Connect with us

Tennis

Reebok Reenters Tennis With Nano Court Shoe

Published

on

The colors on the new Reebok Nano Court may look familiar to fans of the brand’s heritage offerings. One of the new launch designs for the June 20 release of the court-ready shoe for tennis, pickleball and padel ties directly to the brand’s famous 1990s Court Victory Pump. That’s no accident.

“Reebok has a history with tennis,” Tal Short, Reebok senior product manager, tells me. “It isn’t like we just picked a random sport. We have heritage, we have knowledge of the key components of a tennis court shoe.”

They’ve taken that history and knowledge and applied it in a reentry into the tennis space with the $120 Nano Court, considered a more recreational level court shoe ready to handle a variety of surfaces and sports.

An extension of the brand’s popular Nano training line, Short says the first key component was ensuring technology kept athletes secure on the footbed during the side-to-side movements found in tennis, something much different than the front-to-back motions popular in training.

MORE: Reebok Embracing Tennis Heritage With Court Victory Pump Release

“A lot of testing went into keeping the athlete on the platform,” Short says. “You are doing a lot of actions with your ankle and foot, and we wanted something there to keep you locked in, so you are not sliding.”

To make it happen, designers added a TPU heel clip on the back and rubber kickups near the mid and front of the foot to keep the midsole secure. “When you take a hard cut, the foam wants to push out,” Short explains. “This keeps you locked in, but it still feels soft.” Reebok also used its Flexweave knit upper to build in a stiffer midfoot to help secure the foot without feeling heavy or overbuild. The tennis design also features a clear toe protection element.

Underfoot, Short says the design relies on the tried-and-true herringbone pattern—which still tested the best in everything Reebok tried—to help with stability.

Reebok went with an internal bootie construction for a sensation that offers security around the ankle. “It is like giving consumers a midtop shoe without the hindrance,” he says. “It allows the ankle to move, but with a fit that makes it feel more secure.”

By tapping into both Reebok’s historical knowledge of tennis and technologies already in place across the brand, they were able to get the Nano Court to market sooner, something that fit with the trends they saw as training consumers were using both tennis and pickleball as a fitness activity. With Nano a fitness-focused line, Short says it was a natural extension to dip back into the brand’s history and extend the Nano line to the court.

That history runs deep, from the 1990s Court Victory Pump made famous during the French Open by Michael Chang right up to outfitting both the Williams sisters. “We have heritage there,” Short says, even if the modern-day expression has been lacking.

Reebok plans to continue exploring both training and tennis. Short teased another new sport-specific model coming from the Nano line while saying the brand wants to see how the Nano Court is received in the sport while reestablishing relationships with court specialty shops before potentially adding a higher performance tennis model.

Short says that Reebok “put a ton of value” in the debut Court to steal market share in a crowded space. “The goal is to break in and see how it does,” he says, “and if it makes sense we would look into [a high-performance shoe]. We have already brought back the Victory Court Pump, so it just needs to align with where we are headed as a brand, and it sounds like this is where we are headed.”

The launch colorway highlights that heritage, but it won’t be the only color option when the Nano Court debuts. Expect a mix of bright colors and white and black gum-soled designs that have proven popular for Nano wearers. “The good news is we have a little bit of everything,” Short says. “We feel we have the colors covered.”

The Victory Pump colors won’t be the final direct tie to tennis. Short says Reebok hopes to have special-edition colors in the future lining up to big moments in the sport.

From new colorways to a potential extension of the Nano Court in tennis, it all starts with the reintroduction of a tennis model. “For us it just made sense,” Short says. “It was time to get back into the sport.”

Continue Reading