For all the incredible technical and technological advances in golf equipment over the last decade, perhaps no product has changed—and improved—as much as the golf shoe.
Think about it. Clubs are still shafts with heads, which have gotten bigger and measurably better, but basically remain what my father used to jokingly call “golf bats.” Balls are still round and dimpled, even if their insides have more layers than a wedding cake. And bags may be lighter and hold more stuff, but they’re still just ergonomically designed suitcases.
Then there’s the shoe. Just a few years ago we were wearing big, heavy, all-leather brogues with arachnoid-like replaceable cleats. Some of you were still wearing kilties. (You know who you are.) And companies crunched countless computer bytes determining the optimum placement of spikes, channels, and power pads in outsoles that got progressively lighter and thinner.
Such paragons of podiatric performance still exist. But what I see most often on courses now—and on my own feet—are shoes that wouldn’t look out of place at work, at dinner, on the dance floor, even on a skateboard. And my feet have never been more comfortable while maintaining total control at ground level.
Every notable shoe company has these pseudo-sneakers in their line, from pioneers like ecco and True Linkswear to footwear heavyweights Foot-Joy and adidas.
Also very much at the forefront in tootsy tech is Nike, which recently unveiled its latest, the Lunar Swingtip. To borrow a line from the Swoosh’s own press release, these shoes are “a mash-up of street style and golf performance.”
The new shoe actually was created in cooperation with another Nike affiliate, Hurley, which makes gear for skateboarders. So while the shoes pay homage to classic golf design with traditional wingtip detailing, they also provide the kind of stability and comfort that riding on four little wheels demands.
The lugs on the bottom of the sole might simply look sharp, but their positioning, geometry, and heights are the result of extensive study in Nike’s Sports Research Lab. Just as boarders don’t want to slip off their ride, golfers don’t want to slip on the turf during the swing.
The inside of the shoe has a “lunarlon” sockliner, another skateboarding innovation, which provides comfort as well as support and a good feel for the ground.
The Lunar Swingtip comes in a wide range of colors, presently available in leather (with a one-year waterproof guarantee) for $160, in suede for $140. By the beginning of next year, a canvas version will be out at $130.
From $130, nikegolf.com
Low-key footwear has its origins in skateboarding
By: James A. Frank