Like a Glove
A players preference for tennis shoes, like strings or grips, is extremely subjective. This is probably the least “scientific” or useful video I’m putting out in this series because the sample size is quite small. I haven’t played with anything other than Nike or Adidas tennis shoes for at least the last three years and that certainly makes my list a little shallow. At least from those two companies I have tried almost everything on offer. That being said, I apologize if this title is misleading. Hopefully this year I’ll get to try some of the high performance shoes from New Balance, Babolat, and Asics. I’m also planing to release a Tennis Shoes Power Ranking list later this year where I’ll give a breakdown and rank to every tennis shoe I’ve worn over the last two years. Remember these “Best Of 2019” articles are not listing new products released in 2019. Instead the idea is we discuss the best shoes available for purchase in 2019. You’ll see that in this article this is particularly relevant when we talk about the Adidas Barricades and their lack of availability towards the end of 2019 and beyond.
The Top 3 Tennis Shoes of 2019
#3 Adidas Barricade Boost
Durability: Above Average
Tennis Performance: 8/10
Thoughts: It’s not a light weight shoe but it makes up for that in every other category. The fit is really nice, the durability is great, and it’s just a no nonsense shoe that performs well. With this iteration there is some much needed breathability/mesh texture towards the toe which does help with the stink factor. That has been an issue with me in the older models. The extra comfort from the boost technology does make just enough of a difference to bump this shoe past the original barricade but not by that much. Younger players that primarily play on older outdoor hard courts will certainly benefit from this shoe as will higher performance tennis players that think they move more like Nadal and less like Federer. The saddest thing is that the Barricade was discontinued in 2019 so getting this shoe now may be a challenge. I have been playing with barricades since the age of 13 and really don’t understand why Adidas decided to discontinue it now.
#2 Nike Air Zoom Vapor X
Tennis Performance: 9/10
Thoughts: In my opinion the Vapors have always been the best pure “tennis” shoe on the market. They just fit and perform the way you’d want a tennis shoe to perform. The biggest knock on this shoe is durability in comparison to say the Barricades ranked above. However, if you want a tennis shoe that really connects you to the court in an almost symbiotic way this is the shoe to go with. If I was playing competitively this would most likely be my shoe of choice. If it’s good enough for Roger Federer it aught to be good enough for the rest of us. My one personal complaint is that the fit around the top of the foot can be kind of tight and uncomfortable in the early going.
#1 Nike Air Zoom Zero
Durability: Average/to Slightly Below Average
Tennis Performance: 8/10
Thoughts: Wow! This is an amazing shoe. Was told by multiple people to try it out and within minutes I knew it was going to be my shoe of choice for years to come. Please remember I am a tennis instructor now and not a player so I’m on my feet just standing more than I am playing. This shoe is unbelievably comfortable and the only tennis shoe I can wear on court for 8+ hours and not have issues/foot buzzing at the end of the day. It’s not as pure a tennis shoe as the vapor but it still performs when I need it to and I trust it for any movement required on the court. My number one positive is that the shoe is just incredibly versatile. I can do one hour of feeding followed by one hour of hitting with a 5.0 followed by social doubles and the shoe performs well in each setting and my foot feels happy all the while. It has that nice glove like fit of the ubersonic with more comfort than the Barricade Boost which is why for me this shoe ranks number 1 and by some margin. If there is one knock it’s definitely durability and tread wear. It doesn’t take long too long to start wearing out the outsole especially if you’re an agressive mover doing a lot of abrupt stopping or sliding. Any player looking for a comfy tennis shoe should definitely give the Zoom Zero a try.