Our verdict

We discovered that Vapour Pro is a treat for quick players eyeing a speedy shoe in a multi-layered supportive build. It takes on the best features of the Vapour X without adding an ounce to its weight. A caveat, though, is we found that frequent plays on the abrasive hardcourt can smooth out the tread rapidly.

Pros

  • Extremely light
  • Breathable upper
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Stable platform
  • Glove-like fit
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Grippy outsole

Cons

  • Constricting plastic wall
  • Lacks durability
  • Break-in needed

Audience verdict

85
Great!
  • Top 27% most popular tennis shoes

Who should buy the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapour Pro

The Vapour Pro suits aggressive movers looking for lightweight tennis shoes for hard courts.

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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 Vapour Pro is considered one of the best tennis shoe choices from Nike, its TPU sidewalls can be annoying to players and testers among us with wider feet.

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Built with speed in mind

One of the first things we noticed about the Vapour 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 Vapour 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 Vapour 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 Vapour 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 Vapour Pro.

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The weave is rather thick and tightly woven in this Nike shoe. This typically translates to higher abrasion resistance but lower breathability.

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Mesh with low breathability (2/5) on the Air Zoom Vapour Pro

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Example of mesh with the highest breathability (5/5)

Vapour Pro keeps you protected yet connected

Based on our games, the Nike Vapour 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 callipers, we measured the shoe's stack height at 26.4 mm in the heel and 17.6 mm in the forefoot.

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Stack measurement of the Nike Vapour Pro

For comparison, the stack height of the ASICS Court FF 2 is 28.8 mm and 20.6 mm, respectively.

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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.

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We also felt under our heels that the Zoom Air unit makes the shoe more responsive and shock-absorbing.

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Overall, the shoe's cushioning has been responsive but not overly plush.

Measuring the foam softness with a durometer, we confirmed that the Vapour Pro is neither too soft nor firm. It is exactly in the middle ground of tennis shoes.

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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 Vapour 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 Vapour Pro.

The major stability features of the Vapour 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 Vapour 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.

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Vapour Pro feels snug and secure on the foot

Air Zoom Vapour Pro fits comfortably snug. We realised that it hugs our feet with nearly zero heel slippage.

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Its asymmetrical lacing system hugs the medial side, especially the big toe. Also, we felt that it offers security when we're pushing forward.

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The Vapour Pro also comes with a fully-gusseted tongue which prevents it from shifting side-to-side as we change directions rapidly.

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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 Vapour Pro's heel counter as 4. More rigid heel counters typically offer a more secure foothold.

NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapour 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.

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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 categorise the Vapour Pro's toebox as medium. For reference, the average is 98.3 mm and 76.4 mm respectively.

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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 Vapour Pro is 4.4 mm which is actually thicker than average (4.1 mm).

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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.

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Not a lot of upper reinforcement

Designed as a lightweight and speed-oriented shoe, the Vapour 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.

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Below you can see a comparison of the Vapour Pro's upper overlays to those of a more durable tennis shoe (taken through a microscope).

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Protective overlays on the NikeCourt Air Zoom Vapour Pro (mesh is exposed)

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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 Vapour Pro are Nick Kyrgios, Taylor Fritz, Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev, Bianca Andreescu, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, and Sloane Stephens Petra.