Category Archives: Review

Which Salming Indoor Court Shoe Is Right For You?

Salming makes high performance indoor court shoes that are designed for squash …

Salming’s real strength I believe in their line is providing very light, very comfortable, high performance indoor court shoes.

Salming is extremely visible on the PSA Tour. As such most players will have seen their shoes or will know someone that plays in them. They are certainly very popular at our club. What gets tricky though is figuring out which model is for you.

This post is designed to give you our take on the strengths of each model and the technologies they use.

There are 4 series of shoes from Salming: the Kobra, the Viper, the Race and the Adder. Each model has its own strength and those strengths will help determine what the right Salming shoe is for you.

After the section on the shoes we have covered the technologies that Salming has incorporated in the shoes in the Salming Technologies section of the post. Please read that section as well as we cover Salming’s description of each technologies and also provide our take on them too.

SALMING KOBRA

Salming Kobra Royal/Yellow Indoor Court Shoes

Technologies Included in the Kobra:

Here is what Salming has to say about the Kobra:

“The Salming Kobra is a fast paced unique combination of lightweight, cushioning and stability. Together with all the unique Salming technologies, Kobra is wrapped up into one agile shoe.

A new Wrap Around System Design (WAS Design)
In order to facilitate agility and stability but still maintain the lightweight characteristics, we have designed the midsole rear end with higher side walls that wrap around the heel area. In combination with the LMS Plus 8° and the new fully integrated ExoSkeleton construction, it ensures an excellent stability and perfect fit.”

Our take:

The Salming Kobra are Salming’s top of line shoe in terms of both technology and price point. The Kobra provide excellent lateral support, cushioning that helps with comfort and performance, and are extremely light weight and breathable.

The Kobra provide exceptional lateral support and stability. It is one of the first things I noticed when I played in a pair. They are incredibly stable shoes. Before I play I do a stretch lunge exercise. As I am lunging quite far forward I find this to be a good gauge on how much stability the shoe will provide. The Kobra provide the most stable base of any model of court shoe I have played in.

The technologies that Salming has incorporated in the Kobra to achieve such good stability and lateral support are the EXOSKELETON, LMS, LMS+ and a new Wrap Around Design (WAS) system. These technologies work together to provide optimal stability to this light weight shoe.

The WAS system is an enhancement to the EXOSKELETON and is only found in the Kobra line. The EXOSKELETON on the Kobra integrates right in to the loop for the laces that keeps the foot locked in place and provides excellent strength and stability to the Kobra.

Salming uses RECOIL and RECOIL R foam to provide cushioning to the shoes. The RECOIL foam in the forefoot area not only does a great job of absorbing shock, it also transfers energy back to the player to give some additional spring to your movement.

The Kobra might look like they are a bulky/heavy shoe but they are anything but that. They are actually the lightest model from Salming. I believe that is a pretty incredible accomplishment for Salming given just how supportive they are.

The Kobra are geared towards the player looking for the latest and greatest in technology in an indoor court shoe to really take their game to the next level. They provide incredible performance and good cushioning.

View the Salming Kobra in our online store

Salming Viper

Salming Viper 4 Yellow/Orange Men's Indoor Court Shoes

Technologies Included in the Viper:

Here is what Salming has to say about the Viper:

“The Salming Viper is a fast paced agile shoe with a low profile and excellent stability characteristics. It incorporates the very best of Salming Indoor shoe technologies and then some. If you’re a fan of the Salming Race model you will find the Viper lower and with less cushioning in the fore-foot area, enabling a more close-to-the court feel plus a lighter and more breathable upper.

The construction has its origin in the Salming Running shoe product range, where it has been very well received with its three layer system where the unique Salming ExoSkeleton™ keeps the foot in the right position during lateral movements and high performance activities. Agile, fast paced with a low profile – The Viper.”

Our take:

The Viper are designed with a primary focus on performance. They offer excellent stability with Salming’s LMS and LMS+, and EXOSKELETON technologies. The LMS+ 11° provides the largest positive angle that Salming uses with their LMS+ technology. It really keeps your weight inwards and that really helps with lateral support. You are also very low to the court in the Viper which helps with lateral stability.

Salming designed the Viper to be lower to the court with performance in mind. There is much less cushioning than in the Kobra or Race models.

