Over the years I've worn several different tennis shoes, often opting for Federer's footwear of choice, the Nike Air Zoom Vapor.
However, after realising they weren't the most durable shoes, I tried some Adidas Barricades before eventually switching to Asics Gel Resolution and never looking back.
I found the GEL-Resolution 7's to tick a lot of boxes, but when the Asics Court FF 2 came out earlier this year I liked the sound of a shoe that packed the durability of the Resolution line but also the slickness from the Speed line. Did they live up to expectation? Let's take a look.
About the Asics Court FF Line
A couple of years ago, Asics launched the original Court FF shoe; it was their first tennis shoe with a mono sock construction and FLYTEFOAM technology. The Court FF was well received and proved popular for both recreational and higher-level tennis players.
On the pro tour, David Goffin was the flagship player for the original Court FF's, so they weren't exactly ‘mainstream' with more prominent names like Djokovic still wearing the Asics GEL-Resolution 7's.
However, during the off-season in 2018, Novak collaborated with Asics and turned up in Melbourne wearing the Asics Court FF 2. A somewhat surprise switch given he'd just won Wimbledon and the US Open wearing GEL-Resolution 7's.
However, he promptly won Australian Open title with an absolute beatdown of Nadal in the final which meant the switch instantly paid off.
Since then the shoes have naturally grown in popularity and have received a lot of positivity in playtests and consumer reviews.
Asics Court FF 2 Technology
Specifically, for my kind of tennis where I slide a lot, change direction very rapidly — very dynamic movement — the shoe is obviously essential. I was definitely emphasising lightness of the shoe that would help my speed but also provide good stability. I’m really keen on having a good Twistruss to be able to have the right rotation. So, the balance between that was definitely a big challenge, but ASICS has the best shoe technology, so it seems like it has been achieved. Novak Djokovic on the Court FF 2
The FF in the name stands for FlyteFoam which Asics claims solve the constant dilemma of how to provide a lightweight shoe without compromising on cushioning. There are also a few other proprietary technologies in the shoe, and Asics own marketing material states:
The shoe's FLYTEFOAM® midsole will help put a spring in your run. It's an advanced formulation that responds to the energy of your jumps. There's also GEL® technology in the front and back of the shoe, cushioning your landings so you can reach up for that killer smash with confidence. The SOLYTE™ insole also improves your bounce-back, as well as helping the shoe last well. And because comfort is key, we've fitted the COURT FF™ model with a MONO-SOCK™ fit that makes it easy to put on and wear. You want your feet to say fresh and cool, so we've added a removable ORTHOLITE™ sockliner, which helps with bounce and moisture management, while the TRUSSTIC SYSTEM® technology under the mid-foot makes the shoe nice and stable too. A good tennis shoe needs to be hard-wearing, so there's a tennis AHAR® outsole. This highly resistant rubber compound helps reduce wear on the parts of the shoe which make lots of contact with the ground. Asics Court FF 2
Obviously, there's quite a lot of marketing fluff in there and words that don't mean much to anybody like AHAR and SOLYTE. But the nuts and bolts of the Court FF 2 is that you're getting a shoe that is durable yet isn't having to add a ton of weight that will compromise your foot speed around the court.
The Trusstic System has been designed for comfort and stability needed for hard court tennis, and they have enhanced the internal twist of the shoe to aid with rapid changes of direction.
The Mono-Sock construction, a feature from the previous Court FF is retained, this is similar to what you see on modern football boots, an internal elastic sock that secures the foot rather than the traditional tongue.
Testing Out the Asics Court FF 2 Tennis Shoes
I've been able to test the Court FF 2 Shoes on both outdoor artificial grass and on indoor hard courts for around 15-20 hours of play. For reference, I'm 185cm, around 82kg and a UK size ten which is EU 44.5.
Upon taking the shoes out the box, I was immediately a fan of the design and colours. They have a PU upper, and you can instantly see where Asics have bulked up the shoe for durability. But unlike Adidas Barricades which I would label amongst the uglier tennis shoes as they look heavy-duty, the Court FF's look stylish while still carrying a lot of reinforcement.
The sole of the shoes also has a new wavy pattern, and it's not one I've seen before. According to Asics, this new pattern has been designed to help players to get a better grip on the court but also to give some leeway when sliding.
I'm not a huge slider on hard courts, but the artificial grass can get quite slippy during the autumn so I was interested to see if the sole would help or be a hindrance in those sort of conditions.
I was testing in Northern Europe where the outdoor temperature was around 3 degrees Celcius; hence the leggings and there were frequent showers which meant the courts could get quite slippy when there was moisture in the sand that is spread onto the court.
When I laced up the Court FF 2 for the first time, the shoe slipped on easily and had plenty of room in the toe box and forefoot. I wear a pair of trainer socks and a pair of white sport socks when I play, and I had no problem getting the shoes on.
I have wide feet which sometimes means I have to go up a size in shoes to get them on, but that wasn't a problem with the Asics shoes so I would say they are relatively true to size and suitable for players with wider feet.
