Joma Pro Roland Men's Shoe Review
- Outsole durability
- Upper not durable
The Pro Roland, which is worn by Joma's sponsored tour players, is an all-around high performance shoe at a great value. A synthetic leather and mesh upper offers comfort while a reinforced forefoot cage provides stability. An EVA midsole provides additional support and cushioning. The heavy duty rubber all-court outsole provides outstanding durability and features a modified herringbone pattern for traction, and it's backed by a six-month outsole durability guarantee. Our playtesters also enjoyed the low-to-the-ground feel and classic cosmetics. Overall, players looking for a durable outsole and a stable ride should definitely should give the Pro Roland a try.
Comfort - Score: 3.8
While the cushioning and comfort of the Joma Pro Roland received top marks from some playtesters, others had some minor issues. Chris found these shoes to break-in very quickly. He explained, "Before my first hour on court was up I was moving around comfortably in these shoes, and they started to flex well and move with my feet. The cushioning under my heels was very soft -- verging on being overly soft. If it was any softer I think I'd be feeling the court through it. I play mostly on the forefoot of a shoe, and I found the cushioning there to be about right on. I liked how the uppers flexed and moved with my feet, and the ride was nice and comfortable."
Mark was satisfied with the cushioning, saying, "I have to say that the comfort level was more than sufficient all around, whether I was standing still or moving laterally on the shuffle/run."
Andy thought the comfort of this shoe was good, but not great. He offered, "It offered a natural-feeling, roomy fit right out of the box for me. It's pretty soft all over the foot, but the cushioning underneath was not that plush. I had no problems or discomfort when I wore the Pro Roland for an entire day, both on and off the court."
Having the most issues with comfort was Jason. He explained, "This score would have been higher if it was based solely on cushioning, but I had to score it lower because of the fit. Mainly, my main issue was toe jamming. Similar to my experience in the adidas Barricade 7/8, when I moved forward and stopped my feet would continue moving forward and jam right into the toe box. I was unable to lace my shoes tightly enough to prevent this from happening. The other issue for me was the rubbing on both of my pinkies and big toes. The toe box narrowed quickly, causing the shoe to rub up against my feet. As far as the cushioning goes, I thought it was above average. I liked the low-to-the-ground feel and responsiveness. There wasn't much of a break in either, so that was a positive."
Ventilation - Score: 3.7
Our playtesters put the Joma Pro Roland's ventilation to the test when a heatwave hit during the playtest. Jason weathered the heat, saying, "It wasn't bad for 90 percent of the playtest, but when the weather got up into the 90s I noticed the lack of breathability. Sure, it could've just been the weather, but I wore my Asics Gel Solution Speed 2 shoes during the same heat wave and there was a noticeable difference between the two. The Joma wasn't too bad, but I feel like a little more mesh in the uppers would help."
"My feet did not get too hot in these shoes despite playing in them during a heatwave," Chris said. "They seemed to allow heat to escape well, and my feet remained comfortable. I could keep the shoes on for a bit after a hit and not feel like my feet were cooking. Many shoes I like to take off as soon as I leave the court, but these allowed my feet to breathe enough that it was a non issue."
Mark was again impressed. He raved, "If a shoe has lots of mesh in the upper then I know it will be comfortable, but probably not stable enough for me on lateral movements. The Pro Roland had a good blend of mesh and other materials configured to make the shoe well ventilated without sacrificing shoe stability."
Once again, Andy found the Pro Roland to be good, but not great. He explained, "There are some perforations throughout the upper that allow air to enter the shoe and keep your feet cool and dry as you play. However, there isn't a ton of mesh on the upper, so I didn't get breathability all over my feet."
Arch Support - Score: 3.4
With a slightly lower than medium arch support, the Pro Roland drew a wide range of opinions from the TW playtesters. Jason was very happy with how these shoes fit hit low arches. He explained, "There were no issues for me in this department. The arches were a bit noticeable during the first hour of playtesting, but they were totally comfortable after that."
