Nike Air Zoom Vapor X – Review

Over the last few years, the Vapor line from Nike has been a huge seller as far as tennis shoes are concerned. Known for being lightweight, close to the ground, and the shoe of choice for many pros, the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X is considered a worthy step in the right direction.

How does it stack up compared to other options out there? Is it worth the upgrade over the previous Vapor line option? This is a look at the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X, and everything that players should expect out of the shoe.

Before going into the review, here are our overall ratings of the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X.

Comfort – 9.1/10

One of the first things that players will notice when coming from the other Nike tennis shoes is that this is a slightly wider option. That generally means more comfort for the average player, since a common complaint was the previous shoes were too narrow. There are enough adjustment opportunities for those with narrow feet as well to get the fit they want.

The lacing system is really what comes in handy with comfort. Relying on comfortable fits that are dynamic enough for players on the court can make all the difference in the world. The cushioning is great, the materials are simple and effective, and it is a shoe that some people like to wear just walking around as well as playing tennis.

The cushioning stays bouncy and responsive for quite a while too, which helps with overall playability. Simply put, most players will notice that the soles of the shoes will smooth out before the cushioning starts to take a huge hit.

Support – 8.5/10

Support is something that a lot of tennis players feel like they have to give up to some degree when they are going with a lightweight option. However, that is not the case at all, especially with all the technology that goes into the Vapor X. In many ways, this is the main thing that a lot of people are paying for when comparing the Vapor X to other lightweight options.

Everything with support starts with the midfoot shank made of TPU. It is one of the more dependable options out there in tennis right now, and players feel like they are getting the type of maneuverability around the entire court without risk. The shoe has great overall balance, which helps a player feel confident with all movements.

Durability – 7.9/10

  • I had to replace my Vapor X shoes after 8 months of play (145 hours on the court)

If there is one knock on the Vapor X, it is the fact that it is not the most durable shoe out there. In fact, a lot of top players will notice that they can’t get too much use out of these shoes overall. They wear out particularly fast on hard courts, but they even have some durability issues on clay courts.

The main reason why durability comes into question is that Nike had to make some sacrifices with the sole. To keep everything as light as possible, it is not as durable as some of the other options out there. It is no surprise that the shoe does not come with a six-month durability guarantee, as this is more of a lightweight option looking to cut weight off in different areas.

Toe draggers might also find the shoes to be particularly frustrating because of lack of support in that area. Not everyone is going to have this problem, but it is something to consider if shoes are constantly torn up near the toe area. There is certainly no benefit to using these over some of the other options out there with toe protection, and it can be frustrating to have to replace you so quickly.

That is not to say that the Vapor X does not come with some improvements. The rubber compound seems to be stronger overall, adding some longevity to the sole. The tread pattern is also switched up a bit, which can lead to less problematic areas wearing out prematurely.

At this point, most people know that the Vapor line of Nike tennis shoes is not going to be that durable in general. Compared to other Vapor options, they perform fairly well. What a lot of more serious players do is train in other shoes, and save Vapor Xs for their matches.

Traction – 8.9/10

Traction is one of the most polarizing parts of the Nike Vapor Zoom X. It really comes down to what style of play a person has, and that will determine whether or not they like the changes made to the Vapor line.

Overall, the traction is a little bit slicker than the previous options. For those who slide around, this can come in handy on all types of court surfaces. For those who want to have pinpoint stopping, they might find it to be a little frustrating not to be able to have the same type of traction that has made the Vapor line so popular.

This is not to say that the new Vapors are going to make people slip around all the time, but it is something to keep in mind. The footing seems a little bit different right from the beginning, and shoes get slicker and slicker as time goes on as well. In the modern game, some players, even at the pro level, really like this type of set up.

The clay court soles are much more stable than the hard court options. They work well for both sliders and those who want to make sharp, crisp changes in direction. Even if the shoe begins to collect a lot of clay and is not cleaned off, the traction is still solid.

Weight – 9.3/10

  • 10.5 size=13.6 ounces

The Vapor line always shines as far as weight is concerned. Not only does it have the credentials to be one of the lightest shoes by weight out there, but they feel just as light on foot. The distribution of weight on the shoe makes this one of the fastest options for people who rely on speed.

One of the ways that shoes can really feel lightweight and performance-based is to flex with a person’s foot during tennis play. It can be a little overwhelming when trying on new shoe, which is why so many people feel like they need to play around with the shoe a bit to get the feel they want.

The great news about the Vapor X is that they are ready to roll as they come out of the box. A good balance of lightweight and no break-in period makes this perfect for beginners, all the way to pros.

Final Verdict 

Pros:

Cons:

  • Durability

Players who enjoy a lightweight shoe overall will like what the Vapor X brings to the table. Not everyone is a fan compared to the Vapor 9 and the Vapor 9.5, but they are similar enough that it is worth trying out.

Just make sure that there is an understanding going in that it is a very good chance that these shoes will not last nearly as long as some of the more durable options out there. Players who are tough on shoes will likely not have the ability to make these last for too long.

However, there is a reason why pretty much every other player on the ATP Tour plays with the Nike Air Zoom Vapor X, and it’s performance wise, the best tennis shoe out there right now.

Fred Simonsson

I'm Fred, the guy behind TennisPredict. Apart from writing here, I play tennis on a semi-professional level and coaches upcoming talents.

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