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2015 Golf Shoe Roundup: AmateurGolf.com Staff Review
15 Mar 2015
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

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New shoes from FootJoy, Ecco and Adidas will add spring to your step.
New shoes from FootJoy, Ecco and Adidas will add spring to your step.

Let’s turn back the clock to the 2010 Masters. A then 50-year-old Fred Couples, golf’s ageless purveyor of cool, strolls the fairways at Augusta wearing what many commentators can only describe as a skateboard shoe. That little Ecco number that Couples laced up without troubling himself with socks accounted for less than 10 percent of all sales back then. Today, more than half of all golf footwear sales come from the “hybrid” category according to research firm Golf Datatech.

By virtue of their relationship with Couples, Ecco went from obscure Danish brand with virtually no foothold in the U.S. golf apparel industry to being one of the market leaders in a few short years. Other companies have followed suit with their own entries in the low-to-ground golf shoe category. But this isn’t a debate about the merits of wearing cleats vs. flats. It’s about comfort - and how companies like Ecco have made it a primary focus of any new footwear release. You can in fact say it’s the new buzzword, if not replacing the old saw “performance”, at least being synonymous with it.

Judging by the hottest entries in this year’s footwear lineup, walking golfers will have plenty of reasons to be happy making their loops this summer. Here’s a list of the standout shoes pushing the envelope in style, innovation and comfort.

FootJoy Hyperflex

You could see this coming. FootJoy has made a bold effort in recent years to expand their selection of premium golf shoes with fresher and edgier designs. From the versatile Contour Casual to the minimalist M Project, FootJoy has rolled out a plan to connect with a broader golfing demographic. The new Hyperflex might be the brand’s most far-reaching and distinctive shoe to date.

FootJoy's Hypeflex comes in four 
different colorways.
FootJoy's Hypeflex comes in four different colorways.

Any discussion of the Hyperflex shoe has to start with the unusual upper mesh design. The FlexGrid exoskeleton was inspired by the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, MA. The cable structure on that iconic bridge provides tremendous strength and support, all while maintaining a sleek lightweight and technical appearance.

The FlexGrid, with its web-like appearance, is strong enough to keep the foot from rolling laterally during the swing but it also conforms to your shape. The base layer of the FlexGrid consists of a tight-knit, lightweight, flexible and water-proof mesh. When combined with the outer grid, the Hyperflex provides the comfort you’d expect from an athletic shoe with the support of a high performance golf shoe.

The Hypeflex offers premium 
traction support.
The Hypeflex offers premium traction support.

As far as my impression of the Hyperflex, it has the quintessential traction and stability of a FootJoy FJ Sport but with a substantial reduction in weight. The Hypeflex shoe is currently available in four colorways and retails for $190 MSRP.

Key Features:

  • FlexGrid exoskeleton upper: soft and comfortable material gives stability to the wearer; the FlexGrid features a breathable membrane that is guaranteed waterproof for two years.
  • FineTunedFoam: a next-generation midsole constructed of a softer and lighter EVA blend, delivers exceptional comfort.
  • Next Evolutionary Outsole (N.E.O.): equipped with “Tornado” cleats from SoftSpikes that have been engineered to provide flexible, yet durable, underfoot traction.

Callaway Xfer

If you thought the idea of adjusting the center of gravity was limited to club design, think again. Callaway’s new Xfer shoe line consisting of three unique models are all engineered to lower your foot’s center of gravity, allowing it to sit in a more powerful position.

Using the ground for leverage in golf has always been a critical component for hitting the ball longer. Long before anyone ever uttered the term “ground forces”, seven- time Major winner Sam Snead used to practice hitting full shots in his bare feet. Callaway’s Xfer takes that concept and applies it by minimizing the toe and heel height allowing the whole foot to sit lower. The shoes are also noteworthy for having what Callaway calls an X Cage structure built into upper. This design feature hugs the foot and wraps it securely to the outsole.

The Xfer comes in three models. The Pro ($169.99 MSRP) has strategically placed Pro Flex PINS performance spikes to deliver maximum traction. The Xfer Vibe ($149.99 MSRP) has a highly-rubberized traction wall in place of spikes to provide grip and stability in all conditions. Lastly, the Xfer Sport ($129.99 MSRP) is outfitted with Pro Flex PINS and evokes a purely athletic style.

The Callaway Xfer Pro comes 
with Pro Flex PINS performance spikes.
The Callaway Xfer Pro comes with Pro Flex PINS performance spikes.

Xfer Pro Key Features:

  • Adjustable X Cage: hugs the foot to enable synchronized power movement in tandem with the outsole.
  • Superfeet Pro insole: improves alignment, balance and body position.
  • Xfer Power Wall: prevents lateral side foot slippage while releasing energy during your swing sequence.
The rubberized traction wall of 
the Callaway Xfer Vibe.
The rubberized traction wall of the Callaway Xfer Vibe.