Chris has a significantly higher arch than Jason. He said, "The initial height of the arch support felt a tad low to me. However, the fit and feel got better as the shoes broke in. Most importantly, I found ample support from the midfoot shank. I liked the level of support I was finding, both when sprinting in toward the net and when moving laterally across the baseline. I never felt any undue strain to my arches. I felt pretty locked in and comfortable in these shoes."
Andy struggled with the arch support. He commented, "I don't have a particularly low or high arch, but I do like good support under my arches to keep my knees and back happy. I felt these shoes didn't offer much in that regard, and I could feel my feet pronating inwards a bit. I've worn shoes with worse arch support, but these aren't for someone who likes having decent pressure underneath their arch."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.9
The stability and support of the Pro Roland held up to the movements of our playtesters. Mark said, "The construction of the upper provided me with plenty of lateral stability without making me feel like I was locked into the shoe. The forefoot was fine (top to bottom) even though the rubber webbing broke, but the back end of the shoe began to feel softer than I would have liked. It did a good job cushioning the heel strike on the court, but it was really the only aspect of the shoe that didn't feel extremely stable."
The uppers of these shoes held Chris' feet pretty well. He commented, "They are not the stiffest or most secure shoes out there, but they blend adequate support with lots of comfort. These shoes flexed well in the forefoot, so I felt comfortable and confident in them when sprinting around. The lateral support piece did a solid job of holding my feet on the footbed of the shoe when I was making an aggressive lateral cut. However, my first pair of shoes broke at the TPU forefoot support on the lateral side of my right shoe. It pulled away from the upper and was no longer supportive. I did not have any issues with my second pair."
"This was a pretty stable shoe," offered Jason. "I was confident moving from sideline to sideline. I felt like the uppers did a good job keeping my feet from rolling over, but as I mentioned in the 'comfort' section, the support was not there. My feet didn't feel locked in, and when I stopped my feet would jam into the front of the shoe."
Andy had a couple of small issues, saying, "Support and stability, especially during aggressive cuts on court, were sufficient but not exceptional. I thought the lateral support was pretty good, with the TPU pieces that wrap up and around the sides of the shoe, but my foot was moving forward and back inside the shoe quite a bit. The Pro Roland does sit pretty low to the ground, which helps the stability."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 4.1
Our playtesters were impressed with the outsole durability the Joma Pro Roland offered. Andy raved, "The outsole of this shoe held up really well throughout the test. It actually shows very little wear, and there was plenty of tread left for me to continue using the shoe after the test. Even right under the big toe, where I normally can wear down a shoe over the course of a playtest, there weren't any signs of balding after a good 20-30 hours of on-court use."
Jason agreed. He said, "There was a good amount of tread left on the outsole at the end of my 15-hour playtest. It's no Barricade, but for a $79.95 shoe WITH a durability guarantee, I was impressed."
Mark was on the same page as the other playtesters. He described his experience by saying, "The front end of the shoe wears very well. After 20 hours of hard court play I still have some hours left on the sole."
Toe Durability - Score: 2.3
While the toe of the Joma Pro Roland was durable, some playtesters had issues with the upper. Mark explained, "The toe portion of the Pro Roland holds up well for the 5.0 (close to 50) singles player, like myself. However, my shoe sort of broke down on the upper. The webbing on the medial side of the shoe cracked in a couple of spots. That occurred after maybe 10 hours of play. So far the shoe has held up everywhere else."
Andy had a similar issue, stating, "The tip of the toe area held up fine, but I'll take this opportunity to address the durability of the upper of this shoe, specifically in the toe box area. I was able to rip through the rubber that lays over the mesh, and when I did the stability of the shoe was compromised. I'd thought I'd gotten a defective pair, but my fellow playtester, Mark, broke through the same area. The rubber in the toe box did not hold up well."
Traction - Score: 4.1
Traction was one of the biggest strengths of the Joma Pro Roland. Andy thought the outsole of this shoe was its best feature "because of both the durability and traction that it offered." He continued, "It grabbed the court really well, yet still had enough give to allow me to slide on the hard courts. The traction this shoe offered instilled confidence in my on-court movement."
