Technological gimmicks are a part of our marketing culture. We are always looking for something new and shiny to improve one thing or another. With the Fila Mondo Forza, Fila’s new high-performance tennis shoe, the focus is on maximizing performance by relying on only the essential components of the product.
FILA is no stranger to high-level tennis footwear. The Axilus Energized model has been worn by most of Fila’s top players on tour for several seasons now. More recently Speedserve Energized was launched, with several players making the switch. The Speedserve and the Axilus have a nice following among players who crave a spacious toe box and adequate cushioning. The Mondo Forza is an entirely different animal, and it should bring more players under the Fila umbrella.
There are tennis shoes on the market with very thick midsole sections. They offer plush cushioning, but the downside is they can make you feel removed from the playing surface and a little slow. The Mondo Forza has what I would call “functional cushioning.” The midsole is constructed of a sugarcane-based material. It balances support and cushion with a lower-to-the-court feel, giving you enough cushioning without the excess bulk. A big surprise here was the effectiveness of the wood-based, bottom-loaded deflection plate. The plate cradles the foot well and offers effective yet subtle support, without being overly stiff.
This is the most straightforward Fila shoe to move in that I have ever worn. It feels fast and it is easy to change directions. Regarding movement, one of the best compliments a shoe can have is that you are not thinking about it. And that is the case here. Just lace them up and go! While the split tread design makes a lot of sense, I felt just as confident in the shoe’s grip as a standard tread, with the possible exception of it being easier to slide laterally with the Forza.
When first lacing up the shoes, I wondered about the breathability quite a bit. The side panels and upper construction made it seem like overheating would be an issue. But the leno-woven mesh is comprised of 65% recycled PET and is lightweight and breathable as well. As far as the fit, I felt the length to be true to size, with a medium width and arch. I did loosen the laces on the top of my foot and found a more comfortable fit. The shoe features a recaro-fit system which works with the lacing system to lock the foot in place.
At first glance, it looks like a pretty standard tongue and ankle collar design, but a closer look reveals a much more sophisticated wrap around the ankle and impressive support levels. The tongue is connected to the upper, but not in what can sometimes be a suffocating way. When compared to Fila’s Speedserve and Axilus models, the Fila Mondo Forza wraps the foot tighter, so you won’t have as much wiggle room.
The shoe carries a six-month outsole warranty, so the durability won’t disappoint. The medial side of the toe box offers stout toe drag protection, with a subtle abrasion zone that doesn’t overly bulk the shoe up. The upper is woven in such a way that it actually holds up quite well to hard-court play. Another benefit of minimalistic styling is that it hides dirt very well, so the shoes still have a clean look even after several on-court sessions.
The Mondo Forza is a winner for Fila. This shoe already has been adopted on the ATP and WTA tours and it is an impressively styled performance shoe for competitive players who want the best of all worlds; support, stability, cushion, and speed. It is a high-performance shoe that envelopes the foot better than Fila’s other offerings.
- Fits the shape of the foot very well, with little wasted space while still giving the toes room.
- The foot locks down in the shoe very well, with no heel slippage.
- Modern, yet simple aesthetic calls back to the Fila basketball shoes of the 1990s.
- The split outsole design is wild to look at, but functional as well.
- Who doesn’t love a six-month-outsole warranty?
- Not wide through the forefoot as Fila’s other tennis shoes.
- Limited Colorways.
- A slight break-in is needed.
Be sure to check out this blog throughout the year for the newest tennis shoe releases from the biggest brands on the market.