The Head XtremeSoft Overgrips offer players who love a thin, soft grip an excellent alternative to classics like the Wilson Pro Overgrip. While those players who don’t suffer too much from sweaty hands might find this to be the ideal grip, I would offer a word of warning for those players who value non-slip effect above all else.
Although grips are a relatively low value item, the difference they can make to your game, and indeed your pocket is invaluable. When you’re serving at 5-5, 30-30, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your grip is slipping. Even worse, you don’t want to see your racket cartwheeling down the court, costing you the 30-30 point and the $200 to replace your racket.
That’s why we decided we would include grip reviews on thetennisbros.com, and we’ve been searching hard to find the perfect grip for players of all sweatyness. We’ve got a nice little team with different sweatyness levels, from Tom, the super sweaty, to Will, the mild sweater, and Larry the barely sweaty, so we’ve pretty much got all bases covered.
So far, our research has led us to believe that there are only really two grips that are necessary, the Tourna Original (for the sweaty players) and the Wilson Pro Overgrip (for the less sweaty players.) Obviously we realise everyone looks for their own things in a grip, so we’re continuing our efforts to discover the best overgrips out there.
On first impressions, the Head XtremeSoft does feel extremely comfortable, especially for such a thin grip. At 0.5mm thick, this grip is ideal for players who want to feel connected to the racket and don’t want to pad out the grip too much. Often though, the closer to the handle you are, the less comfort you’ll get, so the Xtreme Soft certainly does well in this area.
How would the Head XtremeSoft Overgrip stand up when we put it through a really tough workout though?
Comfort – 9/10
It’s got soft in the name, and the Head XtremeSoft Overgrip certainly lives up to it. Personally I think it loses a point because it is too thin, which means it doesn’t have quite the padding of other grips, but other than this, I really liked the XtremeSoft’s levels of comfort.
I think it would be hard for anyone to argue that this grip isn’t comfortable. It’s got plenty of tack but not too much so your hand feels like it’s super-glued to the grip, and it’s thin but without feeling like you’re holding on to the handle.
The thinner you make a grip the harder it is to make it comfortable, so Head has done a really good job in this area. I gave the Head XtremeSoft Overgrip a 9 out of 10 for comfort.
Absorbency – 7/10
This was the one area where I felt the Head Xtreme Soft didn’t particularly excel. Certainly if you sweat a lot you might find you have problems with this grip. It wasn’t so much the absorbency that was the problem, it was that the tack became extremely slippy when it got damp.
The grip as a whole didn’t feel that damp but the tack certainly started to get a bit damp and as a result the performance of the grip suffered. I’d say my hands are middle-of-the-road sweaty and I was right at the limit with this grip. This didn’t particularly inspire much confidence, so I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with super sweaty palms.
For players that don’t sweat much then you’ve got a great grip, but for those of us who do have sweaty hands, it makes this grip a bit of a risk. We gave it a 7 out of 10 for absorbency because there are plenty of grips that are worse, but there are certainly grips that are better.
Thinness – 8/10
Given the XtremeSofts’ 9 out of 10 score for comfort it is extremely thin. I’m not someone who particularly enjoys a thin grip, but I know there are a lot of people who love to feel close to the racket and so look for a thin grip. For those people who do like to feel close to the racket, the Head XtremeSoft Overgrip offers a great blend of comfort and thinness.
The added thinness gives you a lot of different options. If you want to feel the contours of the handle then that’s easily done, but if you want to round it off you just add a couple of extra grips. Personally, I would probably play with two of these, just to add a little bit more padding.
The Head XtremeSoft is really thin and gets an 8 out of 10.
Longevity – 8/10
Once again the Head XtremeSoft does very well. I got plenty of play out of this grip and it kept its performance throughout. If you’re playing regular tennis then you’re going to have to change quite often, but that’s just the way tennis is. If you want a high performing grip then you have to change them regularly.
I found I got a good 10 hours of play out of the Head XtremeSoft though, and I was pretty happy with this. After the 10 hours, you won’t get the same kind of performance, but as long as you’re not playing super high intensity tennis it should continue to last a bit longer.
We gave the Head XtremeSoft Overgrip an 8 out of 10 for longevity.
Overall – 7/10
Every grip seems to have something holding it back, and for the Xtreme Soft overgrip it was the absorbency. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable recommending this grip to someone who sweats a lot and that’s what’s brought this grip’s score down quite a bit.
If you’re someone who doesn’t sweat very much then I would certainly take a look at this grip though. It combined comfort and thinness extremely well, and you don’t find that many grips that do that.
For me, I certainly won’t be moving away from my Wilson Pro Overgrips but there were plenty of positives for the Head XtremeSoft. Overall, we gave this grip a 7 out of 10.
Review by: Will