The Decline of Proper Cushioning

RipD1Hander

New User
This amazing and informative thread has motivated, inspired and compelled me to delve into this topic first-hand. I'm an older fellow playing 2-3 times a week, and when I was 25 I really didn't much care about tennis shoe cushioning, but it's become more and more an important consideration in recent years. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get out of my car and walk into my home, my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours on the court. So over the past six months I've done a lot of reading and wearing, and here are my conclusions so far for anyone who may be interested.

For me anyway, cushioning is a crucial component of comfort, but of course not the only component. To use a running shoe example, Asics has a line called the Cumulus and a line called the Nimbus. While I find both to be very comfortable, the Nimbus is clearly designed to be more cushioned (or perhaps more precisely, softer) than the Cumulus. Of course no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes, but to be comfortable they don't have to be. Also, the addition to the shoes' cushioning provided by the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion. In my experience I have found Sof Sole Athlete insoles to work really well for me. They provide a good deal of cushioning and have been quite durable, but if the forefoot of the shoe has meager extra space, they can make it pretty snug for someone with a wider foot and higher arch as I have.

On to my findings...



IMO, any discussion about somewhat contemporary well-cushioned shoes has to start with the Babolat original SFX and the K Swiss Hypercourt Express. Both these shoes are pretty generous in the forefoot so they do allow for plenty of insole room. The Babolat comes with a surprisingly good insole, and although I do prefer the Sof Sole to the stock Babolat Ergo-Motion insole, both work very well in this shoe. A good insole can really help a shoe's cushioning, but it cannot make a hard footbed into a soft one, unless I suppose you had an insole that was an inch thick. The shoe's midsole makes a big difference in any case. The Hypercourt Express also comes with a really excellent insole, underneath which is a comparatively soft midsole. The combination of good midsole cushion, stock insole cushion and generous accomodation for wider feet make these the best cushioned and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn.

Adidas CrazyLight Boost 2016...I agree that these shoes are probably the best-suited basketball shoes for tennis, and the full-length Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure to have underfoot. Unfortunately for me, this shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow, so even with the relatively thin stock insoles I never was able to run comfortably in these.

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5...Feels lacking in the cushioning, which isn't surprising since this is designed primarily as a fast, light shoe. Forefoot is too narrow to allow enough room for a quality insole for anyone with a wider foot. Someone also mentioned the Nike Court Lite, which really isn't a bad tennis shoe, but this is one of the examples where a good insole can't quite overcome a fairly hard midsole/footbed. And this applies to the wide version--the regular width version is just way too narrow to use any aftermarket insole.

Yonex Power Cushion Pro...I really wanted to like this shoe. Of all the shoes I tried, this one required by far the most break-in time, and when you take into account the substandard (well, why sugar-coat it, garbage) stock insole, this is one of the lesser cushioned footbeds I've tried. The good news is that the forefoot is pretty generous, so here again, once I swapped out the stock insole for the Sof Sole it became a good deal more comfortable. The jury is still out on whether I'll be able to make these work for tennis or just wear as casual shoes, but for cushioning they aren't in the same ballpark as the Babolat SFX or the K Swiss Hypercourt Express.

Asics Gel Resolution 5...Definitely have to swap out the thin stock insole for an aftermarket one, but these are certainly pretty decently cushioned; I'd put them one level below the Babs and Swiss's. Hard to say exactly where and how much Gel these have, and they call the midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning, is a bit disconcerting since your concern is not primarily how "lyte" the midsole is. I was considering the Gel Court FF because of the good comfort and FlyteFoam reviews, but with the almost universal consternation about the difficulty of getting one's foot into the shoe, along with my wider feet, I figured I'd pass.

Prince T22...This may be a contender with the Bab and the Swiss, felt well-cushioned with a high quality stock insole. In order for me to conclude that a shoe's cushioning is on the highest level, I not only have to walk around in it, I have to play in it, and I could not play in the Prince T22. I ran into the same problem so many other wider-footed people have, those darn stability straps (particularly the front outside ones) which dig into the sides of your feet...too uncomfortable for me to play in.

If you've taken the time to read this diatribe, I hope you've gotten something out of my views and observations. I have been able to play tennis longer, more often and more enjoyably thanks to shoes that have not yet succumbed to The Decline of Proper Cushioning.
 

haqq777

Legend
This amazing and informative thread has motivated, inspired and compelled me to delve into this topic first-hand. I'm an older fellow playing 2-3 times a week, and when I was 25 I really didn't much care about tennis shoe cushioning, but it's become more and more an important consideration in recent years. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get out of my car and walk into my home, my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours on the court. So over the past six months I've done a lot of reading and wearing, and here are my conclusions so far for anyone who may be interested.

