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KSwiss Stabilor SLS Tennis Shoe Review

When naming tennis shoes, KSwiss is often very upfront regarding the performance of the model.

For example:

KSwiss Glaciator -- a shoe designed to keep your feet cool.

KSwiss Preventor GSX -- a sturdy shoe designed to prevent ankle rollovers.

KSwiss Ultra-Natural -- a shoe designed to move naturally with your foot.

So, when KSwiss introduced the Stabilor SLS, we expected the shoe to be very supportive and stable during play.

After putting the shoes through a month-long playtest, we were impressed by more than just the support and stability of the shoes. Read on for the full story.

Comfort

With a Shock Spring midsole and soft and supple uppers, the Stabilor SLS shoes impressed our team with a comfortable ride. The Stabilor SLS shoes met Danny's expectations of KSwiss comfort. "The comfort and cushioning that the Stabilor SLS shoes offer is top notch. I think that this is the most comfortable and cushioned shoe that KSwiss has ever made. I've tested many KSwiss shoes before and most of them have been consistent when it comes to comfort and cushioning, but I think this model takes the cake." Jason also enjoyed the ride in the Stabilor SLS shoes. "I really have nothing bad to say about the cushioning of the shoe, which is indicated by my score. The cushioning is plush throughout the shoe, and there was no poking or pinching. The reason I deducted some points was because the overall ride felt a little firm, which could be due to the rigid outsole rubber compound."

Chris found the mesh version to offer a solid combination of comfort and ventilation. "I really liked the comfort in these shoes. I wore the mesh version and the uppers were soft and supple out of the box. After a couple of wears the shoes molded to the shape of my feet and I found a comfortable level of support. The cushioning was good for my weight. My joints felt protected, yet I also felt low to the ground and able to respond quickly." Enjoying the fit of the shoes was Troy. "The most comfortable part of the shoes was the upper, which had a soft and plush feel. As far as the cushioning, I was less impressed. The more aggressive my movement was, the more I noticed how the cushioning felt stiffer. The fit did not cause me any discomfort, but the amount of court feel in the toe area is what caused me to not favor the comfort of this shoe."

Arch Support

Our tester found the arch support of the Stabilor SLS shoes to fit at a medium height after break-in. Both Chris and Danny found more support after a few wears. Chris offered, "After break-in the insoles really contoured to the shape of my feet. My arches felt well cushioned and supported. From then on I found a nice low to the ground ride. My feet felt like they were supported by bucket-seats." Danny said, "When I first tried on the shoe, I thought the arch support was too low. After my first test play, I realized that the support was there and it was just right. The shoes surprisingly supported my feet with any movement in any direction that I moved."

Troy found a good fit. "The arch seemed to fit just right for me. The arch seemed to be a true medium fit. The overall sole seemed to be somewhat flat, so someone with a high arch would probably not like the fit in this shoe." Jason also found the shoes to mold to the shape of his feet. "The arch seemed to be a medium arch. Which, most of the time is just a tad high. But because of the soft midsole and insole, it molded nicely to my low arched feet."

Foot Support/Stability

A skeletal support cage and a sturdy midfoot shank helped this shoe to live up to its Stabilor name. Jason was impressed, "The support was great; never once during my playtest did I feel my ankle tweak or start to sprain. This is a great asset for this shoe considering it's not a mid cut. Within the shoe, I did notice occasional sliding, but it was very slight. It was only when I was moving toward the net, and I never thought it hindered my movement." Finding support with comfort was Chris. "I found the mesh Stabilor SLSs to be very soft and supple. They were one of those rare pair of shoes that are soft and comfortable, yet wrapped my feet for a secure fit. My feet did not slide around inside the shoes even though I have narrow feet. I also felt low down in them, with no sense of ever rolling over."

Troy found the support to improve as the test wore on. "The initial stability issue I had was that when I first wore this shoe I felt as though my foot was sitting somewhat high in it. The other issue was that it wasn't holding my foot in place as well as I like, mostly due to the fact I couldn't tighten the shoelaces very well. I can't say that the stability was bad, because I put a lot of hours on these shoes and never rolled an ankle, but I just didn't have my usual confidence while playing aggressively in them."

