Nike Combines Basketball + Tennis Shoe; Air Zoom GP Turbo

Basketball and tennis. You can’t get sports that are more different, right? Well, not quite. Think about it. Both sports involve:

  • Speed
  • Jumping
  • Fast Turns
  • Court Play

However, basketball shoe technology has always been a little bit ahead of tennis shoe technology. There were some features in Nike basketball shoes that were much desired in tennis shoes. Perhaps the most prominent of these being the air cushioning that the Nike Air has, just to help provide a little bit of cushioning during those epic jumps.

It took a while for it to happen but, in 2020, Nike finally got around to combining a basketball and tennis shoe into one single shoe. This shoe has been designed specifically for tennis. It accomplishes this by combining the best of tennis, basketball, and running shoes. Everything rolled into one neat little package.

The Nike Zoom GT Turbo

In order to create the Nike Zoom GT Turbo, Nike took a look at why people loved about their basketball shoes. Turns out it was the Air cushioning. Now, the Nike Zoom GT Turbo is not the first tennis shoe to use Air cushioning. The Zoom Air came just before this, but it only had cushioning for about three-quarters of the shoe. They wanted to improve on this.

It just so happened that Nike had previously designed a basketball shoe for Kevin Durant. This shoe had Air cushioning across the entire length of it. Nike seems to have looked at this and said “yes, this is exactly what we should be doing with our tennis shoes”, and thus the Nike Zoom GT Turbo was born.

Influence from the Running Shoe Lineup

The shoe also takes a little bit from the Nike running range. For example, the Nike running shoes have technology that helps to ‘lock’ the heel properly into the place at the back of the shoe. Nike has now added this feature to their tennis shoes too. According to Nike, this is meant to be especially beneficial when people are lining up their tennis serve.

Nike has also slightly changed the materials inside of this tennis shoe, mostly in line with their running range of products. This means the use of the Nike Free technology which, essentially, enables the shoe to be a bit more flexible on the court while retaining durability.

What is Nike Air Cushioning?

Nike has said that the use of the Nike Air cushioning has changed up the way that people wear their tennis shoes. Obviously, you are going to still be putting them on your feet. Nike has not shaken up the market that much. However, the feel of the Nike Zoom GT Turbo is a little bit different.

If you play basketball, you need your shoes to be somewhat responsive. You need to be paying a lot of attention to your feet. Basically, you need to ‘feel’ the position of your feet without there being any risk to injury. The Nike Air system is designed for that. It is a decent amount of padding, but it is closer to the foot. This means that you can ‘feel’ it move when you are playing. This is something that translates incredibly well to the tennis court.

The Future of Nike Tennis Shoes

The team behind Nike tennis shoes implies that they always have to borrow a little bit from the other sports shoes in the Nike range. This is because Nike tennis shoes are not a massive seller. Well, at least compared to basketball and running shoes. Therefore, Nike has less of a budget to spend on the development of its products. However, the Nike tennis shoe range is certainly on the up as of now.

Tennis stars such as Naomi Osaka and Frances Tiafoe have already been wearing these shoes on the court, and they seem to have performed well in them. It is likely that this tech is going to continue to move forward. Since Nike have now used the Nike Air tech in a couple of tennis shoes now, refining it each time, it is likely that this is the technology that they are going to be using in their tennis shoes going forward. Although, we suppose that we will have to wait and see what happens.

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