I was a little concerned with the roomy toe box as when using Nike Vapors I have stubbed my toe quite a few times, but after a couple of hours playing, it was clear this wasn't going to be a problem. While the shoes felt roomy, my foot was in there snugly, and I felt no issues with the foot moving around the shoe when changing direction quickly.
The Asics Court FF 2 are the first pair of tennis shoes I've owned that have the mono sock construction. Several brands use it and not just for tennis. Other than the cool design aspect, the theory is that it stabilises the foot when moving around.
From my experience so far, that's precisely what it does. I felt like the sock aspect offered both comfort and stability. With no tongue to move around and need adjusting, your foot slots right into the shoe and feels, like the name suggests, you are putting a sock on.
In terms of breaking the shoes in, I didn't wear them at all before play. The first time I put them on was 10 minutes before playing, and I didn't have any issues with discomfort during a 90 minute hitting session with some point play. I think that is again in part to the mono sock design and I'd say the Court FF's are the comfiest pair of tennis shoes I've ever tried. Of course, it's horses for courses, but for my feet, these shoes certainly work.
The key to a good tennis shoe for me is one that feels stable but not to the point it feels like you are wearing stiff shoes with no give.
From singles play and some competitive doubles sets I found the Asics Court FF 2s to offer plenty of support and stability without compromising comfort.
In an ideal world, I would have tested the original Court FF to see how the Court FF 2's have improved in terms of the twistruss midfoot section, but my feeling is that's it's more flexible than the first iteration.
Even though the sole on shoe looks bulky, I still felt connected to the court, and whether I was taking short steps or bigger lunges, I felt secure in my movement.
I also think that the mono sock design helps with stability as the sock and lacing system makes the foot feel secure. There's no tongue, so you don't need to faff around with straightening it or play around with the laces. It's almost a plug and play system.
I've seen a couple of other reviews that say the laces are too thin, but that thought never entered my mind, and I wouldn't say it's an issue. It's easily fixed anyway so a bit of a moot point if you ask me 🙂
Having only used the Court FF 2 shoes for around 15 hours, it's a bit early to give them a glowing review for durability, but so far they are showing little signs of wear and tear.
The main place I wear out shoes is on the sole under the balls of the feet. I've used them on a relatively rough indoor court, and they aren't showing any wear yet. This was never the case with the Nike Vapors that used to smooth out very quickly with the tread disappearing after just a few wears.
I use a platform stance when serving so the toe drag isn't a massive problem for me, but the toe guard is substantial. So for those that do drag their foot on serve, I can see the Court FF 2 performing well.
Will the Court FF 2 be up to Adidas Barricade levels of durability? My estimate would say it will be just a touch below but given the Barricades are nowhere near as comfortable as the Court FF 2's then the Asics model wins for me.
The sole of my Asics Court FF 2's is the all court version but in my opinion, is more orientated around hardcourt play.
With these being Djokovic's shoes, then the design has been made with sliding in mind, but I found them to be great on indoor hard courts and I'm not a player who slides much at all. I had ample grip when moving from the corners, but I never felt like I was stuck to the court, so they strike a nice balance.
I also used the shoes outdoors on an artificial grass court. For the uninitiated, this is a carpet-like design that has sand spread across it. They can get a little slippy, and I did lose footing a couple of times on a cold, damp day when moving quickly on the defence. Perhaps the clay-court sole would solve that problem, but I'd need to test the shoes in the height of summer on this surface to see how it performs.
Asics Court FF 2 Playtest
When it comes to tennis shoes, while I think weight is important, it's not the be-all and end-all. You can't expect a featherweight tennis shoe as you don't get the stability, traction or durability. I've played tennis in running shoes a few times, and they get destroyed in no time at all.
Based on all the tennis shoes I've tried, I'd put the Asics Court FF 2's as medium weight, but the snug fit and connectedness to the court makes them feel lighter than they look on the scales.
The Court FF 2's feel lighter than the Nike Vapor X shoes, despite weighing more when you put them on the scales side by side. For me, the weight is exactly what I want from a tennis shoe; neither too light nor too heavy.
Note: My scale above shows 433g. The quoted weight is 391g from Asics, so I'm not sure why there is a discrepancy there.
Overall, I'm a huge fan of the Asics Court FF 2 tennis shoes, and once this pair is done, I can't see myself looking elsewhere unless something dramatically better hits the market.
It's hard to pinpoint a specific area, but my favourite part of the Court FF 2 is the connection to the court surface they provide. You'd think given the bulky-ish nature of the shoe you'd feel a little bit high off the court, but I felt well balanced and never worried about footwork.
Whenever you play tennis, the last thing you want to be thinking about is your equipment; the focus should only be the next point. So if you can find a pair of tennis shoes that don't make you hesitant when sliding or running at full speed, or hurt your feet after a set, then you are onto a winner, and that's how I feel about the Court FF 2.
The Court FF 2 is a pricey tennis shoe at around $160, but if you are a hitting weekly, and you are looking for a high-performance tennis shoe, then the Court FF 2 will not disappoint.
Have you used the Asics Court FF2 shoes? What do you think of them? Or do you have a question about them? Let me know in the comments.