For me anyway, cushioning is a crucial component of comfort, but of course not the only component. To use a running shoe example, Asics has a line called the Cumulus and a line called the Nimbus. While I find both to be very comfortable, the Nimbus is clearly designed to be more cushioned (or perhaps more precisely, softer) than the Cumulus. Of course no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes, but to be comfortable they don't have to be. Also, the addition to the shoes' cushioning provided by the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion. In my experience I have found Sof Sole Athlete insoles to work really well for me. They provide a good deal of cushioning and have been quite durable, but if the forefoot of the shoe has meager extra space, they can make it pretty snug for someone with a wider foot and higher arch as I have.

On to my findings...



IMO, any discussion about somewhat contemporary well-cushioned shoes has to start with the Babolat original SFX and the K Swiss Hypercourt Express. Both these shoes are pretty generous in the forefoot so they do allow for plenty of insole room. The Babolat comes with a surprisingly good insole, and although I do prefer the Sof Sole to the stock Babolat Ergo-Motion insole, both work very well in this shoe. A good insole can really help a shoe's cushioning, but it cannot make a hard footbed into a soft one, unless I suppose you had an insole that was an inch thick. The shoe's midsole makes a big difference in any case. The Hypercourt Express also comes with a really excellent insole, underneath which is a comparatively soft midsole. The combination of good midsole cushion, stock insole cushion and generous accomodation for wider feet make these the best cushioned and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn.

Adidas CrazyLight Boost 2016...I agree that these shoes are probably the best-suited basketball shoes for tennis, and the full-length Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure to have underfoot. Unfortunately for me, this shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow, so even with the relatively thin stock insoles I never was able to run comfortably in these.

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5...Feels lacking in the cushioning, which isn't surprising since this is designed primarily as a fast, light shoe. Forefoot is too narrow to allow enough room for a quality insole for anyone with a wider foot. Someone also mentioned the Nike Court Lite, which really isn't a bad tennis shoe, but this is one of the examples where a good insole can't quite overcome a fairly hard midsole/footbed. And this applies to the wide version--the regular width version is just way too narrow to use any aftermarket insole.

Yonex Power Cushion Pro...I really wanted to like this shoe. Of all the shoes I tried, this one required by far the most break-in time, and when you take into account the substandard (well, why sugar-coat it, garbage) stock insole, this is one of the lesser cushioned footbeds I've tried. The good news is that the forefoot is pretty generous, so here again, once I swapped out the stock insole for the Sof Sole it became a good deal more comfortable. The jury is still out on whether I'll be able to make these work for tennis or just wear as casual shoes, but for cushioning they aren't in the same ballpark as the Babolat SFX or the K Swiss Hypercourt Express.

Asics Gel Resolution 5...Definitely have to swap out the thin stock insole for an aftermarket one, but these are certainly pretty decently cushioned; I'd put them one level below the Babs and Swiss's. Hard to say exactly where and how much Gel these have, and they call the midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning, is a bit disconcerting since your concern is not primarily how "lyte" the midsole is. I was considering the Gel Court FF because of the good comfort and FlyteFoam reviews, but with the almost universal consternation about the difficulty of getting one's foot into the shoe, along with my wider feet, I figured I'd pass.

Prince T22...This may be a contender with the Bab and the Swiss, felt well-cushioned with a high quality stock insole. In order for me to conclude that a shoe's cushioning is on the highest level, I not only have to walk around in it, I have to play in it, and I could not play in the Prince T22. I ran into the same problem so many other wider-footed people have, those darn stability straps (particularly the front outside ones) which dig into the sides of your feet...too uncomfortable for me to play in.

If you've taken the time to read this diatribe, I hope you've gotten something out of my views and observations. I have been able to play tennis longer, more often and more enjoyably thanks to shoes that have not yet succumbed to The Decline of Proper Cushioning.
What an amazing first post on the forum. Very informative. Thank you and welcome to the boards!
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes
Tennis shoes cannot be, will never be, should not be... Our sport is side-to side movement. A fat cloud underfoot would squish and wobble and would be to blame as the ankle rolls and you get that omg my leg is descending too low, where's my foot gone, tendons starting to rip thing...

the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion.
I buy tennis shoes. I throw away insoles. Immediately. Always. Factor into price.

my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours
Just the shoes? Shoes you've found alleviated this?

Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure.... shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow
Ballistec... Forefoot is too narrow
Court Lite, .... a fairly hard midsole/footbed
Yonex... forefoot is pretty generous
midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning
From the above would it be true to say you most notice forefoot, mid-foot?

For me it's all about the heel.

I have really liked the Adidas Solecourt Boost - except for the heel (and forefoot too-wide).

