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K-Swiss UltraShot Review: Tested On and Off Court

K-Swiss UltraShot Review: Tested On and Off Court

We had our staff test the new K-Swiss Ultrashot tennis shoes for fit, comfort, and performance. Each tester varies in ability and age to analyze the shoe's effectiveness on the courts and in the gym! 

The Ultrashot is a new K-Swiss shoe with a ton of tech. 

Durawrap X technology helps to prevent excessive toe-dragging and Stay-Tied Laces stop your laces from coming undone, minimizing distraction. Heel Grip lining stops the foot from slipping while you compete. Flowcool System enhances breathability. Seamfree synthetic leather and canvas upper. 

K-EVA provides cushioning and durability. Ortholite keeps feet cool and wicks moisture. GuideGlide midsole construction ensures a comfortable and stable ride. Plantar Support Chassis enhances mid-foot and heel stability.

Outsole: DragGuard located in the high wear areas of the shoe will make it long-lasting. The use of Aosta 7.0 rubber will give you increased durability from heel to toe.

LOUIE: "Worked itself into my rotation."

Tennis Shoes Worn in the Past: Adidas Barricade, Nike Cage, and Babolat Propulse

Tennis Level: 4.5

Favorite Shot: Inside-outside forehand

Racquet of Choice: Babolat Pure Aero

FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

Stylistically the NEW UltraShot is very sleek and modern. I like how Kswiss integrated their 5 stripes into the design of the shoe instead of just placing it on the side like previous tennis shoes.

FIT

This tennis shoe is a cross hybrid between three of my favorite tennis shoes. It has the durability of the Barricade, lightweight feel of the Adizero Feather and lock-in feel of the Nike Cage.

PERFORMANCE

This tennis shoe has quickly worked itself into my rotation of court shoes. I used this shoe for both my boot camp class and on the courts. It has a firm durable feel without sacrificing flexibility. My heel and forefoot are wrapped securely and comfortably allowing me to change direction with confidence thanks to the GuideGlide Midsole. You really feel the DragGuard technology put to work with short cuts and jolts to reach each shot.

 

RATING

Overall I would rate the new K-Swiss Ultrashot 4 out of 5 stars. It missed being the perfect shoe mainly for its cushioning. Don’t get me wrong, the K-EVA special formula EVA provides excellent cushioning but for a court shoe that I will be in for 2-3 hours of play, I want a shoe with a little more added bounce for a nice, firm plush feel similar to the Barricade Boost midsole. For the price point, and no break-in time needed, this shoe is at the top of my list this season as a must-have to add to your shoe rotation.

KORYNN: "Quick direction changes."

Tennis Profile: Hello, I’m the non-player in all this jam. The last time I picked up a racquet was in high school gym class… that didn’t go well… so instead I decided to wear these during my basic circuit workout during my normal gym visit.

First Impressions: The first thing I noticed about them was how they looked. I know, shallow. But that’s how I choose a lot of my shoes. And I will be frank, I didn’t like the color. At all. I don’t wear neon or bright shoes, and the wear-test pair I was given was a neon coral. The shoe also comes in white/grey and white/blue, so I think stylistically I would have liked the look of one of those better. The profile of the shoe wasn’t bulky compared to other tennis brands, and I really liked that.

FIT

I definitely felt secure in the shoe. My foot wasn’t going anywhere, and there was plenty of room while I was moving around the gym. It should be noted that on me, this shoe ran a half-size LARGE. I normally wear a ladies 9.5 but in this I wore a 9.

 

PERFORMANCE

There was enough of a stable base for me to feel like I wouldn’t fall or slip during walking lunges and step-ups, but it didn’t restrict the movement of my foot so much to where I felt uncomfortable. I decided to do some of the old ladder agility drills that I used to do in soccer, these definitely kept me on my feet and made it easier to make those quick direction changes.

 

RATING

Personally, for me this gets a 3 out of 5. It makes for a great base and a stable footing, but at the cost of some cushioning that I need and love in my regular workout shoes.

Dustin's review: "This shoe will definitely not be holding you back on the court."

As soon as I put them on and laced up, I felt like the Ultrashot was a little bit narrow through the forefoot for my liking. It is just a little snug for me, but I am still able to wear them. I have a slightly wider foot, but I usually do not wear a wide width in my running shoes or dress shoes. Once I had them on, they definitely had a high-performance feel. Low to the ground with optimal cushion and that snug fit. They are also very lightweight which is a big premium. This shoe will definitely not be holding you back on the court.

