Prince Warrior Men's Shoe Review
- Toe jamming
The iconic Prince T22s deliver an extremely comfortable and supportive ride, but Prince felt there was still room to improve. The Warrior is their first attempt at making a great shoe even better. Did Prince succeed? Well, according to our playtesters the Warriors certainly do provide exceptional lateral stability, traction and durability, and we feel that even the most aggressive players will be satisfied with their performance in these categories. However, on court performance came at a bit of a cost. The weight of the Warriors bothered most of our team, who found the Warriors a tad heavy and clunky on court. In addition, most of our playtesters suffered from a toe jamming issue when coming to an abrupt stop. Our feet slid forward and our big toes took a hammering when they rammed into the end of the shoes. Fortunately, the Warriors do offer a level of lateral stability that surpasses the T22s, and their durability is up to Prince's usual high standard.
Comfort - Score: 2.8
There were mixed emotions from our playtest team when it came to the comfort of the Warriors, but there was a collective agreement when it came to the issue of toes jamming into the end of the shoes. For Jason, the issue was simply too much to overlook. He said, "There was one main reason why I had to score these shoes so low here, and that was the toe jamming. Every time I had to quickly stop my feet would slide into the front of the shoes and jam up against the hard material. It got to a point where I became tentative going for certain shots or making aggressive movements. As far as the cushioning goes, I thought it was good in the heel area but was slightly lacking in the forefoot. It felt sloppy to me."
Chris had a slightly better opinion of the comfort, but he also experienced the toe jamming. He said, "It was the tale of two cities for me when it came to comfort. On the one side, I really enjoyed the cushioned ride. The uppers felt supportive and comfortable after only a two-hour break-in, and the materials opened up nicely. I would have scored the shoes highly for comfort, as there was no poking or pinching from the upper materials, but about midway through the test I started to encounter some toe jamming inside these shoes. On quick stops my feet would slide within the shoes, and my toes would jam against the toe bumper. The toe of the Warrior is very hard, much like the adidas Barricade 8, and the jamming was excruciating. I had to be very particular with how I laced the shoes to try to limit the toe jamming, and even then I couldn't get rid of it completely. It's a shame, because otherwise the shoes felt great."
Granville gave the most positive review of the comfort because the Warriors worked especially well for his foot shape. He explained, "There was excellent cushioning, not only in the shoe bed, but all around my feet, making for an exceptionally comfortable shoe. The stock insole is contoured rubber and offers excellent comfort. It is heavy, but it's cushy. The shape/last of these shoes seemed to favor my foot shape, and was excellent for my feet and toes."
The Warriors just never worked well for Andy. He said, "I hate to start this review off on a bad note, but I did not find these shoes comfortable at all on court. They never fit me well no matter how I laced them. There isn't much cushioning underneath the feet (especially in the forefoot), and the upper's padding was minimal, too. The Warriors have things to offer the elite tennis player, but comfort wasn't one of them for me."
Ventilation - Score: 3.5
Our team felt that there was enough ventilation in the Warriors to keep them comfortable during play. The shoes worked just fine for Chris, who said, "Ventilation was pretty middle of the road for me. I never noticed my feet getting super hot in these shoes, but they were far from being the most breathable shoe. The mesh through the tongue and under the Kurim upper material let enough heat out to keep the shoes feeling comfortable."
Andy echoed those sentiments, explaining, "I never had any issues with the breathability of these shoes throughout the playtest. Even when I spent long hours in them, I never found my feet getting too hot or sweaty."
As long as he was wearing breathable socks, Jason stayed cool and dry enough. He offered, "If I wore thicker socks, like the Nike Elites, then my feet did feel like they were overheating slightly. However, with regular socks on I thought the ventilation was fine. They weren't the most breathable shoes by any means, but there was enough mesh in the uppers to keep ventilation from becoming an issue."
Rounding out the group was Granville. He offered, "These shoes provided minimal venting on top and better ventilation on the sides."
Arch Support - Score: 3.4
Most of our playtesters really enjoyed the Warriors' arch support. The support worked well for Chris' higher arches, and he felt it was much improved over previous Prince shoes he has worn. He explained, "These shoes feature a nice shank that added some solid support through the midfoot. My arches felt very supported. I was able to sprint and stop quickly with no stress to my arches. I also felt locked in and secure when I moved laterally. I was really happy with the arch support offered by these shoes and found it to be a HUGE improvement over the T22s."
