The T22 tennis shoe has led the Prince lineup for over a decade, but now there’s a new pinnacle sneaker for the longtime U.S.-based brand: the Prince Venom.
“Since the T22 has been an iconic shoe for Prince with a loyal following, we wanted to keep the T22’s core DNA that focuses on comfort and stability while evolving the shoe for the modern game,” Joseph Zarro, executive vice president of luxe and classic brands at Prince owner Authentic Brands Group, tells me. “It has been 10-plus year since the introduction of the T22 and the game of tennis has become even quicker and more athletic.”
In that vein, Zarro says it was important for the brand to develop a modern design that offered a lighter weight and brought the foot closer to the ground so players could cover more court quicker, all without sacrificing stability.
Prince uses the brand’s X-Light endurance rubber compound on the outsole, meant to improve durability without sacrificing traction. They pair the rubber with a tread pattern designed for durability in high-wear areas that still places a focus on quick changes of direction.
The closer-to-the-ground feel of the Venom aims to not lose the T22’s comfort moniker. “There are always challenges to developing products with features that are naturally contradicting,” Zarro says. “However, with the modern materials and midsole-outsole design used, we have been able to resolve this contradiction and are able to offer a shoe lower to the court than previous Prince shoes while maintaining the comfort and cushioning synonymous with the brand.”
The upper features a breathable mesh combined with strategically placed TPU in key drag zones.
The Prince Venom also received a visual makeover. “In keeping with the more modern performance, this shoe has a lower profile, cleaner lines and smooth transitions between rear and forefoot to create a faster and more agile look,” Zarro says.
The $110 shoe debuted in a mostly white design with black, orange and teal accents.
With the Venom designed as an evolution to the T22, serving players looking for comfort and stability, Prince also recently released the basketball-inspired Phantom. The mid-top shoe was designed for an aggressive style of play and takes notes from basketball and the loads applied to the foot when changing directions in that sport.
The Phantom’s higher cut is designed to lock the foot in place for additional support during movement, but also with a low-to-the-ground footbed designed to connect to the tennis court. An exaggerated outrigger on the Phantom for lateral stability helps players get even more aggressive in their movement during rapid changes of direction.
The 2023 summer releases of both the Venom and Phantom silhouettes update the Prince tennis lineup.
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