Men's Shoe Women's Shoe
The Diadora Speed Star K shoe family has been around for several generations thanks to tennis superstars Jennifer Capriati and Jim Courier putting this shoe on the map. Unlike most shoes on the market today, it has a retro look and feel that makes it iconic as well as timeless. The updated S.Star K Duratech model gets a slightly new design, but maintains the same features as its predecessors: kangaroo leather upper, Scratchproof rubber inserts, Axeler wi-5 propulsion midsole, CCB technology, and Duratech 5000 rubber outsole just to name a few. This shoe continues to give players of all levels an excellent blend of comfort, stability, and durability. Intrigued by the retro style and unprecedented durability aspect, I was excited to get these out on court.
Cushioning & Stability
Like most heavy-duty durability tennis shoes, the Star K Duratech did not disappoint in terms of cushioning or stability. At first, I needed a slight break-in period for my feet to get used to the high amounts of cushioning, but once I did it felt fantastic! The molded expanded EVA, Power Flow and Axeler wi-5 technologies in the midsole worked well together to keep my feet happy when I was running around. Whether I was sprinting to the ball or planting my foot down, my feet always felt comfortable transitioning to different spots on the court. Additionally, there is great stability with this shoe thanks to the CCB technology. CCB is a medial stabilizer, near the arch, which helped my feet stay balanced and supported as I ran side to side or up to the net. Near the shoe collar, I also felt a good blend of cushioning and stability which allayed my fears of rolling an ankle. One area, however, that I felt could be improved is with shock absorption. DA Plus technology was added to help reduce vibration in the heel and enhance pressure distribution, but my heels hurt after about 2 hours of play. This is probably due to the constant pounding of my heels hitting the ground when I was running.
Another great feature about the Star K Duratech is its durability. You won’t have to worry much about early balding or loss of traction thanks to the highly reputable Duratech 5000 rubber outsole. This is one of the best outsoles on the market, and always seems to last longer than I expect. Even if you’re skeptical, there’s a 6-month outsole guarantee, so you can always get a replacement. Traction was very solid, as well, giving me plenty of feel for the ground when I wanted to plant and hit. I only got in trouble when I leaned too much on the outsides of sole and felt a little sliding with the ground.
Fit & Breathability
At first glance, I wasn’t sure what to think about these shoes because they’re so different from what I’m used to. When I first put the Star K Duratech on, it felt tight around my foot and made my arches feel uncomfortable. I needed to loosen up both sets of shoe laces and walk around with the shoes untied for about an hour before they broke in nicely. Once tied on, I enjoyed the high amounts of cushioning and support, as well as the sense of security in my movement. This shoe does have a traditional width in the toe box, but overall feels tight when you first put it on due to the high amount of cushioning, tight shoe laces, and thicker tongue padding.
I didn’t have high hopes for the shoe’s breathability given the all-leather upper. However, it did a lot better than I was expecting thanks to the several small holes in the toe box area. It will provide your feet with better ventilation in comparison to previous models, but I would encourage players to still wear sweat-wicking socks if they use this shoe in hot temperatures.
Overall, I give the Diadora S.Star K Duratech high praise for its cushioning, durability, style, and fit. Although it does need a slight break-in period and could improve in the breathability, this shoe comes to life when you’re on court moving around. Frequent, aggressive-moving players will love the high amounts of cushioning and stability this shoe provides from the get-go. The traditional leather upper and toe box gives you something to reminisce and celebrate as more shoes move towards a mesh type construction.
About the Reviewer: Chris Virk-Brown 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 an active USTA League and Tournament player.