendous the last 2 weeks (if you've been watching the Citi Open, you know what I'm talking about). I've only got 3 hours on my shoes, but want a few more before writing the review. Just wondering how much time I have remaining...
It’s due by August 17, 2018. Hope you get some good weather in the near future. I love it.
 
#33
TW Playtest Review: Babolat SFX3 Shoes


Alright folk, I will be the first one to post my full review of the Babolat SFX3 shoe. Before I proceed, let me give a big shout out to @TW Staff and @Babolat Official for making this playtest available and giving me this opportunity to play test. I really enjoyed this play test and really liked the SFX3 shoe. I will be recommending this shoe to friends if they are looking for a good performance, light weight and comfortable shoe. This is the complete package!

Tennis experience/background:
A little about myself. I’m a 5’9”, 175 lbs, former Div II college player. I am in my mid thirties. I usually play with local college team guys and the coaching team at least twice a week in summers and time-permitting in winters. Have so far used a variety of tennis shoe brands and currently I'm using Babolat Propulse Fury, another great offering from Babolat. My backup in my bag is a pair of 2017 Adidas Barricade Boosts. I have a bunch of other tennis shoes in the closet as well which I rotate depending on my mood mostly.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I will describe my style as an aggressive, moving baseliner who is consistent, and rate my forehand as my weapon. I have noticed however that I have recently started playing a more all-court type of a game but majority exchanges still are at baseline. I hustle a lot all over the court and go through shoes quicker than average recreational players. My serves are not huge, just well placed. I have decent groundies with ample spin. Have a one handed backhand. My favorite shot is inside-out forehand so I am always shuffling feet. I am a chronic toe dragger on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing split steps while moving laterally, and that is where I can tell how durable the shoe is going to be.

Current shoe:
I am wearing Babolat Propulse Fury these days. I will compare SFX3 to Propulse Fury to give a good idea. I was a big fan of the HEAD Nitro Pro before my current shoes and HEAD Sprint Pro before those Nitros. That said, the HEAD offerings were much different playing and feeling wise than Babolat Propulse Fury. I will add that I have played with nearly every flagship shoe of the current major brands available in US.

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Eighteen hours total on outdoor hard. Out of the eighteen hours, roughly 12 hours were singles play, rest were doubles and warm-up drills.

Normal size:
9.5

Playtesting size:
9.5

Comments on Shoe Performance:

Comfort:
SFX3 were very comfortable right out of the box. Did not require breaking-in. They were ready to go as soon as they arrived. Since I have medium to wide feet, I loved the roomier toe box they had to offer. For comparison, SFX3 have similar level of comfort as Propulse Fury only difference being SFX3 to me feels roomier in the toebox. After putting in a few hours, the shoe slightly opened up a bit more for me but nothing of concern. I just tightened the shoelaces and fit was great even after playing for 18 hours. The whole mesh upper is very soft, felt very comfortable and my forefoot felt comfortable while being snug. Had no comfort issues moving laterally and forward/back. Did have heel slippage in the first few hits but after tightening up shoelaces, it went away. The lacing was great, it locked foot movement on top too giving entire foot a snug yet comfortable feel. Insole had added padding which felt great as well. Definitely one of the most comfortable shoe I have tried in recent times.

Arch support:
I have medium arches so this has never been an issue for me. The SFX3 have medium arches and that suited me just fine. I had no pain in arches at any time during or after play. No pain or feeling of pressure either.

Stability/support:
The lateral support and stability were great for me. Minus the heel slippage incident in the beginning, I felt heels were deep enough inside the shoe to stop slippage. No toe-jamming or feet moving inside toe box either - even with a wider toe box - which felt great. In the end I felt feet were snug and secure and ample support was there. If I were to compare with Propulse Fury though, I would say SFX3 falls slightly short in stability and support department. SFX3 are great, don't get me wrong, it is just that Propulse have set the bar very high in my opinion.

Ventilation:
Ventilation was the part where this shoe performed the best in my opinion. Full mesh upper gave way for lots of air entering the shoe and my feet never once felt hot or suffocated even in hot and humid conditions. Played a couple of long and tough matches in them and feet never once got hot & juicy (lol). That alone deserves full stars and then some.

Sole durability:
After eighteen hours of play, I am happy to report very minimal wear & tear. I run a lot on court and could tell this Michelin sole was going to last, just like the Propulse Fury ones. I don't think any shoe in this price range can beat Michelin durability. The sole squeaked for the first few hours but the squeaking is gone now. Shoes usually start showing some baldness in ball/toe area for me after I have logged this many hours on them. This one seems to be doing better than others.

Toe durability:
As I mentioned above, I drag my toe a lot especially on serves, backhand and sometimes when doing the split steps. Toe durability was excellent. If you notice closely you can see that there is dense rubber in the toe area. And that showed no signs of serious wear and tear. In fact I think it is still minimal. I continue to be very impressed by Michelin rubber outsoles that Babolat produces. Definitely on par with some of the Barricade sole durability I have seen in the past, if not better.

Traction:

Traction was wonderful. I was able control my movement as I wanted, when I wanted and go forward /back and laterally with confidence. I was able to do everything: stop/start, shuffle, move forward, backward, move sideways (left/right), and do abrupt changes in direction without hesitance. As mentioned above, the squeaking sound stopped after a few hours but traction was great right up till the 18 hour mark. I can tell you traction will not be an issue for a long time given how slowly this tread is wearing out.

