When it comes to tennis, two pieces of equipment matter most: your racquet and your shoes. Of course, nobody knows this better than Roger Federer, the most successful tennis player in history.
After nabbing his 19th major title in 2017 and shattering tennis records, Federer emerged as tennis’s most legendary athlete. But he’s also a footwear expert, and he’s got the Nike tennis shoes to prove it.
When the Swiss champion sought to create the ultimate on-court shoe, he was driven by the dual goals of increasing comfort and improving flexibility. With the NikeCourt Vapor line, he’s succeeded in both of these areas.
We decided to test run the latest version of this shoe, the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor X to find out just how well it lives up to its creator’s stellar reputation.
The Scoop on Federer’s Latest Creation
With the revamped NikeCourt Vapor line tennis shoes, wearers enjoy increased durability and greater overall strength.
Yet, the shoe boasts a welcome, lightweight feel. It also remains highly responsive, a trait valued in previous models.
Despite these updates, you’ll still find everything that you’ve loved about previous models. These include features such as the Air Zoom midsole, the low-to-ground feel, the high-performance action, and the Dynamic Fit system.
In terms of changes, most reviewers agreed that the outsole tends to be a bit slicker. But testers remained undecided about whether or not this development impacted other areas such as speed and performance.
And while we’re on the topic, the updated shoe has some serious court appeal when it comes to looks. A snazzy new color scheme and quirky Nike logo placement make this a model you’ll notice on the court.
Mixed Reviews on the Outsole
Although the Vapor X has gotten overwhelmingly great reviews, they remain most mixed when it comes to the outsoles.
Previous models of the Vapor proved deficient when it came to durability. Shoes needed replacement after just a few weeks of heavy court play.
Fortunately, these deficiencies have largely been addressed with the Vapor X, which means you won’t need a new set every month.
That said, a handful of reviewers reported that the outsole had better grip than the 9.5. They noted that this could make court slides difficult.
Yet, the vast majority of reviewers found the opposite to be true. They mentioned the smoother traction on the soles. They felt the lesser tread might not prove ideal for individuals who like a grippy sole or who are looking for a longer-lasting option.
But since reviewers contradicted one another in this area, the verdict remains out.
Looking for more tennis shoe reviews that deal with outsole performance? Check out this review of the New Balance’s Clay 996V3 to see how it compares to the Vapor X.
Vapor X’s Aesthetics
The Vapor X appears just as sleek as earlier models. We also loved the silhouette in the sole of the shoe, a giant swoosh.
Unlike the 9.5, the X comes with larger mesh holes in the toe area. This looks aesthetically more pleasing than the 9.5. It also proves more breathable.
The Vapor X comes with an instantly recognizable frame and plenty of class.
The shoe comes in a wide variety of color schemes from snazzy black and red numbers to pairs that look sleek and energetic in white with yellow with black trim. No matter which scheme you opt for, this is a shoe that stands out.
It comes in sizes for both men and women, making it a universal shoe for the tennis courts.
Vapor X’s Durability
When the Nike Sports Research Lab team stepped in to handle past complaints about durability, they outdid themselves. They designed a shoe that can stand up to more serious punishment than the 9.5.
The result? A shoe that packs a big punch when it comes to lightweight performance and serious endurance.
Many reviewers discussed this as one of the greatest developments in the updated Vapor. Along with this, they noted that the rubber compound in the soul appeared to be harder and more wear-resistant.
Vapor X’s Comfort
When it comes to the best tennis shoes, comfort is everything. Fortunately, the Vapor X doesn’t disappoint in this area. The shoes don’t need to be broken in, and they fit true-to-size like their previous counterpart the Vapor 9.5.
Some testers with narrow feet and high arches noted that the Vapor X felt wider than the Vapor 9.5 when they first put it on.
But this was easily remedied by pulling the plush, sturdy laces extra tight. This also solved the problem of the laces seeming too short on first glance. Once pulled, the specially designed fit of these shoes proved exceptional.
Like the Vapor 9.5, they include plenty of ankle support with the padded ankle collar that we’ve all come to know and love.
But that’s where the similarities end with the Vapor 9.5. The X has a higher ankle collar and feels a bit roomier in the toe box. The claw-like grip of the shoe’s medial side translates into enhanced support and a “locked-in” feeling.
How These Nike Tennis Shoes Stack Up
When it’s all said and done, these Nikes come with some serious appearance “thrills” and plenty of durability. They also boast the trifecta of comfort, lightweight feel, and durability.
The result? A shoe that’ll make you feel agile and nimble on the court without needing to buy a replacement pair every couple of weeks.
As for the shoe’s ability to grip the court and slide? We leave the final decision up to you.
While the vast majority of our reviewers felt there was less overall grip and traction, a select few argued for its effective grip. What we do know for sure? It’s a well-balanced shoe that’ll perform at a high level for many players.
Is the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor X Right for You?
Still not sure whether or not the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor X represent the right model for you? We can help you find the ideal shoes based on your physical activities, physiology, and current needs. If you’re interested in these shoes, you can find it on Amazon here.
Contact us today so that we can help you find the perfect Nike tennis shoes for your specific concerns. We can help you make the most informed buying decision possible so that the shoes you wear help you dominate the court.