The Boost just seems to give way on HC under extreme lunge - in the heel.

Yes am working on footwork for less lunge, smaller steps, but when you feel the Boost compress and your bone seemingly connect and make that sound it's not fun.

(My insole is birkenstock)

I don't know but I just don't feel that we're there yet with shoes. And if anything this thread shows we're moving further away from...
 

RipD1Hander

New User
Hi bertrevert.

I'd never throw away high quality stock insoles, it's just that so few shoes include them. I can imagine a good number of players finding the insoles in the Hypercourt or SFX quite sufficient. They reflect the attitude that the manufacturer places on the underfoot comfort of their shoes, or at least that particular model. I'm sure Babolat and KSwiss offer several models with low quality insoles; generally I'd surmise it's determined by whether they are trying to market a particular model as "fast" or "light" or having that "low to the ground feel", that sort of thing.

So far my after-play foot aching has been diminished most by the Babolat SFX and the KSwiss Hypercourt Express, and slightly less by the Asics Gel Resolution 5. That's not to say that my feet feel just great after a few hours on the court...I'm 58 years old, and I accept that my body is not as resistant to stress as it was 25 years ago, but what's most important to me is not just how pain free I am after playing, but how hard and how long I can play because I'm wearing shoes that allow me to play long and hard. These shoes have made a huge difference in my ability to play well longer, and just have more fun doing it.

As far as heels, there's no question that shoe manufacturers focus whatever cushioning they provide primarily in the heel, from the "Kompressor" to the "Power Cushion" to the "Shock Spring" etc. Also, after-market insoles focus the majority of their cushioning in the heel. So the heel, for me anyway, has not been the primary focus of substandard cushioning. Just standing in them it would be more of a concern, but in actual play, minimal forefoot cushioning becomes quite a problem. I have not found a shoe where the forefoot was cushioned as well as the heel--they just don't build them that way. Certainly in some of the shoes I've tried, the heel cushioning was no better than the forefoot ( the first Head Revolt was like that as is the Nike Court Lite).

I think you're right about shoes seeming to be moving away from proper cushioning. It's a marketing decision that makes no sense to me...the tennis playing population is slowly getting older as middle-aged and beyond players are continuing to play in their later years and will need better cushioned shoes, and heck, a lot of younger players would appreciate greater comfort as well. There are a few models that still offer decent cushioning, but it's very telling that we have to go back several years to find the best cushioned ones. And I have to admit that there are several brands I haven't tried and some models I haven't tried in brands I have tried (the Nike Zoom permutations I have not tried, but it's tough for me to find Nike's that are wide enough for my foot). I do like the cushioning of Boost (I'm probably not making the fast and hard cuts and turns like you are) and hope Adidas can make a truly stable shoe with full-length Boost that's wide enough that I can wear it.
 

Ramon

Legend
This amazing and informative thread has motivated, inspired and compelled me to delve into this topic first-hand. I'm an older fellow playing 2-3 times a week, and when I was 25 I really didn't much care about tennis shoe cushioning, but it's become more and more an important consideration in recent years. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get out of my car and walk into my home, my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours on the court. So over the past six months I've done a lot of reading and wearing, and here are my conclusions so far for anyone who may be interested.

For me anyway, cushioning is a crucial component of comfort, but of course not the only component. To use a running shoe example, Asics has a line called the Cumulus and a line called the Nimbus. While I find both to be very comfortable, the Nimbus is clearly designed to be more cushioned (or perhaps more precisely, softer) than the Cumulus. Of course no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes, but to be comfortable they don't have to be. Also, the addition to the shoes' cushioning provided by the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion. In my experience I have found Sof Sole Athlete insoles to work really well for me. They provide a good deal of cushioning and have been quite durable, but if the forefoot of the shoe has meager extra space, they can make it pretty snug for someone with a wider foot and higher arch as I have.

On to my findings...



IMO, any discussion about somewhat contemporary well-cushioned shoes has to start with the Babolat original SFX and the K Swiss Hypercourt Express. Both these shoes are pretty generous in the forefoot so they do allow for plenty of insole room. The Babolat comes with a surprisingly good insole, and although I do prefer the Sof Sole to the stock Babolat Ergo-Motion insole, both work very well in this shoe. A good insole can really help a shoe's cushioning, but it cannot make a hard footbed into a soft one, unless I suppose you had an insole that was an inch thick. The shoe's midsole makes a big difference in any case. The Hypercourt Express also comes with a really excellent insole, underneath which is a comparatively soft midsole. The combination of good midsole cushion, stock insole cushion and generous accomodation for wider feet make these the best cushioned and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn.