Weight:
Definitely a lighter shoe. On my kitchen scale each shoe came out at 14 oz. It is very fast-feeling and not clunky at all. I want to say it feels as light as Vapors or Ubersonics (or Feathers III even) maybe even though it weighs more than both on scale. It did not feel as low profile either which works for me. Weight is ideal for those looking for a good mix of speed and stability with cushioning.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
  • I am overall extremely impressed by the SFX3. This is a premium quality shoe on par with big name offerings from Nike, Adidas, Asics etc. and at a great price too (I think at $100 it is a great buy from Tennis Warehouse). I think the black and white colorway is excellent and the shoe looks great with dark pair of socks, which I prefer. The blue colorway also looks amazing on screen although I can not speak for it's aesthetics as I have not seen it in person.
  • To those looking into buying a new tennis shoe, I would highly recommend this shoe if you are in need of a durable and fast-feeling shoe which is stable and on the lighter side. I mean, a light weight, fast-feeling and very comfortable shoe with stability and sole durability that matches big boys (Propulse Fury, Barricades etc) at a cheaper price is an ideal offering in my opinion.
  • If any of the posters/readers have absolutely any questions whatsoever, please feel free to ask me.
Thank you once again Tennis Warehouse & Babolat for giving me this opportunity to playtest this shoe. It was an absolute pleasure.
Nice review. In will have to order this for my next pair!
I like the fact that the toe area has a little more room.
 

McLovin

Hall of Fame
#36
Babolat SFX3 Review

Tennis experience/background:
I've been playing for almost 40 years. D3 College, 4.5/5.0 NTRP, have coached high school and assisted at my local club.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
In singles, I'm baseliner in the Ferrer mold: tracking down shots, looking to use my opponent's pace against them. In doubles, I'm serve & volley off both serves, and normally come to the net off 2nd or 3rd shot when returning.​

Current shoe:
Asics Gel Solution Speed 3
How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Around 9, all singles play
Normal Size:
10.5
Playtesting Size:
10.5
Comments on shoe performance:
  • Comfort:
These are a very roomy shoe in the width, which was appreciated since I wear the ASO ankle braces on both ankles all the time. I'd be curious how a 10 fits, although they might be a little short. Cushioning felt nice, and there was no break-in period. I've had issues in the past with Barricades where the top of my toes rub & I get blisters, so I'm somewhat cautious when trying new shoes, but absolutely no problems here.​
  • Arch support:
I'd say I have medium/normal arches in my feet, and these felt like a good fit. Not too high, not too flat. The Goldilocks of arches? No pain after 9 hours of running side-to-side on hard courts.​
  • Stability/support:
This is were I had a few issues. On multiple occasions, when stopping hard & changing direction, I didn't feel as stable as in other shoes. Not so much that I was going to roll my ankle, but the outer wall just seemed to 'give' a little more than I'm used to. I suspect that is due to the mesh around the sides (more on that in the next section). Understand that I'm in no way 'graceful' on the court. I'm hard on my shoes, and scrambling, hard stops, change of direction, etc. is what I'm built for (5' 9", 185lbs), so this may not be an issues for a more graceful mover.​
  • Ventilation:
Possibly the best aspect of these shoes. I played 7 1/2 hours in the warm, humid heat of VA, and the other 1 1/2 indoors, where it was also quite humid (we've been getting a ton of rain out here), and I sweat crazily. Many times I've walked off the court and my feet are squishing in my shoes. My feet stayed cool & comfortable throughout my matches, which was a pleasant change. Obviously the mesh helped, but it did take away from some of the stability.​
  • Sole durability:
Its tough to say how they will last after only 9 hours of play. I'm a bit bow-legged, so I tend to burn out the outside of the heel section before anything else. There seems to be a goodly amount of heel protection in these, but only hard usage will determine how long they last. I hope to get a few more outings in these before the test period ends, so I'll try to update later.​
  • Toe durability:
I am a toe-dragger on my serve, and there is plenty of protection from that. I also like that the toe guard comes up & over a little, as I've actually burned through the tops of some shoes in the past. I'll update this thread w/ some pics if I get another outing in the next week.​
  • Traction:
Absolutely no issues with traction. As I said before, all of my play was on hard courts, but one match was indoors where I've had issues sliding a little in the past. No problems making a hard stop, turning, then going the other direction.​
  • Weight:
Possibly one of the lightest shoes I've worn in a while. Actually felt a little odd at first, as if something was missing. But after a set or two I started to adjust. The last few days its been brutally hot out here, so losing any extra weight was appreciated. Curious how it will feel returning to my 'normal' shoes after the playtest.
General reaction/comments on overall performance:
Overall I enjoyed these shoes. There was no break-in, and my feet never hurt, nor was there even any discomfort (I've had a few shoes where my circulation can get cut off if I tie them snug). However, the lack of stability is a concern for me. I do have the advantage of wearing ankle braces all the time, but even with them I could feel less stable on some of the hard stops. But, that's the 'Catch 22', as the meshing is what makes them extremely comfortable on the hot summer hard courts, as well as one of the lighter offerings out there. If they could find a way to stabilize the side just a tad without adding too much weight, I'd be all over these.

Thanks to Babolat & TW for the playtest opportunity!​
 
#37
@McLovin good review...however, one thing is missing....where are you comments on wet traction? Surely you played on hardcourts in the rain and can detail your experiences there? Did they channel water off as well as most Michelin products? :)

Great review.
 
#38
Babolat SFX 3 Review:



Tennis experience/background:
I have been playing tennis about 30 years but I did take 16 years off from the time I was 18 until I was 34. I am a 4.5 player.


Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I play mostly doubles with the occasional singles session for training. I hit a fairly heavy serve, and come in work my way in. Serving and volleying are my strengths, I have good hands at the net.


Current shoe:
I currently rotate between Wilson Rush Pro 2.5, Asics Gel Resolution 7s and Kswiss Hypercourt 2.0


How many hours did you play with the shoe?

around 20, mostly doubles with a few singles hitting sessions.

