KSwiss Defier miSOUL Tennis Shoe Review
Each woman is an individual. We are all built differently and we all have different preferences when it comes to shoes. Creating a shoe that will satisfy us all is no small task, in fact, it is likely impossible.
The Defier miSOUL Tech is K-Swiss' first step towards achieving the impossible. This shoe comes with two sets of removable midsoles, called miSOULs. Slip in the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL for a pillow-like ride. Switch to the Light 1.0 miSOUL, and you get a lower-to-the-ground, faster feel.
This two midsole system actually gives us three options. We can use the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL for practicing and the Light 1.0 miSOUL for matches, which is what K-Swiss had in mind when they created the removable miSOULs. If you don't want to switch back and forth, you can pick your favorite miSOUL and use it all the time, which is what most of our playtesters ended up doing. While the two midsole system probably won't offer enough options to satisfy all of us, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
Read on to see if the K-Swiss Defier miSOUL Tech had what our playtesters were looking for in a tennis shoe.
With miSOUL Tech, this Defier gave our playtesters two cushioning options. The Cushion 1.0 unit features an Si-18 gel for a more pillow-like feel. The Light 1.0 unit offers cushioning through Superfoam inserts at the heel and in the forefoot. Myrna loved the cushioning, but preferred the lighter insert. "I found great cushioning in these shoes. I actually preferred the less cushiony of the two miSOULs. The cushioning was extraordinary. I also appreciate the attempt that K-Swiss made to improve breathability in these shoes. The synthetic leather upper has several mesh openings to allow air to circulate. The heel area also has several holes in it for air circulation. I felt that I moved better when I was wearing them, and, after 3 hours on court, my feet didn't hurt. Really, is there anything better than that?"
Eileen also found the lighter unit to be a perfect fit. "The comfort miSOUL was not a good fit for me. It was too cushy and my foot was pushed to the top of the shoe, which caused my toes to rub against the top and sides of the shoe. The light miSOUL was a perfect fit, though. There was no pinching, and they were very comfortable."
Tiffani was also impressed with the comfort. "The Defier miSOUL Tech was comfortable for me right away. It came with the cushioning unit installed, and I felt the fit was great but the ride was a bit high. I could comfortably wear the miSOUL shoe around with the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL, but when playing I preferred the light unit. When I put in the light unit all the great fit features were there for my wider forefoot, though I had to cinch the laces tightly for my narrow heel. Overall, I liked the light insert because I like sitting lower to the ground in my shoes when I'm playing, and the lighter version still offered ample cushioning."
Finding cushioning to be spot on was Linda. "The shoe was great because it was very comfortable, with plenty of cushioning in the heel and under the ball of the foot. It was also very stable, with a wide heel base, and it provided good lateral support. I preferred wearing the cushioned insert for a better fit."
DeeDee, though, had troubles with fit. "The cushioning was excellent for both the Light 1.0 and the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL units. However, because I have a petite foot, the heel collar of the shoe lands on the middle of my ankle with the Cushion 1.0, and on the lower part of my ankle with the Light 1.0. This caused unbearable poking, pinching and rubbing on my ankles. I tried to overlook the ankle discomfort while playing, but I could not wear the shoes for more than two hours at a time."
With two insert options, our playtesters were better able to customize arch support. Linda was happiest with the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL. "The level of support was just right with the cushion miSOUL. The lighter weight unit did not give me enough support." With high arches, DeeDee agreed. "I preferred the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL for perfect arch support."
Finding a better fit with the Light miSOUL was Eileen. "The comfort miSOUL threw off the whole fit of the shoe for me. The arch was off for me with that one installed. The light miSOUL was overall a perfect fit, and I got great arch support with that miSOUL."
Myrna left her orthodics at home with the Defier miSOUL Tech. "I usually use an orthodic to support my arches when I play tennis, but it was not necessary to use my orthodics with the miSOUL technology. I don't think that there would have been room in the shoe for the rather large miSOUL and the orthodic."
Tiffani was happy to play without pain. "Both inserts worked fine for my rather flat foot. I played pain free and didn't have to think about what was on my feet. That's always a good sign for me."
The shell of the Defier miSOUL Tech employs a TPU shank and TPU heel chassis to provide stability for any miSOUL. DeeDee was confident with movement at all times. "Both the Light 1.0 and Cushion 1.0 units provided excellent heel wrap for extra support and rollover protection. Both units provided outstanding lateral movement on the court."
Linda usually wore the cushion miSOUL. "This shoe had both excellent support and stability. Even with the extra cushioning in the comfort miSOUL, the shoe was stable." Eileen, though, preferred the light miSOUL for a better fit. "I felt too much movement within the shoe with the cushion miSOUL. The ankle support was not great for me because the shoe hit my ankle in a weird spot; it felt like my feet were sitting too high and my ankles could roll. I didn't feel enough stability with the Comfort 1.0 miSOUL. I loved the shoe for support and stability with the light miSOUL in it. I didn't have a fear of rolling my ankles because I feel like the shoe was a snugger fit with the lighter miSOUL. The overall fit was much better."