I like to equate it to owning a sports car. Sports cars often have very high-end, low profile tires to provide ultimate performance. If you have driven a car with very low-profile tires you know the performance they provide. You also know they do so though at a cost of comfort. You feel the road more.

In the case of the Viper you feel the court more. From a pure performance perspective, this works extremely well. When you drive down in to the court floor to propel yourself to the ball there is much less cushioning to absorb that energy. This really helps you get to and from the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Being really close to the court also provides a connected to the court feel. It does so at the sacrifice of some of the comfort that you will find in the Kobra or Race. They are not as soft under the forefoot area.

The Viper are designed for the player looking for maximum performance and do not need, or require as much cushioning in their court shoe.

View the Salming Viper in our online store

SALMING RACE X

Salming Race X Indoor Court Shoes endorsed by Ramy Ashour

Technologies Included in the Race X:

Here is what Salming has to say about the Race X:

“The Race X is an updated version of the Salming race model powered with a new Exoskeleton™ design that is integrated with the lacing construction. The shoe’s upper is made from the same durable lightweight polyester fabric featured on the race providing virtually zero “break-in” time.”

Our take:

The Salming Race X are the latest in the Race series and are the shoes endorsed by Ramy Ashour. The Race X are a good performing pair of indoor court shoes but their claim to fame is comfort. They are a very soft pair of indoor court shoes and feature excellent cushioning in the heel area of the shoe and in the forefoot area.

If you play a lot and are looking to protect your feet from the wear and tear of the hard movements we squash players have to make on court then you should definitely take a look at the Race X.

The cushioning foam under the heel of the foot and the rebound foam under the forefoot provide an ultra comfortable ride. The upper of the shoe is incredibly comfortable too and Salming’s claim of requiring virtually zero break-in time is accurate. You can take them out of the box, lace them up and go play!

While designed for comfort, the Race X do also perform well on court. They are used at all levels of the sport including many top level professional squash players.

We sponsor Nick Sachvie who at time of writing this article is Canada’s top squash player and we gave him the choice of any shoe we carried and he chose the Race X.

The LMS, LMS+ 5°, and EXOSKELETON technologies provide good lateral support. The Exoskeleton system keeps the foot in place in the shoe even though the upper is incredibly soft and comfortable.

The Race X are ideal for the player that is looking for ultimate comfort in an indoor court shoe while still getting top notch performance.

View the Salming Race X in our online store

Salming Adder

Salming Adder Black/Green Men's Indoor Court Shoes

Technologies Included in the Adder:

Here is what Salming has to say about the Adder:

“The Salming Adder is greatly inspired by the success Salming Viper in many aspects. Salming Adder provides the lowest profile (height from ground surface to your foot sole) of all Salming indoor shoes. This enables a great feel for the ground and great stability characteristics. The material in the midsole is a lightweight EVA compound and in the heel impact zone there’s a C35 compound designed to reduce impact forces.”

Our take:

While the Adder are a lower price point shoe and feature less of Salming’s high-end technologies they are still a high performance indoor court shoe. They are the lowest to the court of all of the Salming shoes. Lateral support is excellent in the Adder thanks to their very low profile, EXOSKELETON and LMS+ 11° design.

The C35 cushioning foam under the heel does provides reasonable cushioning to protect against heel strike. As noted there is less cushioning in the forefoot area. The upper of the Adder is not as soft as is found in the Kobra, Viper or Race models.

The Adder are a good performing shoe and will best suit someone that was a light court shoe, and does not require a great deal of cushioning. They are an excellent pair of indoor court shoes at their price point.

View the Salming Adder Indoor Court shoes in our online store

 

 

SALMING TECHNOLOGIES

 

ROLLBAR

Salming’s description: “An increased radius on the inner side of the outer sole, facilitates rolling the foot inwards and toe push off. Reaching for that stop ball in squash or covering a shot in floorball is made easier with the RollBar™ technology.”

Our take: The key benefit of the Rollbar technology is the aid it provides in pushing off towards the ball. When you dig your foot in to the court to push forwards, Rollbar allows the foot to work inwards towards the toe to provide better push off. Additionally, the shoes are very firm in in the toe area to maximize energy transferred to the court and provide the best possible drive.

