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Prince Rebel Review Shoe Review

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Prince Rebel Shoe Scores
Comfort 4.0
Ventilation 3.6
Arch Support 3.6
Foot Support/Stability 4.1
Overall Sole Durability 3.6
Toe Durability 4.1
Traction 4.2
Weight 4.2
Overall 4.0

Upsides

  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • Low to the ground
  • Stability

Downsides

  • Guaranteed, but not durable

Summary

We are happy to report that this Rebel does have a cause. Our team felt this shoe provided a faster, lower to the ground ride, while not giving up any of the stability, traction and comfort found in most Prince shoes. An excellent fit from the uppers kept our testers' feet happy while they were putting the Rebel through its paces. If there were a knock against the Rebel, however, it was its durability. Though some of our testers found the durability to be lacking, the shoe does come with a six-month durability guarantee, which should ease the concerns of aggressive movers. This Prince Rebel is an offering that will please players looking for Prince comfort and stability, but in a lighter, faster package.


Video Review

When you hear "rebel," you think of one who bucks the trend, goes against the norm and takes his own path. Perhaps you think of James Dean, the Rebel Without a Cause? Prince, it seems, wants to replace those mental images with its brand. There are two models of Rebel racquets, and there's now a Rebel shoe as well.

The Rebel shoe captures that rebellious spirit. Its cosmetics appear bold when lined up against its Prince footwear siblings. Bright colors and aggressive cosmetics are matched with a new direction for Prince footwear.

Often known for being well cushioned, sturdy and durable, Prince shoes have a big following. With the Rebel, Prince seeks to build on that reputation by adding lighter and faster to its shoe resumÄ.

So does this Prince Rebel fulfill its cause of taking Prince shoes in a new direction? Our testers took to the hard courts to put it to the test.

Comfort - Score: 4.0

Nike Air Court Ballistec 3.3

Designed to keep your feet low to the ground, the Rebel still offered our testers plenty of comfort from its fit and Shock Eraser Pro cushioning in the heel. Chris had few complaints, saying, "These shoes were pretty comfortable. They broke in very quickly, and the uppers felt supple from the get-go. The cushioning felt pretty minimal, which I actually like. I had lots of court feel in these shoes and felt very low to the ground -- especially in the forefoot. The forefoot cushioning reminded me of the Babolat Team All Court 3, which also put me very close to the ground. The Rebels seemed to flex and move with my feet in all the right places and allowed me to just concentrate on hitting. The only discomfort came when I caught the midfoot shank of my left shoe on my right ankle when making a crossover step. The shank has raised script on it. The finish on the script is a little sharp, and it cut my right ankle when my feet came together. I apparently bring my feet together more than I realized as the script on the shank of the left shoe nicked my right ankle several times. Apart from that, I had no other comfort issues."

Fit was king for Granville, who said, "The Rebel fit my foot very well, top to bottom, all around. It offers a glove-like fit similar to some of the highest end shoes on the market. I also felt good cushioning in the heel with a low profile. Soft materials also enhanced the comfort."

Jackson also enjoyed the comfort, saying, "This shoe required very little break-in time, and I didn't have any complaints on court. The shoes provided good cushioning. Nothing plush, but comfortable to wear and very supportive. For how low my foot sat in the shoe, I didn't experience much shock coming through the midsole, and I think the Shock Eraser Pro technology really helped out in the heel. I didn't experience any blistering or roughing up of calluses. The shoe became almost slipper-like in terms of comfort the more I wore them, and I found myself looking forward to lacing them up."

"I liked the immediate comfort the shoe offered," said Jason. "The uppers were supple and no break-in was required. Cushioning in the heel was great; I had no issues with harsh landings. The Shock Eraser Pro seemed to do a great job of erasing most shock. Even though I loved the low-to-the-ground feel in the forefoot, I thought cushioning could've been improved in that area. As far as fit goes, I had no problems from the heel through the midfoot, but the forefoot didn't feel snug."