Xfer Vibe Key Features:

  • Xfer tractional wall and Triangulated Traction: highly durable rubber compound for maximum grip, traction and wear-resistance.
  • Clarino microfiber: high performance upper featuring the X Cage overlay.

Xfer Sport Key Features:

  • TPU X Cage: overlay wraps the upper securely to the outsole.
  • Ortholite 3D insole: maximum comfort right out of the box.
  • Xfer Power Wall: prevents lateral side foot slippage during your swing.

Ecco Biom Hybrid 2

The new Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 which will be released this Spring, is significantly lighter than the original model that came out several years ago. The current version of the Biom Hybrid features an extra- thin midsole that brings your foot lower to the ground.

The Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 is 
known for its exceptional comfort.
The Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 is known for its exceptional comfort.

Any concerns about how comfortable these shoes are can be put aside. The biomechanically-engineered Biom Hybrid 2 adheres to the natural shape of your foot and the yak leather upper is both strong and supple. Like all Ecco shoes, the upper is treated with HYDROMAX and an anti-stain formula to make it water-repellent and durable.

To provide traction without the benefit of soft spikes, the Biom Hybrid 2 features a patented set of traction bars constructed from durable TPU material. The two-colored outsole not only looks cool, but allows the shoe to be harder where stability is needed and softer where comfort is the most important attribute. The Biom Hybrid 2 comes in six colorways and will retail for $195 MSRP.

The Biom Hybrid 2 features 
a set of durable traction bars on the outsole.
The Biom Hybrid 2 features a set of durable traction bars on the outsole.

Key Features:

  • Water Resistance: soft, breathable and strong yak leather is treated with HYDROMAX for superb protection from the elements.
  • Tour-Proven Traction: TPU constructed outsole is highly durable, offering stability and grip where you need it.
  • Technical Insole System: new, ultra-premium insole with silicon printing helps prevent unwanted foot movement during the swing.

True Linkswear Game Changer Hybrid

Taking their cues from the barefoot running shoe movement, True Linkswear has been a proponent for zero-drop, minimalist golf shoes from the beginning. Over the years, the company has adjusted their designs in subtle ways, but for all intents and purposes - a True shoe is and always will be a product that lets your foot operate as naturally as possible. For anyone who has considered pulling the trigger on a pair but has been concerned about experiencing the “barefoot feel” in a golf shoe, True Linkswear has released the Game Changer Hybrid which features a moderately-thick midsole integrated with a unique comfort membrane called P-Motion.

The True Linkswear 
Game Changer Hybrid comes in multiple 
colorways.
The True Linkswear Game Changer Hybrid comes in multiple colorways.

The EVA True Comfort midsole sits on top of a rubber tread outsole that reacts and flexes with the natural motion of your foot as you walk and swing a club. Between the insole and the EVA midsole is a thin, red rubber mesh called P-Motion. This durable, yet flexible strip gives the shoe wearer both shock absorption and stability. In layman’s terms, P- Motion makes a pair of Game Changers feel brand new every time you slip them on. Between P-Motion, the soft leather upper and a wide toe box, a pair of Game Changers are perfect for that 18, or even 36-hole hole trek.

The Game Changer 
Hybrid is an innovative zero-drop golf shoe.
The Game Changer Hybrid is an innovative zero- drop golf shoe.

The Game Changer Hybrid is available in four color styles and retails for $169.99 MSRP.

Key Features:

  • P-Motion: flexible mesh is integrated into the shoe to provide comfort and stability.
  • Spikeless Performance Tread: provides traction while allowing the foot to naturally flex during the golf swing.
  • Ultrasoft Leather Upper: lightweight, breathable material is guaranteed waterproof for two years.

Adidas Adipower Boost

The talk of the PGA Show this past January, other than clubs and balls naturally, were these little white pellets Adidas was injecting into their new performance golf shoes. Turns out the white pellets, dubbed BOOST by Adidas, is a technological innovation the company first began using within their broader athletic footwear line.

The Adidas Adipower Boost 
boasts an energy-return system.
The Adidas Adipower Boost boasts an energy- return system.

The new Adipower Boost shoes by Adidas are filled with thousands of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) energy capsules. They are fused together by way of a proprietary high pressure steam molding process.

Why should golfers care you ask? These Boost capsules absorb energy exerted during the loading and unloading of the swing and return it to the shoe wearer in a kind of rebound effect. Adidas introduced this technology only after rigorous testing. They conducted extensive field research using forceplates combined with tour feedback for more than a year. If adoption on the professional tour is any indication, the Adipower Boost shoes are a huge hit for the brand. Early season winners Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson have made the shoe a critical part of their gear.

Gripmore spikes provide 
traction and stability.
Gripmore spikes provide traction and stability.

The Adipower Boost is sold for $190 MSRP and comes in four different colorways.

