Head Nitro Team Men's Shoe Review

Head Nitro Team Black/Green/Orange  Men's Shoes
Price: $59.95 MSRP: $100.00

Upsides

  • Immediate comfort
  • Excellent traction
  • Lightweight

Downsides

  • Not very durable
Video Review

Summary

After the Head Nitro Pro surprised us in early 2016 with an extremely positive playtest, we couldn't help but look forward to what the Nitro Team shoes had to offer, especially since they are exclusive to Tennis Warehouse in the US. The Nitro Teams essentially felt like stripped-down Nitro Pro shoes -- in both positive and negative ways. Like the Pros, the Nitro Teams offer a snug, glove-like fit -- so much so that a couple of our testers had to move up a half-size to get a comfortable fit. Once our playtesters found the right size, though, they were rewarded with light, fast shoes that have a very natural flex and fit. The comfort and light weight stood out to our team as the best aspects of these shoes. With their stripped-down design the Nitro Teams didn't quite offer the same level of stability and durability as some premium options on the market. More elite level players might want to opt for something a bit more substantial, like the Nitro Pros, but avid club players who aren't too hard on their shoes should certainly give these shoes a closer look. We think you'll be more than satisfied.

Head Nitro Team Men's Shoe Scores

Overall Comfort 4.5
Ventilation 4.2
Arch Support 3.3
Foot Support/Stability 3.7
Overall Sole Durability 3.3
Toe Durability 2.4
Traction 4.4
Weight 4.5
Overall 4.0

Overall Comfort - Score: 4.5

Our playtesters were very impressed with the overall comfort of the Nitro Teams right out of the box. After Chris figured out the sizing issue, the Nitro Teams fit his feet nicely. "The Nitro Teams fit a tad snug in length for me," he explained. "I tend to hover between sizes so I went up to the larger of my two options in these shoes -- not an uncommon move for me. If you find you also run between sizes, I suggest choosing the larger of the two in the Nitro Teams. With the fit sorted out the shoes felt very soft and comfortable from the very first wear till the last. I loved the soft and comfortable ride from both the uppers and the midsoles. I thought the level of cushioning was very good. My feet felt protected from the court, but there wasn't so much cushioning that I felt too elevated or disconnected from what was going on. I also never experienced any uncomfortable rubbing or pinching from the uppers. One thing I would have liked is more support from the arch area. The shoes didn't seem to have much of a shank so I threw in a pair of Superfeet insoles to beef them up. All was good to go after that. The ventilation was solid, and I never felt in a rush to take them off."

Troy had a similar experience to Chris, and he also opted for an aftermarket insole. He shared, "I noticed a very snug fit right out of the box, although the upper materials of these shoes were still pliable and contoured to my feet like a glove. Ventilation was better than average. I found the mesh on top of my toes and on the tongue allowed for good breathability. The arch support was slightly lower than I would have liked, though. I used my Superfeet Premium Insoles Orange, which provided the amount of arch support that I needed. The cushioning in the midsole was just enough for my feet to be happy."

The shoes fit Andy's feet very comfortably as well, and like Chris, he opted for a half-size larger than normal. He praised, "From the very first wear these shoes were very comfortable and fit my feet really well. They flexed extremely naturally with my feet on every step right out of the box - no break-in required! I went up a half-size due to the length being slightly short for me, but even in a larger size they weren't too roomy width-wise. There isn't a ton of cushioning underfoot, but there is plenty there to keep you comfortable all day. I always looked forward to slipping these shoes on because of how well they fit my feet - this was easily one of the strengths of the Nitro Teams."

"From the moment I first laced these shoes up, I was treated to a comfortable glove-like fit," Mark raved in agreement. "After six weeks of use their level of comfort has only improved."

Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.7

The Nitro Teams offered good support for our testers, but a couple of them noted that they would've liked a bit more stability and rigidity, especially through the midfoot. Troy was able to solve this issue by inserting his aftermarket insoles, and he praised, "The support that these shoes offered was, as Mark Boone would say, 'top notch!' Because these shoes contoured to my feet like a glove, I felt like my feet were locked in at all times. Initially I found the torsional stability to be somewhat lacking due to the flexible feel through the midfoot region, but once I added my Superfeet insoles I found a firmer feel in that area and the stability improved. The low-to-the-ground profile also helped me feel confident in making lateral cuts on the court."

