Several months ago, I posted a review of the Energy Force III table tennis shoe. What I wrote then was that it was pretty much the best shoe ever! It had everything I wanted: lightness, grippy-ness, wore like a slipper, and was comfortable.
Anyway, when they started to wear out (like all shoes do eventually), and I need new ones, I later reported that I could not find that shoe in my size anywhere, even in their subsequent versions (which included IV, V, VI and may be higher). For some reason, they were not available for people with feet over size 9. So I over-wore my Energy III’s until they had holes in them.
Then one day, while browsing Butterfly Online, I noticed they had just come out with the Energy Force X. I had missed all the version between III and X because of that previously mentioned lack of availability of anything oversize 9 (I’m size 11). So I thought, great, time to make a shoe purchase with the eventual goal of reviewing version X!
Looks: First of all, the best thing about this shoe: They look great! I love the black trimming and tongue. I mean, fashionwise, I’d love an overall black or dark grey shoe with attractive trimming, but this is almost as good.
This design goes with just about any TT outfit you could wear… so yes, they’ll go with those red shorts you can’t bring yourself to wear or with your Darth Vader all-black ensemble.
Weight: Perfectly fine, but not as light as the Energy III’s were. The barely noticeable difference, though.
Grip: Very good, just as good as the Energy III’s… I never notice a slipping issue on the floors I play on, except when they haven’t been cleaned.
Comfort: More than comfortable enough, but not as comfy as the III’s. I doubt anyone will complain about the fit since I don’t notice any significant issues… and I’m picky.
Support: Excellent. I even think heavy players would be able to play in these. They feel strongly supported and well made overall. They’ve done a very nice job with their use of high tech support features in the sole. A+ here.
Nimbleness: Lastly, and very important to me personally as far as my preferences are concerned, is the ballerina-shoe factor. Does this shoe pass the test? Does the shoe become part of your foot so that you never feel like you’re battling against the structure of the shoe while you play?
Well, unfortunately, the Energy Force X does not pass the ballerina-shoe test entirely for me. They are ever so slightly boxy, especially when I first got them. Coming off Energy III’s, I was ready for more greatness in this department. Still, when I played with the new Energy X’s fresh from the box, I immediately felt a bit sluggish when trying to move quickly around the table.
Some players may not notice this about the shoe, but for me, what separates a good shoe from a great shoe is this nimbleness factor. The X is almost there, but I say that Butterfly should try to get this right (again, since they got it right with the III’s) if they continue with this shoe series. I hope the Energy Force “XI” improves in this area.
That said, once you play in them for a couple of weeks or months, you lose track of how they didn’t feel super elegant at first, and you accept what they are. After all, we’re talking the fine details here. The shoe will be excellent if you don’t necessarily require ballerina-shoe agility. Do you?
Durability: Not too bad at all. After 5 months of wear, they still look fresh and strong. I do, however, notice some fraying in the mesh fabric near my outermost toes. But that could be due to my own odd toe bone structure! Otherwise, they’re holding up great after almost half a year.
Price: Okay, they overdid it a bit here. Mine came in at 175.00, but hopefully, by now, they can be found for a better price. Considering the nimbleness factor above, the shoe does not deserve that price. But if the looks grab you, you gotta have them, right?
Overall I’d give this Energy Force X sneaks 4 out 5 stars.
Butterfly has to upgrade to another version of this series of shoes that you can now have Energy Force XII. It is a better one than Energy Force XII and is recommended for table tennis players who are serious about playing the game and would love to have a great pair of shoes for their footwork enhancement.
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