Adidas CrazyLight Boost 2016...I agree that these shoes are probably the best-suited basketball shoes for tennis, and the full-length Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure to have underfoot. Unfortunately for me, this shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow, so even with the relatively thin stock insoles I never was able to run comfortably in these.

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5...Feels lacking in the cushioning, which isn't surprising since this is designed primarily as a fast, light shoe. Forefoot is too narrow to allow enough room for a quality insole for anyone with a wider foot. Someone also mentioned the Nike Court Lite, which really isn't a bad tennis shoe, but this is one of the examples where a good insole can't quite overcome a fairly hard midsole/footbed. And this applies to the wide version--the regular width version is just way too narrow to use any aftermarket insole.

Yonex Power Cushion Pro...I really wanted to like this shoe. Of all the shoes I tried, this one required by far the most break-in time, and when you take into account the substandard (well, why sugar-coat it, garbage) stock insole, this is one of the lesser cushioned footbeds I've tried. The good news is that the forefoot is pretty generous, so here again, once I swapped out the stock insole for the Sof Sole it became a good deal more comfortable. The jury is still out on whether I'll be able to make these work for tennis or just wear as casual shoes, but for cushioning they aren't in the same ballpark as the Babolat SFX or the K Swiss Hypercourt Express.

Asics Gel Resolution 5...Definitely have to swap out the thin stock insole for an aftermarket one, but these are certainly pretty decently cushioned; I'd put them one level below the Babs and Swiss's. Hard to say exactly where and how much Gel these have, and they call the midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning, is a bit disconcerting since your concern is not primarily how "lyte" the midsole is. I was considering the Gel Court FF because of the good comfort and FlyteFoam reviews, but with the almost universal consternation about the difficulty of getting one's foot into the shoe, along with my wider feet, I figured I'd pass.

Prince T22...This may be a contender with the Bab and the Swiss, felt well-cushioned with a high quality stock insole. In order for me to conclude that a shoe's cushioning is on the highest level, I not only have to walk around in it, I have to play in it, and I could not play in the Prince T22. I ran into the same problem so many other wider-footed people have, those darn stability straps (particularly the front outside ones) which dig into the sides of your feet...too uncomfortable for me to play in.

If you've taken the time to read this diatribe, I hope you've gotten something out of my views and observations. I have been able to play tennis longer, more often and more enjoyably thanks to shoes that have not yet succumbed to The Decline of Proper Cushioning.
Pretty well thought out post. The only thing I'm skeptical about is the Gel Res 5 being only one level below the SFX and Hypercourt Express. My experience is with the Gel Res 6, which is slightly lower to the ground than the Gel Res 5, but nevertheless the cushioning was bad enough that I experienced knee pain any time I played a long match even on clay. For me, comfort and impact protection are two different things. The Nike Free is the most comfortable shoe out there, but you would never want to strike your heel on pavement with it. To me, that's what the Gel Res 6 was like to a lesser extent. The Court FF seems to have both comfort and impact protection, but I agree that if you have wide feet it's going to be very difficult to get your feet into them.
 

parasailing

Hall of Fame
I thought about going with this due to the awesome support they have but they are now low to the ground in addition to the lack of lateral support would result in possible ankle sprains. I am currently still using the Kobe AD NXT due to the low to the ground feel and while not as cushioned as the Lebron 15, have excellent support.

Most basketball shoes are no intended for outdoor use but that is the tradeoff for having great support and cushion that no other tennis shoe can match.
I had a chance to try the Lebron 16s which had the outrigger on the back but I still felt it was too high off the ground. The cushion is amazing on these shoes but due to the high off the ground feel, I felt like they were not stable to be used as tennis shoes. I always thought about rolling my ankle in the back of my mind due to high off the ground these shoes are. The outsoles on the Lebron 16 looks to be durable enough to play tennis on though.

I have my eyes on the new KD 12 which I have heard have amazing cushioning. Of course, these are not designed for outdoor use but if they go on sale, I might get a pair just to try them out. I know they won't last but I don't play often so they will probably last me two months on the courts.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
I had a chance to try the Lebron 16s which had the outrigger on the back but I still felt it was too high off the ground. The cushion is amazing on these shoes but due to the high off the ground feel, I felt like they were not stable to be used as tennis shoes. I always thought about rolling my ankle in the back of my mind due to high off the ground these shoes are. The outsoles on the Lebron 16 looks to be durable enough to play tennis on though.

I have my eyes on the new KD 12 which I have heard have amazing cushioning. Of course, these are not designed for outdoor use but if they go on sale, I might get a pair just to try them out. I know they won't last but I don't play often so they will probably last me two months on the courts.
Familiar with the Kyrie 4?
 

gino

Hall of Fame
This amazing and informative thread has motivated, inspired and compelled me to delve into this topic first-hand. I'm an older fellow playing 2-3 times a week, and when I was 25 I really didn't much care about tennis shoe cushioning, but it's become more and more an important consideration in recent years. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get out of my car and walk into my home, my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours on the court. So over the past six months I've done a lot of reading and wearing, and here are my conclusions so far for anyone who may be interested.

