- Extremely light
- Breathable upper
- Responsive cushioning
- Stable platform
- Glove-like fit
- Comfortable in-shoe feel
- Grippy outsole
- Constricting plastic wall
- Lacks durability
- Break-in needed
Who should buy the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro
The Vapor Pro suits aggressive movers looking for lightweight tennis shoes for hard courts.
Also, given the shoe's stability features, we believe that it works well for baseline players as well as athletes with overpronation.
Who should NOT buy the shoe
Even though the Vapor Pro is considered one of the best tennis shoe choices from Nike, its TPU sidewalls may be annoying to players with wider feet.
Built with speed in mind
One of the first things we noticed about the Vapor Pro is how unbelievably lightweight it is. The shoe almost disappears on our feet and it's clearly one of the lightest premium shoes from Nike that we have tested.
Based on our measurements, the Vapor Pro weighs 12.1 oz (343g) in a men's US size 9. This is noticeably lighter than the average of tennis shoes 13.5 oz (382g).
Feet stay fresh even in the most intense games
We found that the Nike Vapor Pro is a very breathable shoe. Our breathability tests confirm this. Using a smoke-pumping machine and a visual assessment, we rated the shoe's breathability as 4 out of 5 (where 5 is the most breathable). However, most of the air passes not through the toebox mesh but through the "windows" on the sides of the upper.
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro (left) vs. ASICS Court FF 2 (right)
As you can see, the light only shines through a small "window." No light is visible in the toebox area.
We used a microscope to take a closer look at the mesh structure of the Vapor Pro.
The weave is rather thick and tightly woven in this Nike shoe. This typically translates to higher abrasion resistance but lower breathability.
Mesh with low breathability (2/5) on the Air Zoom Vapor Pro
Example of mesh with the highest breathability (5/5)
Vapor Pro keeps you protected yet connected
Based on our games, the Nike Vapor Pro offers a very well-balanced underfoot experience. Its cushioning is more on the minimal side but there is still enough of it to take the shock out of our harsh landings.
Using a pair of calipers, we measured the shoe's stack height at 26.4 mm in the heel and 17.6 mm in the forefoot.
Stack measurement of the Nike Vapor Pro
For comparison, the stack height of the ASICS Court FF 2 is 28.8 mm and 20.6 mm, respectively.
Stack measurement of the ASICS Court FF 2
Disclaimer: We always measure stack height with the insole included.
The insole is 4.4 mm thick, which is close to the average for tennis shoes (4.6 mm). It is also easily removable.
We also felt under our heels that the Zoom Air unit makes the shoe more responsive and shock-absorbing.
Overall, the shoe's cushioning has been responsive but not overly plush.
Measuring the foam softness with a durometer, we confirmed that the Vapor Pro is neither too soft nor firm. It is exactly in the middle ground of tennis shoes.
Stiff at first, a little break-in needed
We also discovered that the shoe's initial stiffness (lack of flexibility) required a short break-in period.
Having measured the Vapor Pro's resistance to bending, we found that it is 12% stiffer than tennis shoes on average.
However, in our manual flexibility assessment, the shoe turned out to be a bit more forgiving. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the stiffest, we rated both its longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 3.
A speedy shoe that doesn't skimp on stability
We also felt stable and well-supported in the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro.
The major stability features of the Vapor Pro include its full-length TPU sidewall that prevents our foot from spilling over the edge of the shoe as well as the rather wide base.
Based on our measurements, the sole of the Nike Vapor Pro is 113.5 mm wide in the widest part of the forefoot. This is 4.1 mm wider than the average of tennis shoes.
Vapor Pro feels snug and secure on the foot
Air Zoom Vapor Pro fits comfortably snug. We realized that it hugs our feet with nearly zero heel slippage.
Its asymmetrical lacing system hugs the medial side, especially the big toe. Also, we felt that it offers security when we're pushing forward.
The Vapor Pro also comes with a fully-gusseted tongue which prevents it from shifting side-to-side as we change directions rapidly.
We also have no complaints regarding heel slippage or lack of support around the ankle. The shoe's stiff and well-padded heel collar plays its part in locking our feet down.
On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest, we rated the Vapor Pro's heel counter as 4. More rigid heel counters typically offer a more secure foothold.
NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro is not wide-foot friendly
We discovered that testers among us with wider feet had issues with the TPU side support. They complained about it being too stiff and rubbing against the outside of the foot.
Having measured the widest part of the toebox (98.2 mm) as well as how wide it is around the toes (75.9 mm), we can categorize the Vapor Pro's toebox as medium. For reference, the average is 98.3 mm and 76.4 mm respectively.
Outsole grips admirably (but lasts a little less than desired)
We found that for sliders, the aggressive tread pattern offers a top-notch grip where it’s needed. But the downside is it thins out faster than expected.
We measured two parameters that are directly connected to the outsole longevity - its thickness and firmness.
The rubber outsole on the Vapor Pro is 4.4 mm which is actually thicker than average (4.1 mm).
When it comes to softness, the shoe turns out to be slightly softer than some of the more durable tennis shoes (like the ASICS Court FF 2, for example). However, it is definitely not a flimsy one.
Not a lot of upper reinforcement
Designed as a lightweight and speed-oriented shoe, the Vapor Pro doesn't come with a lot of upper protection. Even though its extended toe guard is something that we love, the shoe's synthetic overlays don't seem to give us much confidence.
Below you can see a comparison of the Vapor Pro's upper overlays to those of a more durable tennis shoe (taken through a microscope).
Protective overlays on the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapor Pro (mesh is exposed)
Protective overlays on the ASICS Court FF 2 (mesh is guarded)
Worn by the top-level players
Some of the pro players sporting the Air Zoom Vapor Pro are Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz, Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev, Bianca Andreescu, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, and Sloane Stephens Petra.