The arch supports also worked well for Jason's flat feet, especially after a brief break-in period. He said, "I have low arches, and the support felt like it was a good fit for me. It did take a couple of hitting sessions before it became really comfortable, but I feel like the arch is slightly lower than the 'medium' we have listed."
On the contrary, Granville found very little support for his arches, although he does normally use aftermarket insoles. He said, "While I did enjoy the comfort of the soft rubber insole, it offered virtually nothing in the way of arch support. If you add an aftermarket insole you will lose some of the cushy comfort."
Andy continued to struggle with the overall fit of the Warriors, especially through the arch area. He offered, "These shoes never fit me just right, mostly due to the arch not hitting me in the right spot. The arch support never rested comfortably under my feet, and after long hours on court my knees and back started aching."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.7
For the most part, the support and stability of the Warriors really impressed us, with the exception of the toe jamming issue. The toe jamming Jason suffered was caused by slippage inside the shoe. He explained, "The support straps in the forefoot seemed to do a pretty good job keeping my feet stable during lateral movements. What really suffered for me was the foot support. I was unable to keep my feet from sliding inside the shoes, especially when I was moving forward and stopping. That was the main cause of the painful toe jam issues."
Chris also felt his toes jamming into the end of the Warriors, but only after the shoes softened up after quite a bit of use. He praised the lateral stability, saying, "These shoes supported my feet very well during lateral cuts. I was able to push off and sprint for my next shot very well thanks to the lateral support of the shoes. I also liked that the chassis offered plenty of stiffness to make the ride feel very stable. During the first part of this playtest I found good support when stopping from a quick sprint. However, after the uppers loosened up I found my feet started to slide around inside the shoes. I couldn't fix that issue and the end result was uncomfortable toe jamming on most quick stops."
The aspect Andy liked the most was the stability the Warriors offered. He said, "The strength of these shoes was how much stability they offered. They locked my feet in and didn't allow them to move around very much on quick cuts. The Warriors feel Barricade-like in this aspect, so players looking for shoes with the most stability need to give these a try."
Granville also felt comfortable and supported when moving aggressively on court. He said, "The soft padding that surrounded the top of my feet provided nice stability, as well as comfort. I did not feel the need to wear ankle braces due to the excellent fit."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.9
Durability proved to be another strength of the Warriors, and our team struggled to put a chink in the armor over the course of the test. Granville thought he might have found a weak spot, but overall he was pleased. He said, "The rubber outsole met my expectations when it came to durability. Early on I thought that the medial edge would be the first spot to wear down, but overall, the outsole held up nicely."
Jason was also impressed, saying, "The first signs of wear and tear were in the medial forefoot, which is where I usually wear down my shoes. It took about 13-15 hours before I really saw some balding. I thought the outsole material was fairly durable, and the shoes come with a six-month durability guarantee."
Chris, who's normally very tough on his shoes, found the durability to be above average. He explained, "Prince has built pretty durable shoes here. I was impressed with the way the outsoles held up. After playing in them for 15 hours I wore away a fair bit of rubber from under my right big toe. However, the shoes are holding up, and I probably have about the same amount of time left on them before I wear completely through the midsole. These shoes aren't quite as durable as a Barricade 8, but they are right in there with most six-month guaranteed shoes."
Andy was also pleased with the durability the Warriors, although he didn't put his normal amount of wear and tear on them. He explained, "These shoes lasted for the whole playtest and never showed much sign of wear. Considering how beefy and solid they feel I'm sure they'd last long enough to satisfy even the most demanding players. However, I can't completely vouch for the durability because of the limited wear I put on them. I never felt like I could move at top speed because of how clunky they were, and I didn't get to wear them all that much because of how much they hurt my feet."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.2
Chris, our resident toe dragger, could not put a dent in the toe area of the Warriors. He found plenty of protection for even the worst toe draggers, saying, "The toes of these shoes are built up very well for durability. I found the Duraskin XD uppers to hold up very well to court abrasion. No matter how much abuse I gave the uppers they just kept on coming back for more. Even at the end of the test the uppers are in good shape. Sure, I have plenty of scuff marks around the toes of both shoes, but there's still ample material left intact. I will likely go through the outsoles before I go through the uppers of these shoes."
