Golf Shoes: Are we Walking into Uncharted Territory?
Unarguably, the most important piece of golf attire any golfer can put on to help improve their game is a pair of golf shoes. Take a moment to think about how the grip of your shoes connect your feet to the soft grass so that you can read the subtleties of the break on a green; or the confidence you get when thinking about all the traction you know your shoes give you to take a full swing when you're staring down an open fairway on a par 5; or how you're on the 18th hole and about to make a huge putt to win a major, and your body still feels amazing after a long round because your golf shoes are so comfortable that you're only thinking about one thing, and one thing only: “Dancing - I want to go dancing after this round.”
Ok, so only Matt Kuchar would ever have dancing on his mind when standing over a big putt, but you get the idea. Golf shoes matter a great deal, and rightly so, as they truly can help you and your body play your best.
Thankfully, the average golfer has no shortage of shoes to choose from. Also thankfully, we're now a long time removed from metal spikes, those pesky green-wrecking, stiletto-sounding golf shoes that no one wanted to wear on the grass or cart path; come to think of it, I'm betting that many of you, dear readers, have never even owned a pair of the classic metal spikes that looked like a face full of pimples after half a season. Regardless, golf companies have put a large focus on the golf footwear world more and more every year, so if you're in the market for a new pair of golf kicks, you'll want to know what styles are out there and where the industry is headed, because you won't want to miss out on what's to come.
Classic Golf Shoe Style
The wing tip, saddle, or oxford classic golf shoe style is on its last leg - aside from Justin "Preppy" Thomas keeping the look alive, it's just not a style that you see very often on the course anymore, especially with newer generations of golfers. So even though the style does, in fact, still look classy, clean, and high end, it's arguable as to whether or not the once timeless look will endure, as golf shoe companies put a stronger focus onto comfort and less on the classic style. With comfort in mind, the last few decades has golf shoes looking more like they belong off the course rather than on. Cue Kuchar waving hello like Forrest Gump on his boat.
Comfort-First Golf Shoes
Apologies in advance to anyone who falls into the Dad generation of golfers whose kids make fun of him for his classic golf shoes, who then goes out and looks at the wall of shoes on the market, and who picks a pair he thinks his kids will appreciate, only to find them making fun of him by saying: “Daaaad, you look like a Dad!” Let's face it, if this might sound like you, then you likely have a pair of shoes just like Matt Kuchar's - maybe you've even seen him on the dance floor at some point. Thankfully, you can tell your kids that you're here to stay for quite some time, as comfort is still one of the most important aspects for a golf shoe to any golfer, and companies will continue to provide such shoes for all kinds of age groups.
But as we all want to grow the game of golf and appeal to the younger generations, we all need to take notice of the rapid transition in the golf shoe world toward the custom "street" shoe style that is taking the game by storm, because although comfort is still important, fashion is quickly on the up and will soon reign supreme.
Custom Golf Shoes
Rickie Fowler's impact on the game is undoubtedly immense - if Tiger is the next Jack Nicklaus then Rickie is the next Arnold Palmer. From the number of kids wearing his signature orange shirts and/or hats to the endless line of autographs that Rickie will always graciously sign to build memories for all of the youngsters, his influence runs deep from head to toe. And by toe I mean his shoes, of course.
His feet are likely the most talked about feet in the game, with seemingly every tournament there being a spotlight or article about what he's wearing that week, because it's always something different and very, very cool. He even recently made headlines with the first untucked golf shirt ever worn on tour, which he sought approval for from the PGA. Simply put, Rickie is a trendsetter. So when we talk about where the game is at in the world of golf shoes, we look to him first and foremost; and when we do, we see custom golf shoes and instantly add an item to our want list.
For the average golfer, however, custom golf shoes like Rickie's are next to impossible to buy. This is one of the many perks of being a professional golfer: you have connections with companies who are all vying to make your custom gear. But let's put it this way, how many average golfers have a custom golf glove made exactly to their hand? Exactly. The same goes for shoes.
This divide between the professional and amateur level of golf gear supply is now beginning to change, and we're starting to walk into uncharted territory for the average golfer.
Cue Pro Shop Golf and their product vision that I've been excited for since I first heard about it - thankfully, my lips are no longer sealed and now's the time I can help spread the word about what they’re planning to offer on the horizon, as their first custom shoe conversion is complete and currently being offered as a prize giveaway: the AIR Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam turned golf shoes. I'll forgive your attention being taken away for a second while you marvel at the custom shoe and take part in the opportunity to win them. Don’t forget to tell your friends
One look at those shoes makes the mind race with ideas. If PSG can make AIR Jordan's happen, what else can be converted into golf shoes? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a favorite pair of kicks that I would love to turn custom. Or, if you know your shoes, imagine a pair of Nike Air Max 90 OFF-WHITE turned golf shoes. Ok, let's slow down here a little and not get carried away - I mean, PSG wouldn't offer something like that one day, riiiight?
My lips are once again sealed...
The possibilities with golf shoes are now obviously endless these days, and it's incredibly exciting to let the imagination run wild to think about what might one day be available and on our feet while we're playing the game we love. One thing is clear: the classics and the Dad shoes are nice and comfortable and all, but the uncharted territory we're walking into looks a lot like the professional world of golfers we watch and admire. I, for one, will take that less-traveled road every time.