Danny found the support inspired confidence. "Other KSwiss shoes that I have tested in the past have not had the greatest support for me. I think this is due to the medium width the shoes tend to offer. I have a narrow foot, so this concerned me. After my test play, I had nothing but good things to say about the support of these shoes. I was very confident with my footwork when testing these shoes."

Overall Sole Durability

A high-density Aosta 7.0 rubber compound on the outsole of the Stabilor SLS shoes provides impressive durability. Troy, who tends to put the most wear on shoes, was impressed. "Overall Durability was this shoe's best attribute for me. The first signs of wear came in the toe area, which is common in my shoes. The rubber compound was one of the strongest out of shoes I've worn. It took me a little longer to wear down the outsole than usual. The upper of the shoes held up well and maintained its soft feel over extensive use. The only thing that wore out was the shoelaces, because the eyelets seemed to make them fray when tightening them up." Danny found his shoes to be in excellent shape at the end of the test. "Most KSwiss shoes that I have tried in the past have had good durability. After my test play, I didn't notice any signs of wear from the heel to the toe. I would recommend this shoe for someone that is looking for a shoe that has excellent durability."

Impressed by the durability and lightweight feel of the shoes was Chris. "The outsoles felt soft and supple, yet they held up to hard court play very well. A clunky feel hinders some durable shoes, but these shoes managed to be durable and feel light and subtle. The most wear I saw came under my big toes, which is typical for me. However, considering the amount of hours I put on them, I was impressed by how well they held up." Jason found the outsoles to be extremely durable. "I typically don't do too much damage to the outsoles of shoes, but with the Stabilor SLS they were so tough it was like shooting a pellet gun at a tank. I noticed very little wear and tear on the outsole. The area that showed the most balding would be the front medial side on both feet."

Toe Durability

DragGuard at the toe and a High-Abrasion DuraWrap XD bumper combine to offer exceptional toe durability in the Stabilor SLS shoes. Finding the durability to be excellent was Danny. "Similar to my thought towards the overall sole durability, I thought the toe durability was excellent. I liked the added rubber that KSwiss installed for toe draggers. I still have plenty of life with these shoes." Toe durability was at an all time high for Troy. "The toe area of this shoe was one of the strongest I've played in so far. The rubber compound played a strong role in strengthening the toe durability, being that the toe wasn't very bulky. The guard that wraps around the front of the toe area did a good job of protecting the upper part of the toe; helping toe draggers get their money's worth out of this shoe." Chris was also impressed. "The toes of my shoes held up well. I can blow through the toes of shoes, but not in these. Both the tip of the shoe, where the outsole wraps up, and the top of the shoe, where the toe-bumper is, are still in great shape on both shoes. These shoes get top marks from me."

Traction

The outsoles of our Stabilor SLS shoes featured a multi-surface herringbone tread pattern with a small pivot point for traction. Finding a solid level of traction was Danny. "Unlike some of our other testers, I had no problems with the traction. I thought the herringbone tread was perfect for my playing style. I tend to run more than others and traction is really important to me. Any direction I moved in these shoes was no problem for me."

Troy found himself slipping at times. "When changing directions and trying to explode out after a ball, I often found these shoes not gripping the court. The result had me feeling a bit slower getting to the ball. I found the rubber grabbed the court a little better as I wore it down a bit, compared to when I first took them onto the court. The rubber on the sole of this shoe held up well in the durability category, but seemed to be fairly hard and never quite gripped as well as I typically like." Jason also found traction to improve as the test wore on. "The score would've been higher if the first couple times I went out didn't count. Because I have to judge it from day one, the score is what it is. During the first few playtests I noticed sliding when trying to stop or start going laterally. Then, it finally happened, during a long rally I was pushed out wide. I ran to the ball, and when I pushed off to run back to the court I completely lost traction and went tumbling. As far as forward traction goes; not bad. There were slight slipups every now and then, but nothing too bad. As the playtest continued I noticed that the shoe started gripping the court better. It seemed as if the rubber loosened up and started adhering to the court surface. Like they say, "its not how you start, its how you finish, and the Stabilor SLS finished on a high note."

Chris would have liked more grip from his pair of Stabilor SLS shoes. "I found the level of traction to be ok in these shoes. I did experience some slipping -- both when pushing off and when stopping from a lateral move. Moving forwards and backwards I found better traction. On a clean court the shoes had enough grip. If the court was worn smooth or just a little dusty, though, I was having some grip issues."

