If Darth Vader were a competitive tennis player, I am sure he would be tough to compete with. He would intimidate with his speed, costume, and force choke powers. I believe if he were a tennis superstar, then the black and silver Asics Solution Speed FF would be his choice of footwear.
The Solution Speed FF is one of the lightest tennis shoes on the market at 12.9 ounces (size 11). It’s lighter than industry mainstays like the Nike Vapor X, and Adidas Ubersonic 3.0. For reference, the ever popular Asics Gel Resolution 7 weighs about 14.5 ounces (size 11). The lighter weight is due to the FlyteFoam midsole and minimalistic upper, which provide solid cushioning with an emphasis on energy return. Also assisting in the weight reduction is the Twistruss outsole, which feels a step faster, but offers good protection for your feet. Asics really trimmed the fat on the FF’s in an effort to increase speed and explosiveness.
The tongue of the shoe is soft and breathable, and dries quickly after a couple of hours in the heat. The shoelaces are thin, but the extra padding on the tongue does a great job of cushioning the top of your feet to prevent hotspots and rubbing. There is not as much ventilation in the toe area as some shoes with mesh or knit constructions, but the AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Rubber) system adds integral protection for toe dragging and sliding.
Despite its lighter weight, I found the Solution Speed FF to be a supportive and stable shoe. It isn’t going to be as supportive as Asics’ Gel-Resolution 7, but the Speed FF is quite speedy to say the least. Overwhelmingly, the Speed FF made me feel a step or two faster. Even though I’m a bigger guy (around 6 feet tall and just under 200 pounds), I felt enough support and cushioning to be confident on the court. While Asics has streamlined the Speed FF and trimmed the outer material, the toe box and forefoot still have enough room for the foot to fit comfortably. Though I don’t think a break-in period is required, it will take some time getting used to the lighter weight and the flex of the shoes. I wear an 11 in most shoes and I found the FF’s to fit true to size.
Players coming from the Resolution 7 will experience a faster response, but a little less comfort and cushioning. Perhaps where you notice the weight difference the most is when you try on a different pair of shoes after wearing the Speed FF. Most feel clunky and heavy when compared to the FlyteFoam-powered Solution Speed FF. The Solution Speed FF is a big breakthrough for players who are tired of bulky, heavy tennis shoes, and are looking to make themselves a touch faster on court. It is difficult to find a tennis shoe that has packed more innovation into its $119.95-129.95 price range.
Play Tester: Sam Jones
Weight: 192 lbs