Men's Nike Implosion Mid Shoe Review

The Nike Men's Air Court Implosion Mid comes to the table with some impressive credentials. In addition to gracing the feet of 7 time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi (and other ATP players), the Air Court Implosion was honored as one of Tennis Magazine's 2001 Editor's Choice Award winners.

The most noticeable features of the Implosion Mid are the predominantly black color and the 5/8-cut for increased ankle support. As with past Implosion designs Nike includes Zoom Air technology in the forefoot and heel which contributes to the Implosion Mid's cushioning beneath the foot and low-to-the-ground feel. Additional features include synthetic leather construction combined with a Drag-On TPU overmolded "cage" (providing a degree of further support and rigidity to the upper), and herringbone outsole designed for play on multiple surfaces.

We playtested the Men's Air Court Implosion Mid for 5 weeks on hard courts and had the following impressions:

Comfort

The first thing you need to know about the Air Court Implosion Mid shoes is that they run about a half size small (like many Nike shoes). All of our testers had to wear a half size larger than normal. After a brief break-in period though, most playtesters found the Nike Air Court Implosion Mid to provide a soft and cushioned ride. Dan begins, "I was surprised at how comfortable these shoes could feel while providing such a low-to-ground feel. Although there was some tightness in the toe box during initial testing they broke in nicely." Granville comments, "the shoes were tight from the first time I put them on, especially in the toe box. I have a narrow foot and it still seemed to be a tight fit. Fortunately, I prefer a tight fit and after a short break-in period they were fine. These are the first Zoom Air shoes I've worn and I could feel the extra cushioning beneath the mid-foot." John adds, "initially, the shoes felt awkward on my feet. They pinched a bit in the forefoot area and the collar in the back was uncomfortable to my Achilles. However, by the time I put them to use on court I found the shoes to be extremely comfortable. As with previous models Zoom Air is a beneficial feature for comfort." Randy offers, "these shoes felt very good out of the box. I noticed that the mesh was very comfortable on my entire foot. The feel of the toe box did take some getting used to though." Danny continues, "the low-to-ground feel did not affect the great cushioning these shoes provide from heel to toe."

Arch Support

Playtester opinions varied when it came to arch support. Randy offers, "I've never had an issue with arch support when wearing Nike shoes but I felt the Implosion Mid arch was lower than Nike models I've tried in the past; possibly due to the Zoom Air bladder in the forefoot." Granville adds, "the arch was not a factor in my fit. It was low enough that I had a comfortable fit and not too high as to be noticeable." Dan agrees, sharing, "I found a nice compliment here - a medium arch to go with a lower yet firm feel to the court." Danny continues, "the arch was just right. It works well for tennis players who like a medium arch but with a low to the court feel." John comments, "initially, the arch support felt a bit high for my foot type,but I didn't notice any discomfort after wearing the shoe on court."

Foot Support/Stability

The Air Court Implosion Mid won high praise from our playtesters when it came to overall support and foot stability. John begins, "I was comfortably supported by the design of the Implosion Mids. These shoes worked best for me with thick Thorlo-type socks. As a result, I did not experience any significant foot movement either when running wide to chase down a shot, charging forward to pick up a drop-shot, or when running down a well placed lob. Sudden starts and stops were not a problem." Granville adds, "these shoes are at their best when on the court. I sat very low in the shoes and the outsoles provided good contact around the entire 'footprint.' Due to the snug fit these shoes were very responsive on the court - no sliding around inside, and the Implosion Mids conform to my feet as they change in flex and rotation." Danny offers, "I was very confident with these shoes when it came to foot support and stability. My feet felt as one with the shoes. I experienced no sliding, which allowed my directional movement to be very quick and responsive. The mid cut design of the Implosion Mid offers enhanced support to those players (such as myself) who have weak ankles." Randy comments, "perhaps it was the Zoom Air in the forefoot, perhaps the low center of gravity, but overall support and stability were excellent. No issues here."

Overall Sole Durability

The Air Court Implosion Mids are equipped with a herringbone designed outsole and DRC (Nike's Durable Rubber Compound). Considering the low-to-the-ground design our testers found better than expected sole durability. John shares, "during the playtest period I did not experience any noticeable signs of wear. The Implosion Mids are low profile shoes with a somewhat thin outsole construction in the forefoot area. They're equipped with DRC, which showed no telling wear during my playtest." Danny adds, "the Men's Air Court Implosion Mids are the most durable Nike shoes I have ever worn. I noticed very limited signs of outsole and toe wear during my playtest period." Granville comments, "the wear pattern seems fairly typical. First indications were on the ball of my foot, followed by the outside corner of the heel. I did not notice any premature wear on the outsoles."

Dan continues, "I had reservations regarding durability due to the thin outsole construction of the Implosion Mids. However, I found this particular herringbone tread pattern to hold up quite well under trying hard-court conditions. Some midfoot wear was evident over five weeks of play but nothing too damaging." Randy ends, "the Implosion Mids held up admirably (from heel to toe) throughout my playtest."