Spencer hit the court running. He said, "I thought the comfort was good. Good to the point that a break-in was not necessary. The first hit I had in them was pleasurable from a footwear standpoint. Though the cushioning element felt firm (Shock Eraser Pro insert) it was effective, and didn't raise any issues. I was happy with how the Rebels molded to my feet. The fit was very good, which always helps accentuate the comfort."

Ventilation - Score: 3.6

The team found ventilation in the Rebel to be adequate for the most part. Jason noted, "I definitely would've preferred additional mesh and/or perforations in the uppers. Oddly enough, when I just wore them around they felt hot. But when I played in them the lack of ventilation wasn't as noticeable."

"I found an average level of venting in these shoes," said Chris. "My feet never got exceptionally hot, and my socks didn't get too soaked in sweat. I played in two pairs of thinner socks as well as thick Level 3 Thorlos, and in both instances I was comfortable."

The balance of materials in the upper was to Spencer's liking. He said, "A great combination of mesh and synthetic in the upper allowed for good breathability while not hampering the support and fit. Sometimes too much mesh can allow for a 'sloppy' feel. That was not the case here."

Jackson stated, "Ventilation has never been a huge factor for me when wearing a shoe because my ankle braces tend to suffocate my feet anyway. I tried walking around in these without my braces and I could feel a very slight draft coming through. I also noticed they weren't as swampy as some other shoes after long hitting sessions."

The shoe's breathability was average for Granville. He said, "While the materials seem to lend themselves to better ventilation, I did not notice any cooling benefit while on the court."

Arch Support - Score: 3.6

The TW playtesters had varying opinions on the effectiveness of the medium height arch support in the Rebel. For Granville, it was neither good nor bad. He said, "The arch support is about average, as they are in all shoes. I use the orthotic-like insoles in all shoes, and these Rebels take the after market insole in stride (ha -- pun intended)."

Feeling comfortable with the support, Jackson reported, "I never experienced any foot pain or soreness walking off the court. I thought the arch support was ample, without putting unwanted pressure on my arches."

Jason noted a need for a break-in, saying, "I needed a couple times out on the court before the arches wore down. At first, I felt slight soreness in my arches, but after those initial wears I had no issues."

With high arches, Chris had a differing opinion. He said, "The shoes felt pretty flat through the arches to me. Toward the end of the test the insole felt compressed, and I wasn't finding much cushioning there. The midfoot shank was exceptionally supportive, which had the shoes flexing nicely toward the toe. I was just an aftermarket insole away from some really good support, as it would have given me the arch height I needed to go along with the excellent torsional stability I found."

Spencer stated, "The medium height arches did well with support. No more, no less."

Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.1

Equipped with a sturdy TPU midfoot shank, the Rebel impressed the team with its stability and weight. Spencer said, "Being that this is in Prince's LightSpeed Series of shoes, I was very happy with the support and stability. I felt comfortable from the get-go, relying on the shoe to perform when changing direction. I could go full speed in one direction, plant and turn to go the opposite direction without any fear of rollover or instability. The lightweight midfoot plastic shank was rigid enough to help with that good stability."

Also praising the Rebel was Jason, who said, "It's one of the best shoes I've tested this year as far as stability goes. I was very impressed with how well my feet were held in place. I was moving aggressively from side to side without hesitation. There was some sliding around within the shoe, however. When trying to stop while going forward, I could feel my foot slightly slip and shift to the front of the shoe."

Chris was strapped in and ready to play. He said, "I was able to lace this shoe tightly enough to find lots of support. I have narrow feet but was able to find a nice and supportive fit in these shoes. The shoe also resisted twisting well, providing nice lateral stability (thanks to that beefy midfoot shank). Feeling locked in and stable, I was able to play aggressively and confidently in these shoes."

"This shoe enjoys that low profile, which adds some stability," said Granville. "For the very extreme players -- I think you should be using ankle braces anyway!"

Jackson had some issues with the design. He stated, "The stability might be my only area of complaint, and even that criticism is minor. I pronate when I run and I also tend to use the medial part of the shoe when changing direction, which usually means I gravitate to shoes with a wider base. These shoes did not have much of a flare on the outsole, and when I attempted to stop on a lateral run I found myself practicing the splits. I ended up changing that aspect of my footwork (which could be for the better) to adjust to this. Despite the relatively narrow foot base, I felt the shoe offered plenty of support in the upper, especially for the amount of mesh that was incorporated. Prince's engineers seemed to really figure this shoe out."

