Babolat Introduces New Propulse Models for 2008: Roddick’s Signature Shoe and a First-Time Propulse Lady Model

January 23, 2008

Thomas Otton, Footwear Senior Product Manager for Babolat explains, “In developing our products, we spend a lot of time on the courts studying the movements of the game and listening to the players. We are very pleased with how the Propulse has been received in the marketplace and in the footwear industry.” The 2007 Propulse was recently awarded the 2007 Product Innovation Trophy by the French economic newsletter Bref Rhône-Alpes and also won the prestigious ‘Escarpin de Cristal 2007’ – an award for the best technical innovation of the year among all categories of shoes. “We are very confident that this new Propulse will meet the demands of top performers,” adds Otton.

For 2008, Babolat is also launching a new Propulse Lady. “The new exclusive women’s last we developed for this shoe is thinner and better suited for the shape of a woman’s foot,” says Otton. “This high performance shoe is designed for top competitors aiming for incomparable performance.” The cosmetics are white with touches of turquoise blue for a strong identity.


Michelin Performance Technologies

Michelin Hi-Tech sole

The exclusive partnership with Michelin was initiated by the launch of the first Babolat tennis shoes in 2003. Since then, Babolat and Michelin have developed a revolutionary outsole for the Propulse shoes that is as much about the rubber compound as it is about the sculpture.

In tennis, one of the principal factors of wear and tear is the abrasion caused by the rubbing of the outsole against the court surface. Propulse outsoles feature an exclusive rubber compound developed by the engineers at Michelin that provide exceptional durability. The outsoles offer 40% more resistance to abrasion than any other shoe on the tennis market*, a sizeable asset for players.

*Conclusion of abrasion and thermo-abrasion tests of outsole durability according to the norm NF G 62001. Comparative tests were conducted on the Babolat Propulse and a selection of competitors’ shoes in March 2006 at the Shoe and Leather Technical Center.

Michelin OCS (Optimized Cell System)

Grip is optimized on all court surfaces through a unique outsole sculpture with Michelin’s Optimized Cell System (OCS) technology. The outsoles of the Propulse integrate the Michelin OCS microcapsules in a continuous circular pattern, inspired directly from tire sculptures. The OCS allows for 20% better traction than classical chevron sculptures. Last year’s Propulse marks the first time this type of outsole has been used in tennis. “The OCS has been a proven classic in auto racing – the microcapsules optimize grip to improve traction and gliding,” said Otton. “And the round shapes of the capsules help with energy restitution and resistance to abrasion.”

Babolat 100% tennis technologies

Exact Pro

Because in tennis 80% of player movements are lateral and diagonal with propulsion on the forefoot, Babolat has conceived technologies specifically for tennis shoes. Situated in the forefoot of the shoe, Exact Pro is a “booster” including Pebax® material which offers quick reaction for recovery and rebound on every step. “We optimized propulsion uniformly on the forefoot for a more effective relaunch on every step,” explains Otton. It’s highly dynamic and highly responsive – designed to maximize speed in lateral motion with perfect foot control”.

Tests conducted by the CTC* (Technical Shoe Center, a leading independent laboratory in the industry) demonstrate that the Exact Pro system is the best system for dynamic relaunch in tennis: 68% of energy restitution (compared to 62% for the next closest competitor). With Exact Pro, tennis performances have improved: players’ movements and recovery are faster; and footwork has improved in both precision and efficiency.

*Test Results CTCP04, June – November 2005


Founded in Lyon, France, in 1875, Babolat is the first company to have specialized in racquet sports and the world leader in the production of natural gut strings. Easily recognized by its trademark “double-line” (two stripes on the racquet frame and black on the stringing bed), Babolat is still family-owned. Today, with U.S. operations in Boulder, Colorado, the company also manufactures synthetic strings, shoes, and a full range of accessories as well as a best-selling line of racquets used by some of the most renowned names in tennis. To find out where Babolat products are sold, log on to or call (877) 316-9435.