For the most part, our playtesters enjoyed the comfort and overall fit of the Propulse All Courts -- a notable improvement over the previous version. Even with a wider fit, these new Babolat shoes fit Chris' narrow feet better than the Propulse BPMs. He shared, "I really enjoyed the comfortable ride. They didn't really require any break-in. From the first hit to the last, the uppers did a good job of flexing with my feet, and moving around the court felt natural. The fit just felt better than the previous version, and it all added up to a more comfortable experience. My feet never got too hot in these shoes, and there seemed to be ample room to let the hot air escape. I wore two pairs of socks every time I played and my feet still never felt too hot. While the cushioning is somewhat minimal, I liked the way my feet sat lower down inside the shoes. I felt like I was riding in the shoes rather than on them, and that gave me more peace of mind when I was running around the court. The insoles molded nicely to the shape of my feet, and my arches felt safe and secure for the duration of the test."
Jason, whose feet are on the wider end of the spectrum, also found a nice fit. He praised, "Like the previous model, I thought these shoes were pretty comfortable. The soft uppers required no break-in and there was some nice cushioning in the heel to soften impacts. I feel like the fit is better for me now that the toe box is a bit wider than the previous model. Once I cinched up my laces the Propulse All Courts provided a more supportive ride, so I wasn't experiencing nearly as many toe jamming issues as I had with the BPM model. By improving the fit Babolat also improved the overall comfort of these shoes."
Andy enjoyed the ride in these shoes overall, but he noted a lack of cushioning in the forefoot that led to some discomfort. He explained, "Let me start by saying that the fit is improved over last year's version. It is roomier, especially in the forefoot, and after a brief break-in period the uppers softened up around my feet nicely. The perforations in the vamp and the mesh windows on each side of the shoes provided good ventilation during play. Overall, these shoes were pretty comfortable, but I would have liked a bit more cushioning underfoot, especially underneath the balls of my feet. I constantly felt like the front of my feet were riding right on top of the court with virtually no padding in between."
The absence of cushioning in the forefoot also bothered Troy, and he critiqued, "The overall comfort of these shoes was average for me. The first time I tried them on they fit like a glove. After I walked around in them for a while and wore them onto the court the upper material loosened up. Once the upper material stretched out the fit ran a bit long. The midsole cushioning was nice and plush in the heels, which was a nice benefit for harsh landings. The Propulse All Courts had a low-to-the-ground feel in the forefoot, but I found they lacked the cushioning I need to protect the balls of my feet. The cushioning of the Asics Gel Solution Speed 3s, which feel just as low to the ground as the Babolat Propulse All Courts, has a plusher feel. The medium height arch support was average for me. The ventilation was average, too, when compared to other mid-weight shoes like the Asics Gel Resolution 6."
While the stability was more than adequate for our playtesters, they struggled to find enough foot support from the Propulse All Courts during play. Troy enjoyed the way the Velcro strap across the top helped to lock in his feet, but he needed to wear two pairs of socks to fill out his shoes. He explained, "I found the stability to be above average. The Footbelt technology, combined with being able cinch the laces tightly, allowed my ankles to feel locked into these shoes. The ankle support of these was actually the one area where I preferred these shoes over my Asics Gel Resolution 6 shoes. After the initial break-in period I found the fit of the Propulse shoes to be slightly long, and this led to my feet sliding around when I had to come to an abrupt stop. When I started to wear two pairs of socks the fit became much more glove-like, and the support was more up to par with the shoes I typically wear and trust."
Even with his wider feet, Jason had a similar experience during the playtest. He shared, "The support and stability are better than the BPM model but still lacking for high performance shoes (especially the support). I noticed that my feet would be sore after I was engaged in a long rally and moving side to side because there wasn't enough support. However, the stability was pretty good even though the uppers are quite soft. I did like the Velcro strap but would've preferred it more if it was located slightly lower on the shoe."