Weight

Looking at the specs, one would assume the Stabilor SLS shoes to be heavy feeling, however, not all of our testers felt that way. Troy offered, "The weight of this shoe seemed to make my footwork a bit sluggish. Weighing in at about 17.6 oz., this shoe was a little on the heavy side for me. I have played in shoes as heavy as these before without the weight bothering me. I feel the weight of these shoes, along with the fact that these shoes were rather stiff, accounted for me feeling a bit slow in them." Jason found the shoes to play lighter than listed. "This shoe isn't light, but it does have a couple things going for it. One, it does seem lighter than the actual posted weight of 18 ounces. Two, it doesn't look as clunky as it does while just on the shelf."

Danny found the performance to outweigh the weight of the shoes. "Don't let my low score in this category deter you from buying this shoe. I did think that these shoes have a heavy feel. They have a clunky feel. I am okay with having a shoe that is heavy, as long as it is offering me good support and cushioning, which this shoe did!" Chris was surprised by how light the shoes felt on court. "These shoes felt surprisingly light on my feet, yet offered the kind of durability and comfort usually found in much heavier feeling shoes. I was very impressed with the performance and didn't notice a weighty feel when playing. I found myself wearing these shoes a lot both, for hitting and casual wear."

Overall

Living up to the Stabilor SLS name, our testers were impressed by the support and stability of the shoes. However, we found plenty of comfort, cushioning, and in the case of the mesh version, ventilation, too. Without a doubt, though, durability was the most impressive aspect for the this KSwiss offering. All of our testers found a high level of outsole and toe durability, making the Stabilor SLS shoes an ideal choice for frequent players. One thing not covered in our testing categories, but worth a mention, is the varied styles offered in the Stabilor SLS shoes. With aggressive colors in the mesh version and a clean and classic look in the synthetic version, KSwiss offer plenty of style and performance.

Here's what the playtesters had to say:
The "Likes" of the shoe.
Troy "The soft padding in the upper, along with the strong overall sole durability."

Jason "I really enjoyed the cushioning. It was plush throughout the shoe, from the heel to the toe box. I also liked the interlocking shoelaces."

Chris "I liked the comfort, cushioning, fit, feel and support."

Danny "I think the comfort and cushioning were the best qualities of the shoe."

The "Dislikes" of the shoe.
Troy "The lack of cushioning in the toe area, and the traction never quite gave me confidence in my movement."

Jason "My two big gripes with this shoe is the initial traction and the weight. The traction got better with time, but, unfortunately, the shoe never got any lighter."

Chris "Tough to find a dislike for me. If anything, the traction could have been better."

Danny "The weight of the shoe is what I liked least."

Comparing this shoe to other shoes or brands in fit, durability and cushioning our playtesters said:

Troy "I feel that durability was right up there with the best of them (Barricades, Cages, Match Day Pumps etc). The cushioning and comfort was mediocre compared to some of the other shoes I've tested. Not nearly as comfortable to me as the Asics Gel Resolutions or the Lotto Syn-Raptor 2s."

Jason "I've never worn a KSwiss shoe before and I was impressed with the comfort. The super soft cushioning reminded me of the Prince T20s, one of the most comfortable shoes I've worn."

Chris "I was reminded of the Ascendor SLT with this shoe, as they both offer casual styling with tennis shoe performance. The level of comfort was up to my expectations from KSwiss."

Danny "KSwiss in general makes a good tennis shoe. Most KSwiss shoes that I have worn in the past have all had high scores in comfort and cushioning. I think it is a safe bet to go with KSwiss in terms of comfort and cushioning."

K•Swiss Stabilor SLS Shoe Scores

The Up SideThe Down SidePlay Test Scores
  • Quick break-in
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
  • Durable outsole
  • Durable Toe
  • Hefty on the scale
  • Traction could be better
Comfort4.1
Arch Support4.0
Foot Support/Stability3.8
Overall Sole Durability4.4
Toe Durability4.4
Traction3.2
Weight3.6
Overall3.9
Scores (1-Horrible 2-Poor 3-Average 4-Good 5-Tremendous)

Playtesters' Foot Types: Chris - Narrow width/Medium arch, Danny - Medium/Medium arch, Jason Wide/Low arch, Troy Narrow/medium,

Review date: September, 2008. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2008 Tennis Warehouse.

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