Fall Introductions: New and Improved
The latest in racquets, strings, and shoes will have something for every player.
While not as busy as the spring usually is, there are still a lot of new products being introduced for the fall and holiday seasons. Here is a brief look at what you will be seeing in the coming months.
The iconic Barricade takes another step forward with the Barricade 8+. The seamless upper improves durability while retaining the flexibility and breathability of its predecessor. Also new is the Adidas by Stella McCartney Barricade for women. The foot-conforming upper provides lightweight comfort and support with winning style.
The French company has designated 2015 as “The Year of the Pure Drive.” The model has been among the top-selling racquets for more than a decade and is still going strong. The Pure Drive lineup will get a head start on the New Year with all new technology and graphics, and will come in several variations, including the Pure Drive Team, Pure Drive Lite, Pure Drive Tour and Pure Drive 107. Additions will also include an oversize model, Pure Drive 110, that is reported to play like a smaller frame with tons of control, along with the Pure Drive power, according to the company. The new line is scheduled to ship to dealers in November in time for the holiday season.
Babolat will also introduce an all-new redesigned footwear line that is lighter and designed for an “out of the box” superior fit. The Propulse BPM introduces the Babolat Pure Motion System, which focuses on three key aspects of the shoe’s construction: the forefoot, the lateral support section and the exclusive Michelin outsole.
A new line of bags is also coming with designs to compliment each family of racquets in the Babolat lineup.
Of course, the oldest company in tennis also has a new string, the M7 that is billed as a durable multifilament that maintains a good level of comfort and power. It is available in 16 and 17 gauges.
Ektelon launches a new line of racquetball racquets with reinforced with TeXtreme, an advanced carbon-fiber fabric designed to be thinner and more durable than traditional woven fibers. The new 400 series of frames combines TeXtreme with EXO3 and ESP technology along with the powerful DPR string pattern to produce the most powerful racquets in the line. Models include EXO3 Toron 150 ESP, EXO3 Toron 160, Toron PRO 170 ESP, Toron PRO 180 ESP and EXO3 Re-Ignite 180.
Head continues to expand the Graphene line with introduction of three new racquets: Graphene Extreme MP, Graphene Pro and Graphene Lite. The newest addition to the Head string line is Lynx, a durable polyester available in 16, 17, and 18 gauges and two colors — anthracite and neon yellow.
In footwear, Head introduces the Revolt Pro, designed for the serious tennis player. Head transferred some of the stability and comfort technologies used in its world-class ski boots in the new shoe. Men’s will ship to dealers in November and the women’s version will debut in early 2015.
In squash, the Graphene Xenon 135, 140 and 145 are the latest additions to the line up. Five new racquetball racquets are also being introduced: Radical Pro, Radical Edge, Radical 160, Radical 170 and Radical 180 all feature a 106 head size along with Head’s Patented Power Channels.
Lotto introduces the Raptor Ultra IV shoe, loaded with technology. The men’s version is available in two sole patterns: The “Speed” is designed for hard courts and the Clay is designed for — you guessed it — clay. The women’s model is only available in the Clay version.
Prince rolls out two new tennis frames for fall, the Tour Pro 100 ESP and the Warrior Pro 100T ESP. There are two new frames for squash: Pro Beast 750 and Pro Shark 650.
Volkl introduces a 20th anniversary edition of the V1 Classic with four different paint schemes featuring flags from the U.S., Japan, Germany and Spain. A racquet that has remained on the market for 20 years is definitely something to celebrate, but Volkl doesn’t stop there. New racquets being introduced are the Super G2, Super G5, Super G10, and the Super G10 26 for juniors. There is also a new string, the VStar, which is a smooth co-polymer designed to give more snap back.
You have probably seen the “tease” ads of the coming of the “Betterer” racquet. Wilson finally unveiled the new racquet of Roger Federer, Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph. The new racquet is the first autograph model in more than 40 years for Wilson and will be the centerpiece for the new and evolved Pro Staff line. The new line will be available October 1.
Reflecting on the changing dynamics and increased speed of today’s game, Wilson is expanding its successful footwear line with additional styles, enhanced performance features, and modern designs. The latest introductions are the Rush Pro and the Women’s Rush NGX.
Tennis isn’t all that is new for fall. Wilson is introducing a new racquetball technology with the debut of the Whip 170 racquet. The breakthrough technology dramatically expands the sweetspot and maximizes string movement to create explosive power, according to the company.
Yonex is following up the successful summer launch of the VCore Tour G racquets used by Stan Warinka with a new line of VCore Si frames with several new technologies to enhance stability and spin. The racquets are being tested by top pros Juan Monaco and Angelique Kerber. The VCore Si 100G and 98G will launch at the US Open with other models to follow soon.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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