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By Rob Martin  

Yonex Shoe(May 13th, 2012) While
Nike, Adidas, and others are busy dominating the shoe market, sometimes a few steps outside of the box can bring about a pleasant surprise. That was my first experience with Yonex shoes. After being strictly a Barricade guy for six years, it was time to find a new shoe after the narrow fitting Barricade 6.0 was released.

Without having much success from the major brands in shoes, I made a judgment call and went with a brand that I knew to produce quality equipment despite a significantly smaller market share. First it was the Yonex SHT-307, which at the time had to count as the most comfortable tennis shoe I had ever worn.

That was until the
SHT-308 came out. Having been through two pairs of the previous model, it was time to step up to the newest version, now with a beefy heel shank for stability. Personal preference dictated that I had to get a shoe with some color, and I split my time between hard courts and clay courts, so I opted for the all black hard court version in addition to the blue clay court shoe.

The traditional herringbone pattern sole of a typical clay court shoe is nowhere to be found on a Yonex shoe, but the pattern they use is quite simply amazing. It had perfect grip on the soft stuff and an incredible amount of traction on hard courts as well.

This is no knock against the hard court sole from Yonex, but without an outsole warranty, I do prefer the clay court option which sacrifices almost nothing in terms of durability and offers the option for play on both surfaces. I should also mention that the grooves of some areas of the hard court sole are not as deep as I am used to and had no impact on traction over my play test but could come into play as the shoe begins to wear.

Honestly a
list of the technologies in this shoe is longer than my grocery list, so instead I will just focus on a few select ones. Of course the biggest thing for Yonex shoes is their 3-Layer Power Cushion. This is the shock absorbing insert in the heel, firm enough to provide propulsion for speed, and soft enough to bounce an egg without breaking (do not try at home).

A graphite midfoot shank and new TPU Heel cradle improves on the already solid stability of the SHT-307 while also including some additional mesh vents in the heel, lowering the weight and increasing breathability.

Most Yonex shoes take advantage of their Super Ergoshape, which is essentially a narrow fitting heel, with a slightly wide forefoot. The result is a comfortable and firm fit in the heel and midfoot while the front of the shoe provides maximum comfort for the toes and forefoot.

Yonex ShoeThe all black colorway is simply stunning. With a bit of a glossy material along the lateral side of the shoe, the first time I put them on I felt as if I had stolen Darth Vader’s shoes. The striking blue of the clay court version is also excellent, but for whatever reason, the other colors do not appeal to me personally.

On Court
SHT-308 needed no break-in, with immediate comfort out of the box. I did wear them around for a day just to loosen some of the synthetic leather a touch before heading to the courts. After playing on both surfaces, I’m amazed by the properties of this shoe.

In addition to the light weight (approximately a half ounce lighter than the
Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour), the stability of the foot inside the shoe is close to that of heavier shoes I have used. On lateral movements, the heel cradle and an internal support system provide more stability than most players would ever need and the shoe is incredibly comfortable as well.

As I mentioned before, the clay court sole gave me better traction on both hard and soft courts, but I did notice that they also wore down slightly faster. By the end of my six week test, the clay court sole was showing more wear, but not by much.

As a note, if you are one of those players that likes to slide on hard courts, stay away from the SHT-308 because they grip the court very well.
Yonex Shoe

Final Thoughts

After a six week play test of the
Yonex SHT-308, I’m left having a difficult time finding something bad to say about the shoe other than that it comes in four colors for men, two of which I don’t like. The shoe is nisex, meaning that the same colors are available for women, so simply buy based on the appropriate size conversion. The women also get a special White and Pink version for a more feminine look.

I would have to say that this is one of the best shoes on the market for players that look for a variety of things. It has the light weight feel of something like a
Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour, the stability of an adidas barricade 7.0, the comfort of a Babolat SFX, all wrapped into one package. Only time will tell as far as durability is concerned, but this should be a shoe to at least try on.


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