Salming T.G.S 62/75

T.G.S. 62/75

Salming’s description: “Torsion Guide System. The distance from heel to the ball of the foot (62% of the shoe) has been designed with extra stability, which ends in the so-called ”ballet” line, a 75° angle. In front of the 75° line, we have equipped the shoe with greater flexibility to stimulate the foot’s natural movements. TGS 62/75 takes all of the gait cycle criteria into consideration. At the same time, it softens the strains caused by friction during lateral movements. The shoe bends in exactly the right places, stimulating the foot’s natural lateral and forward movements.”

Our take: The back portion of the shoe is firmer and designed to improve balance and stability. The forefoot area of the shoe has been designed to allow more freedom of movement to allow your foot to move and perform naturally. The split comes at the ballet line. If you were to drive your heels up off the floor so that your weight is on your forefoot area the “ballet line” is where your foot would leave the floor. It is also where Salming has designed the shoes to flex. The front part of the shoe is more flexible. The back 62% of the shoe is firmer to provide maximum stability.

Salming Exoskeleton

EXOSKELETON

Salming’s description: “The exo skeleton design stabilizes the foot for lateral movements and reduces pressure at the MTP joints (Metatarsophalangeal joints). It is important to keep the foot stable medio-lateral, avoiding friction and side forces in the soft parts of the foot sole, especially underneath the forefoot.”

Our take: This is one of the key components of Salming’s shoes. The shoes that feature the EXOSKELETON design are largely made of mesh. The EXOSKELETON provides the necessary support to the shoe. The EXOSKELETON  is the little bands that come up from under the foot then around the foot and in to the lacing area of the shoe. They are very light but very solid and keep your foot in place inside the shoe. This is a critical component in lateral support as if you foot starts to slip outwards when planting the foot on a lateral movement your weight will start to transfer outwards and this increases the risk of injury. It also decreases performance.

Salming Ergoheel Cup

ERGO HEELCUP

Salming’s description: “To stabilize and fixate the heel, which is key to providing a great fit and comfort, we have developed a new anatomical Ergo Heel Cup that is slightly longer than the average heel cup.”

Our take: Salming’s description is clear and it is also very accurate. The Ergo Heel Cup helps keep your heel locked in place in the back of the shoe to prevent it from slipping upwards. This keeps the back of your foot from rubbing against the shoe and prevents blisters.

Salming Hexagrip

HEXAGRIP

Salming’s description: “A new very durable lightweight rubber compound – HX120 – that features Salmings HexaGrip™ pattern designed for the best possible grip on all indoor surfaces.”

Our take: Hexagrip was first introduced in the Kobra series. It is an update to the rubber that they use on the outsole of the shoe. The rubber is formed in a hexa pattern, a 6 sided pattern to provide the best possible grip to the court. HexaGrip provides incredible traction. To maximize your movement you need your court shoes to have the best grip possible and HexaGrip is exceptional. Good grip on the court is also important from an injury prevention perspective as if you slip on the lunge you risk tearing muscles. Salming XR112 with HexaGrip is their top of the line outsole material.

Salming XR110 rubber

XR110

Salming’s description: “In order to help you control all of this cornering performance, our XR110 outer sole has an extra sticky developed compound!”

Our take: XR110 rubber is the compound the outsole of the Viper, Race and Adder are made of. It provides excellent grip on the court. All of Salming shoes grip well which really aids in their performance. Good grip also reduces the risk of the foot slipping out from under you which helps lesson the chance of injury.

Salming LMS Unit

LMS

Salming description: “Lateral Movement Stabilizer – an especially designed light weight integrated dual torsion unit that supports the foot during fast and irregular lateral movements.”

Our take: Lateral stability is one of the key performance and safety components in a shoe designed for squash. There is a lot of lateral movement in squash with the need to change directions quickly. Salming’s LMS provides torsional stability to the shoe in its mid section. That helps prevent your foot from rolling outwards when planting your foot to change direction. This reduces the risk of injury (rolling your ankle) and allows you to change directions as quickly as possible.

Salming LMS+ 11

LMS+ 11°/8°/5°

Salming’s description: “Fast lateral stops expose the foot to the risk to roll over outwards, causing injuries. LMS+ (Lateral Movement Stabilizer Plus) is a unique design with a positive angle of 11° that prevents the foot from rolling over outwards.”