Normal Size:
7

Playtesting Size:
7


Comments on shoe performance:

  • Comfort:
These shoes are extremely comfortable and were right out of the box. No break in period was needed at all. They are roomy and wide, but it did not present a problem as the lacing system allows you to cinch your foot in for a comfortable, secure fit. I was even able to wear these after 4+ hours of playing this past Saturday around town with no comfort issue at all.
  • Arch support:
I have medium to low arches and this shoe has great arch support. A lot of shoes hurt my arch at times until broken in but that was not an issue with this shoe. I felt like it gave great arch support.
  • Stability/support:
I felt like this shoe gives adequate stability & support. I am a fast mover on the court and felt secure in the shoe and never felt like I would twist an ankle. Given how light this shoe feels, the support is great.
  • Ventilation:
This shoe has great ventilation. As mentioned above I played 4+ hours this past Saturday and my foot never got hot. My socks were not dry but they were not drenched either.
  • Sole durability: The sole seems to be very well made. I have played many hours with this shoe with very little wear shown.

  • Toe durability:
I am a toe-dragger on my serve, and there is plenty of protection from that. I also drag my toe at times with my forehand...Again great durability and little to no show of wear on these shoes.
  • Traction:
Absolutely no issues with traction. I played on hard courts, soft courts and artificial turf with these shoes and had no issues at all with the traction.
  • Weight:
Very light weight shoe compared to my normal go to shoe. I really enjoyed the light feel. This shoe is a keeper, and will go into rotation with my others.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
I enjoyed these shoes tremendously. As mentioned above they will go into my rotation. The only con is even though the laces secure my foot in, sometimes I wonder if I should wear 2 pairs of socks as they are a bit wide (and I do not have a narrow foot). Also, not a huge fan of just white...I like a little bit more color. I may add different color laces to jazz them up a bit.;) I let my pro try on my shoes as she is very picky and has foot issues, she liked the feel so much, she ordered a pair from TW.

Thanks again to Babolat and TW for the opportunity to play test this shoe! Looking forward to seeing if they come out with more colors!


Katie
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#40
I apologize in advance for posting dirty shoe pictures.













Tennis experience/background: Played tennis since I was 12, in 1982. My first racket was Wilson Sting Mid. Became more serious around 15 and played High School and College tennis.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Baseliner. Started off being a pusher/all-courter who played defensive tennis and tried to get to every ball. Became more confident in hitting winners from the baseline and became pretty much a aggressive baseline grinder. Even on certain points where it would seem too difficult to get to, I’d rather make the chase and risk the fall than give up an easy point. I guess I'm a pusher/grinder who don't like to hit the moonballs and lobs. At my peak, I'd say I was around 4.5-5.0. I'm a 4.0 player with my backhand being the better side.

One thing to mention is that my hitting partners often comment on how hard I run, as in pounding my feet on the courts. I often went home with pain in my feet from so much pounding. That is the reason that I always look for the most supportive and shock absorbing shoes.

Current shoe: Rotating between Asics Gel Resolution 7 & Adidas Boost Tennis shoes

How many hours did you play with the shoe? 25+ hours (*1/2 leisurely rallies / 1/2 competitive doubles)

Normal Size: 11
Playtesting Size: 11

The shoes felt it ran a little larger than its indicated size and offered lots of toe room. It also felt wider than the regular fit and fit my wide flat feet really comfortably.

Comments on shoe performance:

-comfort: The SFX3 is absolutely the plushest and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn. My usual preferences have been focused on protection and support, so I'd look for shoes that looked to be built like tanks to absorb the shocks of playing the hardcourt tennis. Those type shoes are usually heavy and feel a bit restricting, in exchange for providing the shock protection and lateral support. The SFX3, on the other hand, feels light and roomy. The first time I put on the shoes, it almost felt like I'd just put on the running shoes. It was that light and comfortable compared to the shoes I've preferred to wear. It felt really soft.

-arch support: I have flat feet and pronated ankles. I do really need shoes with good arch support and the SFX3 nailed it on this department. The shoe felt really supportive on my flat feet and gave me that cushion I need.

-stability/support: For being relatively light feeling shoes, the SFX3 offered a plenty of support and stability. Because the shoes are made of soft materials, I doubted at first whether the shoes would provide the stability and support I need for my style of playing. That changed as soon as I laced up the shoes snuggly on my feet and began playing. The lace system hugged my feet tightly, and my feet never slid or moved inside the shoes. I do run hard and chase after all balls, which means lots of hard pounding, sudden changes of directions and stops. The SFX3 provided the cushion, lateral support and stability while I played my hardest tennis.

-ventilation: The all mesh design kept my feet comfortable during the hottest (*with high humidity for CA) days. Usually, my feet feel like they are getting baked wearing the supportive but heavily padded shoes, but it was not the case with the SFX3. The comfort this shoe provides is really noteworthy.

-sole durability: I make a lot of quick stops, sudden change of directions and lots of skids. The SFX3 felt grippy and soft, but it also helped me to skid on hard direction changes and stops. It's too early to make the decision on the durability in my opinion, but as a heavy wearer of the toe and heel area (*from running flat-footed with pronated ankles), I thought the outsole held up excellently. Even though the outsole felt soft, it didn't wear out like something that feels soft would do.

-toe durability: I drag my toes during serves and make lots of hard stops on my toes. The extra protection around the toe box was really beneficial for the players like me who do a lot of running. As can be seen in the pictures, there are signs of my dragging my toes, but it was padded and protected, which helps with comfort and durability.

-traction: The outsole is soft and grippy, but when it is really pushed, it does give a little on hard skids. It never felt slippery (*which sometimes the Asics Gel Resolution can feel slippery), but it never felt like it over gripped.