Sole Durability - Score: 3.6

Nike Air Court Ballistec 3.3

The PRC 1000 outsole's durability drew mixed reviews from the team. Jackson was happy with its performance. He said, "I thought the durability was pretty impressive on this shoe. I took these shoes to the court pretty much every time I played and saw very little wear on the outsoles. I feel like these would last right up to the 6-month guarantee period, if not longer, because the only evidence of wear on the outsole is the dirt and ball fuzz."

Agreeing with Jackson, Granville said, "The shoes are just now showing wear across the outsole. It seems very tough on the court, not too soft, where they will wear out too quickly."

Jason was on the fence, saying, "I remember playtesting these shoes when they first came out, and the outsole wore out pretty quickly. These new iterations supposedly fixed the durability issue. Judging by my playtest, Prince seemed to have addressed the problem somewhat. The outsole lasted longer than before, but still isn't as tank-like as, say, a Barricade. I still saw the same wear patterns, which were on the medial side of the forefoot on both shoes."

The shoe was not holding up for Chris, who said, "I saw a lot of wear on the outsoles of these shoes. My usual areas of wear started to show up pretty quickly. By the end of the test I had worn through the black portion of the outsole under my right big toe and was down to the white rubber underneath. The outsoles seemed to be made of fairly quick wearing rubber. Unlike the ultra durable outsoles I've found from Prince in the past, this outsole seemed to offer better flex but was faster wearing. I found the durability about a quarter of what I found in the Prince T22s."

Spencer agreed, saying, "This was the one downside to the Rebel. The medial sides of the forefoot and toe on both shoes wore away rather prematurely. When I first wore them I thought the outsole felt a little hard. When I was walking to the court the shoes made a 'slap' type of sound. It made me worry about the traction, as I've experienced shoes with a harder feeling outsole in the past to be more durable, but lack in traction. However, with the Rebel the traction was good and the durability was poor."

Toe Durability - Score: 4.1

Unlike the outsole durability, the toe was holding up for our toe draggers. Chris said, "I found the toe tip to be very durable on these shoes. The rubber outsole material wraps up nicely over the tip of the shoes to protect the upper from dragging. I drag the tip of my left shoe heavily and that rubber really helped protect the shoes. I also occasionally drag the medial side of the forefoot of my right shoe. I took a small patch of the Duraskin II protective layer off, but otherwise the shoes looked to be holding up very well."

"Only the most extreme toe draggers may have an issue with these shoes," said Granville. "You would have to rub the top of the shoe on the ground to see any wear."

Jackson was also pleased. He said, "I noticed more scuff marks on the shoe than what's normal for me, but the shoe seemed to take it well. The material around the shoe looks and feels like it could take a lot more abuse."

Traction - Score: 4.2

Nike Air Court Ballistec 3.3

The outsole gripped the courts well for our testers. Chris said, "Traction was OK in these shoes. I slipped some at the start, but it seemed to mostly go away once the outsoles were scrubbed in. The shoes gripped better after that, but traction was never exceptional. Toward the end of the test the traction was going away again slightly, with still just enough grip for competitive play. Starting and stopping was never an issue, it was only when pushing off laterally that I had issues."

Granville said, "This is one of the best features of the shoe. I had no issues with sliding on the court even in the most extreme situations."

The traction took Spencer by surprise. He stated, "From the start of the playtest I was very happy with the traction. As I mentioned before, I was worried before my first play in them that traction was going to be an issue, as I felt the outsole compound was too hard. A hard outsole in my experience equals good durability but poor traction. Not the case here. Traction was excellent, even with the slappy sound and harder feel. The only slips I encountered came late in my playtest when the tread was very worn."

Jackson raved, "This was another area that testified to the integrity of the outsole. I felt like I could stop on a flea's nose. Besides the slipping that I experienced when turning the shoe on its medial side I didn't have any more stretching sessions on court."

