The Tennis Shoes Designed to Glide on Hard Courts | The Tech Race

Welcome to The Tech Race.
Can you imagine tennis shoes
that allow the player
to cover the court quicker?
Stop imagining –
there are shoes
that make this possible.
A professional tennis player
can hit the ball
at speeds faster than 200km/h.
Competitors have barely
a fraction of a second
to respond.
Glide shoes make it possible
for the player
to reach the ball and return
to their original position
at speeds that were
previously impossible.
Today, it’s not a huge surprise
that the tennis game,
like anything, is speeding up.
Tennis is faster today
than it was two years ago
or ten years ago.
What we’ve seen is that many
professional players have
adapted to that by learning
to slide on hard court.
If you watch Djokovic,
Gael Monfils especially,
they’ve been sliding
on hard court
almost as easily as they do
on clay for several years now.
Our footwear engineering team
noticed that
and wanted to look at
how to take that ability
and make that possible
for younger players
and other competitive players
around the world.
At the College Park
Athletic Club, Chicago,
tennis players train
with one-of-a-kind shoes
that allows them
to slide on the hard court.
What you’ll find
on the glide shoe
that’s different than
any other shoe in the world
are two glide plates
on the bottom,
strategically placed
in the shoe,
made of polyethylene.
What we found is this provided
the perfect surface
to allow the player
to glide on hard courts.
But the traction
around the shoe,
the reinforced rubber,
allows them
to reposition their weight
and quickly move
out of that shot.
It’s an impressive dynamic
of those two materials
working together,
also taking into account
the player’s position.
This shoe is a new invention.
It basically allows us to move
just like we move on clay,
except on the hard court.
It enables us
to transfer our weight
and slide into the shot,
which enables us to instantly
recover right after
and get back to the middle
of the court,
which makes us quicker.
The opponent sees us always
in the middle of the court,
so it’s much harder to beat us
with the ability
to slide into the court.
Yes, come on, come on.
I really like playing
with the glide shoes.
I feel like it’s really cool
because I’m faster
and I can recover better.
It makes…you know…
Your strides change a little,
but once you get used to it,
I think it’s really cool
and it really improves my play.
In the past,
athletes wrapped their feet
in fabric to play sports,
until they began to manufacture
tennis shoes with cork soles
in the 18th century.
The shoes are always determined
by the surface on which
the match will be played on.
Ever since tennis was included
as an Olympic sport in 1984,
it has been played
on hard courts,
with the exception of
the Olympic Games
in Barcelona 1992,
where they competed
on clay courts
and in London 2012,
where they played
on the legendary grass courts
of Wimbledon.
Tennis hard courts are made of
cement, plastic or asphalt.
The action is fast-paced
because the bounce
is low and quick,
making gliding on these types
of courts a revolutionary step.
Most importantly, these shoes
allow the player to decide
when to slide and when to stop.
It’s important to know
that you don’t slide on this
if you don’t want to.
I think it’s important
that people understand
these are not ice skates.
These are actual tennis shoes
that you can regulate
how much you want to slide
and how much you do not
want to slide.
This new technology
completely changes
the way tennis is played
on hard courts.
The glide shoes
make it possible
to hit the ball
and be ready for the next
with 30% quicker recovery.
However, it takes time
to get used to the shoes.
The first day,
I was very nervous
about how much it slides
and how much it doesn’t.
I was afraid to make my steps.
But very quickly,
I switched my mind-set.
I used to play on clay
and I realised
that this actually works
and I can regulate
how big that step needs to be.
I got it very quickly
and our students today show
that they can do it
very quickly as well.
It was a little bit difficult
at the beginning to learn it,
except once my coach showed me
some exercises to do
and we worked on it,
I think I got it
in the first day or so.
Once you keep practising it,
it just becomes
easier and easier.
The weight is on the inside.
Fantastic, Alan.
Fantastic, Alan.
My goal for tennis
is to be number one
in the world
and I think that
the glide shoes
can definitely
help me achieve this,
and I’m really excited
to wear them.

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