Mark also raved about the traction. He said, "Whether I was on an indoor or outdoor hard court, the traction was pretty top notch. I do not slide on hard courts, but I do like a shoe that gives a little when changing directions, and this shoe was spot on for that. There was just enough slip when turning a corner to keep me from jarring my joints."
"I was impressed with the amount of grip I got from these shoes," agreed Chris. "I was able to stop quickly without worrying about sliding too much. These shoes offered all the grip I needed when I took a quick step or burst into a fast sprint. When I did slide in the shoes it was mostly on lateral stops. The amount of slide I found was very predictable and about average compared to other shoes. It was easy to slide out of a wide shot and recover quickly back to the middle of the court."
Jason had just a small hiccup with the traction. He explained, "The overall traction was pretty good for this shoe, but I thought it did better with side to side movements than it did with moving forward. There were a handful of times when I felt the shoe slip a bit on the first step when I was going forward for a ball."
Weight - Score: 3.9
While the Joma Pro Roland is not in the lightweight shoe category, our playtesters found it played much lighter than its weight. Mark said, "I never looked at their weight until after the playtest. They felt like they were light during the playtest, and I'd say they played much lighter than 15.5 ounces (for a men's size US 10.5)."
Jason agreed, adding, "It feels lighter than what the scale shows. The shoe has a nice low-to-the-ground feel to it, and the weight distribution provides a smooth heel to toe transition."
Andy thought the weight was another area where the shoe was pretty good, but not great. He explained, "The Pro Roland is fairly low-profile in design and had me feeling low to the ground, which made it feel pretty fast and lightweight. However, the upper, especially in the midfoot and heel area, is a little clunky and adds weight. With that said, I didn't feel that the shoe slowed me down at all, and I felt I could move pretty much at top speed."
On the other hand, Chris found the shoe to feel a tad heavy. He offered, "While the shoe itself is not that heavy, it didn't transition as well from heel to toe as other shoes. For instance, the Lotto Ultra IV Speed is similar in weight but feels lighter and faster on court to me. I didn't feel like the shoe was slowing me down, it was just that I felt more of its weight while moving around."
Overall - Score: 3.6
Chris- "I liked the comfort, traction, style and overall fit and feel of this shoe."
Jason- "The arch fit great for my foot type. Solid traction and durability. Great price-to-value shoe."
Andy- "A solid, all-around performance offering. The outsole offered above average durability and traction. This shoe did a lot of things well, but it wasn't great in any area."
Mark- "The out-of-the-box comfort, color scheme, general aesthetics, zero toe jam on quick stops, traction/slip ratio and ventilation were all pretty darn good."
Chris- "My first pair broke, which was a concern. However, my second pair is holding up well."
Jason- "The fit in the toe box narrows too quickly for my feet, and I couldn't lock in my feet and stop the toe jamming issue when stopping."
Andy- "The Pro Roland felt a little soft and flimsy at times. I hate to say it, but it felt a little cheap."
Mark- "The upper broke down before the sole wore out, which probably will not sit well with mothers of junior players."
Comparing this shoe to other shoes they've worn our testers said:
Chris- "I would put this shoe somewhere between a solid offering like the Prince T22, the KSwiss Ultrascendor and the Diadora Speed Star K we recently tested. This one has the substantial feel of the T22 but also has some of the comfort of the Diadora and KSwiss."
Jason- "The Joma Pro Roland has that lighter feel of an Asics Gel Game but has the toe jamming issues of the adidas Barricade 7/8."
Andy- "The Pro Roland offers a low-to-the-ground feel with all-around performance that felt most similar to the Fila Sentinel to me. The Sentinel is a little more solid and stable, but the Pro Roland feels lighter and faster. At its price point, this is certainly a good offering that can be used by almost any level of player."
Mark- "In terms of room up front, and arch height, my feet were treated well by the Joma Pro Roland. I would say that the toe box was middle of the road, as was the arch height. Perhaps worth noting: I was able to get my aftermarket insole in and wear it perfectly. Some shoes do not have enough vertical clearance for the custom insert. With the exception of the width up front, the Pro Roland reminded me of the Head Speed Pro Lite, which I really liked as well."
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Andy - Medium width / Low arch
Mark - Medium width / Medium arch
Review date: June 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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