Our take: LMS+ compliments the LMS system to provide lateral stability in the shoe. The 11°/8°/5° angle refers to the angle from the lateral (outside) side of the foot to the medial (inside) side of the foot. There is an 11, 8 of 5 degree angle with the lateral side being higher than the medial side. That angle keeps your weight inwards and helps to prevent your foot from rolling outwards.

 Salming Recoil + Recoil R

 RECOIL™ + RECOIL R™

Salming’s description: “The material in the midsole is a newly developed compound named RECOIL™ which is a super lightweight cushioning compound that releases a higher rebound energy effect. The Recoil R™ – as in Recoil Reduction – is a cushioning compound featured in the heel impact zone designed to reduce impact forces and increase comfort when lunging.”

Our take: In the mid to forefoot area of the shoe Salming has used a RECOIL foam system. The RECOIL foam will absorb shock but it also transfers energy back in to the foot to add more spring to your movement. It’s a smart design that provides comfort and aids in performance. Under the heel RECOIL R is used to absorb shock. As squash is mostly a heel strike first movement there is a lot of impact under the heel and RECOIL R is designed to protect the foot from that.

 Salming Recoil + Recoil R

 RUNLITE

Salming’s description: “The midsole features a special High Abrasion Injection EVA – RunLite™ – designed to create a nice feel for the court. It is light and responds to the surface from the very first step.”

Our take: EVA stands for ethel vinyl acetate and is a type of foam.  The midsole refers to the section of the shoes between the upper and outsole of the shoe. It provides light weight cushioning under the foot while still providing a responsive feel.

 Salming Rebound Foam

 REBOUND FOAM

Salming’s description: “Forefoot rebound energy foam – RE35. 80% better rebound energy than a regular EVA midsole compound.”

Our take: Salming uses rebound foam under the forefoot area in some of their models. It is designed to not only absorb shock but to transfer energy back to the foot. The shock absorption improves comfort and the rebound or transfer of energy back to the foot helps performance.

Salming Cushioning Foam

 CUSHIONING FOAM

Salming’s description: “Heel cushioning foam – C35, positioned at the heel centre, gives you 70% better shock absorption than a regular EVA midsole compound..”

Our take: Salming uses cushioning foam under the heel of the shoe to provide maximum shock absorption. 70% better than a standard EVA midsole is their claim. Salming’s Cushioning Foam is extremely effective at shock absorption and really helps make the shoe ultra comfortable to play in.

 

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A Review of the Harrow Vibe Jonathon Power Special Edition Squash Racquet

Harrow Vibe Jonathon Power Signature EditionI recently decided to switch racquets as I wanted to try something light and with a soft feel to it. I also wanted something that was fairly forgiving to play with. As such I decided to give the Harrow Vibe a try. I had most recently been using the Harrow Spark before so the weight difference was not to significant. The Vibe is slightly heavier at 140 grams fully finished compared to the Spark’s fully finished weight of 135 grams. The balance of the Vibe is more even compared to the Spark which is head heavy so even though the Vibe is heavier on a scale, when playing it felt a bit lighter to me. The Vibe has a very soft feel to it which is exactly what I wanted to try. The Vibe’s 500 cm2 head is definitely more forgiving than the smaller head of the Spark.

Weight and Balance

I was already used to playing with a light racquet as noted so the change to the Vibe in relation to the weight was an easy one. I like the even balance to it. I have been working on a shorter, more compact swing that I can hold and then snap through to the ball with. I find this is easier to do with a lighter racquet and the Harrow Vibe was very good for this with its very light weight and even balance. A quick note on weight which I will go in to more detail on in a forth coming post. There are a few different ways that manufacturers advertise the weight of a racquet. They are unfinished, unstrung and fully finished. You can add as much as 40 grams in some cases to an unfinished weight. So the Vibe’s weight of 140 grams fully finished is very light indeed. That coupled with its even balance makes it extremely manoeuvrable.

Feel

This is the racquet that Jonathon Power actually plays with. Having previously been a Dunlop guy Harrow designed his signature model around the feel that he likes. It has a very soft, almost whippy feel to it. I noticed the change from the Spark here a great deal. The Spark, like many Harrow frames is quite stiff. This Vibe has a softer frame but also it has a less dense 14 x 18 string pattern compared to the Spark or Vapor’s 14 x 19 stringing pattern on their smaller heads. It makes a big difference. You can visibly see that the Vibe has a more open string pattern through the sweet spot of the racquet compared to the Spark or Vapor. The softer feel gives you the sense that the ball is sitting on the strings longer. That is not the only difference on contact. There is a definite flex to the racquet when you hit the ball. These were all things I was wanting to give a try. It felt odd having come from such a stiff racquet but it has really grown on me.