I can’t speak for the durability yet, but they seem to be constructed very well and both the upper and outsole would stand up to quite a bit of punishment on the courts. This shoe also has really good lateral stability because of that strategically placed outrigger on the outsole. It’s small, but it does a lot for your stability through side-to-side movements.

Overall I like the shoe and am really looking forward to giving it a true full test on the court. 

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Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquet Review

Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquet Review

When Babolat announced that they would be releasing an entirely new family of player-oriented racquets called Pure Strike, lots of people got excited. Although they've had some control frames in the past, Babolat has been best known for lighter, more powerful frames like the Pure Drive and later on the AeroPro Drive. For players who are intimately familiar with Babolat's racquet lineup, the new Pure Strike family will be more or less replacing the Pure Storm family; however, the Pure Strike frames are completely new racquets and really aren't intended to be a direct replacement for the Pure Storms.

Although the Pure Strike line has several different racquet configurations—including a Pure Strike 100 and a Pure Strike 18x20—I decided to try the Pure Strike Tour first since it's fairly similar to my normal racquet. The Tour is definitely the heavyweight of the bunch, weighing in at 11.8 ounces strung. It has a 98 square inch head and an 18x20 string pattern. As you'd expect, the Pure Strike Tour (and the other Pure Strike racquets) feature plenty of proprietary Babolat technologies, but the real story is more about the Pure Strike Tour's solid feel and precision performance.

From the baseline, the Pure Strike Tour actually provided a bit more pop than I initially expected, but it's still a demanding control frame for advanced players who are taking big cuts at the ball. The Tour lends itself well to heavy-hitting and its weight helps provide a stable platform even when returning big shots. If you get stretched out or pulled out of position, be prepared to work for pace and depth; the Pure Strike Tour isn't going to give you much help. It did, however, seem to be fairly forgiving on off-center hits.

I tried the Pure Strike Tour without a dampener and was happy to hear a solid thwack at ball impact. I know some people prefer more of a ping sound, but that's just not for me. It's completely a personal preference, of course, and shouldn't really affect the playability of the racquet, but I never really liked racquets that were too "pingy."

The ball came off the racquet with plenty of spin and I was able to hit safe shots with margin as well as flatter shots when the situation demanded. My usual racquet has an 18x20 pattern like the Pure Strike Tour, so I'm used to it, but I wish Babolat had made a second version of the Tour with the same heft but a more open string pattern. The tennis world seems to be focused on mega-spin right now and I would've been interested to see how the Pure Strike Tour might have played with an open pattern.

Volleys felt solid and the Pure Strike Tour's weight made it stable enough to handle passing shots hit with lots of pace. But the weight is a little bit of a double-edged sword at the net. Even though the Pure Strike Tour is head light, it's still a heavy racquet and isn't the most maneuverable at net. It didn't bother me any but I don't spend that much time at net anyway. Serve-and-volley players or doubles players might be more interested in some of the lighter racquets in the Strike lineup, but if you don't mind the weight, there's no reason you can't serve-and-volley successfully with the Pure Strike Tour.

Serving with the Tour felt fine, but I didn't really notice any spectacular change in power or spin. Admittedly, my serve is usually a bit rusty by this time of the winter, but the Pure Strike Tour neither wowed nor disappointed. It just felt… normal. I was able effectively place first serves and the Pure Strike Tour gave me enough depth and spin on second serves so that most second-serve points at least started on neutral ground.

In the end, finding the right racquet is all about personal preference and a little bit of trial-and-error, so I can't say that the Pure Strike Tour is for everyone, but I liked it. As a whole, the Pure Strike Tour is really an impressive racquet that deserves some serious consideration from advanced players who are looking for a control-oriented frame. It has a nice, solid feel on groundstrokes, volleys, and serves, but won't provide a lot of extra power. While that's perfect for players who are used to generating their own pace, players looking for something a little more forgiving might be better served trying one of the other Pure Strike offerings—like the Pure Strike 100. I had no issues generating enough topspin, but folks looking for maximum spin might ultimately get better results trying something with a more open string pattern.

View All Balablot Pure Strike Tennis Racquets

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