ASICS Men’s Gel Upcourt Volley Ball Shoe
It’s now been about 4 months since I purchased this new pair of “TT” shoes to test for ILTT. Before I describe my experience with these shoes, I’ll first point out that the last pair of TT shoes I tested were the Asics Energy Force X’s, which I also reviewed here. Why did I not stick with the Energy Force line? Well, I wanted to see if the very high priced Energy Force X (about $175 when I bought them) were really just a glorified Asics volleyball shoe repurposed and repackaged for table tennis.
Here are my thoughts on the Asics Men’s Gel Upcourt Volley Ball Shoe, judged as a table tennis shoe:
— Comfort: VERY comfortable…probably one of the most comfortable sport shoes I’ve ever owned. Would make a great shoe just to walk around in.
— Weight: For table tennis, the weight of these shoes is totally fine…I don’t ever think I’m wearing heavy shoes, or that their weight is getting in the way of my moving quickly around the table.
— Grip: If you play on clean floors…tile, wood, rubber, etc…these Asics Gel’s grip the floor wonderfully, without being too sticky (something I hear some players not liking about certain brands of shoes, due to the possibility of tripping because the shoe grabs the court too well). If you play on somewhat dusty floors (sometimes I do), you will need to use a cleaning pad next to your table. I don’t know about you, but whenever I play on slightly to moderately dusty floors, I ALWAYS have to place a damp towel on the floor next to the table so I can brush my feet every so often during play. That said, these shoes are very adequate in the grip department.
— Cushioning: As I hinted at in the comfort heading, this shoe is beautifully cushioned. My feet never feel sore with these, even after playing 4 or 5 hours on Saturdays. Asics did a wonderful job in this area.
— Stability/Mobility: Here’s where I’ll be a little overly picky about the shoe. Although supremely comfortable, and although they fit like a glove, and they are aptly nimble, I do notice just a touch of sponginess when moving side to side. This is not an easily noticeable thing, but if you play like a cat and rely on abrupt changes from side to side like I do, you’ll probably notice just a tiny bit too much give when pushing off to change directions. If you’re not darting all over the place while you play, you may not even notice this factor…I’m just mentioning it because I feel it. However, seems to be a justified trade off considering how comfy the shoe is…how you can play all day in them and have your feel feel fine afterwards.
— Looks: As you can see in the picture above, they look pleasingly sporty and go great with whatever you wear, especially if you get them in black, which is what I got. They’re not as flashy as the Asics Energy Force X’s, but I don’t mind a more subtle shoes for now.
— So…was the Asics Energy Force X ($175) just a repurposed Asics Men’s Gel Vollyball shoe ($52) in disguise?
Energy Force X table tennis shoe
No, I personally think they are two different shoes, each made specifically for their intended sport. I think this because the volleyball shoe is slightly more cushiony than the Energy Force TT shoes, and more comfortable…but less stable.
— Final thoughts: I prefer the Asics volleyball shoe over the Energy Force for performance reasons alone, but especially after factoring in the less expensive price. That said, I will still be looking for the ultimate TT shoes, so stay tuned for more tests in the future. 🙂