Forgiving

The last few racquets I have all had smaller heads that would be considered control frames. I have found when I playing well these do suit my game as I like to move the ball around the court. I have found though that when under more pressure and when I am not playing quite as well the smaller sweet spots of these heads was coming back to haunt me. The smaller head and tighter string pattern of the Spark and Vapor are not forgiving. I wanted to try something with a larger sweet spot and that would be more responsive on slightly mishit balls. The Harrow Vibe definitely helped with that. It was easier to generate pace with the Vibe due its larger sweet spot but more importantly under duress I am getting more out of the racquet, and my shots with the larger more forgiving head. Interestingly if I am playing really well with either the Spark of Vibe I am in good command of the ball. I find I am in more command of the ball with the Vibe under pressure than I am with the smaller head of the Spark. This was actually the principal reason for trying the Vibe out and it did really work out.

Overall Conclusion

I really enjoy playing with the Harrow Vibe.  I liked it enough that I have one in my bag now strung up with Tecnifibre X-One. It did take some getting use to the softer more flexible feel of the Vibe but the rewards of doing so were worth it. You do get an improved feel of the ball on the racquet and it is a forgiving racquet to hit with. A final note on the weight of the racquet. It is very light and not what I would think is ideal for the beginner. It is pretty easy to get ahead of the ball if you are anxious as you can generate so much racquet head speed, so easily. For the player that can control that and has good timing that is actually a real advantage though. If you are looking for a light, manoeuvrable, forgiving racquet with a soft feel then the Harrow Vibe is a terrific choice.

View the Harrow Vibe in our online store

 

 

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A review of the Salming Kobra Indoor Court Shoes

When Salming first started marketing their Kobra line I was very excited about the shoes. I made sure we ordered them right away and we were one the first stores in North America to have them.  I was excited to not only get them in the store I was also excited to get a pair for myself. The previous pair of Salming shoes I had been using were the Viper and I was interested to see how they would compare. Things that I wanted to compare were how well they perform and comfortable they are.

Salming Kobra White Indoor Court Shoes Continue reading

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A Review of the Asics Gel-Fastball 2

The original Fastball were a well-received shoe for us. They were an excellent alternative to the Blast 6 for those that were looking for a lighter, lower profile shoe. They are indeed quite light and keep the player very close to the court. The Fastball 2 pick up right where the original Fastball left off. They are light, comfortable, low to the court and offer excellent lateral stability. Mike McCue, one of our sponsored athletes recently switched from the original Fastball to the new Fastball 2 and he was kind enough to provide feedback on them. Mike has played in Asics Blast 4, Blast 5, Blast 6, Blade 4 and the original Fastball so he is able to compare them to many of Asics most commonly used models for squash.

Here is Mike’s report on the Asics GEL Fastball 2:

“The Fastball 2 is the latest incarnation of the Asics model that bridges the gap between the ultra-light Blade and bulkier new Blast models. Having recently worn the Blade and Fastball 1’s, there was no major shock transitioning to the Fastball 2. There is more support in the metatarsal area, which had been a bit thin in the past and could lead to some foot pain. The mold also easily accommodated my slightly wide foot, which has sometimes been a problem as well. Despite this reinforced support, the shoe is still incredibly light and barely noticeable when moving around court, which is always a good sign. The break-in phase was minimal and there were no problems with slippery soles. The Fastball 2 is an obvious choice for anyone who has previously enjoyed Asics footwear, and a new option for those seeking more durability out of a high performance shoe.”

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A review of the Head Graphene XT Xenon 135 Slimbody AFP Squash Racquet

I decided I wHead Graphene XT Xenon 135 Slimbody AFP Squash Racquetanted to give a racquet with a smaller head a go again as I believe it compliments my game. My game is not a power game it is more about moving my opponent around the court. I like to volley, I like to take the ball short and I really like to lob. When I am playing well and having success it is generally because I am moving well and because my control of where the ball is going is on. I try to make the court big for my opponent by hitting in to the corners and by hitting in to open spaces. The Head Graphene XT Xenon 135 Slimbody AFP Squash Racquet is really designed for control. While Omar Mosaad, “The Hammer of Thor” can certainly crush the ball with this racquet (he used its predecessor last season) it is designed around control and not power.

