Nike’s Cage Tennis Shoes have always embodied power, durability, and stability. With the Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4, the line now aims to become more responsive than ever before. We’ll be seeing a lot of this shoe on the feet of top pros, most notably Rafael Nadal, which is a great endorsement in of itself. Our playtesters also put it to the test to break down its performance even further:
Nike Vapor Cage 4 Tennis Shoe Review
Susana Alcaraz Playtest Results:
The stability and response from this shoe is outstanding. I could run all around the court, and push off faster than I can with other pairs. One of the best features of this shoe is its breathability. Compared to the previous model, this shoe lets your feet breathe without losing that stability throughout the whole foot. The Zoom Air technology in them helped me explode when running for a shot, moving forward for drop shots, or falling back for lobs. The Vapor Cage 4 has a looser fit than the Cage 3. It feels very stable when sliding, and the Kurim layers protect the shoe when serving and dragging my feet.
- Excellent stability and response
- Improved breathability
Playtester Susana Alcaraz:
Susana is originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico. From ages 14 to 18, she was ranked as a top 5 tennis player at those ages in the country. She represented Mexico in the World Kid’s Cup in France in 2008, and played collegiate tennis at New Mexico State. In 2015, she helped the school win their first WAC Conference Tournament Championship. Among other exploits, she is currently one of the store managers at the Tennis Express Super Store in Houston, TX.
Chris Virk-Brown Playtest Results:
The updated Vapor Cage 4 was a huge improvement for me in terms of comfort. The Cage 3 was too tight/narrow for my feet, making them uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. At first, the Vapor Cage 4 will feel completely different because of the change in design. The midsole has a more plush feeling, which I truly enjoyed, while the shoe has a naturally wider fit overall. Due to the asymmetrical lacing system, my foot was a little uncomfortable at first, but it didn’t take long for it to adjust.
Moving around the court, my foot felt locked in the shoe. It gave me plenty of stability when I was running in different directions. I felt that the overall weight was a little heavier than the previous version, but it’s not noticeable when you’re playing for hours at a time. The only downside I found is that the back heel rubbed against my feet, so I would recommend wearing quarter or crew length socks to prevent it.
- Wider, more natural fit
- Easier to get on/off
- More plush midsole cushioning
- Great stability and traction
- Heel rubbing
- Needs a slight break-in period
Playtester Chris Virk-Brown:
Chris currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Neumann University and coached at the collegiate level for 3 years. He is USPTA Certified and is an active USTA League and Tournament player at the 4.5+ level. He really wants Gael Monfils or Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to win a grand slam.
Albane Queinnec Playtest Results:
I really liked the design of the Vapor Cage 4. It doesn’t look like any other tennis shoe. It has multiple colors and textures which make it pretty original. When I first tried them on, they felt pretty hard and stiff; however, the sole has good cushioning, so it didn’t bother me that much. That said, after playing with them for a little while, I thought they were pretty comfortable, and I almost forgot how stiff they were initially.
Additionally, there is a front toe guard and rubber on the side of the shoe which make the Vapor Cage 4 pretty solid and durable. You can slide on the court and they won’t break easily. I like that the outside sole is so wide, as well. You can remain balanced easily thanks to that. I could run from side to side and still feel stable. The shoe maintains foot and ankle security well thanks to the elasticity of the material. Overall, it’s an original shoe that might be stiff at first, but won’t disappoint you.
- Sole cushioning
Playtester Albane Queinnec:
Albane is currently part of the Team Sales Department at Tennis Express. She is originally from Versailles, France. She graduated from Reinhardt University, GA, where she helped the tennis team win their first AAC Conference Tournament Championship. Her favorite Grand Slam is Roland Garros.
Chris Worman Playtest Results:
I wasn’t too sure how I liked the Vapor Cage 4 when I played in them for the first time because of how they felt when moving around. This update has much more ground contact because of the extended outsole near the heel. The way the partial-bootie construction integrates with the laces was also distracting at first because it felt different from other tennis shoes. While both aspects took a little bit of time to get accustomed to, the Vapor Cage 4 has turned into one of my favorite shoes of the season.
The aspect I enjoy the most with this model is the support. I have a decent amount of weight behind me, and the Vapor Cage 4’s overall support and stability kept me confident in my movements. They also left my joints feeling fresh the next day. Regarding the shoe’s cushioning, I really liked the balance Nike found between firmness and softness. The durability is superb, as well. Perhaps what surprised me the most was the level of responsiveness I received. For somewhat heavier shoes, I could bolt to the net to finish points, and retreat to the baseline quickly when needed. On the baseline, I found the shoes to be stable as I moved laterally, but also responsive and powerful as I pushed to go the other way. In all, there’s a lot to like with this shoe. I hadn’t worn the Cage 3 because of its tightness, and thanks to the more forgiving fit of the Vapor Cage 4, I finally got to enjoy a modern Cage.
- More forgiving sizing
- Excellent support and stability
- Balance between firmness and softness
- Initial fit is different than other shoes
- I’d personally prefer another set of eyelets
Playtester Christopher Worman:
Chris currently works at Tennis Express as the Content Marketing Team Captain. He primarily participated in soccer and track & field at Homewood-Flossmoor High School outside of Chicago, Illinois. He is an avid weightlifter and nutrition enthusiast that enjoys cycling and various outdoor activities.
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