2023 is a huge year for the top brand in tennis. The Nike Vapor remains one of the most popular line of tennis shoes on the market. NikeCourt has since enhanced and added to its best-selling Vapor tennis shoe lineup. Read on for our Nike Vapor Tennis Shoe Guide. Vapor fans have more choices than ever with the launch of the Zoom Vapor Pro 2, Zoom Vapor 11, Vapor Lite 2, and Zoom Vapor 9.5 PRM. Each shoe is designed for different players, and we want to help you find the perfect Vapor for your feet.
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro 2
For starters let’s review the Zoom Vapor Pro 2. The Vapor Pro was the most popular shoe among Nike’s professional athletes. While it was not an exact replica of the Vapor X, it still delivered impressive performance as a lightweight performance shoe. The Vapor Pro 2 keeps a full-length lateral foot frame design which creates outstanding lateral stability. However, the lacing system, midsole, and outsole design go in a different direction from the original Vapor Pro. The tongue is more padded, and it does a nice job of protecting the top of the foot from the laces digging in.
Meanwhile, the midsole features a soft cushioned foam which creates comfort without it adding too much weight. The real change in the Vapor Pro 2 is the forefoot Zoom Air unit which provides improved comfort and dampening when compared to the VP1. The shoe places the foot close to the court, which speedsters will love. The outsole is designed with adequate traction in mind, but high-performance players will be able to slide efficiently as well.
The Vapor Pro 2 is best for:
- Everyday players who want a nice blend of comfort, support, and traction
- Nike tennis fans who want a slightly larger toe box
- At $120 you get a high-performing shoe at a fair price
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor 11
Let’s take a closer look at the Vapor 11. While it has a similar aesthetic to the Vapor Pro 2, the Vapor 11 takes the typical full-length foot frame and modifies it into a molded sidewall that wraps from the lateral toe side to all the way around the heel. Because of this, this shoe offers a big step up in support when compared with the more flexible VP 2. The 11’s upper is comprised of a lightweight mesh, with a special haptic printing which enhances the upper durability on the lateral and medial sides.
Another key stability upgrade is the higher drag guard, comprised of durable rubber to protect the shoe from the most aggressive movers. The Vapor 11 provides a bit more volume in the forefoot and toebox as well. The shoe is also much easier to get on and off thanks to the half-bootie design, and it features the same foam midsole and forefoot Zoom Air unit (as the Vapor Pro 2) for cushioning.
The Vapor 11 is best for:
- The Vapor 11 offers the most support of any of the Vapor models.
- Tennis players who move aggressively and athletically; consistent sliders will love the stability
- Those looking for an aggressively modern cosmetic, and a larger toe box.
NikeCourt Vapor Lite 2
The Vapor Lite 2 features a similar silhouette as the Vapor Pro 2 and Vapor 11, but this shoe comes at a lower price point. Nike wanted to make the best sub $100 tennis shoe on the market. The Vapor Lite 2 sits higher off of the court surface than the other Vapors, and this creates a softer ride but also makes the shoe less agile than the more expensive Vapor models.
The midsole is comprised of dual-density foam which places softer foam around the arch and firmer foam on the lateral side for improved stability. As with the other Vapor models, Vapor Lite 2 has a full-length lateral foot frame for support during side-to-side exchanges. There is NO Zoom Air unit in the forefoot of the Vapor Lite 2 so the cushioning is very soft, but not as responsive as the Vapor 11 and Vapor Pro 2.
The Vapor Lite 2 is best for:
- If you want Vapor tennis shoe styling at a reduced price
- While not as supportive or agile as the above models, the Vapor Lite 2 offers all-day comfort for casual tennis players.
- This shoe can work for multiple foot types, and it requires zero break-in period.
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor 9.5 Premium
Many tennis players were irate when Nike transitioned from the Vapor 9.5 to the X, so it is exciting to see them back in the catalog! Perfected after years on tour, with one of the greatest players of all time, the Vapor 9.5 set a world-class standard for the match-day shoe.
The Zoom Air unit in the heel provides low-profile, responsive cushioning and a foam midsole creates lightweight, yet firm cushioning and optimal responsiveness. While not considered innovative in 2023, the Vapor 9.5 has a tried and true lateral foot frame design that provides stability during changes of direction.
The shoe fits like a glove thanks to the Dynamic Fit system which allows multiple foot types to achieve a locked-down fit inside the shoe for optimal performance. While this model does not offer the stability found in the Vapor 11 and Vapor Pro 2 models, it offers greater flex more akin to a running shoe design.
The Vapor 9.5 is best for:
- A tennis shoe that balances flex and stiffness, better than most.
- Players seeking a lightweight gameday shoe with “just enough” cushioning.
- Tennis shoe collectors who appreciate the classics.
There’s a Nike Vapor tennis shoe for everyone. Hopefully, this helps you find an awesome new shoe that’s right for you. For the latest tennis shoe releases, bookmark our blog