I’m not exaggerating when I say that Butterfly’s Dignics 09c is the best forehand rubber in the world. In true Butterfly fashion, they have been able to engineer the unthinkable.
In 2008, Butterfly released the Tenergy 05, which took the world by storm. It was decades ahead of its competition. 15 years after its release, most other manufacturers haven’t yet caught up to the Tenergy 05’s quality.
It had a level of grip that was unparalleled at the time and a unique high arc that granted it great control for looping despite its blazing-fast speed.
Now, Butterfly has seemingly tricked the laws of physics once again. They have achieved nearly optimal speed, spin, and control all in the same rubber.
In this review, we’ll go over why I think the Dignics 09c is objectively the best rubber in the market. This isn’t to say that it’s the right choice for everyone, I simply believe that it has the best, most advanced design out of all the rubbers currently available.
I have used the Dignics 09c for around 140 hours across 3 months of training, and I’ve fallen in love with it. But is it the right rubber for you? Let’s find out!
As for its design, its crimson Spring Sponge X is very hard at 44 degrees and it has lots of inbuilt tension. The topsheet itself is medium tacky and extremely grippy. The Dignics 09c is a very fast and spinny rubber with a high arc and a very pronounced parabola.
The strongest attributes of this rubber are its control, its spin, and its maximum speed when looping. It excels at all kinds of loops, be it open-ups, counters close and away from the table, brushed loops, and power loops.
The differentiating attribute of the Dignics 09c is that its tacky topsheet and hard sponge make it a lot easier for the player to control the ball, as the rubber is noticeably less bouncy compared to most modern offensive rubbers. All of these attributes make it a superb rubber not only for rally play but also for 3rd ball attacks. In addition, its durability is very high.
The only con I could find of the Dignics 09c is its steep price. However, considering its durability, I’d still say that the Dignics 09c is good value.
Perfect for: Intermediate and advanced attackers on the forehand side, advanced offensive players on the backhand side. 4-10+ years of playing.
Alvaro brings 7+ years of playing experience. He’s tested 20+ rubbers for Racket Insight and his style is The Controller.
Blade Used: Stratus Power Wood
Rubber Thickness: 2.15mm
Hours Tested: 40+
We recommend the Butterfly Dignics 09c for high-level attackers who want to use the best of the best out there.
Design of the Butterfly Dignics 09c
The Butterfly Dignics 09c comes in the typical Butterfly packaging we’ve seen time and time again.
I think it would’ve been nice if Butterfly did something different for the Dignics line considering it’s almost $100. In hindsight, however, I can see that our money was very well spent elsewhere, so I can’t complain.
Upon opening the package, we find the rubber. The version we ordered is a deep black 2.1mm sheet of Dignics 09c.
Durability and value
This is how the Dignics 09c is looking after 3 months of very intensive use:
Both pictures were taken on the same day, under different lighting.
As you can see, the Dignics 09c is holding up wonderfully. Signs of wear are evident when the light hits it at the right angle, but it still plays at 90% of its initial capabilities and it looks perfectly fine in other lighting scenarios. Ball slippage is still non-existent if there isn’t too much humidity.
Other rubbers, such as the Donic Bluestorm Pro AM, or the Tibhar Evolution MX-P would have needed replacing by now (I’d probably be on my 3rd MX-P by now), and the Dignics is still in very good condition.
Because of this, and because of the Dignics 09c’s incredibly high performance, I believe that the Dignics 09c is an acceptable value despite the high price.
If it lasts around 5-6 months at around $80-90 per sheet, I don’t think it’s as expensive as it may initially seem. Assuming it lasts me 6 months, it’s an even better value proposition than a $50 rubber with average durability (3 months of intensive use).
$90 may seem outrageous for a table tennis rubber, but we have to keep in mind that Butterfly does all of the R&D and manufacturing by themselves, while most other manufacturers outsource these processes to a German factory (ESN).
Key design attributes of the Butterfly Dignics 09c
The topsheet of the Dignics 09c is extremely grippy and medium tacky, and its sponge is an intense crimson color. The spong definitely rates as ‘hard’.
Butterfly states the Dignics 09c’s hardness to be 44 degrees. In ESN terms, that’d be well above 55 degrees, maybe even above 60.
In practice, the Dignics 09c plays at around 50-52 degrees ESN. I didn’t feel that it plays as hard as Butterfly states its hardness to be.
