Lacoste Gravitate Shoe Review
Having evolved from a tennis apparel brand to a leading fashion house, Lacoste steps into the performance tennis arena with the introduction of a new line of modern performance tennis shoes.
There's no doubt performance was the focus of the Lacoste Gravitate tested here. Featuring uppers made from a combination of leather and mesh, the shoes are not only breathable, but lightweight as well. As you'll see from the results of our month-long playtest, our testers were impressed with Lacoste's performance tennis footwear.
Our TW playtest team found the overall comfort of the Lacoste Gravitate to be very good once the shoes were broken in. Chris enjoyed the ventilation, as well as the cushioning of the shoes. "It took quite awhile for me to break these shoes in. At first, they were very stiff in the heel area and rubbed my feet during play. After about a week of wear, the shoes softened up. Once fully broken-in, the comfort was great. I liked the level of cushioning and never had any further rubbing from the uppers. The ventilation was pretty good and I was able to play comfortably, even on really hot days. I also liked how the uppers wrapped my feet, especially in the forefoot. I found a very comfortable and supportive fit for my narrow feet."
Also finding some initial break-in necessary was Jason. "From the get go, I thought that the cushioning on these shoes was pretty decent, especially for a shoe that has such a low to the ground feel. What bothered me at first was the fit around the ankle collar. The collar around the heel ran a tad high for my taste. The first three or four times on the court I felt the back heel of the shoe rubbing against my Achilles, which caused some discomfort. After the initial break-in period the rubbing was no longer an issue." Spencer also felt some rubbing in the heel. "Though the Gravitate was okay once broken-in, they took their toll on the epidermis located above the heel on the Achilles tendon. It took about two hitting sessions to get through that discomfort, but once there this shoe offered good comfort. Medium level cushioning provided a good balance between cushioning and court feel."
Using these shoes for more than just tennis was Danny. "I thought this was a comfortable shoe. There wasn't that much cushioning, but I thought it was a solid shoe design. My only issue with the comfort and cushioning was at the beginning of my test. The shoe needed to be broken-in for about a week before the uppers started to give in. Once the shoes were broken-in the comfort was much improved. I did some cardio training in them and found the Gravitate to be a great shoe for running on a treadmill!"
Even with all four playtesters having varied arches, the Lacoste Gravitate seemed to please across the board. We found the arch support to be slightly lower than medium. Spencer said, "The arch support worked out for me as it felt medium, giving plenty of comfort and support where needed." Jason had no complaints. "These shoes gave my arches no pain whatsoever. The arch support felt low to me, which may be a problem for those players with a high arch."
Even with his higher arches, Chris enjoyed the support. "My arches felt well supported in these shoes. I was able to push off aggressively on forward sprints without any strain on my arches. That is the one move in particular that can aggravate my arches, but I never had such issues in these shoes." Danny felt the support was second to none. "I thought the arch support was perfect! This shoe was very supportive. It was a great fit for my narrow foot. I would say the arch support is a low to medium fit. I always thought my arch was better suited to a higher fit, but after testing this arch supported shoe, it makes me think differently."
For a shoe to be truly regarded as a "high performance" offering it must score high marks in the support and stability department. The Lacoste Gravitate stepped up to meet our performance expectations. Danny was impressed. "Again, I thought the support for this shoe was great. From the arch, to the overall foot support, I thought my foot was supported during all movements. Some shoes are just made better than others and will offer good support, despite their cut. The Lacoste Gravitate is one of these shoes."
The design of the shoe allowed Jason to really tighten up on the laces. "I thought Lacoste did a tremendous job in this area. The way the lacing system is designed allows you to really cinch up on the laces and make a snug fit that wraps around your feet. Once I had the shoes laced up tight, I knew my feet weren't going anywhere. Not once did I feel my ankles or feet start to turn and roll. It's a great feeling to have that much confidence in a shoe. The best thing was, I didn't have to think about these shoes and could just concentrate on tennis." Spencer was in agreement. "Once I was able to lace them up taut, I enjoyed the support. The synthetic and mesh upper was somewhat pliable, making it possible to cinch them up to a glove like fit. With no sloppiness inside the shoe, I was able to move rather well. Changing direction laterally was not a problem, as the Gravitates allowed me to stay secure when planting and turning."
Chris found great confidence playing in the Gravitates. "The support and stability was great, and I scored the shoes very high in this area (I gave them a 4.5). I found a nice, supportive fit for my narrow feet. The shoes also felt very secure on lateral moves. The shoes flexed just enough to allow the outsoles to stay in contact with the court (no lifting on the inner edge), yet there was no fear of rolling over in them."
Overall Sole Durability
For well over a month our TW playtesters tried their best to wear down the MBS600 rubber compound used on the Lacoste Gravitates. We were very impressed with the results. Jason gave the shoes high marks. "I found above average wear and tear durability. I thought that the rubber held up well, and was comparable to high-end shoes from Nike and Adidas. Tread loss throughout the shoe was kept to a minimum. I noticed only some balding on the medial side of the forefoot."