Also pleased with the shoe's grip was Jason, who said, "Not much to complain about here. The modified herringbone tread pattern gripped the hard courts very well. From planting to changing directions to taking off for a shot, the shoe remained firmly planted underneath me. There were a few instances when I felt the shoe give, but never fully slide out. And that was to be expected, as it happens to all the shoes I've worn."

Weight - Score: 4.2

The Rebel was designed to be a lighter, faster Prince shoe. The shoes struck a good balance for Spencer, who said, "I enjoyed the weight of the shoe. Prince did a good job creating a semi-lightweight shoe (sub-16 ounces/size 10.5) while maintaining good support and stability. These are key elements to me in a good shoe."

Jackson had an "Arriba, Arriba!" moment. He said, "I really enjoyed the weight of these shoes, or lack thereof, I should say. I felt like Speedy Gonzales in these babies. Shots out wide, drop shots or short angles, I was able to at least get a racquet on all of them, if not more. I really felt like I could run down any ball, which was a huge confidence boost. Combine that with the energy and stamina I was saving by not having to drag around lead weights on my feet and I was able to cause some real frustration for my opponents."

The number on the scale pleased Granville, who said, "They weigh less than a pound per foot -- just the way I like it!"

Jason felt the design benefited the shoe. "The Rebels are not light, but not noticeably heavy, either," said Jason. "Because it has that lower ride it might've given the illusion of a more lightweight shoe. I didn't think twice about the weight of the shoe once I put it on, so that was a good thing."

"I was impressed by the weight of these shoes," said Chris. "They felt light and fast. I never felt slowed by any added mass. Considering the support and stability I found, I would say the weight felt very light for the level of performance. The sense of the shoes feeling light was boosted by the good fit I found. I had no slipping or sliding inside the shoes, so they never felt clunky or awkward."

Overall - Score: 4.0

Likes

Chris "I liked the fit, support, stability and low to the ground ride."

Granville "Very comfortable and excellent traction."

Jackson "I liked the fact that I forgot about the shoe once they were laced. They fit my foot like a glove, without being too restricting. The light weight let me use the extra energy I was saving to run for every shot."

Jason "The support, low to the ground feel, traction and responsive heel cushioning."

Spencer "The comfort and performance feel."

Dislikes

Chris "I would have liked better traction. The sharp script on the shank also really ticked me off."

Granville "Not crazy about the color green -- but this green is very understated so I'm good to go."

Jackson "Even though the shoe was stable, I still like the feeling of having a wider base on the outsole."

Jason "Not much. Ideally, they would've been a little bit wider with more mesh in the uppers."

Spencer "The durability was lacking."

Comparing the Prince Rebel to other tennis shoes they've tested, our testers said:

Chris "I found a different feel and ride in this shoe compared to what I expect when putting on a Prince shoe. The fit was the best I've ever found for my narrow feet from Prince. Usually my feet swim in Prince shoes, but these offered a nice and snug fit. I also usually expect an elevated and cushy ride from a Prince shoe. These offer a firm and low to the ground ride, and generally felt more performance oriented than I'd expect from Prince. I was somewhat reminded of the KSwiss BigShot and the New Balance 900, which both offered a low to the ground, performance feel."

Granville "Call me crazy, but the fit is very similar to my Barricades!"

Jackson "I got the same 'connected to the court' feel with these as I do with the Babolat Propulses with regards to movement. I think that Prince edges out the Propulses in terms of foot friendliness. They give a low ride without sacrificing comfort."

Jason "I loved the T20s and the T22s for the high level of cushioning. With these Rebels the focus seems to be more on aggressive court movement, which is unlike any other Prince shoe I've worn. I like it!"

Spencer "The Rebel was atypical of a Prince shoe. I usually think of something heavier, more cushioned and less sleek. The upper reminded me of the Fila Torneo shoe. They both have a combination of mesh and synthetic materials, and a secure, comfortable fit."

 


Playtester Foot Types:
Chris -Narrow width/High arch
Jason - Wide Width / Low arch
Spencer - Medium width/Medium arch
Granville - Narrow width, low arch

Review date: May 2011. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2011 Tennis Warehouse.