Andy found that the Propulse All Courts offered him more than enough stability for his aggressive style, but his feet felt fatigued after longer hitting sessions due to the lack of support. He said, "I thought the upper material was sturdy enough to hold up to all of my stability demands. I felt plenty protected even when I was sliding on a hard court or moving at top speed. However, I didn't feel like these shoes supported my feet all that well. Instead of the Propulse All Courts molding to my feet and moving with them, I felt like my feet were just riding inside the shoes and occasionally sliding around inside. This lack of support would sometimes lead to some foot soreness after I left the court. I wanted a little more support under and around the arch area."
Once again, Chris found the fit and feel to be much improved over the previous version, and he found plenty of support and stability overall. He praised, "The biggest improvement for me with this update was the support. I liked the revised fit at the heels. My feet felt like they were sitting much lower inside these shoes, and as a result the shoes wrapped around my heels much better. I didn't feel any of the aches or strains I felt when testing the previous version. Up in the forefoot it felt like business as usual. The low-to-the-ground ride gave me plenty of confidence when sprinting and changing directions at full tilt. I never felt the need to crank down the laces too tightly like I did with the previous version because my feet just felt way more secure. I had no desire to keep wearing the Propulse BPMs when I was done testing them. However, I like this updated pair a lot and plan to keep them in the rotation with my other shoes. I would definitely take these into a tournament without hesitation."
We thought the Propulse All Courts held up pretty well for the duration of the playtest, but their durability didn't blow us away. Andy thought the durability compared just fine to other shoes in their class. He shared, "These shoes held up well during the course of the test for me. The outsoles are just starting to show signs of balding after about 15 hours of use. Due to my habit of sliding frequently on hard courts I do have a tendency to wear down the medial side of the upper, and while these shoes are showing some signs of wear in that area they are holding up just fine. Durability is pretty average and comparable to other durability-guaranteed shoes on the market."
Chris was most impressed with the durability of the toe area, which is normally where he wears out his shoes. He said, "The outsoles of these shoes feel soft rather than ultra durable, and I saw some wear in the expected areas. I would definitely be using the six-month guarantee, and I'm glad these shoes have it. The Propulse All Courts played as fast as many lightweight speed shoes that don't offer any kind of durability guarantee, and I'd consider the Propulse All Courts a much more cost effective option. When it came to toe durability the Propulse All Courts seemed built to last. I put some scuff marks on the toes but didn't do any major damage, which is a good sign."
Troy found the durability to be pretty average. He explained, "The overall sole durability was average compared to other mid-weight shoes that I have tested. Most regions of the outsole wore down at a similar rate to most shoes that I have tested. The area that did wear down faster than average for me, though, was the toe area. Compared to the Gel Resolution 6s and Barricade 2015s, both of which are similar in weight to these Propulse All Courts, the toe area balded and wore through faster than I would have preferred. With that said, it's great that these shoes come with a six-month durability guarantee."
Jason was happy with the durability. He raved, "Very impressive durability! It was right on par with the previous model, which also held up really well. After three-weeks of playtesting there is plenty of tread left. The durability of these shoes is a highlight for me."
We thought the level of traction the Propulse All Courts offered was more than adequate to keep us confidently moving around on the hard courts. Chris liked the balance between grip and give, and he once again noted the improvement over the previous version. He said, "I moved better in these shoes than I did in my previous Propulses. There was still quite a bit of give from the outsoles, but slides felt way more controllable. The shoes never got too hung up on the surface. I felt like I could sprint to the ball well, get a little slide out of my shot and move onto the next one without any issues. I found better grip and much more confidence when I was looking to take a quick first step compared to the previous version."
Having a similar experience was Troy, who shared, "The traction was better than average for me. The Michelin rubber outsoles provided a nice amount of grip to the court, but they weren't overly sticky either. The outsole rubber of these shoes allowed me to make aggressive lateral changes of direction, while at the same time providing enough give so I could slide into a shot."
Andy thought the unique outsole pattern had a slightly slick surface that would suit some players well and others not so much. He explained, "These shoes offered pretty good traction throughout the playtest, but as the test wore on I was noticing more and more slipping when I needed my shoes to grip. The tread pattern on the outsole is fairly unique and does lend itself to a bit more slip rather than grip. While this may suit players who like to slide on hard courts, players looking for a very grippy outsole may want to look elsewhere."