-weight: To me, the SFX3 was one of the lightest tennis shoes I have ever worn. It almost felt like I was wearing the running shoes. That's how light it felt. I could actually see myself wearing these shoes for running and other activities, as a cross-trainer.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: Babolat, to me, was a company that produced really nice tennis strings and the neon bumper guard tapes that were available in the 80's. Most of the guys on the team dressed up our rackets with the Babolat neon (*pink or yellow) headguard tape and the Prince neon synthetic replacement grips. We wore the neon yellow beach volleyball shorts and were all neoned out. That's how I remember Babolat. That same company is the no.1 racket manufacturer in the world now and have enjoyed their rackets thoroughly. However, when it came to shoes, I would always look for the shoes from Nike, Adidas, K-swiss, or New Balance. Wearing the shoes from Babolat never even entered my mind because, for some odd reason, I believed it takes years of research to build great shoes, and those researches were done at the major athletic shoe brands. After having playtested the SFX3, I am thoroughly impressed with what Babolat has done with the shoes and will never look at Babolat as a lesser shoe manufacturer. This was my first go with Babolat shoes, and I found out exactly what I wanted to find out about the status of Babolat as the tennis shoe maker. I believe that their shoes are, at least, comparable, or even better. I found the lacing system and the comfort to be almost perfect. Though it wasn't as supportive as the heavy, tank-like tennis shoes, it was a welcome change to play tennis wearing the SFX3 in the hot, muggy weather. My feet never felt so comfortable after the match.

The only negative I have found so far is the reduction in cushioning after wearing them for close to 30 hours. Because the shoes are made of soft material and the main focus is on comfort, it seems like the shock absorbing property went away somewhat noticeably around 30 hour mark. After about 30 hours of playing in the shoes, I experienced my first foot pain. It was particularly a tough match where I had to do lots of scrambling to get to the balls. I specifically remember a point where it felt like all padding suddenly got crushed & disappeared when I made a hard attempt to get to the ball. It was just that incident, but I did feel the hard impact on my feet as I took the initial few hard steps to get to get to the ball. I think being soft and plush while being supportive makes the SFX3 really an attractive buy, but while being soft and plush is great, it cannot overlook the shock absorbing aspect (*lasting shock absorbing ability) for being a hardcourt tennis shoes.

I am thinking the SFX3 is best suited for doing drills and light rally. I think the shoes’ best attributes could be the shoes’ worst attributes. While it’s super comfortable. if it gets used for repeated match plays, the shoes might lose the support and stability quicker than most of the heavy tank-like tennis shoes.



Thank you so much for the opportunity. Thank you TW. Thank you Babolat.
 
Last edited:

!<-_->!

Professional
#41
Tennis experience/background: 4.0, played on and off for 16 years, mostly a doubles player these days
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): counter puncher when doing singles, try to serve & volley when playing doubles
Current shoe: Babolat Propulse Fury
How many hours did you play with the shoe? 20
Normal Size: 10.5
Playtesting Size: 10.5

Comments on shoe performance:
-comfort: Out of the box the shoe felt very plush and well cushioned. Didn't require any break in time and was able to use the shoes immediately. I was able to play 7 hours in a row and didn't feel any ill effects in my feet, ankles or knees the next day. After 20 hours, the level of cushioning feels unchanged from day 1. Still a very comfortable ride.

-arch support: I am not too well at how to clearly define what the arch support this shoe has, but it I could feel the arch sitting slightly further back than I would prefer compared to my normal shoes. However, this did not impact the comfort level of the shoe. I was still able to play in this shoe fine. It was just a different feeling, with the shoe noticeably higher just slightly behind the mid-foot area.

-stability/support: The shoe felt stable. I didn't notice any issues when moving laterally. The one issue I did have in regards to support/stability came from the fact that this is quite a wide shoe and I don't have a wide foot. As a result, I could feel my forefoot sliding around a bit up front. I don't think I would have had any stability issues, but I never felt comfortable going at full speed and then trying to stop and change direction immediately knowing I had so much wiggle room in the forefoot. I could feel my foot shifting and turning a bit internally while the shoe held up just fine.

-ventilation: The mesh uppers did a good job in keeping my foot cool. I didn't have any issues with overheating, granted I rarely feel like I have such an issue with any shoe. That said, I did play 7 hours in a row one day and my feet never felt over saturated with sweat or anything.

-sole durability: For only having used the shoe for about 20 hours, I did notice some minor fading on the outsole in the black areas. The white tread portion was fine, but the black areas I saw wore down a bit. This didn't impact traction however. I would rank these as being less durable than the Babolat Propulse Fury.

-toe durability: I am not a toe dragger so this is never an issue with me. I do have a pseudo slide that damages the medial side of the shoe. After 20 hours, I didn't notice any noticeable damage, only that that section got dirty from making contact with the court.

-traction: Having a somewhat standard herringbone tread pattern, traction was excellent with these shoes. Never had any traction or slippage issues with the outsole itself. My issue came from the extra space in the toe box, but that is no fault of the traction.

-weight: The shoe felt relatively light. Nothing like a Vapor of Solution Speed, but noticeably lighter than the Propulse Fury that I'm currently using and definitely lighter than Barricades that I've used in the past. I would say they're a good weight given the support and stability afforded by this shoe.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: Overall, I would say this is a very good shoe for people who have wide feet. For those who have a more standard or narrow foot, I would not recommend these shoes. Maybe going down half a size would help with the extra space in the toe box, but I was not able to test that with this shoe. Other than the roominess, the comfort, stability and traction all earn top marks from me. A very good shoe for the wide footed individuals.

Thank you to Tennis-Warehouse and Babolat for the opportunity to try these shoes.
 
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mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#42
The shoes are still going strong. So far, I have put around ten more hours of playing with the shoes. It’s been a mix of light singles plays, lots of rallying and some doubles matches. The durability of the outsole is impressive, as well as the general cushioning and comfort. Though I had a mild foot pain after the doubles matches, it wasn’t bad. In singles play where I could relax more and blast from the baseline, the shoes performed extremely well. The outsole is still grippy, but I am able to skid better.

