Prince T10 shoe review

Prince broke away from its traditional style of tennis shoe with the 2005 introduction of the T10. Built on an all new last (coded the P804 last), the T10 is designed to suit players with medium to narrow width feet looking for a contoured, performance fit. To go with the new last, Prince also added some new shoe technology to the T10. A forefoot stability feature called 4Foot Wrap and a wYshbone shank are used to hold the foot securely in place and provide serious players a secure and agile platform for aggressive on-court movement.

The low ankle collar of the T10 offers a tapered fit and is designed to lock the heel in place and further increase the stability and comfort offered by the shoe. To make sure the T10s last the season, Prince used the durable PRC1000 rubber outsole material and gave the T10s a six-month outsole durability guarantee. To protect the uppers from toe draggers, Prince also included a beefed up toe cap.

The combination of match-day designed fit and performance coupled with built-in durability features made the Prince T10 a prime candidate for a three-week playtest, so that's what we did. Read on for the full details.

Comfort

Offering some solid cushioning and a good level of upper comfort after a brief break-in period, our team found the T10s provided a comfortable ride. Finding good cushioning was Danny. "For the most part, I thought the shoe was comfortable. I didn't think that the shoe was as flexible as it could have been. The cushioning was great, but the feel in the uppers was a bit stiff for my taste."

Also finding good cushioning was Chris. "The T10s took a few hitting sessions before they truly softened up. For the first week or so, the left shoe rubbed the top of my big toe where the upper creased as the shoe flexed. However, this soon went away and was not as noticeable on court. Once the uppers had softened up, I really started to enjoy wearing the shoes. I thought the level of cushioning was excellent - offering the perfect combination of protection and court feel. There was enough cushion for long days on my feet, yet enough court feel that I didn't feel too elevated when playing. I also really liked the fit and finish of the shoes. They held my narrow feet well, preventing any sliding inside the shoe or toe-jamming. The fit and comfort around the ankle collar and lace system was also excellent."

Don found the uppers of the T10s to offer a well structured fit. "After an initial break-in period, the T10s were quite comfortable. They're structured without being stiff, similar to the Barricade 3. This is indicative of a serious performance shoe with durability guarantee. The toe-box is nice and wide and there was no pinching or rubbing."

Granville agreed. "This is a rather unique fitting shoe. While it is comfortable and provides a stiff yet contoured feel, it is not OVER padded with cushioning. To draw a loose analogy, it fits like a Barricade without the suppleness. Almost like a shell around my foot. It feels very solid and stable and does soften up after a couple of matches."

Josh said, "because of the break-in period, I wasn't sure how comfortable the T10s were going to be on the court at first. However, during my first trip out the shoes felt really cushioned and loosened up a bit. I did experience some pinching in the forefoot on certain movements, which may be due to the width of my foot. When I was pushed wide and needed to plant quickly, I felt pinching on top of my big toe. As I mentioned, I have a wider foot so the flex point of the shoe combined with the plastic eyelet may not have been a good match. The pinching wasn't as severe after further play, but it was still noticeable. Otherwise, the cushioning felt very similar to the Adidas Barricade 3s and the T10s were great to wear casually."

Arch Support

With its medium height arch support the T10 found a favorable fit with our entire team. First up was Chris. "I really liked the fit of the arch. I got plenty of support in this shoe. I find arch support to be very important to me during forward sprints - such as chasing down a drop shot - and the T10s gave me the support and security to go all out. I really couldn't ask for more from the arch support of this shoe. It was perfect." Danny was also very pleased with the fit. "I found the arch support and width through the midfoot to be just right. It's a medium arch that works well for people that favor a narrow fit. For me, the arch was very supportive."

Even with his high arch, Josh found a good fit. "The arches felt good, though I have come to accept I won't find many shoes that are 'just right' with my high arches. The cushioning in the heel and forefoot felt good enough that I didn't really notice my arches."

Foot Support/Stability

The T10s proved to be very stable out on the courts. Our entire team noted the stability of the shoes as one of their strongest features. Granville said. "Stability is one of the best features of this shoe. As stable as any shoe I've worn. It provides a solid fit all around my foot and the materials in the upper further add to the support. No sliding or slipping, just a solid fit all around, especially in the forefoot area where the forefoot wrap is positioned.

