The NikeCourt Air Zoom Zero HC Tennis Shoe comes with a tall order to fill. Consider the sport it is being designed for. Tennis features quick bursts of speed as the athlete sprints from different spots on the court. Lunges and side steps combine with fast-breaking transfers from one direction to another. Add in changes of elevation with a jump shot, or the extra push for a slide, and you’re placing a lot of demand on the shoes to meet up with the need. But the NikeCourt designers may have come up with something in the Hero HC. If nothing else, they’ve come up with a tennis shoe first—the Hero HC features a full length Zoom Air bag with reticulations meant specifically for tennis movements.
The Zoom bag helps with the transition from heel strike to forefoot spring by using a specific curvature that also protects against impact while giving a springy bounce. Previously, the Zoom bag was either top loaded, inserted on top of the midsole and closest to the foot, or bottom loaded, inserted in the bottom of the midsole closer to the ground. The Zero HC opted to create a bag that provided the benefits of both approaches. According to tennis pros Elina Svitolina and Frances Tiafoe, who were approached by Nike to put the shoe through the tests during their practice sessions, the shoe performed wonderfully, transition under their feet without the “clunk-clunk” motion of other shoes.