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Nike Court Zoom NXT Review

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When Nike releases a new shoe, the tennis world perks up.



They are the most dominant shoe brand in tennis, and have forged a path to the top through countless iconic releases. Nike has also done a great job at outlining the target audience for each shoe, whether it be through marketing, or actual on-court performance. That is, until recently. The Vapors were the comfort shoe, the Cage’s were the durability shoe, and the other silo, the experimental shoe (think GP Turbo or Zoom Zero).

When Nike discontinued the Vapor X, they replaced it with a shoe that broke the mold of that well-defined lineup. The React Vapor NXT did well from a pure performance standpoint, but it didn’t have any of the core Vapor DNA. It was clunky and required a long break in, not characteristics associated with Vapors of old. Then Nike released the Vapor Pro, in an attempt to quell the complaints aimed at their flagship NXT. The Pro was good, and certainly more comfortable than its bigger brother, but it still lacked the slipper-like feel, and natural response of the old Vapors.

It became clear that we were witnessing the fall of the Vapor line, and with it, Nike’s comfort silo. Demand for the Vapor X went into overdrive, and many (including myself) began hoarding old pairs in fear that we would never find a suitable replacement. That is, until Nike released the Court Zoom NXT.

The shoe features a flexible mesh upper, central lacing system, and gaping hole through midsole (that does absolutely nothing other than save weight). It also has a fairly low heel and higher stack than most Nike shoes. Overall, the Court Zoom NXT is a stunning looking shoe, and wouldn’t look out of place as an everyday fashion sneaker. But how does it actually perform?

The Fit

I went to grab my usual size 10 US, and the shoe felt like a pontoon boat on my foot. In other words, it fits big, very big. I had to drop all the way down to a size 9 before I even considered settling on the size. I even tried an 8.5 but my toenails were begging me to reconsider, so I went with the 9. With all that being said, I would recommend going down at least half a size. Best case scenario, try on multiple sizes, but if you can’t: go down one full size if you like a snug fit, go down half if you are ok with a bit of space.

Once you’re in, the shoe fits like a glove, and really is reminiscent of older Vapors from Nike. The forefoot is wide, but not overly roomy. The lacing system has cables designed to synch the upper down and lock your foot into place. The wrap around the foot is snug, but extremely natural and adaptive thanks to the flexible mesh. It really is remarkably comfortable for how secure the foot feels in the shoe.

The heel area is my one slight knock on the fit. It has a fairly low cut, and only one option for the last lace hole, which doesn’t allow my ankle to feel as locked in as I might want. 

The Feel

On court, the Zoom NXT seemed to disappear from my mind. That is the biggest compliment I can give it. I felt no pressure points anywhere on the upper, but also felt as if the shoe responded to my every move. I even forgot about the heel lock issue I had experienced in store as it seemed to fix itself the more my foot embedded itself into the midsole. That natural, comfortable feeling translated seamlessly to the court.

The outsole on the Zoom Court NXT is very grippy. Unlike old Vapors, it takes a lot of lateral force to get this shoe to give out into a slide. I like a bit of slip on my shoes; it makes me feel like I can move around the court more efficiently, but I quickly got used to the grippier response, and it ultimately didn’t bother me all that much.

Even when taking big lateral cuts, I felt very little rollover from the upper. That is quite impressive considering the lack of structural reinforcements to the mesh. It is stable and responsive for such a natural feeling shoe. The outsole also has a bit of the typical Zoom bouncy cushioning. Instead of the cushioning feeling mushy, it acts like a spring and returns more energy the harder you step into it. The Court NXTs also have a bit more stack than other shoes in the comfort/natural category, most notably the Vapor X. They don’t feel as stable and grounded as some other shoes, but keep you more on your toes with a platform that seems to push you to move around.


Why might it work for you?

If you’re looking to move on from your old Vapor Pro’s and haven’t yet found a suitable replacement, these are the shoes for you. You can try niche, old stock retailers or the used market as much as you’d like, but the Nike Court Zoom NXT is the best, widely available option.

But beyond just being the successor to the Vapor line, the shoe is fantastic in its own right.

If you are looking for a comfortable, natural fitting shoe that still feels supportive and reactive, then this shoe is fantastic. They have that rare feel of a shoe that complements any game, without having loud and obnoxious on your foot. 

I’d also like to add that the Court NXTs have held up nicely to the test of time. I’ve put in at least 30 hours on these shoes, and it seems that the very little amount of rubber Nike has used on the upper, is certainly doing its job. The mesh shows no signs of tearing, and the outsole has very little wear, and certainly no balding. For such a low profile shoe, they are surprisingly durable.

$134.98 $179.98
$134.98 $179.98

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