Comparing the stability of the T10s to the adidas Barricade 3s was Josh. "Where the Barricade 3s were more comfortable overall, the T10s felt more stable. I wasn't worried about rolling an ankle and my lateral movement felt well supported. The curve of the heel rake, combined with the higher tongue and Achilles notch, provided a snug fit around my ankles."

Chris felt comfortable playing without his ankle supports in the T10s. "Many shoes that offer as cushioned a ride as the T10s suffer when it comes to stability, but that was not the case here. The support in the forefoot was very good. I felt the 4Foot Wrap system did a good job of supporting my feet during both lateral and forward/back movements. My feet felt very locked in, and I did not experience any sliding around inside the shoes. Lateral stability in the heel also felt good thanks to the tapered fit, and I felt secure enough to play without ankle supports."

Don felt secure with the T10s' support. "This is a very solid and supportive shoe. My feet felt like they were 'locked in', and I never felt in danger of rolling my ankles. This is a very 'substantive' shoe, and provides plenty of stability, even when making aggressive stops & starts or sharp directional changes."

Danny offered, "I was impressed with the stability that the T10 offered. I was surprised how secure my feet felt within the shoe when having to stop abruptly."

Overall sole durability

Prince has used its durable PRC1000 rubber for the outsole of the T10s, and backed up its confidence in the durability of the PRC1000 material by slapping a six-month durability guarantee on these puppies. We hit the courts expecting the T10s to hold up well. We were not disappointed.

Both Don and Granville had no noticeable wear to the outsole of their T10s during our three-week test. Josh noted that the T10s were built to last the season and beyond. "Any shoe that comes with a six-month durability guarantee should withstand 40 hours of playtesting. The T10 left no doubt that it's built for the long haul. With the exception of a little scuffing on the balls of my feet, my shoes had little noticeable wear. I will be interested to see if the durability can be matched by another playtest shoe in 2005." Chris offered, "I thought the durability was excellent. I experienced little wear on the outsoles. I played only on hard courts and expected to see some wear by the end of the test. However, the Prince T10s more than lived up to my expectations. I've never had a pair of Prince tennis shoes wear out fast, and the T10s have only added to my confidence in Prince durability."

Noticing improved durability in the T10s compared to most other brands he's worn was Danny. "Overall, I thought the durability was great. This shoe is more durable than other brands that I've tested in the past."

Toe durability

At the toe of the T10s Prince has used a reinforced toe bumper with what it calls a Rash toe cap to improve durability. Out on the hard courts, our team found the toes to be just as durable as the outsoles. Chris said, "again, durability was excellent. The toe areas seemed beefed up enough to withstand more toe-dragging than I could impart in three-weeks of hitting. I left little more than a few dirty marks on the toes of the shoes when dragging my toes for a low shot or when bringing my back foot around on a follow through. The best part of the toe design was that it was durable without being bulky, uncomfortable or heavy - I can't ask for more than that." Danny agreed, adding, "the toe cap was surprisingly durable. I tend to wear out the toe-caps quickly, because I always drag my feet on volleys, but not with these shoes." Our only other toe dragger, Josh, said, "the toe cap held up just as well as the outsole. I had a little discoloration from dragging, but the material stayed intact. These shoes are definitely built to last."

Traction

With a modified herringbone pattern, the outsoles of the T10s are designed to offer plenty of grip on all surfaces. While we only tested the shoes on hard courts, we found an impressive level of traction. Granville was surprised at the level of traction he found with the T10s considering the durability of the outsoles. "Even with an exceptionally durable outsole the outsole material used is not too hard. I had no slipping or sliding and found lots of traction when stopping and pivoting." At the end of the three-week test Don was also impressed with the level of traction offered by the T10s. "I never once slipped or slid out when moving forward/backward or laterally. The shoes had very good grip on hard courts."