Traction - Score: 4.1
The Warriors provided loads of traction for our playtesters, and we found them to be especially sticky on hard courts. Granville even surprised himself at times with how well he could put on the brakes in these shoes. He raved, "The soft outsole rubber provided excellent traction. It was very sticky on the court, and I could stop without any skidding."
Andy also found exceptional grip. He said, "The outsole was very sticky, which is once again very much like the Barricade. Players who like to slide on the hard courts should probably look elsewhere since these shoes aren't the best for that kind of movement. Players looking for a secure fit with excellent traction should check these out."
Traction was one of the standout features of these shoes for Jason. He offered, "The traction was a highlight of the Warriors, but I think my reluctancy to move at 100 percent because of the toe jamming could've played a part in why I felt the traction was so solid. I can't recall more than a couple times when I slipped going for a shot, which is above par."
Chris had no issues either, saying, "The traction was pretty solid from these shoes. I had the occasional slip here and there, but nothing really to write home about (sorry mom. I'll write soon. I promise!). For the most part I found plenty of grip to push off aggressively and get a quick first step toward my next shot. I had no issues coming to a stop. I also found the traction to be good when cutting laterally."
Weight - Score: 2.6
The Warriors weighed in as a heavyweight, and they certainly felt that way to our testers when they were moving around on court. Andy was inhibited a bit by the weight of these shoes. He critiqued, "The Warriors are heavy, clunky and don't hide their weight well. They feel very heavy while on court and never really allowed me to move at top speed at any point during the playtest."
Jason was reminded of another shoe that's known for stability and durability. He said, "The weight of these shoes reminded me of the Barricades -- and that's not necessarily a good thing. I would've liked more cushioning considering the heaviness of these shoes."
The weight didn't surprise Granville. He said, "There was no way around these being on the heavy side. Cushioned padding, tough materials, soft and sticky outsole -- all these things add weight. Everything looks new and plush, and the shoes do offer those Prince shoe fans a really updated option."
Chris felt the weight but didn't feel it hurt the performance as much as the other playtesters did. He explained, "The Warriors are solidly built, and I could feel their weight. All of that support and durability comes at the price of some added weight, but I never found the shoes to feel slow or too heavy. In fact, I found the shoes to transition well from heel to toe, and I was able to sprint around the court just fine."
Overall - Score: 3.1
Chris - "I liked the cushioning, traction, support, stability, durability and styling."
Granville - "They're very comfortable, and among the most comfortable and cushioned performance shoes I've worn. Good traction, too."
Jason - "Traction. And the arch support was a good fit for my feet."
Andy - "Very stable and durable. Almost top marks in those categories."
Chris - "The toe jamming was a major bummer and marred an otherwise very impressive ride."
Granville - "Just a bit heavy."
Jason - "The toe jamming issue was so big that it overshadowed almost every other aspect of these shoes."
Andy - "They weren't comfortable, never fit me right and were too heavy."
Comparing the Warrior to other shoes they've worn, our testers said:
Chris - "The stability, durability and traction of the Warrior are right up there with the adidas Barricade V through 8, as well as the likes of the Nike Air Max Cage, Head Sprint Pro, Wilson Rush Pro, Lotto Raptor Ultra IV Speed and Prince's own T22. While they don't feel as fast as the Raptors or Sprint Pros, they offer equal cushioning. I found them more supportive and stable (especially through the arch) than the T22s."
Granville - "I like the way these shoes fit my feet from the laces up (as well as down.) The cushioned collar provided good feedback on the risk of 'roll-over.' They felt more stable than the Prince T22."
Jason - "The Warriors have the same problem with toe jamming as the Barricade 8s."
Andy - "The Warriors are in the same weight class as the Barricade 8s, and they are going to appeal to the same type of player. If your priority is stability and durability, the Warriors should be on your radar."
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Granville - Narrow width / Low arch
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Andy - Medium width / Low arch
Review date: July 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
All content copyright 2014 Tennis Warehouse.