The Dignics 09c features an absolutely groundbreaking design. Butterfly states that it was designed together with Timo Boll, who tested many prototypes until they settled on the current iteration.
About the Dignics 09c, Timo stated: “(it’s) a rubber of a totally new type. I have long wished to play with such a rubber”, and “I’m very happy to play with this rubber, because this is for sure the best rubber I ever had”. (source: Butterfly)
I have to say I completely agree with Timo. It is indeed a completely new rubber, and it’s also, in my opinion, the best rubber available.
The Dignics 09c managed to blend the sponge and topsheet wonderfully. With hybrid rubbers, it’s hard to get the balance quite right. Butterfly absolutely nailed it with the 44-degree Spring Sponge X and the 09c topsheet.
What makes the Dignics 09c truly special is that it has the dynamism of the fastest European rubbers together with the spin and control of the best Chinese rubbers.
European rubbers and Chinese rubbers have always been thought of as complete opposites. We even wrote an article explaining how different European and Chinese rubbers are.
The Dignics 09c was released to bridge the gap between these two worlds, and it has the advantages of both types of rubbers.
In fact, Butterfly’s slogan for the Dignics 09c is: “An advantage from overcoming a paradox”, the paradox being that the Dignics is a very fast and dynamic rubber while having tons of dwell time and control.
This is why I said that Butterfly “tricked the laws of physics” in the introduction of this article. How does the Dignics 09c achieve this effect?
There are two factors that make it possible, the very hard and fast sponge, and the medium tacky topsheet.
Starting with the sponge, 44 degrees is so hard that it’s difficult to wrap our heads around that number. It’s such a high number that it’s hard to believe, honestly, especially considering how it plays.
For reference, Ma Long’s forehand rubber is 42 degrees (on the same scale), and it’s said to be one of the hardest rubbers there is.
It seems completely outrageous to me that I’m playing with a harder rubber than Ma Long, but according to Butterfly, that’s what’s happening. However, DHS rubbers play a lot harder because of their sponge’s high density.
My theory is that because of the very porous design of the sponge, its advanced technology, and its very fast nature, the rubber plays a lot softer than it actually is.
If it is indeed 44 degrees (we’d have to test it with a durometer), in theory, we’d get access to more gears than with virtually any other rubber in the world. In practice, it certainly does have plenty of gears.
This is the genius behind the Dignics 09c’s design. Butterfly thought outside the box.
They created a very fast, incredibly hard sponge that doesn’t play that hard because of its speed and its design while retaining the gears of an extremely hard rubber.
In addition, the tacky topsheet helps slow down the ball, granting the player much more dwell time with the ball when performing difficult shots.
In practice, the Dignics 09c is very controllable in the short game because of its hardness and how the topsheet kills speed.
It’s also very controllable for countering and opening up, as its safe high throw gives a lot of clearance over the net, it’s very stable and predictable due to its hardness, and again, we have a lot of dwell time due to the tacky topsheet.
And, when you swing hard, the very fast and insanely hard sponge shows its true colors: You can get tons of speed and spin behind your powerloops.
These are the attributes that professional players like so much about the Dignics 09c.
In terms of weight, the Dignics 09c weighs in at 50 grams when cut to my Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC.
Speaking of the Fan Zhendong ALC, I’d like to mention that the Dignics 09c is best suited for fast composite blades. I wouldn’t use this rubber on OFF- blades and below. It pairs best with OFF blades and above.
The Dignics 09c’s base speed isn’t very high, and it isn’t a bouncy rubber, even on my Fan Zhendong ALC.
When we say that the Dignics 09c is a very fast and dynamic rubber, we’re referring to the power you can get when looping. Looping at 80% power and above yields great results in terms of speed. However, if you don’t swing hard, the rubber is very tame and controllable.
Because of this moderate base speed, Butterfly states that “since Dignics 09C is very good at holding the ball, it will be a well-balanced racket when combined with an outer-ply artificial fiber blade that has a high reaction” (reaction meaning speed).
They recommend the Dignics 09c for fast, outer composite blades, and I agree with them.
I wouldn’t pair it with my Tibhar Stratus Power Wood (all wood OFF- blade), as it would suffer from a lack of base speed.
- Speed: High
- Spin: Very High
- Control: High
- Tackiness: Medium tacky
- ITTF Approved: Yes
- Sponge Thickness: 1.9mm or 2.1mm
Summary: Overpower opponents with serves, receives, loops, and counters with the ultimate hybrid rubber.
