Category Archives: Review

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.

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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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Review of the Prince Pro Shark 650

I have never played with a Prince racquet before and I am very happy I got to try out the Prince Pro Shark 650. This racquet is very light yet very powerful with an amazing amount of grip. I play with a slightly heavier racquet with very similar balance to the Pro Shark (should be able to generate more power with mine) and I found out that I could generate the same amount of power with the Prince racquet. Featuring a more open string pattern, 14 x 15, I was also able to get tons of cut on the ball. This racquet not only looks great, it plays amazingly.

Prince Pro Shark 650 Squash Racquet

Prince Pro Shark 650

Weighting 129 grams when unstrung and with a balance of 35.3mm this racquet has a great combination between light weight and power. This is a great advantage as there is increased maneuverability without a significant loss of power. The racquet’s maneuverability comes from its light weight which helps with aggressive play when volleying on the middle of the court. The power is generated by both the head balance and the string pattern; the head heavy balance keeps the head stable and lets the racquet go through the ball more easily while the open string pattern provides a higher trampoline effect.  Also, due to its weight, it was easier to prepare the racquet thus giving me more time to hit my shot as well as letting me use a shorter swing without compromising power. In addition to this, I noticed that hitting the ball on the racquet’s sweet spot felt amazing and created a larger amount of power; however, racquet stability is decreased on off-centre shots but this shouldn’t be a big problem. These are not the only great features of this racquet since its more open string pattern provides something really important: cut.

When trying to hit hard and low shots or drop shots, it is essential to create a good amount of cut or ‘bite’ on the ball. For the Pro Shark 650 this is no problem at all. Its open string pattern lets the strings ‘grab’ the ball more and thus creates more grip between the ball and the strings. I was able to hit better low shots since the strings gave me the extra cut needed to reduce the distance between the ball and the tin; I found these shots to be the most effective ones when using this racquet. Furthermore, my drop shots improved as well as I was able to put more backspin on my shots which led the ball to a shorter bounce making things more difficult for my opponent. Not only did the increased cut help me in the front court, it also helped in the back court. The cut on the ball also reduced the ball’s bounce when coming off the back wall making it harder to retrieve the shot.

The Prince Pro Shark 650 caught me by surprise. At a first glance I didn’t expect much from a light racquet with such an open string pattern. But, once I took out for a hit, I remembered not to judge a book by its cover. I was impressed by how fast I could swing the racquet and how much power I could generate on short swings. I am usually not an aggressive player but with this racquet I felt I had to be since all its features are great tools for aggressive play. Being able to hit quick volleys, powerful shots just above the tin, and very short drop shots gave me a great advantage over my opponent. I would recommend this racquet to the more aggressive type of player who likes to combine great power with fast and short swings. I know it could be an odd looking racquet but give it a try and you will not regret it!

To learn more, or purchase the Prince Pro Shark Powerbite Squash Racquet click on the “View in store” button below.

Prince Pro Shark Powerbite 650 Squash Racquet

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Review of the Salming Viper 2.0 Shoes

About three weeksSalming Viper Gecko Green Squash Shoes ago I picked up a pair of the Salming Viper 2.0 squash shoes and I feel like I am wearing nothing on my feet but with all the good results I expected. They are very light shoes with a lower cut on the ankle, less cushioning on the forefoot for a better closer-to-the-court feel, and increased breathability on the top. Also, you can tell Salming concentrated on lateral support when designing these shoes as there are some technologies and features that work towards that. I feel quicker and more comfortable when I wear them on court which is really nice as shoes are one of the most important squash gear.

It is easier to move on court with the Vipers due to all the different technologies it includes. I will list them, what they do, and how I feel they impacted my movement and comfort on court:

Roll Bar

Roll Bar

The roll bar is located on the inner side of the outer sole of the shoe. Here, the shoe features an increased radius which facilitates toe push off as well as rolling the foot inwards.

This is great for squash since maximized toe push off saves time when starting your movement towards the ball. The roll bar in the vipers will help you launch quicker from a standing position. I noticed that this, with the reduced weight of the shoe, helped me get to shots faster than with my previous shoes. I was able to concentrate more on my balance and footwork once I already reached the ball, since I had more time to do it.

T.G.S 62/75 (Torsion Guide System)

Salming has designed the distance from the heel to the ball of the foot (62% of the shoe) with extra stability, which ends at a 75 degree angle. In front of the 75 degree line the shoe features extra flexibility to help emulate the natural lateral and forwards movements of the foot. This technology takes all of the gait cycle’s phases into play.TGS Viper

I believe this is what makes me feel like I am wearing nothing on my feet when I play. Providing more stability on the heel and a more natural movement at the front, every step I took felt very comfortable and light. If you have the chance to look at one of these shoes in person, try bending the front of it and notice how easy it is to do it; a good thing since it doesn’t restrict your foot’s natural movement at all.

3 Layer Construction

The first layer of the top of the shoe adds breathability and comfort, the second one is the ‘exoskeleton’ which adds stability on lateral movements as it keeps the foot in place, and the third one surrounds the first two adding durability to the shoe.3 Layer Viper

From this I just have to say that breathability is really good. I noticed after playing that my feet were cooler than with my previous shoes which is always a nice thing. Also, the extra lateral support is a great bonus as well as you want your feet to stay in place when applying lateral pressure on them.

LMS (Lateral Movement Stabilizer)

A dual torsion unit that supports the foot during fast and irregular lateral movements.

There are two parts of the LMS in the shoe. One is at the middle of the sole on the inner part of the foot, and the other one is at the outer edge of the shoe from the middle to the front of the foot. I noticed the shoes helped me keep my balance whenever I had to attack shots on the middle of the court, i.e. I had to move sideways from the ‘T’ to the side wall. They provided great support as I lunged for the shot, as well as when I needed to quickly come back to the ‘T’. Furthermore, they prevent the foot from rolling on its side which is great since it provides extra protection against ankle injuries.LMS + LMS

The Salming Viper 2.0 shoes are excellent for speed, comfort, and lateral stability/support. I have used these for not too long and I already love them. Noticing improved speed and stability on court, I would highly recommend these shoes to any type of player.

Salming Viper 2 Squash Shoes

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