Adidas: Can you actually play tennis in the Pharrell Tennis HU?

The Adidas Tennis HU is a great way to cop Pharrell’s signature style on a budget, but can you actually play tennis in the shoes? You asked, so we answered.

Outside of maybe Kanye West, is there a more prolific Adidas endorsee than Pharrell Williams?

While Williams may be most well-known for fronting N*E*R*D* and producing some of the biggest songs of all time for Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg and Despicable Me 2, he’s also made some serious contributions to the world of sneakers.

Though Williams has collaborated with Nike and BAPE over his two decades run in the national spotlight, he’s arguably most well-known for his work with Adidas, and for good reason. From releasing a Stan Smith collection with an incredible 50 different colorways to his revitalization of the NMD with his Human Race pack, Pharrell has his finger on popular culture’s pulse, and his newest release is of no exception.

In preparation for his new ‘Solar’ NMD Human Race release on August 18th, Williams and Adidas have teamed up to release a trio of new Tennis HU colorways to keep fans busy.

The shoe initially released back in 2016 as a reimagining of sorts of one of Adidas’ signature releases, the aforementioned Stan Smith, is a casual shoe everyday shoe that forgoes the boost of an NMD for a more traditional EVA midsole. With over a dozen different colorways released over the last year and a half, and two more forthcoming as part of the ‘Solar HU’ collection, it looks like the Tennis HU will be sticking around in Adidas’ line for years to come.

But can you actually play tennis is the Adidas Tennis HU?

Now granted, I’m no Johnny Mcenroe, but my local park has a tennis court, so I figured hey, why not lace up my new pair of kicks, borrow a racket and give the shoes a shot.

To prepare myself for the challenge, I decided to jog down to the park, roughly five blocks away, and almost immediately noticed that these shoes are unforgiving. Unlike my typical joggers, a pair of Adidas Pureboost Gos, these shoes provide virtually no bounce or extra cushioning, forcing my feet to feel every crack, curb, and uneven tile on the way.

A bad omen of things to come?

Once we arrived at the park, my brother and I took to the small, fenced-in court and gave it our best shot. Though the shoes weren’t particularly good for running distance, especially in an urban environment, they did just fine in the lateral movements needed to casually play tennis on a soft, even court. With lightweight construction and enough give to take some impact, the shoes performed admirably in a casual situation.

However, these shoes aren’t perfect. In addition to some heel slippage that occurs when trying to change direction abruptly, the shoes picked up some noticeable stains on the knit upper that took quite a bit of scrubbing to get out post game. This, when coupled with a removable insole that practically comes out of the shoe every time one takes it off, really holds the shoe back from the quality of the NMD HU.

But for almost half of the NMD HU’s street price tag of $250, or a tenth of some pairs’ resale value, the Adidas Tennis HU is still a great purchase for the price.

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Now granted, had I been playing for hours, or in a more professional capacity, these shoes wouldn’t have been my first choice, but for a sneakerhead trying to look fresh first, and play tennis almost never, the Adidas Tennis Hu are a great budget-conscious way to add some Pharrell inspired flavor to your rotation.