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A Review of the Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 Squash Racquet

One of the racquets I have been most excited about receiving in the past little while was the new Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 Squash Racquet. I was excited to get in for a few reasons. First I thought the Arch Power (AP) technology would really add a new dimension to the Dynergy series of racquets. Having one of the most exciting players in the world, Miguel Angel Rodriguez playing with it I thought would add some real excitement to the racquet as well. It is also the first racquet that Tecnifibre strung with the new DNAMX 1.20 mm. I have taken the Tecnifibre Dynergy 125 AP Squash Racquet out for a hit a couple of times now. I really quite like it! It is quite good for hitting drives and also good on the volley. Touch was also good.

Flying Miguel Angel Rodrigues with Tecnifibre Dynergy 125 AP

When hitting drives I found that while being light it had enough mass to hit effective length shots. I believe that its slight head heavy balance of 355 mm helps the racquet in this department. Its puts enough of the racquets mass behind the ball to help with hitting length shots. I did find that there was a bit of give in the racquet that was most noticed on off centre hits. On balls hit in the sweet spot I really felt like that ball took off and that the racquet was providing excellent response.

On the volley I found this racquet really help me establishing a good volley to length game. As noted above I really found a lot of extra spring to the ball when catching the ball in the sweet spot. This allowed to allowed me to cut off even difficult balls to volley and keep the ball high and tight with a shorter swing while still get the ball to good length. Having the confidence to do this allowed to hold the T more effectively which is definitely a positive.

The touch of this racquet was good as well. I find with light racquets touch can sometimes be a bit tough as you can’t feel the racquet head as much in your hands. While light the Dynergy AP 125’s slightly head heavy balance moved enough weight up in to the head to allow me to feel the head of the racquet enough to control my short balls. This allowed me to play effective drops and counter drops.Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 Squash Racquet

One other aspect of the racquet that I think is worth touching on is the string pattern. The Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 features a 16 x 16 string pattern that fans out from the arch in the throat of the racquet. As such it is a fairly open string pattern through the hitting zone up through to the top of the head. This helps with producing power and spin which is a real asset of the racquet. It is similar in this regard to the Powerbite series from Prince although not quite as open. The Prince’s Powerbite series feature a 14 x 15 stringing pattern. It is worth noting that with the strings being spaced out as much as they are at the top of the head shear string breaks are a possibility. Shear breaks are when the string breaks right where the string meets the frame. This happens most commonly when a player takes a hard swing at a ball and misses the sweet spot and hits the ball right near the frame of the racquet. The less strings there are to absorb the blow the more likely a string is break.

The Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 Squash Racquet is a very nice racquet to play with. I found it be very responsive to balls hit in the sweet spot. It was good to hit drives with, good on the volley and also good from a touch perspective. For a player looking for a good overall racquet and for a racquet that rewards them for hitting the sweet spot and gives them a bit of feedback when they don’t this is a great fit.

To learn more about the Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 click on the View in Store link below!

Tecnifibre Dynergy AP 125 Squash Racquet

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A Review of the Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 Squash Racquet

I was very excited to receive in to the store the new Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 Squash Racquet. We received it just over a month ago. I was quite interested to see if the Textreme that was added to the racquet would make the racquet feel different than previous versions of the same mold. The weight and balance of the racquet was also something that had me pretty excited about it. Its 129 gram unstrung weight and balance point of 353 mm was right around what I like. Having played with both the Prince Pro Beast 750 and the Prince Airstick 130 how the Warrior compared was also of interest to me. I have been hitting with it now for a few weeks and below are my findings.

Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 Squash Racquet FrontThe racquet that I have been most recently playing with before the Pro Warrior was Prince’s Pro Beast. The Warrior and Beast have a lot of similarities. The weight and balance are very close. The balance is the same and the Warrior is just 1 gram heavier. So there is certainly not too much difference in those specifications. The two big differences are the string pattern and the addition of the Textreme. I really found the Textreme Pro Warrior to have a really solid feel, free of vibration. It was very comfortable to hit the ball with. That is something that is important to me. I like the racquet to have a very stable feel, even as much as possible on miss hits. The Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 was terrific in that regard. I had noticed an improvement right away from the Pro Beast.

