At left is the Babolat Men’s SFX 3 All Court Tennis Shoe in Black and Silver. At right is the Babolat Women’s SFX 3 All Court Tennis Shoe in White and Silver.
This July, Babolat unveiled the next addition to their popular SFX Family: The SFX 3. Fans of the original SFX will be pleased to hear that the 3 returns to the basics of what made the first version so popular. It’s wide-foot friendly, and offers maximum comfort. In addition to this, Babolat has implemented new technologies to offer superior support and breathability.
A Player’s Shoe Through and Through
From the beginning, the SFX Series was popular for two reasons: the shoes were comfortable and fit players with wider feet. They may not have been the high-end, premium tennis shoes seen widely on tour, but they were excellent for club players, and those who simply needed extra space. This all changed, though, when the SFX 2 was released. This model kept the comfort of the original, but narrowed the fit, which caused a lot of headaches for players who loved the first SFX because of its spaciousness. Fast forward to the creation of the SFX 3, and we see a company that listened to its customers to truly give them what they wanted. According to Babolat, the development process involved “tremendous input” from American consumers and play testers (the United States is where the SFX Series was the most popular). How often do we see companies attempt to reinvent the wheel when it comes to popular products? In a way, this is what happened with the SFX 2. To Babolat’s credit, they immediately recognized this and set out to earn the trust of the SFX’s loyal following.
Innovation Done Right
If going from the original SFX to the SFX 2 demonstrated innovation gone wrong, then going from the SFX 2 to the SFX 3 demonstrates innovation done right. While the fit of the SFX 3 returns to the original intention of the SFX Line, the shoe also features adaptations that make it more desirable for today’s players. Those who have worn SFX shoes in the past will immediately notice the difference in the upper. The 3’s upper departs from the plastic overwrap approach of older models in favor of double-layer mesh to cut out unnecessary weight, improve ventilation, and increase flexibility. To ensure that support remains where it needs to be, the 3 utilizes internal straps that run from the base of the midfoot and heel to the laces. This update translates to an adaptive and secure fit.
For comfort, the SFX 3 introduces a number of refined technological improvements. A jewel in this model is the bi-density insole. The new insole ergonomically molds to the foot, and utilizes a “memory foam” technique used in premium mattresses. It also positions an EVA patch beneath the heel for additional cushioning and support. This advanced insole is a primary reason why players using the SFX 3 can expect comfort the first time they put on the shoe. Other components of the shoe that enhance comfort include the shock-absorbing Kompressor System, and pressure-alleviating Active Flexion technology.
The final, notable innovation comes in the form of Babolat’s Michelin Performance outsole. Durability, support, and traction are to be expected from this impressive collaboration. There’s also just something fun about having the Michelin Man running along with you, or maybe I’m weird…perhaps both.
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