by: Nima Naderi
Redefining the idea of bringing forth a light-weight tennis shoe that still provides enough durability for the serious player, the all-new Nike Air Zoom Ultra React has become the standard of what high-performance tennis footwear will be in the future.
First off, it’s important to note that the Air Zoom Ultra React does not run true-to-size. I usually wear a size 8.5 in the Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour and the Air Zoom UltraFly, but the Air Zoom Ultra React did in fact run half a size too big. The reason for this is the added room in the toe box compared with the Air Zoom Ultrafly and the low-profile nature of the cushioning around the achilles portion of the shoe. Add to the mix that there is no ankle sock component to the Ultra React like with the Ultrafly and users would be best to try on the shoe for the perfect size before purchasing. However, once the sizing issue were sorted out, the Air Zoom Ultra React was ready to rock the court with no break-in period required.
Like with any modern NikeCourt shoe, you’ll immediately notice the low-to-the-ground feel of moving around the court. The adaptive fit technology is once again present here, and I found that it really helped in providing that customized fit. In terms of stability, I would have personally liked a bit more cushioning around the back of my ankles, but this can be corrected by wearing a thicker sock (play-tester was wearing the Nike Grip Cushioned Crew Sock, which was very thin).
Comfort continued to be evident throughout the duration of the play-test and it was obvious that as time elapsed that the shoe was becoming more and more comfortable. The strategically placed Air Zoom units throughout the forefoot and heel also added to a smooth ride along the baseline and toward to forecourt.
The durability on the upper of the shoe was impressive, due in large part to the light-weight Kurim material, which was placed on top of a breathable mess. I had previously thought that the Ultrafly did overheat to a certain degree, but the ventilation in the Ultra React was certainly much better. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a toe dragger by any means, but for those of you who are, you will be pleasantly surprised at how durable that area of the shoe will be.
In terms of the outside, a well-constructed modified herringbone pattern allowed for play on a variety of different court surfaces (most notably clay and hard-court). Being a player that likes to slide on hard-courts and relies on his movement, I found no signs of any wear and tear after our play-test.
Weighing in at 14.1 ounces, the Air Zoom Ultra React isn’t the lightest shoe on the market, but when taking into consideration the low-profile nature of the shoe, it didn’t feel heavy at all.
Other cool features of the sneaker are highlighted by a heel pull tag (not usually seen on tennis shoes these days) and a sock-liner (which is becoming more and more En Vogue with high-end performance sneakers across the board).
All in all, if I had to play the last match of my life, I would still take a pair of Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour‘s to the court, but that is in no way suggesting that the Air Zoom Ultra React won’t do the trick either.
Enjoy and let us know how you liked the Nike Air Zoom Ultra React.
Shoe Rating: 8/10.