Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 Tennis Shoes Full Review: Durable, Wide and Comfortable
THE GOOD | The Vapor Cage 4 is exceptionally durable, supportive and comfortable. The shoe comes much less constricting, on the sides and toe, than the previous model. The extra room in the toe box is a welcome addition for people with regular to slightly wider feet. The outsole comes with a 6 month warranty. An excellent option for aggressive players who put a pounding on their feet.
THE BAD | The Vapor Cage 4 fits a wider variety of tennis players than the Cage 3 thanks to the larger toe box. Unfortunately, the extra room means most people will need to go down a half-size. The shoe also runs warm due to the very supportive upper.
THE BASE LINE | The Vapor Cage 4 is a comfortable, durable, supportive, brand new shoe. The larger toe box and an overall more spacious fit make the shoe more compatible with a wider range of tennis players than the constricting Cage 3. We recommend going a half size down.
Overall Rating: 4.1/5 Stars
Outsole Durability: 5/5
Upper Durability: 4.2/5
Arch Support: 3/5
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The Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 tennis shoe is a brand new shoe and therefore feels like nothing else from Nike. For the sake of simplicity and familiarity we will compare the shoe to the Cage 3. The Vapor Cage 4 was built to be a synthesis of the Vapor and Cage lines. Nike developed the Vapor Cage 4 to have a lower profile cushioning than the Cage 3 in order to increase overall stability and court feel. The Vapor Cage 4 overall is much more similar to the Cage 3 and therefore we don't believe it to be a synthesis but rather a rework of the Cage 3. This belief is backed up by the Vapor Cage 4's high weight, durability, stability, and overall feel.
Out of the box the Vapor Cage 4's colors and design scream new fit, new tech and new feel. Immediately apparent upon turning the shoe around is that left and right sides of each shoe are asymmetrical. This asymmetry is a shout out to the shoes inspirations: the Vapor and Cage lines. Upon closer inspection the shoes upper material is clearly durable, for which it's obvious you'll trade some breathability.
On both sides of each shoe there are protections and stabilizers along the bottom of the upper. In parts of the shoe the outsole wraps up to protect high-wear areas like the toe and forefoot. The Vapor Cage 4 also has a staggered rubber overlay(in the form of rows of rubber rectangles) on the upper for added durability. On the insides of the feet this overlay protects you if you're a tennis player that uses the insides of the shoe during sliding. The Vapor Cage 4 most noticeably comes with a partially separated upper in order to hide the laces specially made to protect the laces during that kind of extreme sliding. On the lateral sides of each shoe Nike has placed a clear, plastic, overlay frame to add stability during lateral movement.
The shoes lacing system contains eyestays on the inside of the upper's flap. On the outsides, the lace loops are hidden under a sleek overlay. At the very top of the lace overlay, the top lace loop, there is a lace friction system to help ensure that tight laces stay tight. The friction system, most importantly, does not seem to add wear to the lace.
The first time you go to try to put these shoes on you'll be met with some minor difficulty. It becomes super easy after that and doing the classic foot-squirm into the shoe lets you get them on pretty quickly. Once your foot is inside the Vapor Cage 4, the 1/2 length bootie gives you that immediate comfy sock feel. Although this shoe comes with more space than the Cage 3, it is extremely form fitting and gives you a sense of security because of the excellent support. The extra room (both height and width) in the toe box and width makes it so that most of our play-testers had to go down a half-size in order to ensure proper fit.
The shoe requires a bit of a break in, a couple of hours on the court will be good for comfortable wear. After about a week the shoes really shine with the hard rubber outsole becoming even more malleable. The Vapor Cage 4 has excellent stability and support on lateral movements and excellent stopping power. The lower-profile cushioning brings you down closer to the court than the Cage 3, which to some felt was too high off the court. Of course the Vapor Cage 4 is not as low as the Vapor line, but the high-cushion midsole is more than capable of making up for the increased height.
All in all the Vapor Cage 4 is an excellent option for someone looking for durability, stability and comfort. Any tennis player that puts a beating on their feet would do well to consider the Vapor Cage 4.
Vapor Cage 4: Key Specs
|Zoom Vapor Cage 4|
|Weight (Size 10)||15.48 oz / 439g|
|Fit||Runs large (go down a half-size)|
|Warranty||6 month outsole|
|Technologies||Generative design, Zoom Air midsole, medial lace eyestays|
|Color||Black, White-Laser, crimson & Persian-Violet|
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