Jason had a couple instances of slippage during play, but for the most part the traction felt fine, similar to the experience he had with last year's model. He said, "I had a very similar experience with these shoes as I did with the Propulse BPMs. I was sliding a bit when trying to stop and change directions, although the traction seemed fine for the most part when I was starting for a faraway ball."
Our testers thought the Propulse All Courts felt light and fast out on court, and most of them attributed that to their low-to-the-ground profile. "These shoes were fast around the court," Troy said. "The low-to-the-ground ride in the forefoot made me feel fast whenever I was changing directions quickly. I didn't find them as quick and lightweight as speed-oriented shoes like the Asics Gel Solution Speed 3 or adidas adizero Ubersonic, but they felt faster than some of the other mid-weight shoes, such as the Asics Gel Resolution 6 and adidas Barricade 2015. I would take a little more weight in these shoes for a bit more cushioning in the forefoot."
Chris was also moving well during the test, and he praised, "These updated Propulses felt fast on my feet. They never felt clunky or sloppy, and they moved with my feet well. I felt like I was moving in these shoes as well as I could, and I'd put my court speed right up there with any of the speed-oriented shoes we've tested this year."
Jason was running down a lot of his opponents' shots during the test. He offered, "I really liked the lightweight feel of these shoes. The weight, along with the low to the ground feel, had me feeling like I could chase down a lot of balls."
Andy also found them to be pretty quick, although he thought a more locked-in fit would've made them feel even faster. He explained, "These shoes felt pretty fast and lightweight out on court, mostly because of how low they ride to the court. The only thing that negatively affected my movement was the roomier fit that let my feet slide around a little bit inside the shoes."
Chris - "The improved support and fit made the Propulse All Courts feel way more comfortable than the Propulse BPMs. The strains and pains I felt in the previous version were gone in this updated pair."
Jason - "The improved fit meant a wider toe box, and they now run true to size. They're comfortable, lightweight, well-cushioned and durable."
Andy - "Definitely a more comfortable and improved fit over the previous version. Good stability as well."
Troy - "Once I adjusted to the slightly longer forefoot by wearing two pairs of socks, I liked how these shoes supported my feet. The Footbelt technology helped secure and lock my heels in place nicely."
Chris - "None. These shoes are now good to go."
Jason - "I wanted more support and stability."
Andy - "The Propulse All Courts lack cushioning underfoot, especially in the forefoot. I also wanted them to offer more support and move more seamlessly with my feet during play. I'm not the biggest fan of the Velcro strap, either."
Troy - "The forefoot lacked cushioning. There were times where I felt that the balls of my feet were slapping against the court surface."
Chris - "I'd put the Propulse All Courts up against the likes of the Asics Gel Solution Speed 3s and adidas adizero Ubersonics in terms of speed and comfort. However, these shoes have a durability guarantee, so if you are hard on your shoes they'd be the better option."
Jason - "Not only do these fit better than the Propulse BPM shoes, but the support was improved as well. Just fixing the fit resolved other issues the previous model had."
Andy - "The Propulse All Courts are more comfortable and better than the previous version. Their fit is similar to the Lotto Raptor EVO because of the low-to-the-ground, stable ride. Their roomier fit and good stability reminded me of the Wilson Rush Pro 2.0."
Troy - "The Propulse All Courts sit somewhere between an adidas Barricade 2015 and Asics Gel Resolution 6, although those two shoes offered more durability, support and cushioning. Combining the Footbelt technology of the Propulse, which helped lock in my ankles, with the Gel Resolution 6 would be ideal for me."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
|Overall Comfort||4||Overall Sole Durability||3|
|Overall Comfort||4.4||Overall Sole Durability||4.4|
|Overall Comfort||3.5||Overall Sole Durability||4|
|Overall Comfort||3.5||Overall Sole Durability||3.2|