I just think the way I run and pound my feet on the court, some doubles matches will be too much for these shoes to take. One match where I ended up with foot pain was caused by taking too many hard steps to get to the touch shots and drops shots. Other than those real competitive and rigorous doubles matches, I would use the SFX3 over the tank-like hardcourt tennis shoes.
 
#43
With the above comments, I typically would replace the insoles, and have the comfort back. Depends on how much of a beating it takes, as it happens with any shoe.
 
#44
Tennis experience/background: 4.5, playing almost weekly for 12 years
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Heavy hitting baseliner, one hand backhand and decent at the net
Current shoe: Adidas Barricade 7 (novak pro)
How many hours did you play with the shoe? 12
Normal Size: 8.5
Playtesting Size: 8.5 (seemed slightly longer than my barricades of the same size)

Comments on shoe performance:
-comfort: Very comfortable right out of the box, no need for break-in. Felt like a lightweight running shoe with good cushioning. This is by far the most comfortable tennis shoe I have worn even with 12 hours on them they still have a nice soft cushion feel to them.

-arch support: The arch did seem a tad low to me. I dont have high arches and the arch in these are almost a little to low so i can see someone with high arches might have a problem with arch support with these.

-stability/support: For a shoe that is made with light breathable material that these are made of I am amazed on how sturdy they are on side to side movement. I did find the shoe was to wide for me (wore two pairs of socks for half the playtest) and definitely had some movement in the front of the shoe. Ankle support was very good.

-ventilation: I was playing in high humidity 90ish degree weather and feet never felt hot. These breathe very well especially with the amount of support they have.

-sole durability: I have played the Babolat Propulse 3 before and wasnt satisfied with the sole durability, dont know if these are made of the same material ( Michelin brand compound) but for the time that i have on them i dont see any sign of wear. I do wear through the toe area fairly quickly in most shoe but these seem to be withstanding even though the toe cap seems to be thinner than other shoes. Only more time will tell.

-toe durability: For now the toe area shows no sign of wear but the material seems thinner compared to other shoes. I wish the traction bars went higher up on the toe cap.

-traction: Traction was on par with other shoes, maybe a tad better than my barricades as far as stopping. Taking off was slightly less impressive maybe due to the no traction grooves high on the toe cap but that is only if I am taking off on more on my big toe area. Otherwise i felt surefooted with good feel to the ground.

-weight: Very very light! These make my Barricades feel like bricks. I have also played the nike vapor tour 9.5 and those are pretty light but the Babolat SFX3 are way lighter making my footwork less sluggish after a long practice.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
For the most part I love the shoe. They feel great on the feet with weight not being an issue and the looks of them are very nice. I do not care for the fact that the uppersole gets very dirty fairly easy, also these should be listed as more of a wide shoe. Would love to see more colorways in these. I would say these are great practice shoes but not tough enough to withstand several hours of match play. The lightweight aspect and out of box comfort is great for the novice or leisurely player but anyone playing competitively might find performance not up to the level it needs to be. I would put these at an $85 price point for me to purchase, otherwise i would spend a little more and get a shoe that would withstand more of a beating.

Thanks TW and Babolat for the chance to playtest these.
 
#45
Tennis experience/background: Played for about two decades. Currently 4.0c NTRP (team defeated at sectionals), former high school coach.

Describe your playing style: All court player

Current shoe(s): K-Swiss Bigshot light 2.5 (practice shoe and rec-match shoe) & Yonex Fusion Rev (league match-day shoe)

How many hours did you play with the shoe? 18 hours (Mostly practice & drills. But used the shoes for USTA playoff doubles.)

Normal Size: 11.5
Playtesting Size: 11.5 (IMO, the SFX3 are true-to-length. However, the wide toe box may make it possible for those with narrow-regular feet to size down a 1/2-size)
(Pictured below from left to right: K-Swiss BigShot 2.5 Light, Babolat SFX3, Yonex Fusion Rev, all in size 11.5)

  • No break-in needed
  • Light weight, comfortable, 'soft' feeling shoe
  • Highly breathable due to mesh forefoot
  • Excellent outsole material for hardcourts (traction + durability)
  • Noticeable stack height & heel-to-toe drop
  • Best for medium to wide feet (good toe-box width)

-comfort: The SFX3 were immediately comfortable on my feet. The mesh covered toe box has give on the outside of the shoe and a fairly straight big toe line–meaning no pinching on my wide toe-spread feet. My little toe normally is smashed by most shoes. But the rubberized drag strip at the front of the toe box actually stops before my small toe point, so my toe just presses out the mesh slightly.



The shoe has a soft, slightly squishy, underfoot feel along with a well-padded heel cup and tongue. One of the most comfortable tennis shoes I've worn. For me, the most comfortable tennis shoes I've found are the discontinued Yonex 304 series and this shoe.

-arch support: Medium (normal). I only notice arch support in a shoe if it is too pronounced or oddly located. I didn’t notice the arch support and that’s a good thing.

-stability/support: Given the comfortable and even soft underfoot feeling of the SFX3, this was my primary concern. Can a shoe this comfortable provide stability and support under fast directional changes and quick stops, such as digging a drop shot and trying to avoid the net?

While the shoe doesn’t have a highly locked-in feeling, I felt no fear of rolling an ankle even during hard slides. However, the shoe does give slightly (in both the upper and outsole) such as when stopping hard to hit a deep squash shot. I never felt any issues with stability, but given this shoes’s high stack height and softness, those who enjoy a very stiff combat-boot style of tennis shoe might have stability issues.

-ventilation: The SFX3 is the best ventilated tennis shoe I’ve used. My feet usually sweat so much that I can wring a significant amount of sweat out of my socks after two hours of play. Even after playing in 90-degree weather, I couldn’t wring a significant amount of sweat out of my albeit wet socks. That's a first for me.