Josh offered, "I thought the T10 resembled a trail shoe in its looks, and also thought it performed like one as far as traction was concerned. I felt I could change direction as fast as my reflexes allowed, and I didn't experience any slipping, nor did the T10 grab the court so much that I lost my footing." Chris was able to move with confidence in the T10s. "I found a good level of traction in the T10s. I was able to make aggressive lateral cuts with confidence, knowing the outsoles would hang in for the ride. It was easy to get off to a good start when chasing down short balls as the forward traction was very impressive. Even when playing on a dusty hard court, the T10s offered an impressive amount of traction."

Weight

At 16.8 ounces for a size 10.5, the T10 is impressively light for such a durable shoe. Don said, "the T10 is a fairly 'full-bodied' shoe. However, given its toughness, stability and support, the weight isn't unreasonable. It's right there with the Barricade 3."

Both Danny and Chris found the T10s to be well balanced. Danny said, "the shoes felt like they were balanced fairly even. It felt like most of the weight was in the sole and the uppers felt very light." Chris added, "I liked the weight of the T10s. There seemed to be enough substance for a solid and stable platform, yet I felt like I could still move and respond very well. The shoe also felt like it had a good, central balance. I thought they were very light considering the durability offered by the outsoles and toe bumpers." Granville thought the T10s were a "good weight for such a stable and durable shoe." Like Danny, Josh thought the lightweight uppers kept the T10s to a manageable weight. "There was ample material to the T10s for support and durability, but the weight wasn't a problem on or off the court. The mesh in the tongue and around the ankle seemed to lighten the shoe a bit."

Overall

After a brief initial break-in period, the T10s provided plenty of comfort for our team. We found a enough cushioning for a comfortable and safe ride, without losing any court feel or stability. The level of traction and durability offered by the T10s was excellent and we feel Prince has really hit the mark with their PRC1000 rubber compound. All in all, the T10 is a solid performer. It is durable enough for the practice courts and at the same time offers plenty of performance for tournament play.

Here's what the playtesters had to say:
The "Likes" of the shoe.

Chris - The stand out features for me were the fit, cushioning, traction and durability. The level of fit through the arch and the excellent cushion make this a great shoe for long days on the court as well as match play.

Danny - The foot support and stability is what I liked most.

Don - Support, stability, durability and sense of security.

Granville - No tongue sliding and ease of slipping onto my foot. I also liked the cosmetics. Another feature which some will appreciate is the contoured outsole - especially the heel. I usually wear out the outside heel area and this shoe is cut in such a way that it eliminates that outsole rubbing/wear.

Josh - I loved the durability and look of the T10s. I got a ton of compliments on the aesthetics of the shoe. Most people were surprised to hear the T10s are tennis shoes.

The "Dislikes" of the shoe.
Chris - Took me awhile to get them broken-in.

Danny - The looks and firm feel is what I liked least.

Don - They were a bit stiff at first, requiring some break-in. I'm not wild about the color, and wish there was a white-based color way.

Granville - Very stiff at first fitting - but did soften up after a couple of matches.

Josh - While the foot support and cushioning of the shoe were great, the pinching was a little uncomfortable. Maybe softer leather would have made a difference in the upper. The T10s could also incorporate better ventilation. The synthetic leather upper was a bit warm at times.

Comparing this shoe to other shoes or brands in fit, durability and cushioning our playtesters said:
Chris - The T10 is a solid performer. It kind of reminded me of a Nike Air Resolve, but for narrow feet.

Danny - The Prince T10 is more durable and stable then most shoes that I've tested.

Granville - While relatively stiff at the start, the T-10 offers excellent fit and foot contour, stability and durability.

Prince T10 Summary Sheet

The Up SideThe Down SidePlay Test Scores
  • Traction
  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Brief break-in required
Comfort3.6
Arch Support4.3
Foot Support/Stability4.4
Overall Sole Durability4.8
Toe Durability4.8
Traction4.3
Weight4.2
Overall4.3
Scores (1-Horrible 2-Poor 3-Average 4-Good 5-Tremendous)

Playtesters' Foot Types: Chris - narrow width/medium arch, Josh - wide width/medium-high arch, Don - wide width/medium arch, Granville - narrow width/low arch, Danny - medium/medium.

Review date: February, 2005. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2005 Tennis Warehouse.

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