I didn’t mean for this to happen but the U.S. Open kicked off yesterday so what a perfect time to drop a tennis shoe review. I don’t review tennis shoes often because 1) I don’t play tennis often anymore 2) I already reviewed the GOAT 3) I have some Zoom Vapor 9’s as back up.
But something about the design and look of the Zoom Zero said try me. I tried the Nike Ultra React tennis shoe a few years back as well as the Adidas Energy Boost but those two just didn’t work for me; The React was an overpriced Jordan XX8 wannabe built to satisfy shoe tech geeks but guess what, nobody fell for it…Same with the Adidas Energy Boost. Have all the tech jargon you want, both Nike Shoes weren’t any better than their dumbed down counterparts.
So I bought the Zoom Zero on release day and I think I found a fantastic tennis shoe that doubles as perfect outdoor shoe as well as a great indoor Bball shoe. I guess Bo knows tennis now three decades later
*If you didn’t know I was a top junior in Texas back in the day and played a semester In college before dropping it for a life of hooping and lifting five hours a day with very occasional studying..very very occasional*
14 ounces so pretty average weight for a tennis shoe or hoops shoe.
So one of the old school benefits of Nike tennis was a 6 month outsole guarantee but the Zero doesn’t have that guarantee.
The shoe features a pattern very similar to the Nike KD 11 but with smaller triangles and guess what it works ..everywhere and does what it’s supposed to do.
Tennis is a game of starting and stopping but sometimes you have to slide into shots and whatever it’s doing on court, it listened. Chase down a drop shot, split step for a volley, slide into a running forehand… it was just great.
Tennis uses similar if not the same movements as basketball so these work great outdoors as well. I took these indoors to hoop in after playing tennis the other day and they worked great although some wiping was needed on dirty floors. The point is they do what they’re supposed to.
Full length zoom is very rare in a tennis shoe so yes I admit this drew me in. Nike top loaded the heel and midfoot but then bottom loaded the forefoot for court feel.
I’d prefer top all the way through but it’s an interesting idea to say the least and it’s what gives the Zero such a weird looking midsole.
Heel to mid Zoom is great, nice and springy while the forefoot is pretty average with barely only some Zoom feel. I think Nike really parred down the foam to give the wearer a lower to the ground feel since it rides a little high in the heel.
The secret to the heel Zoom feel is the strobel
Nike used a thin foam board and cut out portions in the heel so you really get that Zoom feel.
Although I’d like more Zoom feel in the forefoot, I was very pleased with the Zoom set up overall. Quick and responsive in the forefoot with a nice bounce in the heel. I was talking to a young teaching pro and he asked me about these and said he wanted more heel cushioning to replace his Cage 2’s and I told him these would work great.
Nike likes to use a really slim and long last with their tennis shoes and these are no different. I went true to side and these fit me slightly long although it’s really the design of the toe box. I have about a thumbs width at the toe but if I went down half a size my toes would get crammed. I think most can go true to size but narrow footers may want to go down half a size. Zero heel slip out of the box which is probably due to its higher than normal cut.
It is a very Nikecourt design with an inner bootie and partial outer one piece design.
I wouldn’t say the fit is quite as good as the Vapors but it’s still a very good fit overall with no movement side to side or front to back (maybe that’s why it’s narrow at the toe, so you don’t jam our toes on stops).
Mostly mesh so nothing to write home about. For $130 it’s about what I’d expect from Nike or Adidas and it works just fine. Just can’t get cool textures with mesh.
Support and Stability
This is a tennis shoe but there the higher cut just gives it a little more support without restricting movement.
As to be expected stability is excellent thanks to a low to the ground forefoot, wide outsole and tiny outrigger. No tippiness anywhere heel to toe.
I thought these would be iffy on court but I was wrong.. No stretching on hard changes of direction or when chasing down balls sideline to sideline.
Part of the reason is the huge raised tooth coming off the midsole.
And the other is the use of synthetic and rubber around the toe.
But there is a hidden reason containment works..
There is a layer of stiff synthetic on the lateral side only to keep the mesh from stretching on hard cuts. Zero issues with containment. Well done Nikecourt, can you talk to Nike Basketball?
I usually don’t talk aboutdurability since I hoop indoors but as a chronic toe dragger when I play tennis , I wear holes in my shoes in a hurry. Nike smartly added rubber to the inside toe and medial side for durability. If you look at our shoes you rub your feet together a lot so Nike also added rubber to the medial toe area. After several hours outdoors in 100 degree heat, these are holding up nicely.
I usually don’t discuss this ether since I play bball indoors but playing in 100 degree weather on hard courts, my feet typically get really hot but these kept the heat at bay for me even during the middle of the day. Mesh is better than leather in this regard for sure. I’m sure there are better ventilated shoes out there but I’m not really in the market for tennis shoes like I am for bball. Still pleased with how these worked out.
I was looking at Asics for my next tennis shoe thanks to a lot of positive reviews from my friends and I liked how they looked but being a shoe nerd, I’m glad I gave these a shot. These are one of those shoes that you put on and forget about almost immediately. Short break in, balanced cushioning, good fit and traction..the list goes on and on with the Zoom Zero. I like my Zoom Vapors but it feels like I’m wearing a shoe on court while these just feel like an extension of my foot. I could have waited to buy these since all tennis shoes hit clearance but sometimes I’m impulsive…
A lot of readers ask about a good outdoor hoop shoe and I can’t answer that often since I don’t play outdoors but if you’re looking for a good outdoor hoop shoes don’t hesitate to try the Zoom Zero. It does everything a hoops shoe does well and it’s designed for the outdoors..heck, it even played great indoors. I’d actually take these over quite a few most hoops shoes.