Tennis365 speaks to ASICS about the input players had into the new Solution Speed FF trainers
Tennis trainers are a hugely significant part of a tennis player’s armoury, with the feet taking a battering in a sport that demands so much rapid stopping and starting movements.
Novak Djokovic and David Goffin are among the top players who rely on ASICS to produce their on-court shoes and Tennis365 caught up with Rene Zandbergen, senior Manager, ASICS Footwear, to discuss what has gone into their newest trainer Solution Speed FF, which is due to launch in early 2021.
Describe the role the player plays in the development of a new trainer?
We work closely together with a wide variation of players – from elite top-ten players to everyday players to tennis coaches. With them, we define our playing styles and how we need to innovate with our footwear and apparel to answer the needs of these playing styles. For instance, with David Goffin and other players with an all-court playing style we look at how we can make sure that our tennis shoes become lighter more flexible and support the player to be faster on court. With Gael Monfils and other baseline players, we look at how to make sure side to side movement behind the baseline is supported by our footwear through increase stability in the midfoot area.
It’s important that you choose a tennis shoe that fits your style of playing tennis. We have spent a lot of time researching the many different types of playing styles, analyzing the way players move over the court. By understanding the way tennis players move, we can create tennis footwear that supports the natural movement of their foot, and help them stay protected from future injuries.
Specifically on Goffin, does he have a big involvement in the design of the trainer?
Goffin is for us a typical all-court player quick on his feet using the whole court. We have brainstormed with him and tested with him to find out what is important for an all-court player. This resulted in the latest Solution Speed FF 2 offering more flexibility, grip and push off power making the player faster.
Do you need to take into account Goffin’s on court movementwhen you design his trainers?
We analyze all our players and how they move on court to make sure we define the right playing styles, either Baseline, All-Court or Best of Both. By doing that we know how to improve our footwear and apparel to make sure we answer to the needs for each playing style.
How has the development of this new ASICS shoe been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic? Has it made it more difficult to produce?
We did have some challenges with testing because of lockdowns in some countries, but luckily tennis was one of the first sports that was possible to play as lockdowns gradually decreased, so we could get player feedback.
Are players sent a prototype to test before the final trainer is produced?
Yes, we do this to make sure that the new shoe is performing better than the one before, this is what we call “Kaizen” which means continuous improvement in Japanese. We are a Japanese brand, and this is very important to us. We also test in our Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan where we have 90 scientists working every day on innovation. There we have the possibility to test materials on strength, durability and performance as well.
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