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The Need For Speed


Originally published on: 11/04/11 10:34

While all tennis shoes are specifically engineered to provide grip and multi-directional stability for your movements on a tennis court, game-day tennis shoes can typically be divided into two further groups – those built for hard wear, and those built for speed around the court. Durable tennis shoes are typically heavier and more robust than their lightweight, low-profile counterparts, and put a greater emphasis on comfort.

That said, all tennis shoes want to help you chase down that killer drop shot or scramble across the baseline after a cross-court drive. So when K Swiss pulled out the megaphone and announced that their latest release, the Bigshot, was ‘The Fastest Tennis Shoe On The Market’, we duly sat up and took notice.

One word was all it took: fastest. When it comes to tennis shoes, the American brand had certainly chosen the superlative superlative – in a sport where court coverage is king, speed is everything. But how do you prove that one shoe is faster than another?

The answer, inevitably, lies in science. The Bigshot has been developed in conjunction with and put through its paces by American sports scientist Dr Marcus Elliot of the Peak Performance Project, or P3 Sports Institute for short. “The shoe is the one piece of equipment that significantly affects athletic movement,” he explains, “so we partnered with K Swiss and applied cutting-edge knowledge of biomechanics to build a better tennis shoe.”

After evaluating the leading tennis shoes on the market using high speed video analysis and force plate technology to measure their effects on an athlete’s ability to make ground contacts, get in and out of cuts, accelerate and push off horizontally and vertically, P3 and K Swiss identified the formula for a faster shoe: a lightweight model that puts your toes closer to the ground than your heel with a wide forefoot for added lateral stability.

Then it was time to build it. K Swiss packed ten of their patented technologies into the Bigshot, including Propulsion Plate Technology that supports the first metatarsal and helps a player’s ability to spring off of their big toe, and the GuideGlide midsole, designed to centre the foot within the shoe to ensure comfort in motion. The Bigshot puts the foot 20% closer to the court than the leading shoes on the market, and is the most stable shoe P3 have ever tested – even if they do say so themselves. Stability means confidence in your footwork, which allows you to move faster on court. And all this while maintaining K Swiss’ longstanding reputation for comfort and durability.

It all makes for impressive reading, and the results already have the players purring. Gael Monfils, Sam Querrey, the Bryan brothers and Mardy Fish all wore the Bigshot at the US Open, with the Bryans lifting their ninth Grand Slam doubles title in New York.

Of course, there’s only one way to find out if they’re the right shoe for you: head down to your local specialist tennis shop and try a pair on for yourself. And when you do, think fast…


Roddick set to debut Babolat’s ‘most technological shoe’

Babolat is set to give the Propulse, Andy Roddick’s signature shoe, a revamp.The new Propulse 3, to be worn by the American No.1 at the Australian Open, is laden witha bunch of new designfeatures, making it Babolat’s most technological shoe.

The Propulse 3 is a step forward in the comfort stakes, with a Kompressor System in the heel to improve cushioning and comfort, and Cell Shield on the upper, a breathable abrasion-resistant upper that keeps the foot cool and protected. All this is combined with the existing Propulse innovations, including the Exact Pro rebound plate, which was developed by Babolat specifically for tennis to aid lateral movement around the court, and the Michelin-developed OCS sole.T

The Babolat Propulse 3 should hit the shelves in February 2011, retailing at £89.99. For more details visit


When K Swiss pulled out the megaphone and announced that the Bigshot is ‘The Fastest Tennis Shoe On The Market’, we sat up and took notice…













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.