Tennis players underestimate the stresses and strains they put their own bodies through to play the game they love. Raquets and strings have changed the game to a more power based athletic baseline game which puts increasing strain through the body right down to the feet. Tennis shoes are a key purchase for any level of tennis player; yet people spend hours and hours trawling the internet to find the perfect racket and strings but few spend even a fraction of the time searching for good footwear. Good shoes improve traction, reduce the chance of skidding and prevent injury. In this blog we examine the two leading offerings from the sportswear giants Adidas and Nike and tell you which one is our favourite.
The Adidas Adipower Barricade 7 Tennis Shoes are worn by a host of top stars such as Andy Murray and World No 1 Novak Djokovic. The ladies version is endorsed by former World Number One Caroline Wozniacki. The Barricade is now in its 7th generation and this current edition is the lightest and most durable yet. The Nike Zoom Vapour 9 Tour Tennis shoes are worn by HRH Roger Federer and were designed by Federer himself and Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. Both are top of the range shoes, each offering the wearer a different feel.
Looks : The Nike are a more visually appealling shoe, they certainly look the part and have a very smooth sleek design. The purple laces seem to set the whole shoe off. Colours are nicely chosen, and are subtle yet not too in your face. The Barricade are traditionally styled and instantly recognisable. They are more chunky to look at but have clean lines.
Comfort : As a Barricade fan I find the Vapour extremely comfortable indeed, they are very well padded and the shoe encloses the foot pretty snugly. The tongue is nicely padded and as a whole the shoe is the most comfortable tennis shoe I have ever worn. Nike offer good arch support for the foot and the shoe feels fast, it doesnt feel like you are wearing a heavy durable tennis shoe. Previous Barricades would not be known for comfort but for their tennis playing properties. The Barricade 7 are certainly more comfortable than their predecessors. They are heavier than the Nike but have a solid feel about them. The ankle, arch and foot are all supported really well however the cushioning in the Nike give it the edge.
Support : I have already touched on this in the previous paragraph. The Nike are very comfortable and light, they support the arch and ankles pretty well and there is a little flex in the sole, useful for tracking down those sneaky drop shots. They feel more like a trainer than a tennis shoe, which I suppose is what everybody wants. The tennis shoe performance and durability coupled with the lightness of a running shoe. The Vapour has that feel. In this particular area the Barricade really comes into its own, it really holds the foot well supports it in all the right places. The shoe feels so solid yet is flexible and light enough for changing direction. I enjoy sliding on court regardless of surface and I feel I can slide secure in the knowledge that I am not gonna twist my ankle in the Barricades.
Durability : Its hard to make a comment on the Nike as yet however they do have the XDR soles and the soles do seem pretty sturdy. I guess time will tell. They offer extra protection around the toe area and the big toe for those players who drag their feet when hitting shots. The Barricades are also pretty durable and have a 6 month outsole guarantee, you must be playing pretty hard to put a hole in the Barricades as they offer great durablility and ofcourse they wear down a little but this just adds to the comfort and playing experience.
Verdict : Both excellent shoes in their own right. Nike have pursued the route of comfort and lightness wereas Adidas have chosen to go the support route to offer players performance and durability. For aggressive all courters there really can be only one choice. However if you are a little bit more passive and simply want comfort and light weight Nike is the choice. Whichever shoe you choose, you will be making a great investment.