Playtesting the Butterfly Dignics 09c
The Dignics 09c is a truly special rubber, and we can feel it from the moment we start playing with it. Its high throw angle, its hardness, and its extreme grip make it a very fun rubber to use.
One feels compelled to swing harder and harder to get more speed and spin, and the safe, high arc this rubber produces makes you feel like you’re always in control.
It’s honestly quite difficult to miss wide from mistimings because of how much dwell time we have when looping. This is something that happens to me quite often with faster rubbers, but it never happens to me with the Dignics 09c.
I have exclusively used the Dignics 09c on my forehand side. I can see why professional players also use it on the backhand side, but I don’t think I’m at a level in which I can activate its very hard sponge enough to get speed on the backhand side.
I’d only recommend the Dignics 09c for the backhand side for very advanced players who can powerloop consistently on that wing. Otherwise, you won’t be able to produce as much speed as with bouncier rubbers that have more base speed.
Driving and looping
Once you start driving the ball with the Dignics 09c, you’ll notice the rubber’s moderate base speed. The Dignics 09c isn’t a fast rubber when driving. The tackiness of the topsheet plays a major role in the stroke because the sponge isn’t activated much in this type of shot.
When driving, the Dignics delivers a relatively neutral, very hard feel on the hand. The trademark high throw is also present on these forehand drives.
It is only when we start looping that we can understand why the Dignics 09c is such a special rubber.
The Dignics 09c is the best looping rubber in the world according to many of the best loopers in the world.
Fan Zhendong, Timo Boll, Tomokazu Harimoto, Kristian Karlsson, Marcos Freitas, Dimitrij Ovtacharov, and Dang Qiu are some of the best players in the world, and they are currently using the Dignics 09c.
Looping with the Dignics 09c is all about managing how much you brush the ball versus how much you hit into the sponge.
If you activate the sponge and hit through the ball more, the harder sponge is activated to a higher extent, resulting in tons of speed. If you graze the ball more, the spin of the tacky topsheet takes over.
This is not only applicable to the Dignics 09c, it is also the case with most other rubbers. The more you activate the sponge, the more power you get, and the more you graze the ball, the topsheet plays a bigger role.
The difference with the Dignics 09c is that this effect is taken to an extreme.
The sponge of the Dignics 09c is hard and fast like no other sponge, and the topsheet of the Dignics 09c is grippy and spinny like virtually no other topsheet.
This is why its maximum speed and spin values are so high.
However, if you graze the ball and you don’t activate the sponge that much, you get more of the dwell time of the tacky topsheet, instead of activating the fast sponge. This gives much more control when playing open-ups and spin shots.
It’s almost like you have two different rubbers in one. When opening up, when brush looping, and when counterlooping, you have the dwell time, the control, and the spín of Chinese rubbers.
When you powerloop and you hit through the sponge, you get the dynamism of European rubbers.
Here are some clips of myself looping for speed with the Dignics 09c in a recent league match:
In this video, we can see 2 of the key points we’ve talked about before:
1) That the Dignics 09c is actually very, very fast provided that you swing hard enough, and
2) That the Dignics 09c doesn’t play as hard as its 44-degree rating would indicate, given that with a non-professional swing speed, we can activate the sponge enough to get very fast shots.
Here are some clips of myself looping for spin with the Dignics 09c in tournament and league games:
In these clips we can see how simple it is to win points out of sheer spin when we utilize the grip of the Dignics 09c to our advantage.
The main downsides to the Dignics 09c when looping are 2:
1. To reap these benefits, you need a high swing speed.
Even though the sponge of the Dignics 09c plays softer than it is, it’s still very, very hard. In addition, its base speed is not very high so in order to activate its sponge to get high-speed loops you need a relatively high swing speed.
The same happens when opening up and when brush looping, in order to get the monstrous spin this rubber is able to generate, you need to swing fast enough.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the incredible speed and spin this rubber is able to generate, and you might be underwhelmed by the Dignics 09c.
2. It needs to be played actively.
Players using the Dignics 09c won’t be able to just flick their wrist and get good quality on their shots like you can with the Tenergy 05 and most fast European tensor rubbers. This is also why I can’t use it properly on the backhand side.
If you want to utilize the Dignics 09c to its fullest potential, you need to move and execute the weight transfer properly.
If you do all of this, I think that the Dignics 09c is a very forgiving rubber because of its high grip, its safe, high arc, and its moderate base speed.