Having a similar experience was Chris, who said, "I thought the Nitro Teams were lacking in stability. There was too much flex through the midfoot. The shoes could definitely benefit from a beefier midfoot shank. My heels felt the most locked in, and I felt confident I could move at full speed without fear of rolling an ankle. The forefoot flexed, but it flexed well. I felt supported from the fit of the shoes, and I didn't experience too much sliding around inside them."

Mark found more than enough support and stability out of these shoes once he was able to get the laces tight enough around his feet. He explained, "I found the Nitro Teams to be very stable. The only issue I had with them was that I had to pay a little more attention to cinching the laces down on the top eyelet to keep my heel from moving around too much. Once I tightened the top of the laces the Nitro Teams became some of my favorite shoes to play in."

Andy enjoyed the support the shoes offered and found adequate stability as well. He said, "The natural fit and feel of these shoes allowed them to support me very well during play. I always felt like the shoes were moving with my feet, no matter what kind of quick movement I was making on court. They offered decent stability as well, although I certainly wouldn't place them in the 'premium performance' category for stability. I think avid club players who aren't too hard on their shoes are going to find more than enough stability to move with confidence, but more elite players may want to look elsewhere if they need the highest level of stability."

Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.3

There were mixed feelings from our playtesters about the durability of the Nitro Teams. The outsoles held up well for Andy, who's normally pretty hard on his shoes, but not the toe and medial side. He shared, "The outsoles held up extremely well throughout the test. I wore these shoes quite a bit (upwards of 20-30 hours), and the outsole tread shows very little balding. However, I put a hole on the medial side of the uppers on one of the first slides I did on a hard court. There is no protection there other than a lightweight mesh layer, so as soon as it touched the court it wore straight through. I think avid club players who aren't too hard on their shoes are going to find plenty of durability, but if you are a more aggressive mover -- especially one who likes to slide on hard courts -- you may want to opt for a more durable option."

On the other hand, Chris wore through his pair quicker than expected. He critiqued, "The durability of the outsoles was lacking in the Nitro Teams. The same was true of the toes. Both areas wore prematurely. A heavy toe dragger will blitz through the soft upper material used at the toe area of the uppers. Underfoot, the outsoles were wearing quickly in all of my high wear areas. Soft and comfortable toe boxes and lightweight outsoles often come at the expense of durability -- that's the case with the Nitro Teams."

Troy's pair was also showing more sign of wear than he might normally see after the course of a playtest. He said, "Durability was slightly lower than average compared to premium lightweight shoes. By the end of this playtest I found that the outsoles were bald in the forefoot region. Although I don't drag my toes on my serve like I used to, I still found the toe area wore out faster than I expected. The material on the toe cap, where the rubber outsole stops, was easily scuffed and more delicate than I would have liked."

Getting the best durability out of his pair of Nitro Teams, Mark praised, "After 25 hours of play on hard and clay courts I still have some life left in my pair -- plenty in fact! It's also worth mentioning that the uppers are very durable, too, as these shoes have retained their shape perfectly throughout the playtest."

Traction - Score: 4.4

Everyone enjoyed the level of traction that the Nitro Teams had to offer. Mark had no issues after testing them on multiple surfaces. He raved, "Although the Nitro Teams are designed to be more for hard courts, I did think the tread pattern was very friendly to the Har-Tru courts I play on, too. These shoes do not feature the full herringbone tread pattern, but the overall result was a great combination of grip and give on any court surface."

Chris felt very confident in the grip of the shoes as well, and he praised, "I felt pretty hooked up for grip in these shoes. There was some give when I wanted to slide out of a shot, but enough grab to get me moving quickly for the next ball. I enjoyed how I could quickly cover the court in the Nitro Teams. I liked how the level of traction complemented the light and fast feel of the shoes."

"The traction of these shoes was excellent!" Andy exclaimed. "There was a perfect blend of grip and give that allowed me to move comfortably and confidently on the court. The rubber allowed me to slide a bit when I wanted some give from the outsole, then locked up with the court and helped me push back toward the middle of the court when I needed it to grip well."

Rounding out the group was Troy, who said, "The traction these shoes provided made me feel confident while stopping and starting out on the court. Even toward the end of the playtest, as the tread on the outsoles started to bald, I was getting ample grip on the court. I liked the feel of the rubber compound; there was enough grip to stop on a dime, but it wasn't overly sticky to where I felt like I could roll an ankle."

