A Model Year
Tennis shoe makers want your customers to walk away with the best fit.
By James Martin
You know how car nuts make a big deal about the type of tires they have? It makes sense — it’s where the rubber meets the road. Same deal with tennis shoes. A good pair of kicks delivers the traction, stability, and comfort players need to cover the court. Here are the season’s six most noteworthy models.
For the frugal customer
At $75 suggested retail, the Adidas Torsion Open is a good buy. Hard-court players will especially appreciate the durable leather upper and the shock absorption in the heel and forefoot. It also has a plastic bar extending from the outsole, under the arch, to the lateral side of the upper to help prevent rollover when you stretch for a shot. Another excellent value is the Wilson Pro Staff 710, for $70. It delivers stability, thanks to Stable Wrap, which allows you to lace through the upper, and it comes with a six-month outsole guarantee. Plus, the conservative design should be a hit with the country-club set.
|New Balance CT820|
For the fashion forward crowd
You only need to look at the racy Fila X-Point to know who’ll like it — players who want to make a fashion statement on the court. In fact, the streamlined design resembles a running shoe, and therein is the shoe’s one drawback. It probably won’t offer enough side- to-side stability for the serious player. But if your customer is looking for a hot new look, the $90 Fila X-Point should be an ace.
For the gear head
The new Wilson Crossfire SL is on the cutting edge of shoe design. Rather than use leather for the upper, Wilson decided to go with Schoeller Dynatic, a patented abrasion- and tear-resistant fabric developed as protective wear for motorcyclists. Want more durability? The shoe has a six-month outsole guarantee, too. And Wilson uses its improved cushioning system, DST 3x (three layers of synthetic beads), in the heel for a soft ride. The $130 Crossfire SL is expensive, but with all these features, it shouldn’t be hard to convince your customers that they’re getting plenty for their money. for the customer seeking comfort If someone walks into your shop looking for a comfortable shoe, the $110 Nike Air Max Breathe Free II would be an ideal recommendation. The mesh upper is breathable, yet it’s also encased in a soft webbing to provide support. And the ride underfoot is plush, thanks to an air bag in the heel and low-profile Zoom air in the forefoot.
For the hardcore player with a need for speed
New Balance is known for producing comfortable shoes, but the $85 New Balance CT820 for men and WCT820 for women takes the company in a new direction — ultra light weight. The shoes weigh 12 ounces and 10.1 ounces respectively (based on size 9 men’s and size 7 women’s). To shed the pounds, New Balance reduced the cushioning in the midsole and used more mesh in the upper, among other things. Net result: The CT/WCT820 hugs the court, for stability, and enables you to get to your shots quicker than ever.
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