In the above picture by Reuters if you look closely you can see #3 ranked Novak Djokovic wearing a pair of the Cage II's, minus the Nike swoosh! There is no mistaking the trademark Max Air cushioning system on the heel of his right foot. This picture has created quite a firestorm on several tennis message boards today. So what is it that makes these shoes so great, that Adidas' top male player feels the need to wear them?
First off, Breathe Free Cage II's are some of the most cushioned shoes on the market. In the heel you have Nike's Max Air cushioning system, and in addition you have their Zoom Air system in the forefoot. What these two systems do is give you maximum cushioning where you get a lot of impact during play, in the heel. The Zoom Air in the forefoot gives you a lower to the court, more stable feel, with some cushioning.
Many players label the Cage II's as "grinder shoes" for defensive players that do a lot of running. While this may be their image, these shoes also do exceptionally well for club level players. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Cage II's have a great deal of cushioning, that is the biggest selling point for most players. They also have a lot of tour visibility with Raphael Nadal, James Blake, and now apparently Novak Djokovic wearing them.
So I have told you what you should like about these shoes.. What might you not like? First of all the large amount of cushioning in the heel does give you a higher feel on the court. Some players may feel like they are not stable enough. The lower feel in the forefoot should counteract this, and very few people have told me this, but it could be a concern. A second issue is the width of the shoe. If you have wide feet this (and other Nikes) shoe may not be for you. And the last issue is the tongue of the shoe. The Breathe Free Cage II, like the Breathe Free II beofre it has a one piece integrated tongue. Some people love the slipper like feel of the shoe, while others complain that it is too difficult to put on. I personally love the feel, and most people get used to it, but it is a turn off for some.
If you are interested in giving the Nike Air Max Breathe Cage II's a try you will probably have to find a tennis specialty store, or a Nike store in your area. These are shoes specifically designed for tennis, and they are usually not found at chain stores. Of course they are widely available online, and you should expect to pay between $100-$115 for them.