For me anyway, cushioning is a crucial component of comfort, but of course not the only component. To use a running shoe example, Asics has a line called the Cumulus and a line called the Nimbus. While I find both to be very comfortable, the Nimbus is clearly designed to be more cushioned (or perhaps more precisely, softer) than the Cumulus. Of course no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes, but to be comfortable they don't have to be. Also, the addition to the shoes' cushioning provided by the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion. In my experience I have found Sof Sole Athlete insoles to work really well for me. They provide a good deal of cushioning and have been quite durable, but if the forefoot of the shoe has meager extra space, they can make it pretty snug for someone with a wider foot and higher arch as I have.

On to my findings...



IMO, any discussion about somewhat contemporary well-cushioned shoes has to start with the Babolat original SFX and the K Swiss Hypercourt Express. Both these shoes are pretty generous in the forefoot so they do allow for plenty of insole room. The Babolat comes with a surprisingly good insole, and although I do prefer the Sof Sole to the stock Babolat Ergo-Motion insole, both work very well in this shoe. A good insole can really help a shoe's cushioning, but it cannot make a hard footbed into a soft one, unless I suppose you had an insole that was an inch thick. The shoe's midsole makes a big difference in any case. The Hypercourt Express also comes with a really excellent insole, underneath which is a comparatively soft midsole. The combination of good midsole cushion, stock insole cushion and generous accomodation for wider feet make these the best cushioned and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn.

Adidas CrazyLight Boost 2016...I agree that these shoes are probably the best-suited basketball shoes for tennis, and the full-length Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure to have underfoot. Unfortunately for me, this shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow, so even with the relatively thin stock insoles I never was able to run comfortably in these.

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5...Feels lacking in the cushioning, which isn't surprising since this is designed primarily as a fast, light shoe. Forefoot is too narrow to allow enough room for a quality insole for anyone with a wider foot. Someone also mentioned the Nike Court Lite, which really isn't a bad tennis shoe, but this is one of the examples where a good insole can't quite overcome a fairly hard midsole/footbed. And this applies to the wide version--the regular width version is just way too narrow to use any aftermarket insole.

Yonex Power Cushion Pro...I really wanted to like this shoe. Of all the shoes I tried, this one required by far the most break-in time, and when you take into account the substandard (well, why sugar-coat it, garbage) stock insole, this is one of the lesser cushioned footbeds I've tried. The good news is that the forefoot is pretty generous, so here again, once I swapped out the stock insole for the Sof Sole it became a good deal more comfortable. The jury is still out on whether I'll be able to make these work for tennis or just wear as casual shoes, but for cushioning they aren't in the same ballpark as the Babolat SFX or the K Swiss Hypercourt Express.

Asics Gel Resolution 5...Definitely have to swap out the thin stock insole for an aftermarket one, but these are certainly pretty decently cushioned; I'd put them one level below the Babs and Swiss's. Hard to say exactly where and how much Gel these have, and they call the midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning, is a bit disconcerting since your concern is not primarily how "lyte" the midsole is. I was considering the Gel Court FF because of the good comfort and FlyteFoam reviews, but with the almost universal consternation about the difficulty of getting one's foot into the shoe, along with my wider feet, I figured I'd pass.

Prince T22...This may be a contender with the Bab and the Swiss, felt well-cushioned with a high quality stock insole. In order for me to conclude that a shoe's cushioning is on the highest level, I not only have to walk around in it, I have to play in it, and I could not play in the Prince T22. I ran into the same problem so many other wider-footed people have, those darn stability straps (particularly the front outside ones) which dig into the sides of your feet...too uncomfortable for me to play in.

If you've taken the time to read this diatribe, I hope you've gotten something out of my views and observations. I have been able to play tennis longer, more often and more enjoyably thanks to shoes that have not yet succumbed to The Decline of Proper Cushioning.
My warriors just lost the title and 2 all-stars for the season, but damn, this made me happy

thanks for the thoughts!!
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Anybody get a chance to try the new vapor x flyknit? some are saying the heel cushion is noticeably better
 

XFactorer

Hall of Fame
Anybody get a chance to try the new vapor x flyknit? some are saying the heel cushion is noticeably better
... I said it was better in my initial reactions post. But I completely take it back. It's the exact same.