As mentioned the weight and balance are right around what I like. I had been playing with the Pro Beast 750 before switching to the new Textreme Pro Warrior 600 and the balance is listed as the same and the weight is only 1 gram different, with the Warrior being heavier. I think there is a little more to the weight and balance of the racquet then just the 1-gram difference though. I think it comes down to the stringing pattern. The Beast is a 14 x 15 string pattern, the Warrior a 16 x 17 pattern. As the measurements from Prince are for the unstrung weight the denser string pattern adds a bit more weight to the racquet than the 14 x 15 pattern does. In particular it adds that bit of extra weight in the head of the racquet

The weight and balance of the racquet are a really good combination. The racquet is light at 129 grams and with its 353 mm balance it is pretty evenly balanced. Being light and fairly evenly balanced it is quick to play which I like. I do like to take the ball before it gets to the ball as much as I can so I end up taking a lot of balls on the volley. I found the Pro Warrior 600 to be pretty quick to get back and through to the ball. Not quite as quick as the Beast but not a huge difference. I found it faster to get back and through to the ball than the Airstick 130 which makes sense as it is a just a bit lighter and its balance is less towards the head. I found the Warrior to be quite good for hitting straight length shots as well. I found there to be more overall accuracy with it compared to the Pro Beast which I was playing with most recently. From an accuracy standpoint it was more or less the same as the Airstick 130 which makes sense as it so close in weight and has the same head size and stringing pattern.

The new Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 Squash Racquet is a very exciting new addition to Prince’s squash racquet line-up. It is ideal for those that like the Airstick 130 but were looking for something just a bit lighter and with a bit more of an even balance. It is also ideal for those that like the Pro Beast 750 but were looking for more accuracy due to its denser string pattern. It has a really nice solid feel on contact and is well suited for those that like to volley but still have a racquet with enough mass to have an effective length game. I believe the difference in feel on contact is due to the addition of Prince’s Textreme technology.  The Pro Warrior 600 is a real winner. This is also the racquet that Ramy Ashour is supposed to be playing with this coming squash season. He did look to be using earlier in the year.

Prince Textreme Pro Warrior 600 Squash Racquet

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Review – The ASICS Gel-Fastball for Squash

Asics Gel-Fastball Squash ShoesHaving worn the Asics Blast and Blade models for a number of years, I was keen to try their newest shoe, the Fastball. I initially noticed a shape and composition similar to older versions of the Blade, which was a very light and low-cut shoe. The Fastball did seem more cushioned and reinforced to protect the ankles and provide lateral support. The added stability addressed the most common criticism of the Blade, while maintaining the overall light and flexible theme. I felt comfortable in the Fastball right away, and the “breaking in” phase was nonexistent; even the slips sometimes associated with brand new shoes weren’t an issue. Similar to other Asics models, the fit is ideal for a narrower foot.

Overall, they are a nice medium between the low-profile Blade and heavier Blast. I would definitely recommend the Fastball to anyone who was a fan of the Blade, or has found the newer Blast models slightly too bulky.

ASICS GEL-FASTBALL Indoor Court Shoes //

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Review of the Dunlop Force Evolution 130 Squash Racquet

Recently I took out the Dunlop Evolution 130 for a hit and I found it to be a very interesting racquet. It features a tear drop design with a small bridge, a dense string pattern (14×18), 130 frame weight, and an even head balance. I played a couple matches with this racquet as I tried to figure out how it played best. A racquet that doesn’t fail to deliver in either control or power and with an even balance, the EVO 130 is great for players who tend to be more patient on court. It also a great feel on contact when hitting the ball as it provides great stability due to its string pattern.

At first, I tried an aggressive approach: volleying on the midcourt, using my wrist more, increasing the pace, and hitting hard and low shots. I found out that this was more challenging to do with this racquet. This is due to its weight of 130 grams and even balance which in reality, in my personal opinion, felt slightly head heavy. Volleying on the midcourt was not an easy task since I was not able to maneuver the racquet very easily and using my wrist put extra stress on my arm. Also, increasing the pace was harder once again due to maneuverability (it was harder to get the racquet ready on time). However, my main focus in squash is speed and accuracy rather than arm strength and power (I get the power from the racquet I normally use) so it is fair to say that this is why the EVO 130 didn’t suit my aggressive play. Having said this, if you are an aggressive player with good arm strength, you won’t find it a problem to maneuver this racquet easily.