-sole durability: Excellent. Early results suggest the outsole durability is better than the K-Swiss Big Shot 2.5 outsoles and significantly better than Yonex shoes I’ve used (Yonex 304, Yonex PCD 1&2, Yonex Fusion Rev). I’ve included a picture of the outsole. The design is excellent, with more outsole compound under the big toe, where I normally burn through shoes.
(From left-to-right: Yonex Fusion Rev, Babolat SFX3, K-Swiss BigShot 2.5 light)



-toe durability: I am not a toe dragger and use a platform stance on the serve, so I tend to destroy shoes by wearing through the outsole under the big toe, not in front of the toe. The shoe has a significant amount of outsole material in front of the toe, and a rubberized strip along the top of the toes. I would think this gives average or better toe durability. Those who heavily drag the top of the rear foot during hard-court slides may find this shoe doesn't provide enough protection on top of the toe-box.

-traction: Traction was excellent. I primarily play on public outdoor hardcourts, which are usually dirtier and slightly less gritty than club courts. Shoes with softer compounds (Yonex Fusion Rev) tend to play better on these courts at the expense of durability. However, I found the Michelin-branded outsoles on the SFX3 performed as well as the Yonex outsoles but with superior durability. The SFX3 gave plenty of traction (you can hear the shoes squealing on quick turns) but still allowed slight controlled slides when needed. Babalot has a winner with these outsoles.

-weight: The SFX3 is a light weight shoe. I didn't put it on a scale, but it seemed equivalent in weight to the lightweight "speed" style of tennis shoes I love.

COMMENTS: This is my first time wearing Babolat shoes and I'm impressed. From reading reviews, I knew that the original SFX had a reputation for generous width, so I was excited to test these shoes. My feet have a normal heel and perhaps a 2E forefoot width (but not high volume instep) with a wide toe spread. Most shoes pinch my toes, and my little toes eventually rip holes in the sides (e.g., NB 996 2E, K-Swiss BigShots 2.5). The SFX3 never pinched my toes and was extremely comfortable. The mesh does bow-out a little at the little toe, but I'll update if the shoe weakens at this point.

I love speed shoes, and the light weight of the SFX3 was appreciated. Ideally, I'd like an SFX3 with a little less stack height and a slightly firmer feel underfoot, but I realize most players prefer cushioning. Given the great toe-box room, I believe that the forefoot outsole could have been made slightly wider.

To conclude, I think that the SFX3 is a great shoe for those who love comfort and like breathable shoes with plenty of toe-box room. I will be using the SFX3 as my primary shoe and no longer buy K-Swiss BigShots. I'm impressed by the Babolat fit and quality. A big 'thank you' to TW for giving me the opportunity to participate in this playtest.
 
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#46
Tennis experience/background:
I have only been playing seriously for the last four plus years. Most of my tennis is participating in group drills 3 to 4 times a week at the 3.0 to 4.0 level.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
Primarily a doubles player with an attacking style, always moving forward.

Current shoe:
My current shoe of choice for hard courts are the Asics Gel Res 7.
On Har Tru clay my current shoe is the Diadora Speed Blushield 2 Clay.

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
12 hours of play on hard courts
6 hours of play on Har Tru clay
18 total hours

Normal Size: 10.5
Playtesting Size: 10.5

Comments on shoe performance:

-comfort: Probably the most comfortable tennis shoes I have ever put on my feet, and I have tried most of the high end “comfort” shoes out there including the first gen SFX. The best part of my day was arriving at the club and putting the SFX 3’s on my feet. Unlike some modern shoes, there was no bootie/sock to struggle with, no short tongue to struggle with, and no laces that dig into the top of your feet as you cinched them up. The SFX 3 was a simple place your foot in the shoe and lace them up. I do have a wider foot and normally buy 2E shoes if they are available, but that is unnecessary with the SFX 3 as my foot easily slid into the shoe with no tightness. Out on court, the comfort continued. Through out the play test I did not experience any pinching, tightness, hot spots, rubbing, or pain in any form. To be honest, they were so comfortable I just kind of forgot about the shoe until it was time to take them off. The only thing that I would possibly change would be to have a bit more cushioning in the forefoot, but even at that it had more cushioning than most shoes in its weight class. The SFX 3 is a very comfortable shoe for my feet.

-arch support: I did not experience any arch issues with the SFX 3. I have a medium arch and the stock insert provided comfortable arch support throughout the play test. I had some issues with arch support after play testing the Jet 2’s so I was a bit worried as the play test began, but I never felt the need to go to my Superfeet Blues as I have had to do in other shoes. The stock inserts worked perfectly.

-stability/support: the stability and support of the SFX 3’s was more than adequate for my needs. While they did not have the stability and support I am used to with my Gel Res 7’s, they were much better than the first generation of the SFX as well a lot of the other tennis shoes I have played in over the years. Babolat solved the stability issues I experienced in the first gen SFX as the shoe felt lower to the ground and I did not experience any ankle roll like I did in the first gen. Once I got used to the adaptable lacing system, my foot felt locked in for the entire session. I did experience a little bit of looseness the second time I wore the SFX 3, but that was easily fixed through adjusting the lacing system to add support where I needed it. As I mentioned in the comfort section, once I adapted the laces I never had to think about the shoes on my feet. There was never a moment where I felt the shoe was letting me down, nor did I have to adjust my style of play due to any perceived weakness or suppprt issues. I will not hesitate to use the SFX 3 on any of the courts surfaces I currently play.

-ventilation: Of all the improvements on the SFX 3 compared to the first version, the most noticible was the drastically improved vetillation. The old shoes were ovens. The SFX 3 was like having air conditioning in your shoes. I play tested the SFX 3 in the heat of the Texas summer and they were the coolest shoes I have worn in the past 5 years. I could feel a cooling breeze around my foot when the wind was blowing and never experienced a hot spot or heat related discomfort. Great ventilation.

