Fast and stable tennis shoes

The New Balance MC 996v2 is well suited for hard courts, which most tennis facilities in Singapore have.
The New Balance MC 996v2 is well suited for hard courts, which most tennis facilities in Singapore have.PHOTO: NEW BALANCE

Many people who want to take up tennis make the mistake of wearing running shoes when they are starting to play the game.

The quick forward and lateral movements needed for tennis are quite different from running. Thus, wearing running shoes to play tennis might result in injuries.

Even tennis shoes differ by court types. In Singapore, most tennis facilities have hard courts, which the New Balance MC 996v2 tennis shoe is well suited for.

This pair of tennis shoes was available in several colours, ranging from all-black to bright orange (version reviewed), although it is now available only in a cherry and black combination.

The 996v2's upper has a full thermoplastic polyurethane cage on the upper over a layer of synthetic mesh. This gives great support for the feet and yet provides enough flexibility.

It uses the Revlite midsole, which is found in many New Balance running shoes, for lightweight cushioning. New Balance's proprietary Probank technology is said to guide the forefoot to the correct position during fast lateral movements.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $159

    MATERIAL: Synthetic mesh upper with rubber outsole

    WEIGHT: 408g (Men's US 9)


    RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The outsole uses New Balance's NDurance rubber and has a herringbone tread pattern for traction and enhanced durability.

The shoes felt quite tight when I first wore it. But I love the cushioning on the heel counter that provides great support for my ankles.

I was also happy with how lightweight the 996v2 felt compared with my previous tennis shoes, such as the Adidas Barricade 6.0.

Despite the initial tightness, it was broken in with just three sessions of playing.

My toes never felt cramped and there was no slippage during front or lateral movements. My feet, especially the arch area, always felt well supported. The shoes' traction was impressive. I could sprint off, side-step and stop readily without losing traction.

Ventilation was good. My feet never felt warm, even when I was playing under the mid-afternoon sun for more than an hour.

Trevor Tan

• Verdict: For those looking to invest in a good pair of tennis shoes, the New Balance MC 996v2 is a safe and affordable option.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2016, with the headline 'Fast and stable tennis shoes'. Print Edition | Subscribe