Techno Feet: Modern Footwear Technology Combines Comfort and Performance
Comfy as they are, those popular cleat-less golf shoes weigh less than many of their cleated counterparts. And that’s by design, as mass on your feet at the golf course can slow you down. In fact, golf shoes have become so lightweight these days that you barely even notice them on your feet anymore. Lilly Harvey of Shoe Adviser reported that “golf shoes are going to be worn for a long time. Golf is not a short game, so having a pair of spikeless golf shoes that are comfortable is vital. The more comfortable you feel, the better you are going to perform on the course. Although spiked golf shoes may provide extra security, especially when on soft and muddy terrains, they can be quite uncomfortable to wear.”
That’s a really good thing for your game. Compared to the heavier welted leather shoes of yesteryear, these lightweights significantly reduce foot fatigue, knee soreness and course wear-and-tear — and they won’t stress your hips like their predecessors while you’re walking on hillsides. They’re made with lighter materials that commonly offer just as much support and traction as before, but without all the heft. Thus when you’re wearing the latest footwear technology, you realistically maintain more energy throughout your round. Massaging the right way stimulates nerves, soothes your mind and body, by ensuring improved circulation, relaxed muscles, reduced tension, and most importantly eases pain. For a quick pick-me-up, you can also get a foot massager and relieve your feet off the stress.
Don’t believe it? Try walking 18 holes in the newest models. By the time you stroll off the last green, you might even feel like taking a jog. Maybe not, but you get the point.
One way companies are reducing shoe weight is by making the soles thinner — sans any cleats. And that can actually improve stability. In fact, some Tour pros practice playing barefoot, just to work on balance and stability during their swing. The next best thing to donning no shoes is sporting those with a thin sole that allows the shoes — and your feet — to be low to the ground, affording you more lateral stability during your swing.
Even though they’re feathery light right now, golf shoes can actually get even lighter — according to manufacturers. But that potentially comes at the price of comfort and stability, and even their ability to be waterproof. Manufacturers tend to concur that the ideal lightweight golf shoe weighs just shy of 10 ounces for a men’s size 9.
The lot for 2015 is in that general ballpark. These may barely tip the scales, but they carry a lot of weight with your golf game.
- adidas Golf’s stylish, 12-ounce adicross Gripmore ($150) touts soft premium leather uppers with suede accents. A cushioned sock liner, foam midsole and wide comfort last make it heavenly on your feet.
- Nike’s feather-weight Lunar Waverly ($140) was designed with pressure-mapping analysis, enhancing comfort and traction. The lightweight cork sock liner adds comfort, while anti-microbial materials help reduce odor.
- ECCO’s weather-resistant BIOM Hybrid 2 ($195) has an extra-thin midsole that brings you closer to the ground for stability. A premium insole helps prevent your feet from sliding around during the swing.
- Lighter than its predecessor, FootJoy’s 2014-2015 Contour Series ($135-$155) offers comfort upgrades, too. The new premium full grain leather is softer and thinner; reformulated EVA blended midsole is softer; and the new fit-customizing collar comforts ankles.
- New Balance is known for comfy running shoes, and its NBG2003 golf shoe ($160) emanates that spirit. At just 11.1 ounces, it features a 10mm drop midsole, lightweight exoskeleton TPU outsole, waterproof mesh upper and plenty of cushioning.