Key Features:

  • Boost: unlike traditional EVA foam, Boost capsules retain consistent cushion and responsive feel in both hot and cold conditions.
  • Gripmore technology: tour-proven spikes of varying sizes strategically placed on the outsole provide efficient traction and stability.
  • Fitfoam PU Sock Liner: delivers a more precise, comfortable fit all golfers.

Puma TitanTour

What does golf and NASA have in common? Quite a lot, according to Puma. The brand that isn’t afraid of making bold statements with their apparel gear selected an innovation from space travel to regulate the temperature inside your shoes while you golf. Outlast technology inside Puma’s TitanTour golf shoes works by absorbing excess heat away from the foot when conditions get hot. That stored heat can then be transferred back when the temperature drops.

Puma TitanTour golf shoes keep 
you cool with Outlast technology.
Puma TitanTour golf shoes keep you cool with Outlast technology.

Along with Outlast, the TitanTour specializes in keeping your feet snug inside the shoe while you play. Shapelock is a dual- density memory foam built into the sock liner that molds to your feet for a customized feel.

Although the TitanTour is technically considered a traditional cleated golf shoe, the actual Stealth Cleats are recessed within a set of strategically-placed traction walls. The end result is a golf shoe that delivers soft spike traction within a low-profile frame more indicative of a hybrid shoe.

Stealth Cleats provide exceptional 
traction while maintaining a low-to-the-ground 
profile.
Stealth Cleats provide exceptional traction while maintaining a low-to-the-ground profile.

The Puma TitanTour features a two-year waterproof warranty. The new shoes come in three styles and retails for $190 MSRP.

Key Features:

  • Outlast: specialized coating developed for NASA keeps the temperature inside your shoe regulated as weather conditions fluctuate.
  • Power Frame: ultra-thin TPU frame encases the EVA midsole for lightweight strength and durability, providing the wearer increased flexibility and traction.
  • Stealth Cleat: new low-profile cleat provides superior traction and long-lasting abrasion resistance.

Nike TW15

The golf shoe designed for and inspired by Tiger Woods has come a long way from being something quirky that borrowed design notes from paramilitary boots to something that finally looks and feels modern and athletic. Other sports, most notably basketball and running, have made significant contributions towards the shoe’s new design and construction.

The lighter and sportier Nike TW15 golf 
shoe.
The lighter and sportier Nike TW15 golf shoe.

The TW15 uses a one-piece woven upper called Flyweave. The material first debuted in a Nike basketball shoe in 2014 and uses a greater strength-to-weight support to provide lightweight flexibility during the golf swing. The third iteration of this golf shoe also features a running-inspired outsole that sits three millimeters lower to the ground than prior models and naturally flexes with the foot. Overall the new TW15 shoe from Nike is 10 percent lighter which is good news for anyone walking. The TW15 is available now for $250 MSRP in three colorways (University Red/Black, Metallic Silver/Black and Black/White).

Nike's Flyweave woven material is 
strong, yet flexible.
Nike's Flyweave woven material is strong, yet flexible.

Key Features:

  • Flyweave: form- fitting performance woven material provides strength and flexibility.
  • Nike Free-inspired outsole: allows golfers to better harness power throughout the swing without suffering from traction issues.

G/Fore Gallivanter

For golfers looking to make a bold statement on the course without looking juvenile in taste, SoCal brand G/Fore have redesigned their flagship kicks to deliver better performance. The best part - they pair extremely well with the company’s flamboyant, colorful golf gloves worn by the likes of Jonas Blixt, Tom Watson and Anna Rawson.

The redesigned G/Fore Gallivanter 
golf shoe with bespoke cleats.
The redesigned G/Fore Gallivanter golf shoe with bespoke cleats.

The G/Fore Gallivanter combines an athletic fit with an upscale design. The shoe features a biomechannically contoured footbed and a compression molded EVA midsole to provide superior cushioning. The Gallivanter’s outsole sports a brand-new bespoke cleated design that offers better traction in wet or dry conditions than in prior models.

The Gallivanter comes in many 
avant-garde styles.
The Gallivanter comes in many avant-garde styles.

Of course any mention of a G/Fore product, in this case a golf shoe, has something to say about style. Every Gallivanter model features a padded contrasting heal color and an additional set of tonal laces that puts an extra zip in your step. There are eight different designs in the line to choose from. Depending on the shoe, the upper may come in either full grain pebble leather, high performance microfiber, slick patent leather or nubuck leather. The Gallivanter retails for $225 to $350 MSRP depending on style.

Key Features:

  • Contoured Footbed: washable and anti- microbial material offers enhanced comfort.
  • Premium Materials: stylish uppers sport a modern design with hand-stitched details.
  • Bespoke Cleat: is more aggressively designed in the new shoe for optimal traction during the golf swing.
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