Weight - Score: 4.5

The lightweight feel of the Nitro Teams put our testers' court speed into overdrive! "The lightweight, fast feel of these shoes proved to be another one of their strengths during the test," Andy commented. "They have a very natural fit that kept my feet very low to the ground, keeping me totally connected to the court with every step. I barely noticed the shoes on my feet while I played and never felt slowed down by the design or weight of the shoes."

Chris enjoyed the light and fast feel, but he would've traded extra weight for some additional performance benefits. He explained, "The Nitro Teams felt light and fast on court. I could have lived with some additional weight if it came with better toe and outsole durability. However, for the club level player who is not tough on his shoes, the light and comfortable ride should be spot on."

Seemingly reading Chris' mind when writing his comments, Troy said, "These shoes had my feet feeling light and fast out on the court. The combination of the low-to-the-ground feel and the lightweight upper materials had me feeling quick when I was sprinting down balls on defense. I would have traded a bit more weight for some added outsole durability, though."

The weight was never an issue for Mark, who raved, "I consider any tennis shoes weighing under 13.5 ounces to be lightweight, and the Nitro Teams definitely qualify (around 12.9 oz). If the shoes I am wearing are too light then they aren't going to be supportive or durable enough. If they are too heavy, efficiently moving my 49-year-old feet becomes a challenge. The Nitro Teams offered the perfect feel for me."

Overall - Score: 4.0

Likes

Chris - "The Nitro Teams were comfortable, light and fast, and I liked the looks of them."

Andy - "Lightweight, fast and comfortable right out of the box. Good outsole durability as well."

Mark - "After I went up a half-size in the Nitro Teams I enjoyed almost every aspect. Traction is top notch, ventilation was good and support was sufficient. I also liked the glove-like fit."

Troy - "Comfortable right out of the box with a glove-like fit. I hardly had to think about what was on my feet during the playtest."

Dislikes

Chris - "I need more support through the midfoot/arch and better overall durability than offered here."

Andy - "The Nitro Teams lack protection/durability on the medial side of the upper for players who like to slide on hard courts."

Mark - "They needed the one extra eyelet at the top of the tongue. That would allow me to really cinch the laces down and secure my feet inside the shoes."

Troy - "Lower durability than I would prefer, especially since these shoes don't carry a durability guarantee."

Comparing the shoe to others they've tried, our testers said:

Chris - "The Nitro Teams are a stripped down version of the Nitro Pros, and they feel like it. They offer more flex and a very light feel thanks to less stability and durability. The Asics Gel Game series offers a similar kind of ride. While both may be a tad lacking for tournament players, the excellent comfort makes them great choices for the more casual player."

Andy - "I really enjoyed the comfortable fit and feel of these shoes throughout the test. They reminded me of the Asics Gel Game 5 a bit -- extremely comfortable, supportive and a great option for the club player."

Mark - "There have been a few other shoes from Head that I really liked, but not until the Nitro Pro, and now the Nitro Team, have I been able to say that I love a Head tennis shoe. I would say that the Nitro Teams compare favorably with the adidas Feather III, adidas adizero Ubersonic, Nike Vapor Advantage and Asics Gel Challenger 10."

Troy - "The light feel, low to the ground ride and comfort were all reminiscent of the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour. The lightweight comfort also reminded me of the Asics Gel Game 4."

Scores

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Chris' Scores
Overall Comfort4.6Overall Sole Durability2
Ventilation4.3Toe Durability1.5
Arch Support2Traction4.5
Foot support/Stability2.8Weight4.6
Overall3.8
Andy's Scores
Overall Comfort4.3Overall Sole Durability4.2
Ventilation4Toe Durability1.5
Arch Support4Traction4.5
Foot support/Stability4Weight4.5
Overall4.3
Mark's Scores
Overall Comfort4.5Overall Sole Durability4.5
Ventilation4.5Toe Durability4.5
Arch Support4.2Traction4.5
Foot support/Stability4.2Weight4.5
Overall4.5
Troy's Scores
Overall Comfort4.5Overall Sole Durability2.5
Ventilation4Toe Durability2
Arch Support3Traction4
Foot support/Stability3.6Weight4.2
Overall3.5

Playtester Foot Types

Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch

Andy - Medium width / Medium arch

Mark - Medium width / Medium arch

Troy - Narrow width / Medium arch