Because of its arc, grip, and lack of bounciness, the Dignics 09c is ideal for opening up and counterlooping.
Open-ups are made very easy with this rubber, and they carry tons of spin. It is very easy to clear the net and the ball then dips down a lot more than with less grippy rubbers.
As for counterloops, the Dignics 09c is ideal because of its hardness, its arc, and its dwell time. You get a lot of time with the ball, a lot of safety over the net, and very good stability.
Playing away from the table requires a bit more effort but it’s great nonetheless. When you swing hard, you can get tons of speed and spin on the ball.
Another factor to keep in mind is that, when you’re at mid and long distances, you have a lot more time to set up your strokes.
Using this rubber, I find that I’m very comfortable looping at mid-distances since I have more time to set up a higher-quality loop, resulting in more speed and spin.
As for flat hitting, it’s more than good enough. Tacky rubbers are usually terrible at flat-hitting, but this isn’t the case with the Dignics 09c.
With the Dignics 09c, if you hit into the hard sponge and the blade, you’ll get more of them than you’ll get off the tacky topsheet.
Flat hitting with the Dignics 09c and the Fan Zhendong ALC is actually very good. I can just hit into the hardness of the rubber and the blade and get very good speed and stability.
Serve and receive
Serving and receiving are two of the differentiating attributes of the Dignics 09c. Lots of professional players are using it because of how easy it is to play out the short game.
Starting with the serves, though, it is excellent at generating spin. Serves carry a lot more spin than your average rubber.
In addition, it isn’t very bouncy and it has a medium tacky topsheet. It is the ideal rubber for serving because of its high grip and its high dwell time.
With the Dignics 09c, you can load serves with spin and place them wherever you want easily.
Active serve receives are great with the Dignics 09c. I liked forehand flicking with the Dignics as its hardness instills a very nice sense of confidence.
Passive serve receives with the Dignics 09c are better than with most other high-performance rubbers. It is a bit strange at first, but, when you get used to it, it’s one of the best rubbers in the market in terms of maximum speed compared with the ease of playing out the short game.
The Dignics 09c may be sensitive to incoming spins but its lack of bounciness makes every passive serve receive a lot easier.
Touching short with the Dignics 09c is superb once you get used to the topsheet and sponge combo.
I found that when my opponent served backspin and I didn’t activate the sponge enough, that is, I grazed the ball with low acceleration, the ball would fall into the net because the tacky topsheet absorbed the spin.
And, when I contacted the ball slightly too thickly, the sponge would get activated more and its high throw would show more, resulting in me popping up the ball.
Touching short is stranger than with other rubbers, but, when you get used to it, it’s definitely easier than with other offensive rubbers.
Pushing long is not an issue because I consistently use roughly the same swing speed and I already know how to angle the racket and how to hit the ball to get the result I want.
Blocking and chopping
Blocking with the Dignics 09c is quite good.
It isn’t as good as grippy rubbers because it’s slower and more spin-sensitive, but it’s actually very easy to control and fast enough to trouble opponents with active blocks. I think blocking with the Dignics 09c is quite underrated.
Its main strength when blocking is that it’s easier to control fast shots with this rubber than with most other high-performance rubbers. For that, the Dignics 09c is excellent.
As for chopping, the Dignics 09c is quite good. I don’t chop too often, but when I do, I’m able to put a lot of spin on the ball and control it properly.
You get quite a bit of dwell time with chopping and the grip is superb. I wouldn’t really recommend it to choppers but it’s a good rubber for chopping every so often if the situation arises.
Alternatives to the Butterfly Dignics 09c
Overall reflections on the Butterfly Dignics 09c
The Butterfly Dignics 09c is, in my opinion, the best rubber currently available because of its incredible design. It’s very hard to fathom how the Dignics 09c is one of the best rubbers for power looping and touching short at the same time.
In fact, the Dignics 09c is one of the best rubbers for looping, counterlooping, opening up, serving, and playing out the short game.
It’s one of the spinniest rubbers available, it has one of the highest maximum speeds you can find, it has tremendous control, more than adequate dwell time, and a safe, high arc.
I still find it hard to believe that Butterfly managed to combine all of these advantages into one single rubber.
The main disadvantages of the Dignics 09c are that it’s very, very expensive, it needs to be played actively, and it needs relatively high swing speeds to be utilized properly.
Hence, the Dignics 09c is the perfect choice on either wing for offensive players who have high enough swing speeds, play an active game, and can afford to pay for it.
Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!