K-Swiss has produced their lightest ever performance tennis shoe in the AeroKnit. The construction breaks away from a traditional lacing system and incorporates an Infi-Knit casing with K-Swiss’ seamfree upper construction to protect the upper of the shoe along with the toe and forefoot. The material is lightweight, slightly stretchy, and it comfortably steers and cradles your foot. K-Swiss uses their new Surge+ midsole technology complete with Shock Spring and Surgelite to continue the theme of lightweight cushioning. It also provides strong energy return for players to anticipate their opponent’s next move.
When I first tried on the AeroKnit, I had a hard time lacing the shoe up. The Infi-Knit fabric covers the laces so you have to move the casing out of the way to get a secure closure. Once I got my foot set in the shoe, they were remarkably comfortable, and when I looked down at my feet I felt like I was wearing slippers. While there are shoe laces on the AeroKnit, it doesn’t cinch up the way a traditional shoe does. Though it takes a small adjustment period, the stretchy Infi-Knit fabric kept my feet securely in place providing solid and comfortable support during corner to corner sprints.
Cushioning and Stability
The AeroKnit is a crazy-light tennis shoe. At 13.2 ounces for a size 11, I was impressed to say the least. K-Swiss has made comfortable and stable performance tennis shoes for decades, but this is the first one in my opinion that really cut the weight to make the fastest shoe possible. Often when a brand focuses on removing weight, the comfort and cushion drops as the shoe gets lighter. K-Swiss had the foresight and designed the AeroKnit with Surge+ midsole technology.
Surge+ does a great job of balancing comfort and energy return. While not as plush as the Hypercourt Express, the AeroKnit maintains good to great cushioning for a slimmed down high performance shoe. The AeroKnit feels much closer to the court and the shoe handles nimbly and more efficiently than any of the K-Swiss shoes from the past.
AeroKnit is the result of some out-of-the-box thinking on the part of K-Swiss, and they have constructed a shoe for athletes that place premium on foot speed and explosiveness. Though the Infi-Knit does a good job of protecting your feet and laces, the fabric should not be confused with a tank-like durability tennis shoe. The material shows wear and tear after a few trips to the court, but just like dominant lightweight shoes in its class, you buy the AeroKnit for speed and comfort, not because it will last for 12 months.
At the conclusion of this playtest, I believe K-Swiss has a solid entry in a crowded lightweight shoe market. The integration of Infi-Knit provides a supportive and comfortable fit even with the absence of a more traditional lacing system. I think for the next generation of the AeroKnit, if they can find a way to make the Infi-Knit casing a bit more abrasion resistant, then the shoe will really come into its own as a “go to” performance tennis shoe.
About the Reviewer: Sam Jones currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Southwestern University, taught tennis for 10+ years and earned his USRSA Master Racquet Technician Certification in 2011. He is an active NTRP 5.0 League and Tournament player.