I only thought it was better because I slipped them on right as I got home after a full day in Chucks. So, even taking the Chucks off and stepping onto a hardwood floor would have felt 'cushioned' to me. The outsole is the same as the Vapor X.
 

airchallenge2

Professional
This amazing and informative thread has motivated, inspired and compelled me to delve into this topic first-hand. I'm an older fellow playing 2-3 times a week, and when I was 25 I really didn't much care about tennis shoe cushioning, but it's become more and more an important consideration in recent years. It had gotten to the point where I could barely get out of my car and walk into my home, my feet were hurting so bad after 2-3 hours on the court. So over the past six months I've done a lot of reading and wearing, and here are my conclusions so far for anyone who may be interested.

For me anyway, cushioning is a crucial component of comfort, but of course not the only component. To use a running shoe example, Asics has a line called the Cumulus and a line called the Nimbus. While I find both to be very comfortable, the Nimbus is clearly designed to be more cushioned (or perhaps more precisely, softer) than the Cumulus. Of course no tennis shoes (at least any that I've heard of) are as cushioned as the softest running shoes, but to be comfortable they don't have to be. Also, the addition to the shoes' cushioning provided by the insole is a factor that warrants inclusion in any such discussion. In my experience I have found Sof Sole Athlete insoles to work really well for me. They provide a good deal of cushioning and have been quite durable, but if the forefoot of the shoe has meager extra space, they can make it pretty snug for someone with a wider foot and higher arch as I have.

On to my findings...



IMO, any discussion about somewhat contemporary well-cushioned shoes has to start with the Babolat original SFX and the K Swiss Hypercourt Express. Both these shoes are pretty generous in the forefoot so they do allow for plenty of insole room. The Babolat comes with a surprisingly good insole, and although I do prefer the Sof Sole to the stock Babolat Ergo-Motion insole, both work very well in this shoe. A good insole can really help a shoe's cushioning, but it cannot make a hard footbed into a soft one, unless I suppose you had an insole that was an inch thick. The shoe's midsole makes a big difference in any case. The Hypercourt Express also comes with a really excellent insole, underneath which is a comparatively soft midsole. The combination of good midsole cushion, stock insole cushion and generous accomodation for wider feet make these the best cushioned and most comfortable tennis shoes I've ever worn.

Adidas CrazyLight Boost 2016...I agree that these shoes are probably the best-suited basketball shoes for tennis, and the full-length Boost midsole is very cushiony, a pleasure to have underfoot. Unfortunately for me, this shoe's forefoot is just a bit too narrow, so even with the relatively thin stock insoles I never was able to run comfortably in these.

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5...Feels lacking in the cushioning, which isn't surprising since this is designed primarily as a fast, light shoe. Forefoot is too narrow to allow enough room for a quality insole for anyone with a wider foot. Someone also mentioned the Nike Court Lite, which really isn't a bad tennis shoe, but this is one of the examples where a good insole can't quite overcome a fairly hard midsole/footbed. And this applies to the wide version--the regular width version is just way too narrow to use any aftermarket insole.

Yonex Power Cushion Pro...I really wanted to like this shoe. Of all the shoes I tried, this one required by far the most break-in time, and when you take into account the substandard (well, why sugar-coat it, garbage) stock insole, this is one of the lesser cushioned footbeds I've tried. The good news is that the forefoot is pretty generous, so here again, once I swapped out the stock insole for the Sof Sole it became a good deal more comfortable. The jury is still out on whether I'll be able to make these work for tennis or just wear as casual shoes, but for cushioning they aren't in the same ballpark as the Babolat SFX or the K Swiss Hypercourt Express.

Asics Gel Resolution 5...Definitely have to swap out the thin stock insole for an aftermarket one, but these are certainly pretty decently cushioned; I'd put them one level below the Babs and Swiss's. Hard to say exactly where and how much Gel these have, and they call the midsole SoLyte, which, if you're after good cushioning, is a bit disconcerting since your concern is not primarily how "lyte" the midsole is. I was considering the Gel Court FF because of the good comfort and FlyteFoam reviews, but with the almost universal consternation about the difficulty of getting one's foot into the shoe, along with my wider feet, I figured I'd pass.

Prince T22...This may be a contender with the Bab and the Swiss, felt well-cushioned with a high quality stock insole. In order for me to conclude that a shoe's cushioning is on the highest level, I not only have to walk around in it, I have to play in it, and I could not play in the Prince T22. I ran into the same problem so many other wider-footed people have, those darn stability straps (particularly the front outside ones) which dig into the sides of your feet...too uncomfortable for me to play in.

