WHO MAKES THE BEST TENNIS SHOE?
by Pancho Segura
The pro’s pro takes apart Puma’s new “radial” shoe, piece by piece.
The shoe with the green sole
Already I am telling other pros they must try this new Puma with the green sole. It has a tread pattern that is fantastic. The grip is almost uncanny. For this alone, Puma has earned the stripe it puts on each side of its shoes.
But what is truly amazing is the toughness of this sole. I have seen the test results from the laboratory. Look at the chart: the resistance to abrasion is much, much better than the two other top leather tennis shoes. They tell me there is a 70-percent content of rubber – very high – so it doesn’t have that slippery-to-the-touch feel of synthetic soles.
Puma is crazy for comfort
I would describe putting your foot into these Pumas as like sitting in luxury car.
Right under your foot is a foam-padded insole and arch support. Next is a two-layer midsole that distributes the pressure and shock. Under that is a honeycomb of ribbing that works like the springs on a car. And under that is the green sole itself – which, incidentally, was designed for Puma by Germany’s biggest maker of radial tires.
The tongue is padded. The collar is padded. And the Achilles tendon area is padded … this is very important to protect you against the shock from hard courts.
I must also tell you that the leather is beautifully done. Very soft, whereas so many leather shoes are stiff.
Read for yourself
The higher the number, the longer the soles last. The Puma number is very high.
If you would like a copy of the complete test, write to Beconta, Inc., 50 Executive Blvd., Elmsford. NY 10523.
They are the people who bring Pumas to America.
Abrasion Resistance Level
Puma “radials” 143
Adidas “Stan Smith” 96
A comparison of abrasion resistance amongst the leading leather tennis shoes.
Can a shoe be to light?
For match play on grass, I like a light canvas shoe, which Puma also makes. For every other surface, this is my kind of shoe. You don’t want your tennis shoe too light, with no rubber to speak of. To begin with, it doesn’t last long. And, in the summer, when it’s hot, the heat of the court surface will go right through to your feet. Very unpleasant.
For men only
So far, Puma only has the equipment to make this shoe in men’s sizes. However, they have three tennis shoes that are for women only.
A tip for men: Puma makes all its athletic shoes on a special, wide last to conform to the stress patterns of an athlete’s foot. So try a half-size smaller than usual unless you have a very wide foot.
Do you see those radial edges?
The toe, the heel, even the sides … they are all rounded upwards. There are no sharp edges that can dig into the court surface and catch. I like that. The effect is like a radial tire: you always have as much rubber touching the court as possible, even when your foot is leaning over on one edge.
The rounding of the heel is an intelligent move. I imagine they learned this from their jogging shoes. You can roll forward onto the sole of your foot smoothly.
I also like the reinforcement in the heel and toe … I am very hard on a shoe in those areas.
Fran & Clyde & Catfish … & now me, too
I can understand now why top athletes like Catfish Hunter, Walt Frazier, Fran Tarkenton, Reggie Jackson, and George McGinnis all wear Pumas. I have worn a lot of tennis shoes in my time. In my personal opinion, this new “radial” Puma with the green sole and the green stripe is in some other kind of league altogether. I am putting them in my own pro shop at La Costa Resort Hotel in Carlsbad, California.
Should you wear Pumas?
You may not need such a high level of shoe. But if you are good enough – if you have earned your stripes – a shoe like this can make a difference in how you play.
PUMA When you’ve earned your stripes.
sauce: Puma 1977