Not too shocked with the results was Spencer. "The MBS 600 outsole worked well. No surprises here. I showed typical wear in the forefoot, right at the ball of the foot." Chris was impressed with how the shoes held up. "The outsoles held up well. I also tested the Lacoste Repel, which features the same outsole material, and both held up well for me, with these showing a tad more wear. During the test I played in these shoes for over a month, and at the end the tread has worn smooth under my big toe. Apart from that, the outsoles are in good shape."
Wearing these shoes beyond his typical playtesting period was Danny. "I beat these shoes up pretty good for a long while. I probably have about 30 hours of testing on this shoe and I was surprised I didn't see more wear. Most shoes that I test, I put in about 15-20 hours. I put more hours in on this shoe and noticed less wear. I am impressed with the durability of this shoe."
The Lacoste Gravitate strayed away from the bulky look with a thinner toe guard. Even with less material, the durability was impressive. Our two toe-draggers, Danny and Chris, put the shoes to the test. Danny was sold on the high durability rubber. "I had to give a higher score in the toe durability department vs. overall sole durability due to my habit of wearing out the toe first. The bottom or top of the toe was very durable. I didn't think this shoe was going to be as durable as it was. It was surprising. Every time I stepped on the court, I was shocked to see how new the shoe looked. I would attribute the good durability to the great material that has been provided in this shoe. My first signs of wear were on the uppers near the toe guard. I think the stitching was slightly coming apart on my right shoe. Other than that, no complaints." Also impressed was Chris. "The toes held up well on my test shoes. The bumper is not too excessive, so it didn't make the front of the shoe look bulky or feel heavy, yet it did a good job of protecting the uppers, especially the mesh in the vamp."
The Lacoste Gravitate outsole features a combination of honeycomb and herringbone patterns. Our playtesters found the outsoles to grip the hard courts well.
Spencer needed a small break-in period for maximum traction. "At the beginning, the soles felt a little plastic-like and slick. However, once I got through the initial 'slick layer' the soles performed well, and it felt more like the type of grippy traction I like on hard courts." Chris seemed to notice the same thing. "On the first wear the shoes slipped a little, but after that the level of traction was good. I only played on hard courts, and found the outsoles to offer a good blend or traction and give. There are times on lateral moves where I need the outsoles to give a little to help prevent a roll over, and these shoes came through. When I needed to push hard for a quick sprint to net there was plenty of grip on offer."
Finding the excellent traction to be an asset to his game was Danny. "When a shoe has great support and good traction, you have to give it a good score. I think this would be a good shoe for clay as well. The tread pattern is aggressive. I never slipped once on the court or within the shoe, which is a great combination for those that rely on their footwork. Those are the key elements that gets me by in my game." Jason felt the traction was out of the park. "Another homerun for this shoe. I thought this shoe gripped the hard courts very well. The mix of a herringbone pattern and a honeycomb pattern provided excellent traction, whether it be starting and stopping or making quick changes of direction."
The Lacoste Gravitate felt light and responsive on the feet of our playtesters. Danny had high praise for this shoe. "I think this shoe plays lighter than listed. This is an above average shoe when considering the light weight feel it offers. It didn't feel as light as an Asics Gel Resolution, but what shoe does? I thought it was a great shoe for maneuverability. There was no clunky feel with this shoe!" Chris also enjoyed the light feel. "The shoes felt very light on my feet. I think the softness of the mesh in the vamp helped give the shoes a very light feel towards the toe. I felt like I could move quickly in these shoes. There seemed to be enough weight for support, yet none that would slow me down."
Loving the combination of support and weight was Jason. "I never gave weight another thought after my initial impressions upon putting the shoes on for the first time. The shoes felt lightweight and they moved well, which was surprising considering how supportive they were. I thought the shoe would have played heavier." Spencer felt the shoes played lighter than the listed weight. "I was very happy with the weight. I wouldn't have guessed it to be 15.6 ounces (in a 10.5), as they felt very light on my feet. I had to do a double take at the listed weight after playing in them. I really did feel like my foot speed was a bit faster in these."
Our TW playtest team was impressed with this offering from Lacoste. There was definitely a needed break-in period, which allowed the material around the ankle collars and heels to soften and the rubber outsole to wear in. Once broken-in, superior comfort, support and traction became the stand out features. Our two toe-dragging playtesters loved the low profile toe guard that still provided excellent durability. Bearing the iconic crocodile logo, our playtesters expected a stylish, well-designed shoe, and they were not disappointed. Offered in both a black and a white version, the cosmetics were a hit with our team. The Lacoste Gravitate offers a great blend of performance and styling that players of all levels will enjoy. We feel they are a perfect choice for aggressive players looking to enhance speed and footwork.