If you've taken the time to read this diatribe, I hope you've gotten something out of my views and observations. I have been able to play tennis longer, more often and more enjoyably thanks to shoes that have not yet succumbed to The Decline of Proper Cushioning.
Have you tried to play in the adidas BOOST without the insole? I think the cushioning would still be excellent.
 

tomato123

Semi-Pro
Went to my local Road Runner Sports store over the weekend because my wife has been using their custom insoles with much success. She's a runner who uses a Nike Pegasus 35 and has a history of shin splints and knee problems, and she has been pain free in the last year since she's used their custom insoles. They are definitely on the pricier end at around $80 and the technology itself doesn't look all that impressive - it's just one of those insoles you bake and stand on so it can mold to your foot, and keeps its form after it settles. I guess they can charge rather high because it's a "service" that they provide in store and you don't have to do it yourself. They market it as a type of insole that stays decently firm, but it "returns energy" instead of just absorbing the impact. Either way, I decided to get one for myself as well and got it fitted on my Barricades. I figured if it lasts a year like they say, it's somewhat comparable to the ~3+ kingfoam elite insoles I would go through in a year anyway.

Spent some time on the court today to break in the new insoles, and I must admit, having a custom fit insole really makes a big difference, and I think it's especially good for people who have medium to high arch. The level of comfort and "glove like fit" is really on another level, and I would imagine custom insoles on a Asics Court FF would be like a dream. If these insoles do last me a year (because the Barricades definitely will last), it will definitely be worth the money.

If anyone lives near a Road Runner Sports, might be worth checking it out, they'll do a gimmicky "foot assessment" where they have you walk a little bit on their treadmill while your foot movement is being recorded and they can tell you if you pronate, etc, and they'll do a scan of your foot to measure your arch and "true" shoe size, and then push you with their exclusive products. They also have stations where they'll create your custom insoles, which of course is probably not too hard to do yourself with your home oven, which I may look into once these insoles wear out. I think it will be difficult to go back to anything other than custom fit insoles after this.
 

airchallenge2

Professional
^^^ Really liked your post. And there is nothing gimmicky about the foot assessment process. It reads to me that they did it the right way. No 2 feet are alike in this world.
 

gino

Hall of Fame
Went to my local Road Runner Sports store over the weekend because my wife has been using their custom insoles with much success. She's a runner who uses a Nike Pegasus 35 and has a history of shin splints and knee problems, and she has been pain free in the last year since she's used their custom insoles. They are definitely on the pricier end at around $80 and the technology itself doesn't look all that impressive - it's just one of those insoles you bake and stand on so it can mold to your foot, and keeps its form after it settles. I guess they can charge rather high because it's a "service" that they provide in store and you don't have to do it yourself. They market it as a type of insole that stays decently firm, but it "returns energy" instead of just absorbing the impact. Either way, I decided to get one for myself as well and got it fitted on my Barricades. I figured if it lasts a year like they say, it's somewhat comparable to the ~3+ kingfoam elite insoles I would go through in a year anyway.

Spent some time on the court today to break in the new insoles, and I must admit, having a custom fit insole really makes a big difference, and I think it's especially good for people who have medium to high arch. The level of comfort and "glove like fit" is really on another level, and I would imagine custom insoles on a Asics Court FF would be like a dream. If these insoles do last me a year (because the Barricades definitely will last), it will definitely be worth the money.

If anyone lives near a Road Runner Sports, might be worth checking it out, they'll do a gimmicky "foot assessment" where they have you walk a little bit on their treadmill while your foot movement is being recorded and they can tell you if you pronate, etc, and they'll do a scan of your foot to measure your arch and "true" shoe size, and then push you with their exclusive products. They also have stations where they'll create your custom insoles, which of course is probably not too hard to do yourself with your home oven, which I may look into once these insoles wear out. I think it will be difficult to go back to anything other than custom fit insoles after this.
nice post - thanks for the info!
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Have you tried to play in the adidas BOOST without the insole? I think the cushioning would still be excellent.
Have a pr of PureBoost shoes. All boost with a flat insole. Marshmallow softness
See over in this SCB thread I am debating whether Boost is actually just all a bit too pillowy soft for tennis shoes. Tennis players besides small quick footsteps also lunge and jam down their heels. At that moment the compression of Boost can come too easy and the return too slow. The Boost as it were bottoms out and stops returning anything but has reached its limit.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Bolded 1 and bolded 2 are at odds. Besides, it is obvious that increased cushioning comes at the expense of some reaction time of the response. That is why the "performance" shoes are with less cushioning and firmer response.

I get the feeling that people cannot identify what their needs are. Do they want more cushioning or faster shoes? If the first, SCB are the right shoes (for those that can play in it). If they want something with quicker response they have to look elsewhere. There is no a combination of both, unless the shoemakers invent a way to tune the cushioning of the shoe in its travel (and good luck with that).
Yes pillar to post, much the same with tennis racquets! What also happens is that different surfaces play a factor - what works on one may not on the other.

