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Federer talks footwear


Originally published on: 27/04/12 00:00

Nike celebrated the release of its new Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour earlier this year by asking its most famous user – Roger Federer – to talk about the importance of making sure you are wearing the correct footwear on court. tennishead met up with the 16-time Grand Slam champion to speak about his involvement in the conception and production of his new footwear…

th: How involved in the design were you?
RF: For over six or seven years now I’ve been very involved with whatever shoe has been coming my way. I’ve been giving [Nike] input, from fit to shoelaces and colouring, to the sole underneath, to the wrapping, the adapted fit and so forth. I like to be involved myself so that I’m also the one to blame if something’s not right. I can’t stand wanting to point fingers at someone else. I always feel it should come from the player’s side.

th: How important are shoes to tennis players?
RF: It’s hard for players to change shoes sometimes, especially when you are comfortable with one for two years. We don’t change shoes like we change our shirts. It’s a big deal to change shoes and that’s why this is a big launch for Nike
and for me as well. It’s a light shoe, it’s better than the other shoes that are out there and it should offer a competitive advantage, potentially.

th: This shoe combines the running shoe – which is very light – with some strength for lateral movement. What does that mean for you as a player?
RF: Running shoes are always so, so comfortable – not that tennis shoes are not – but they are softer, have the mesh [material], and that’s why we say, ‘Let’s try to integrate that into the forefoot, but we need to have the stability on the side.’ It has to fit tight around the foot when it’s tied up. I spend a lot of time just walking around with them – it has to be comfortable because we don’t want any blisters or anything like that.

th: How did it turn out?
RF: I’m really happy and excited actually because they’ve tried to cut more and more weight out of it, which is also difficult, so you’re also making sacrifices and compromises but I think they did well. In the end it all came together nicely.

th: What shoe size do you wear?
RF: A 12. Actually in tennis shoes bigger, because I wear two pairs of socks and the tape and so forth, so they’ve got to be a little bit bigger than the regular shoes I wear.

th: Do you have a pair of lucky shoes?
RF: I don’t. I’m not superstitious at all. I think it’s good for me!


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.