-sole durability: Sole durability was another of my biggest concerns before starting the play test as I some issues with the Jet 2‘s sole going away quickly during that play test. Thankfully, sole durability was a non issue for me on the SFX 3. At the end of the play test, I could tell that the shoes had been worn, but there was plenty of sole remaining across the entire shoe. No noticible wear marks, no balding areas, and no damage. The sole held up better than my Gel Res 7’s over a similar time frame so I would suspect I would get greater longevity out of the SFX 3 over an extended period of time.

-toe durability: I am not a big toe dragger, so I have never had an issue in any of the shoes I have worn. There appears to be adequate protection through out the toe area and there were only a couple of streaks on my toe caps from where I had impacted the court, but it was more of a discoloration with no visible signs of wear or damage.

-traction: The SFX 3’s traction was phenomenal. On hard courts, it was almost too grippy for my tastes out of the box, but that improved a bit after my first hard court session. Once I got that initial layer of rubber scuffed in, the traction felt better/more like I am used to in my other tennis shoes. The SFX 3 does have more hard court traction than my normal Gel Res 7’s, but after several sessions I am starting to think that was a by product of the flexibility in the sole which allowed me to feel the court more than I have in most other shoes. The only shoes I have worn that had more court feel were the Adidas Ubersonics, but they were too extreme on that end of the spectrum. Even when I had a session in the Barn which has notoriously slippery and fast hard courts, the SFX 3 never lost the grip level or traction that I desired. I was also a little concerned about the traction level on Har Tru clay prior to the play test, but the SFX 3 has surprising good traction on the clay. I normally wear dedicated clay sole shoes on Har Tru and the SFX 3 was almost as good as those shoes through out the play test. I never experienced a slip or loss of traction on the clay with the SFX 3 and their traction level was better than any other all court sole I have worn on clay. As they run cooler than my normal clay shoes, the SFX 3 may become my go to clay shoe when the temps are tickling triple digits.

-weight: The SFX 3’s felt incredibly light and speedy on my feet. The only shoe I have worn that felt lighter were the Ubersonics. Compared to the first gen SFX, they are incredibly light. I would consider them light enough to be a match day shoe.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: What a great shoe. I would like to give kudos to Babolat for transforming the original SFX into the shoe that has become the SFX 3. They improved all of the short comings and issues of the original shoe and produced a superior shoe. Beyond the obvious changes, they paid attention to small details to improve the shoe. My first Gen SFX shoes died when one of the shoe’s eyelets that were just a hole punch through the material broke through and gave way. On the SFX 3, they have a true eyelet with a reinforced ring of a stronger material to resist such issues. The lacing system is another improvement which allows an even more adaptive fit so that the consumer can adjust the fit/stability of the shoe to help increase comfort and support. As the shoe material stretched a bit after my initial session, I was able to adjust the fit of the SFX 3 so that I could take the court fully supported and in total comfort.

The Babolat SFX 3 is going to stay in my rotation of shoes which includes several pairs of Gel Res 7’s and some Diadora clay shoes. As shoes require replacing, the SFX 3 will be a top contender to be the replacement.
 
#47
Tennis experience/background:
I am a mid-level USTA 3.5 player. I play, on average, three league matches a week, both singles and doubles, and have been playing for 3 years. I am over 50 years old.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I am an attacker, try to keep points as short as possible. Most of my game is centered around my serve and FH, and I try to complement those with volleying more and more frequently.

Current shoe:
Nike Oscillator

How many hours did you play with the shoe?
Between 8 to 9 hours total across five hard-court matches, all singles.

Normal Size:
9

Playtesting Size:
9

Comments on shoe performance:

Comfort:
My first thoughts putting them on were how much larger the shoes felt for size 9, and I should have gotten them in 8.5 size. They felt so roomy, light and comfortable. However, I was concerned with them being larger in size than Nike, Asics or Adidas at the same size.

My feet are modestly larger than ‘normal’ in the front and have low arches, generally finding comfort and performance at the same time in any shoe brand or model has been a challenge. Initially I was concerned that the SFX3 was too comfortable, and that my feet would move in the shoe more than I am accustomed, creating some balance and stability issues. Thankfully, it has not been the case at all. Once I adjusted the laces the shoes took the shape of my feet without being tight, while preventing my feet moving inside. I can wear these shoes with single or double socks, and they are comfortable even after long matches continuing to them wear afterwards without the need to change shoes; they are that comfortable and adjustable.

Arch support:
Because I have low arches, I feel I get too much arch support with most shoes, which increases pressure on the outer side of my feet. The only brands I do not have this problem with are Nike, Fila and Puma. Now I can easily add Babolat to that list. I had never worn Babolat previously, this has been a very positive surprise as I was not expecting to have a nearly perfect fit for arch support.

Stability/support:
Initially without properly adjusting the laces, I felt forward/backward stability was not as I was hoping for, my feet were moving inside the shoe a bit too much. Side-to-side stability also first worried me as I felt my feet are situated higher than my regular shoes. The roominess of the shoes also adds to this sensation. However, once I properly adjusted the laces, which takes a bit more than just pulling them tighter, the stability has been as good as my Nike’s, if not better. The 360-degree support has felt superb once the shoes adapted to the shape of my feet, which is very critical, because the soles of the shoes offer noticeably more traction than any other shoes I have worn previously. Changing direction puts so much stress on my knees and ankles, unexpectedly, that at first I was concerned. After few matches, my expectations were reset and my body adjusted, now I am able to keep up with the shoes.