But just in this video below (ignore the presenters) you can see how Boost really is... soft, and while I think it very good in returning energy/compression I think it maybe not up to the rigors of hardcourt tennis? Ah have a look here at this timestamp

 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
I use Crazylight Boosts (BB shoes) on Rebound Ace without any problems,
Cool, yeh I got these to test on hardcourt
https://www.wired.com/2011/04/adidas-lightest-basketball-shoe/

(but not hi-tops, rather mids, yes they're old, but got them from a charity shop in perfect nic)

don't get me wrong I really like Boost too, think it is very special just rying to understand its strengths/limitations, have techfit energy boost, and running shoes adidas adizero takumi ren
 
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mctennis

Hall of Fame

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
linear nature of the cushioning. Adidas is coming up with a harder version (Boost HD

what surfaces are you using the Takumis?
Aha so there is this other Boost coming is there, I saw it in some utube video for running or maybe urban sneeks? Ok great feedback gonna watch out for that. Boost is fantastic on runners because of that energy return. Yyou hit on something saying good in a linear direction. Perhaps bcos of its hexagonal or beaded granules knit together (by steam) I'm wondering if it "gives way" a bit laterally? Anyway I would like to see a lot more Boost being used per se.

Think the layperson is usually bit surprised tennis layers not play in runners, but we know why!

(Minimalist Takumis on 5km parkrun each Sat. so that is yr typical park footpath, like tar, grit and tar, not road, not concrete, but did use them on road/crete once but not again, too much shock, fine on parkrun, short runs v fast, but overall really gotta keep yr form! Yes! up on the forefoot Hahacool)
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Nike released React over two years ago, since the release, not a single tennis shoe incorporates react into it's cushion setup

My comment above was rooted in sarcasm, we likely won't see Joyride tech in any tennis shoe, ever
Yes saw this release and you're right they're, Nike, not trying lots of things for tennis players are they? Reckon were a small market. Moreover running tech may not translate to tennis tech. Flywire works well with the soft uppers of runners but on Vapors the wires seemed to break pretty quick and required a softer upper not great in a tennis shoe needed for lateral movement. Dunno would love to seem more tennis-specific solutions in our shoes....???! Not much research going on?

REACT - Why the hell not put in tennis shoes is my react-ion
 
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gino

Hall of Fame
Yes saw this release and you're right they're, Nike, not trying lots of things for tennis players are they? Reckon were a small market. Moreover running tech may not translate to tennis tech. Flywire works well with the soft uppers of runners but on Vapors the wires seemed to break pretty quick and required a softer upper not great in a tennis shoe needed for lateral movement. Dunno would love to seem more tennis-specific solutions in our shoes....???! Not much research going on?

REACT - Why the hell not put in tennis shoes is my react-ion
React is my favorite midsole cushion, devastated they didnt add it to the vapor knit x
 

usb92

New User
I've found that Nike tennis shoes (Vapor 9.5 and Vapor X) tend to hurt the bottom of my feet whereas this doesn't happen with the Adidas Barricade line. Do you know what about the Nike tennis shoes that might be the cause of the pain? Do they tend to have lower arches or less support?

Or what has historically been true about Barricade shoes? I grew up on them and I'm trying to figure out what about them that my feet like.
 

The Big Kahuna

Hall of Fame
I've found that Nike tennis shoes (Vapor 9.5 and Vapor X) tend to hurt the bottom of my feet whereas this doesn't happen with the Adidas Barricade line. Do you know what about the Nike tennis shoes that might be the cause of the pain? Do they tend to have lower arches or less support?

Or what has historically been true about Barricade shoes? I grew up on them and I'm trying to figure out what about them that my feet like.
Try the Nike Air Zoom Zero. Nearly the perfect blend of cushioning and stability and performance.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

n8dawg6

Legend
Try the Nike Air Zoom Zero. Nearly the perfect blend of cushioning and stability and performance.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
i dont find the zoom zeroes to be particularly stable, but theyre so much softer than anything else ive worn i cant really use anything else on hardcourt now
 

parasailing

Hall of Fame
I would try the Zoom Air Zero but they are higher off the ground so basketball shoes are still my go to for tennis. I am currently rocking the Adidas James Harden Vol 3 with Boost and while it is good, they are not great. It doesn't have enough cushioning in the forefoot. There is ample cushioning in the heel and mid-foot but the Boost kinda bottoms out in the forefoot section. I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10.

I would love to give the KD 12s a shot as I heard the full length Zoom Air cushoning is amazing since there is nothing between your foot and the cushioning.

The Alpha Dunk looks to be similar to the Nike Jordan Air 31 so I might give those a shot as well.

The hardest thing to find is a shoe that offers great cushioning, low to the ground, and can be used for outdoor courts.
 
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