The future of tennis shoes has arrived courtesy of the team at NikeCourt, in new model coined the Air Zoom Zero. This dynamic looking silhouette, which was released on July 19, has already been tested and proven by the world’s best from the start of the year.
The likes of Sloane Stephens, Frances Tiafoe, Elina Svitolina, Jack Sock and Maria Sakkari have been rocking this shoe for a majority of 2018 (Svitolina and Tiafoe have won titles wearing the AZZ) and it’s now public release will likely see more NikeCourt team players embracing this shoe.
Built on the familiar last of the Zoom Vapor X and Zoom Cage 3, the Air Zoom Zero differs in the sense that it features a full air zoom unit and makes the initial experience of trying them on ultra pleasant.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the Ultra React (strange fit) and even the Zoom Cage 3 (not the smoothest for directional changes) but the Air Zoom Zero has completely changed the game for NikeCourt, and has brought them back in the conversation for the best tennis shoe on the market.
We’re all familiar with the ASICS Gel Court FF (our pick for best tennis shoe of 2017) and the adidas Uber Sonic (super comfy as well) but there is no doubt now that with the arrival of the Air Zoom Zero, Nike has re-entered the game in a major way.
Always appreciating the no break-in aspect of a sneaker, the Air Zoom Zero provides an elevated custom fit on first try. From there, the aesthetically pleasing model allows for great court coverage on a variety of different movements.
Play-testing the Zoom Vapor X earlier this year, we can say with confidence that the Air Zoom Zero is significantly more comfortable even though it weighs 0.2 ounces more than the Vapor X and 0.8 ounces more than the Zoom Cage 3. Providing a streamlined fit, the half-bootie construction is not the easiest to get on your foot, but that is the give-and-take of this particular model. Players with a wider foot may not like the overall fit of the Air Zoom Zero, but that also depend on how tight you tie your laces.
Heel and medial comfort of the Air Zoom Zero was fantastic and the mesh upper provided great breathability in upwards of 100 degree heat. The exposed Air Zoom unit in the middle of the outsole is a first for Nike and inherently reduces the bulk of the shoe. Players will also find that the new tread pattern grips perfectly on hard-courts but is perhaps not the best for clay just yet. That said, you’d have to think that a clay-sole version will be popping up in the not-to-distant-future.
All-in-all, Nike has hit a home-run with the Air Zoom Zero in the innovation and functionality department. We did wish that a 6-month outsole guarantee would be included on the Air Zoom Zero (that’s not a knock on its durability because it is quite sturdy) but offering that option to its clientele always adds more legitimacy to its durability claim. The price point of $130 USD is very fair and expect many different colorways to be introduced for men and women as we move closer to the US Open and beyond.
The bottom-line, there won’t be too much shade thrown at the team at NikeCourt for their latest creation. The Air Zoom Zero was well thought out and hopefully this will usher in a new platform and idea palette for Nike to work with as it moves forward into 2019.
Shoe rating: 9.5/10