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Dunlop Force Evolution 130

Since aggressive play didn’t work for me using the EVO 130, I tried a more patient approach to the match. I started making more fluid swings and keeping the ball at the back of the court. This worked perfectly since the balance and weight of the racquet allowed me to go through the ball easily without much effort but providing me enough power to get the ball to the back of the court. This was also a more pleasant experience in terms of comfort as I felt great when hitting the ball; the racquet is very forgiving mainly due to its stability but also to its dense string pattern. It also provided me with great feel and control when dropping the ball whether it was from the midcourt or the front court. Another nice thing about this racquet is its head design, which is reminiscent of the Black Knight Quicksilver nXs (tear drop with small bridge), since it helps with power generation. Although I have made it sound like this is a racquet not suitable for aggressive play, this racquet didn’t fail to deliver when I wanted to put the ball away; whether it was a loose shot from my opponent giving me time to hit a hard and low shot or a nice and easy drop shot, the EVO 130 gave me all I needed. The reason for this is the racquet’s stability and string pattern which helped me control the ball much easier than with my usual racquet.

In conclusion, this racquet can be amazing in the right hands. Even though it is hard to use aggressively, it is not an impossible task to do. But, if you plan on using it for long and fluid rallies where you want to create opportunities to put the ball away, this racquet will fit you very well. With an interesting design which allows it to have a bigger sweet spot and better stability, this racquet will feel amazing when hitting any type of shot!

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Review of the Head Xenon TB 120 Squash Racquet

Recently I took the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody for a hit and I have to say I’m happy with the results. This racquet weighs 120g, has an even head balance, has a smaller head size, and features a very thin beam. Overall a very nice racquet to play with as it is very maneuverable and provides great control due to its bridged design and small head. However, you need to hit all your shots on the sweet spot in order to avoid movement and vibration through the racquet.

Head Graphene XT Xenon Slimbody 120 Squash Racquet

The first thing I noticed is how easy it is to generate head speed with this racquet. I was able to make quick swings easily which allowed me to maintain power which is a nice thing since I had to generate most of it myself without the aid of the racquet (due to its light weight and head balance). I was able to attack more on the mid court and, because of its bridged design, I could take full advantage of my attack with better accuracy. Furthermore, even if I couldn’t attack right on the midcourt, I was still able to retrieve shots before they reached the back court since the racquet’s light weight and thin beam allowed me to be more flexible with my wrist; this was also a great thing when I needed to ‘dig’ shots off the back wall. The racquet’s thin beam is a feature I found interesting as it aids racquet speed; but, before using it, I thought this would impact control negatively which ended up not being the case.

The control this racquet provides is good. Not only could I hit better and more accurate drop shots, but I was also able to control the ball better on harder shots. I like to think that this is due to the racquet’s amazing sweet spot. Whenever I would hit the ball on the sweet spot it felt like I wasn’t even hitting it since all vibrations were completely damped; this is where I found I would hit my best shots as the racquet would let me whit my shots wherever I wanted to hit them with amazing accuracy. However, if I hit the ball off the sweet spot the racquet was not too stable which is a minor setback but not really a big problem at all. Having said this, I would recommend using this racquet if you are the type of player who tends to hit the ball on the middle of the racquet more often than not. I also found that even though it is a very light racquet with an even head balance, it was not hard to take the racquet through the ball unlike other similar racquets where the player needs to make a greater effort to achieve this. The only time I found I had to do this was when hitting drop shots but this is expected from such a light and thin racquet.

Overall a great racquet with great control, maneuverability, and head speed. This was the first time I tried out Head’s Xenon series and I am very happy with the results I got with the Head Graphene XT Xenon 120 Slimbody. Being able to attack shots on the mid court with increased accuracy was a nice advantage as well as being able to use my wrist more on harder to retrieve shots. My favourite thing about this racquet is its sweet spot since the feeling I would get when I hit the ball there was amazing: barely feeling anything and knowing my shot was going to go wherever I wanted it to go. I highly recommend this racquet for an overall type of player who likes to be aggressive but needs reliability on accuracy. Also, I would very much recommend this racquet to any advanced player who will be able to most of their shots right in the middle of the racquet. Give it a try, find its sweet spot, and enjoy playing great squash!

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