2014 is the Year of Golf Shoes
We are heading into April already and 2014 is clearly shaping up to be the year of golf shoes. We’ve had belts and polos in the years past, but foot fashion has always been pretty standardized. Historically if you really wanted to make a statement your best bet was some type of old-school cap toe, or you could always shell out a couple thousand for something like Phil Mickelson’s gators. With the advent of companies like Kikkor Golf and Ryan Moore’s True Links brand and even Nike and Puma adding athletic diversity, golf shoe producers are now seeing the growing market for offering a wide variety of styles and fits of golf shoes.
The previous boom in shoe design and development was athletic companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma offering shoes that had the characteristics of their training shoes and athletic shoes with New Balance pushing that envelope this year by making the Minimus Sport which completely blurs the lines between golf shoes and running shoes. Then came the small start-up Kikkor that brought us more of surf/skate style golf shoes. But so far, 2014 is shaping up to be the year that is looking to class up the joint. Yep, this year is the year of oxfords and wingtip golf shoes. We’re going to give you a list of our favorite shoes in this category.
Foot Joy: FJ City Golf Shoes, $180
Foot Joy wouldn’t be the #1 name in golf shoes if it didn’t stay at least on top of the curve in the new style category. That’s why coming to you on April 15th ( just in time for those tax returns) is the FJ City in a variety of colors in both oxford and wingtips. The FJ City golf shoes are made with the same attention to detail that made Foot Joy iconic for their lasting quality. The upper construction is a full grain, breathable, and waterproof leather with a very specific attention to detail in the stitching patterns. The stitching on some of the color combinations provides a stark contrast to the leather much in the same way that the foam midsole gives the shoe an extra pop that keeps draws your eye and subtly compliments the otherwise understated nature of the FJ City. You always know that you’re getting long-lasting performance ( comes with 2 year waterproof warranty) and comfort from Foot Joy, but their attempt to slightly step outside of their comfort zone has paid big dividends with a shoe that looks at place on the course and more so in the clubhouse.
Nike: Lunar Clayton, $250
Nike has always been the preeminent authority in athletic performance golf shoes, so the Lunar Clayton is definitely a departure from its status quo. While its design is a cap toe, it still has that essence of being a trainer. The Lunar Clayton has a full-length sockliner that offers additional comfort and support paired with Nike’s Dynamic Fit that keeps your feet secure while twisting. The colorful midsole is where this shoe gets its Lunar moniker. Much like its running/training cousins, the soft foam is 30 percent lighter than your typical Phylon, and it assists in evenly distributing force through your swing preventing tiring and strain.
Kikkor: Selects, $120
Earlier we decided to pick up a pair Kikkor Breathe golf shoes and we were pleasantly suprised with its performance at such a reasonable price. We’re expecting no different from the Kikkor Selects which became available earlier this month. Kikkor’s drawing power has always been its standout colors and designs and that’s no different with the Selects. The shoe construction is an EVA injection outsole and a TPU platform that features their proprietary VEKTRBoard 2.0 traction system. These shoes are definitely geared towards the younger crowd, so if you’re playing in the local senior leagues choose your colors wisely.
True Links: True Gent Wingtip $149.99
Ryan Moore’s company True Links offers a much more subtle alternative to Kikkor’s golf shoes, but they are already making a name for themselves by going after the younger golfing crowd. This shoe is no different. It’s simple, but it’s an understated cool. They do it in a traditional way, and sometimes less is more. The upper is a waterproof leather and like the other offerings by this company it has a zero drop approach, meaning that the heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground. This provides a very neutral balance in the golf shoes and allows you to rotate and move from one side to the other more fluidly. For comfort’s sake, the heal is cushioned with memory foam and that’s combined with an ultra flexible rubber EVA outsole.
G/Fore: Gallivanter, $225
A little bit back we wrote a spotlight on G/Fore and Gallivanter; you can check it out here. The short and sweet of this company and its golf shoes: the founder is the creator of the Mossimo brand and a longtime lover of the game of golf. Whereas the other brands are shoe or athletic companies, G/Fore is born purely from the imagination of an individual who has made his career solely in the fashion industry. Like we said in the other article, it’s a very refined suede shoe with bold sole colors and accents. Fear not though because the suede is pre-treated making it water resistant, and it also has a removable footbed for easy cleaning.
ECCO: Tour Hybrid Wingtip, $190
Now we start stepping into the very classic look that’s been making a comeback as of late. First up is ECCO and their Tour Hybrid Wingtip golf shoes that have the timeless wingtip style but with a bit of “steam punk” added to the wash of some leather options. Just like the ECCO Street EVO’s, the upper of the Tour Hybrid Wingtip is constructed from the Hydromax treated leather. As for performance, the claim from ECCO is that the spikeless pattern on the outsole of this shoe provides up to 800 traction angles! That means you’re staying planted. Direct Injection keeps this shoe from needing any stitching or glue, so whatever the conditions are the Tour Hybrid Wingtip can take it.
Ashworth: Encinitas Wingtip, $200
There is not a whole lot of information out on this shoe yet. It’s not due out for another month (May 1st), but what we do know is that it’s pretty handsome. This shoe epitomizes the idea of classic style blended with modern flare for this season. The upper as well as the lining of this shoe is made from ultra-rich leather. It has a sockliner like the Nike Lunar Clayton as well as the somewhat required EVA midsole to minimize strain allowing you to be on your feet longer. Despite the refined and early era looks, this is a spikeless shoe.
Allen Edmonds: Heritage Golf Shoes, $295
Finally, looking like it has stepped straight from the cover of The Great Gatsby is the Allen Edmonds Heritage Golf Shoes. If you’re at all familiar with the corporate environment, then you know Allen Edmonds and you know the pedigree and quality that comes with their shoes. Allen Edmonds is coming up on 100 years in leather business and they aren’t looking to hire biochemists to develop new foams for their midsoles, or dedicate engineering departments to develop robots to simulate human walking patterns. No, they dedicate themselves to superior craftsmanship (see their 12 steps of craftsmanship.) The upper and lining of this shoe is premium calfskin leather as well as the sole. Most shoes are moving towards spikeless, but the Heritage Golf Shoes wanted to stay as classic as possible, so it has 11 spikes. There is more than likely going to be a better performing shoe on the market, but there is definitely nothing on a golf course today that can come close to the elegance that this shoe exudes. If you want to make a statement, flashy colors and designs get old and start looking played out. If you want to roll like you belong at any club, then you roll with these Allen Edmonds.