Tiffani, too, was impressed. "I felt the shoes held my feet well. Often because of my wide forefoot, I sit on top of shoes, but I could really sink into these, so I felt secure on lateral movements. Because I sat up higher in the Cushion 1.0 miSOUL, I wasn't as confident as when I wore the light miSOUL, but this is really just a preference. There was no threat of a rollover in the cushion inserts, but I was apt to hold back on the aggressive movements because I sat up higher. In the light miSOUL I was right at home and moved well without any problems. I did tie the shoes tightly for a snug fit for my heel, but the notches on the laces ensured the knots stayed tied."
Myrna said, "My foot felt stable at all times. I do have a story to share, though. In one match, I served and then ran to the net to volley and found that my foot had slipped out of the shoe. My left shoe remained on the baseline and I made my subsequent volleys in a stocking foot. I suspect that I didn't have the shoe laced tightly enough and when I rose to hit the service toss I came out of my shoe."
Overall sole durability
The Aosta 7.0 outsole is reinforced with DragGuard. On the whole, our playtesters were impressed, including Eileen. She said, "After the playtest, I could not detect any wear at all in the sole."
DeeDee enjoyed the even wear. "The TPU arch insert, EVA heel wrap and the registration button for both insoles created outstanding foot alignment and stability. I had no visible wear and tear on any part of the shoe."
Tiffani saw some wear on the outsoles, however. "Last year I tested the K-Swiss Stabilor, which had outstanding durability. The Defier miSOUL Tech didn't hold up as well as the Stabilor, but I think improved traction over the Stabilor makes this a good trade-off. I saw the DragGuard in the forefoot begin to wear through after about a month of play. The rest of the outsole was fine, which is standard for me."
Seeing only slight wear was Myrna. "This shoe has a very durable sole. I put many sets of hard tennis on this pair, and there is minimal wear. Both shoes show slight sole wear at the front of the shoe, right about where the big toe would be. The shoes wore under the big toe rather than in front of the big toe, which is more common. Other than that, there are no signs of wear on these shoes."
Linda praised the durability. "The toe is starting to show some wear, but durability is very good."
The Defier miSOUL Tech features DuraWrap XD at the toe for added protection. Tiffani was pleased with the durability. "It's hard to tell if there was much wear at all on the toe. Love it! Again, I can compare back to the Stabilor, which had a beefier toe. Even though the Defier miSOUL Tech has less of a built-up look, the durability was just as good. I much preferred the miSOUL because it didn't look so bulky, but still offered excellent durability."
Finding durability to be outstanding was Linda. "Although I drag my toe, the durability of this shoe is above par." Eileen agreed, "I drag my toe on my serve, and I see no wear at all."
The herringbone tread pattern on the Defier miSOUL Tech outsole served our playtest team well. Myrna raved, "I got great traction from these shoes. It makes a world of difference to be confident that your foot is not going to go sliding out from under you in a match."
DeeDee felt her court performance improve. "I was very impressed with the design of the shoe. My performance level increased in singles play because I had no problem with traction. I was able to change directions easily, knowing I had extra support. I was able to run after those wide, angled shots and whip back returns without fear of falling."
Finding the right fit to make a difference was Eileen. "The comfort miSOUL was too cushy for me and I didn't get the fit I needed to feel secure. I was happy with the feel and traction from the light miSOUL. I could feel the court, and I could start, stop and change directions easily and comfortably."
Linda was always confident with her movements. "This shoe has great traction and gained my trust with each playtest. I never felt any slippage on the court."
Also getting good traction was Tiffani, who moved with confidence. "This shoe had excellent grip on the courts. I could make quick stops and starts easily, and when I was pulled way out wide the shoe kept me on my feet when I would pull hard to get back into position. As I said earlier, I think the outsole isn't as durable as the Stabilor, but the improved traction is the payoff. I'd rather give up a bit of durability for traction because movement is key to my success on the court."
With two different miSOULs, the Defier miSOUL Tech has two weights. DeeDee was comfortable either way. "I'm totally impressed with how light the miSOUL was. Both units gave me a 'springy' feel. My foot movement on the court improved, and I was able to get to those short balls and run after those lobs."
Tiffani had no problems. "The weight of shoes isn't usually an issue for me. I was happy with the feel of both the inserts. The cushion weighs slightly more, but I really could not tell the difference. The shoe is plenty light for the stability the Defier miSOUL Tech offers."
Eileen prefers a lighter shoe. "The sole is pretty beefy, which is great for durability but makes the shoe a little heavy for my taste."
For what the shoe offered, Linda was pleased with weight. "I mostly wore the cushion miSOULs, and although there was a little more weight, the support and cushioning was worth it. I used the light miSOUL for a match or two, but with a narrow foot I had a better fit with the heavier miSOUL. The weight was worth the added support and cushion."
The lightweight performance was a pleasant surprise for Myrna. "When I first received these shoes to play test I thought to myself, 'Jeez, another pair of heavy-weight K-Swiss shoes.' As I hold them now, they seem to be heavier than most of the other shoes that I have tested, BUT, when I wear them, they seem fine. They are substantial shoes. I never forget that I have them on, but I mean that in a good way. My feet feel better when I am wearing these shoes. They protect and cushion me, and surprisingly, make me feel a little bit faster."
The Defier miSOUL Tech pleased our playtesters with excellent stability and good durability. When it came to the cushioning, there were fans of both the Cushion 1.0 and Light 1.0 miSOULs. With the two options, the shoe was made to work for individual tastes, and our team was happy to have the option. With this customizable feature and their impressive overall performance, these K-Swiss shoes are sure to be a crowd pleaser.