Best Tennis Shoe of 2016 - My Vote: Nike Vapor 9.5

Best Tennis Shoe of 2016

Nike Vapor 9.5 Tour

For those who value lightweight shoes (under 14 ounces) and rely on quick foot speed/mobility in your tennis game! I can recommend this shoe without hesitation. Put them on and give it about 1 week to wear them in.

They come in many different great colors, including the Federer's Gold / White edition pictured.

Nike Vapor 9.5 Tour
You will notice that they feel low to the ground, provide good lateral support with a very nimble push-off response.

Receiving a 4.7 out of 5.0 stars; review on Amazon; #1 tennis shoe for men.

See Vapor tennis shoe styles for women.

The Nike Vapor shoes are generally designed for those light on their feet and not designed for heavy serve-and-volley style players who stop and start, forward and back often.

Battle-tested "Performance" Shoes

I have won championship titles with these shoes in the past with good results. My game depends on great footwork and I NEED my shoes to perform when it counts.

Although the Nike Vapors are not cheap, I tend to be able to find them on sale for around $85-$100. They will last generally 5-7 months from regular usage and still stay very comfortable.

Beware the "Team" and "Advantage Ace" - discount versions of Vapor. These are priced lower than the "Tour" editions but tend to wear out much sooner and have lower-quality materials.

Many pros, coaches and players on tour wear the Nike Vapor 9.5 today.

Raonic Coaches - Moya and McEnroe (left); Denis Kudla (right)

Possible Negatives:

  • Air bubbles at the heel can be busted (happened in 2 out of the 6+ pairs I have worn). Tends to happen after 3 months of intense court usage, if it does at all. Unfortunately, this does result in an annoying bubble swell or deflation at the back portion under the heel.

    Nike has been aware of this Air Bubble issue now for other Air Max shoes and has addressed it. 
    They have to evaluate each pair independently but from my experience are usually pretty fair when you ship them one that was caused by a defective manufacturing flaw.
  • Toe draggers will see the edge of the upper material worn or scuffed away.
    Again, not a problem until after months of continual usage. If you do not drag your toe, it is not an issue. However, I tend to change into a new pair anyway because the soles have become worn down to expose the midsole when tennis shoes hit about 200 hours of hard court usage.
  • The front toe box is a bit narrow for some players, Exactly as with many Nike shoes. It does not bother me. If you have wider than normal-sized feet, see below! Also, consider the Nike Flyknit Vapor 9.5 as that has slightly more room inside.

- Much Wider Feet?
If you have wide feet (Width 2E or wider) - you should consider New Balance 1006. The Nike shoes generally only come in the standard D width!

- Need more support and durability?
Players over 200 lbs who put a lot of weight on their shoes may need more support and stability... Generally, I recommend Adidas Barricades or Babolat Propulse if they have any ankle support issues. The heavier shoes tend to have thicker soles as well and may last longer for you.

Searching for the Perfect Pair of Nikes the last 5 years...

Ever since Nike discontinued the Nike Breathe Free 2's around 2011, I have been on a quest to find the next best Nike shoes for avid tennis players.

I even resorted to searching for a pair on eBay that even with the women's color in an equivalent size - after a few years, that supply was eventually exhausted.

Nike BF2's were to me the best tennis shoe ever. It was light, agile, quick, and I loved the design colors. But I am again a happy Nike Fan once again with their Vapor 9.5 line and hope it will be available for many more years!

Customize with Nike ID option: "Carpe Diem"
NIKE USA -  My Red, White, Blue Design for Vapor 9.5's!

It has been years of searching, and Nike has been constantly trying to balance lightness with durability. My theory is that the NBF2's were discontinued because of the high number of 6-month warranty returns.

In theory, you could buy one pair - wear it out in 4-5 months, and then send it back to Nike Returns. They would either ship you a new pair or send you a certificate for the price of another pair. Basically. it was a 2-for-1 deal for many active tennis players and tournament/league players.

Comparison to other Nike models - I have tried, compared and clearly surpass the following shoes:

  • Nike Cage, Cage 2 - too bulky and did not have that "low to the ground" feel; solved the 6-month warranty issue for Nike though. XDR denser soles and "Drag-on" cage tech make it heavier but will last longer too.
  • Nike Lunar Ballistic and Ballistic 1.5 - I really wanted to like this shoe; saw Rafa wear it in several different tournaments, but my feeling is that his shoe is probably much lighter. I could not get over the fact that these feel like a "glove boot".

    It was not very breathable in the summer (extra hot inside), and there was just too much extra material around these laces and shoes. Start speed with these shoes was much lower.

    I saw some other players wear these "MJ" shoes and thought they looked cool - big mistake, as I bought 2 on sale, but at least I can still get a good price to sell them on eBay since they retail for $135+.
  • The new Ultrafly Nike - seems to be a mix of LB but with a lighter weight ~12.5 oz. The design with the sewn-on sock liner is a bit suspect to me. Even Jack Sock who was originally their model has moved onto Babolat Propulse shoes. But I have not personally worn these yet so the jury is still out...

==> Click here to see Today’s Discount on Nike Vapor 9.5 Tour

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