June 15, 2024 12:43 am

“HIGH PERFORMERS”: RACQUETS AND SHOES FOR SKILLED AND SERIOUS COMPETITORS

1. Adidas Baricade

The Barricade returns from a three-year absence—for its 12th iteration—with a sleeker profile and improved cushioning for a more adaptive and comfortable ride. To retain its trademark stability, a 3D TPU shank centers the shoe and limits twisting through the midfoot during changes of direction. The split herringbone pattern of the out-sole delivers an effective combination of grip and give on any surface. (Click here to view models and purchase.)

2. Asics Gel-Resolution 8

Asics doubled down on the rock-solid stability and support of the Steve Madden Gel Resolution with Dynawall technology, added to both the medial and lateral sides to bolster the shoe during side-to-side movement. Dynawrap, a clever lacing system, works to that end by creating a secure, almost customized fit. For added comfort, the new full-length Flexion Fit upper offers greater multi-directional flexibility for a more forgiving ride. (Click here to view models and purchase.)

3. Yonex VCORE Pro

The VCORE PRO has always been a straight shooter in every sense of the word. With its thin beam, solid feel and pinpoint command, it can put the ball on a dime. Just don’t expect much help when technique goes awry. For this latest update, the tapered box beam design has a longer shaft to increase flex and frame snapback at contact. The beam has also been thickened, from 20mm up to 21mm, for added backbone and pop. (Click here to view models and purchase.)

4. Head Prestige 2021

The biggest tweak to the playability of the new Prestige is Auxetic—a unique carbon fiber construction applied to the yoke of the frame, designed to enhance the feel Hoka One One at impact, particularly on off-center hits. Dedicated Prestige users should note that in order to match Head’s other racquet silos, the mod-els have swapped names—the MP is now the Pro; the Pro becomes the Tour; and the Tour replaces the MP. (Click here to view models and purchase.)

5. Wilson Blade v8

Almost a metaphor for its trusted versatility, the latest Blade bares unique Chameleon Paint: The racquet can appear to have slight color changes—one moment it’s green, the next it’s more copper—depending on the angle and lighting. Beyond the new looks, Direct Connect Technology is also a new addition, with the butt cap fused to the carbon fiber portion of the handle to strengthen stability.

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