Ventilation:
Without question the best part of these shoes is ventilation without compromising stability and sturdiness. Two of my matches were played outdoors near 100 degree heat index. The only part of my body that did not feel extra stressed due to heat were my feet. I have never had shoes that feel this comfortable under the heat and my feet were not sweating nearly as much as with any other shoes would have caused otherwise.

Sole durability:
So far, after about 8 hours of usage on hard court, I cannot see any wear on the soles. I think Michelin did a superb job providing both superb traction and durability at the same time. We’ll see how things hold in the long term, for now I cannot imagine durability will be an issue.

Toe durability:
Similar to the sole, the toe area is not showing any wear at all. These shoes are far more sturdy inside and out than other shoes I have been wearing.

Traction:
Traction has been superb as I mentioned previously. Changing direction on a dime, my body took a little while to get adapt, and now I am not sure how I will adjust back to my regular shoes, I might have to just keep using the SFX3s.

One area that I am not sure how to best explain is that although these shoes offer significant traction, they also allow me to slide moderately on hard courts. I am not sure how my body and feet make that unconscious adjustment, but I have traction when I need and can slide when I need. There wasn’t a single moment in which I spun my feet and lost traction, only when I wanted.

Weight:
Amongst all the features and benefits I mentioned, another crucial feature of these shoes is lightness. I did not pay much attention previously to the weight of the shoes while making a purchase decisions, now I will have to because of these shoes. Lightness, just few ounces, apparently does create a new level of comfort and performance during long matches, especially under the heat.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
There are few other details I noticed about these shoes that I would not have thought would make a difference. For example, the roominess of the shoes is not just lateral, but the top side of the shoes provides so much space contributing to comfort under varying circumstances, before and after a match. Most of the time, as soon as the match is over, I want to change shoes, with SFX3 I was all good driving home with them and did not need to change them at all.

One of my pet-peeves is about the tongue of the shoe moving or creasing inside, which then leads to foot pain or at least discomfort; all my shoes exhibit some of this annoying trait. The tongue of the SFX3 never moves, stays flat and in position. I appreciated this feature greatly after I actually noticed lack of pain on top of my feet.

Another issue I think all players deal with to some degree is loosening laces as matches progress. I tend to tighten laces once or twice during matches. With the SFX3, laces never needed to be tightened or became undone. They just stay in place, set and forget. Lovely.

The one issue I have had during two of the matches, out of five that I played with these shoes was I had slight soreness under my hammertoe bone. It wasn’t terrible or something to make noise about it, but I am really trying to find some negatives to write about and having trouble finding negatives.

I had never used a Babolat shoe before, always go to my tried-and-true brands of Nike, Fila and Puma, which is the reason I wanted to participate in this play test; thank you Tennis Warehouse! I was not expecting to be impressed, but I am. Everything that I wish shoes should have, SFX3s have it without unexpected negative traits. Every single category receives high marks from me, these are most likely to become my go-to pair of shoes, and I would actually buy size 9 next time to make sure I have the roominess, comfort and flexibility in usage without compromising performance, now that I know how to adjust the laces properly to get the most out these shoes. Just a superb product, and if durability continues to be as expected, well worth the price.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
#48
@TW Staff I apologize for not posting my review until the final hour!

Tennis experience/background: I have played extensively through Juniors, D1 college and Senior age group tournaments. I am currently a teaching pro in Atlanta.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I try to play an all court game but could come forward more!

Current shoe: Babolat Propulse Fury

How many hours did you play with the shoe? I wore them exclusively for teaching and playing since they arrived. So I was on court approximately 8 hours a day. I would say easily 80+ hours. I was on a combination of hard courts and clay courts.

Normal Size: 9

Playtesting Size: 9

Comments on shoe performance:

Comfort: I felt that he SFX3 requires no break in period. The weight and fit contribute greatly to the comfort. There was no rubbing for me anywhere on the foot.

Arch support: I have flat feet and never feel arch support. Looking at the shoe it does not excel in the arch support department.

Stability/support: The SFX3 is a great shoe for someone looking for comfort, breathability and light weight. The stability and support was very similar to the Babolat Jet Mach line of shoes. To me it is can be a tradeoff with comfort vs. stability/support. I generally prefer a lighter shoe with average support. I felt that the stability support could be better. This is probably a good overall shoe for a more casual player.

Ventilation: The mesh upper provided excellent ventilation. The only downside was some discoloration from sweating.

Sole durability: The sole shows little wear for so many hours. Actually superior durability to the Propulse Fury and Jet Mach

Toe durability: I am not a toe dragger so this is not a big concern for me in shoes.

Traction: I had good footing on both hard courts and clay. No issues at all

Weight: As mentioned, this is a very light weight shoe that almost feels like a slipper in weight

General reaction/comments on overall performance: This is an overall comfortable shoe that I personally would hesitate to play in stern competition. For someone looking for good value, sole durability and comfort this is an excellent option.

Thanks to TW and Babolat for offering this playtest to the Talk Tennis community. Also thanks to the Talk Tennis members who take the time to play test and write such insightful and thoughtful reviews. It is a privilege for me to be included in a Talk Tennis review.
 
#49
To all playtester, can this shoe counted as a 2e wide shoes? Currently I use NB 996 V3 2E in size 12 us. Its not a comfortable shoes, but fit nicely on my foot.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#50
To all playtester, can this shoe counted as a 2e wide shoes? Currently I use NB 996 V3 2E in size 12 us. Its not a comfortable shoes, but fit nicely on my foot.
Sorry for the late reply. I wore the same shoes in Size 11 2E, and that shoe gave me knee pains afterwards for some reason. I think it was the low to the ground feel shoe with minimal cushioning was the reason. The SFX3 feels much more comfortable for sure with even better fit for my wide feet. It also has better cushioning, My shoes are still going strong. Even though it’s light, the shoes are supportive and durable. The shoe lacing system works really well to keep your feet from moving. I highly tecommend the shoes.
 
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