Toe Durability

The Implosion Mids' herringbone pattern covers the entire outsole, leading up to the tip/toe of the shoe. Some additional durability is supplied by the Drag-On TPU overmolded cage on the top of the toe. Dan comments, "the Implosion Mids are not a toe draggers dream shoes, but durability is not a major issue either. Toe durability is solid but not great. I noticed some wear after 5 weeks, but not enough to affect traction when serving or pushing off." John adds, "the Air Court Implosion Mids feature a Drag-on TPU overmolded cage which improves durability and support in this area of the shoe. Toe-draggers should appreciate this added feature." Randy continues, "the Drag-On TPU overmolded cage is a nice feature. I like the way they've positioned the guard on the sides of the shoes. This helped in adding some life to my shoes." Danny offers, "I found some wear towards the toe area during my playtest, but it was minimal enough for me to not be overly concerned."

Traction

The Nike Implosion Mids are equipped with a somewhat aggressive herringbone outsole pattern which our playtesters clearly appreciated for it's court gripping capability. Granville's comments represented the majority, adding, "I'll give the Implosion Mids their highest score here. Traction was terrific. The herringbone pattern is probably my favorite outsole pattern simply because it provides unparalleled traction. The traction is so good I feel I can stop on a dime - and do." Randy agrees, saying, "nice traction here. Built for stop and go tennis." John offers, "I found these shoes to be extremely responsive when starting and stopping. The Implosion Mids feature a herringbone outsole design that grips the court like a new tire allowing one to get off the mark in a flash, confident of maintaining balance while gearing up to speed. "Danny comments, "the aggressive herringbone pattern on the outsole offers exceptional traction. I don't remember any other shoes that have given me better quick movement capability than the Implosion Mids." Dan concludes, "in a nutshell - these shoes grip the court exceptionally well and traction was excellent. Sliding (inside the shoes) was never an issue while stopping and/or pushing off."

Weight

The 17-ounce weight (size 10.5) of the Nike Air Court Implosion Mids seemed to strike a nice balance with our testers. John offers, "at 17 ounces (each), the Implosion Mids are not the lightest shoes on the market. This factor, however, does not adversely effect their performance. I did not find the weight to be a hindrance. As a matter of fact, I would say that the overall weight adds to the comfort and stability that the Implosion Mids provide." Randy says, "I had no problem with the Implosion Mids' weight. I need the stability that goes with shoes weighing over a pound. I took no issue with mobility or lack thereof." Dan adds, ""this is the ideal weight for performance shoes. 17 ounces helps lend some credible stability but it's really not enough weight to affect mobility around the court." Granville comments, "for performance mid-cut shoes the weight is acceptable."

Summary

The Nike Air Court Implosion Mid is a comfortable and stable performance shoe with terrific traction. Zoom Air technology provides good cushioning in the forefoot and heel and lets Nike use a thinner outsole to keep your foot closer to the ground. These shoes are best suited to players who like a responsive low-to-the-ground ride, enhanced ankle support (5/8 cut) and a high level of traction. They do run a half size small so keep that in mind when ordering.

Here's what the playtesters had to say:
The "Likes" of the shoe.

Dan - "The overall cushioning of the Implosion Mid was excellent. The low-to-ground outsole construction felt like a nice fitting but durable sock."

Danny - "I liked the overall performance, but this shoe's traction impressed me most. I had no hesitation with quick changes of direction."

Granville - "The fit (although sizing was a 1/2 size small) was very good and contoured; almost a custom feel. Traction was excellent. The cushioning provided by the Zoom Air is a benefit. Also, the outsole caters to multiple surfaces."

John - "I liked the comfort and stability. After the initial break-in period I found the shoe to be a solid performer."

Randy - "The fit was awesome. This shoe fit my foot like a glove.."

The "Dislikes" of the shoe.

Dan - "A little stiff out of the box."

Danny - "I found the break in period to be a little longer than I'm used to."

Granville - "The shoe is a little stiff and it does take some time to break in. Once broken inÉ nice ride!"

John - "Although the shoe fit my foot well after the break-in period players with wider feet my have a problem fitting into this shoe. I also thought the all-black cosmetic could have been helped by a more prominent accent color."

Randy - "I felt like my foot was too low/close to the ground for me to feel totally comfortable during the initial break-in period."

Nike Air Court Implosion Mid Summary Sheet

The Up SideThe Down SidePlay Test Scores
  • Cushioning
  • Comfortable fit/Little to no sliding
  • Traction
  • Responsive, low-to-ground feel
  • Capable of multiple surface play
  • Sizing - 1/2 size small
  • Narrow toe box
  • Some break-in period
  • Thin feeling outsole
  • Only available in all black cosmetics
Comfort 4.1
Arch Support 3.7
Foot Support/Stability 4.2
Overall Sole Durability 3.9
Toe Durability 3.8
Traction 4.6
Weight 3.7
Overall 4.1
Scores (1-Horrible 2-Poor 3-Average 4-Good 5-Tremendous)

Playtesters' Foot Types: Dan - medium width/medium arch, Danny - narrow width/low arch, Granville - narrow/low arch, John - medium width/medium arch, Mark - medium width/low arch, Randy - wide/medium arch.

Review date: March, 2002. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2002 Tennis Warehouse.

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