K-Swiss: Bigshot 2
Originally published on: 03/07/13 00:00
You probably don’t know them by name, but in the world of tennis, Art and Ernest Brunner may be the most influential men to come out of Switzerland. After Roger Federer, of course.
The brothers, both world cup skiers, became avid tennis players after emigrating to southern California in the 1960s, and promptly set about designing the first leather tennis shoe. The sport has changed dramatically since the K-Swiss Classic made its debut at Wimbledon in 1966, but the brand not only remains a pioneer in tennis footwear, it has stayed true to the ideals with which it was first founded.
Nearly 50 years on, the Classic continues to be one of the company’s best-selling shoes, while K-Swiss has stayed at the forefront of tennis shoe technology. Nowadays, the brand’s iconic five stripes can be seen on other sports shoes as the company has branched out into running, fitness and lifestyle, but K-Swiss remains committed to its tennis roots.
Not content with producing a mid-range tennis shoe, the brains at K-Swiss HQ in Westlake Village, California, set about designing a shoe to enhance speed across the court. Launched in 2011, the Bigshot was billed as “the fastest tennis shoe on the market”, and claimed to shave tenths of a second off sprints and recovery steps.
With feedback from the likes of Heather Watson, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and the Bryan brothers, K-Swiss has redesigned its flagship tennis shoe to make it lighter, more comfortable and more durable than its predecessor. So, with the launch of the Bigshot 2 this season, the fastest shoes in the world just got even faster. A bold claim. So what makes the Bigshot 2 so special?
“The original Bigshot was a result of testing many of our production models and applying feedback from our athletes,” explains Bart Verdoorn, European product manager. “From that we came up with features that we felt would enhance the performance of our product.
“One key feature in the original Bigshot is the lower position of the footbed and the overall design of the outsole. The lower position of the footbed gives the original Bigshot a lower centre of gravity. The end result was the original Bigshot, which at its final test at a sports science institute exceeded all our expectations.
“We took what we learned from the original BigShot and applied it to the Bigshot 2.” It’s technical stuff, but there are three key upgrades to the new Bigshot. It offers greater structural stability via the 360° Plantar Support Chassis and enhanced side-to-side movement thanks to the Dual Integrated Movement Efficiency (D.I.M.E) technology, while a 6mm heel drop creates a lower centre of gravity, allowing for quicker lateral movement.
“It’s a labour of love,” Verdoorn explains. “We are constantly evaluating our own product. We are always on the lookout for materials and processes, within our industry but also outside, that may be useful in producing our next generation tennis product.”
Development can take up to three years and by the time the shoe reaches the shop floor, it will have already passed multiple stages of testing by club players and pros. K-Swiss may be proud of its Californian roots, but just like the precision timepieces Switzerland is famed for, that very same philosophy of quality, style, innovation and attention to detail is evident in every K-Swiss shoe that hits the tennis court.
For more information or to see the full K-Swiss tennis collection, visit kswiss.co.uk or phone +44 (0)1458 449333.