Golfers used to be made fun of for their clothing - and with reason! Suffice to say Duffy Waldorf and Woody Austin would have fit in quite nicely 15 to 25 years ago.
The modern golfer is a bit more stylish, however, and a recent push within the clothing industry has focused the energies of golf apparel designers on a new target: performance. What began with Under Armour and Nike Dri-Fit has come to nearly every golf clothing line from Callaway to Izod to Adidas. Performance clothing wicks away sweat while you're working out (and more). As a geek and a clothes horse (is that possible?), I've always been fascinated with this stuff and have found myself buying multiple pairs of moisture-wicking underpants. The only problem with most of this stuff is when you wore it you felt like screaming "I must protect this house" à la Under Armour every time you enter a room.
Recently, clothing designers have been making the performance fabrics a bit more stylish and have added such functionality as SPF protection, breathable fabric, stain defenders and wrinkle-free fabrics. In fact, suits are now being made of fabric developed for NASA. Golf apparel is also following this trend. Many of the golf apparel companies are developing performance enhancing clothing that is very stylish.
Among those companies are Taylor Made/Adidas, who has their own line of performance apparel, ClimaCool. I recently had a chance to review the Adidas ClimaCool Two Tone Argyle Polo and the ClimaCool Golf Shoe.
The Argyle Polo (pictured right) strongly resembles a shirt you might see Tiger wear on Sundays. It's a brighter red and has an orange-ish argyle pattern that is very subtle. Adidas calls the color lava. It's actually quite a nice looking shirt that offers a unique yet classic look on the course. It's not something I would normally choose, but it is a welcome addition to my wardrobe as I've got nothing like it. All my playing partners, as well as my mom and girlfriend, commented about how much they liked it.
My one complaint about the shirt is that it's entirely too big. I normally wear a medium shirt, but this shirt is a little too baggy for me. If you're like me and you like clothing to be a bit more fitted, buy it a size smaller.
As for the ClimaCool shoes, I love the look. They are a traditional saddle style with the Adidas three-stripe logo incorporated into the black saddle of the shoe. These shoes offer a slight athletic look, which helps when wearing with shorts, but look very similar to the traditional saddle-style shoe so that they can look more dressed up when worn with slacks. I have never really been a fan of golf shoes, but these appealed to my eye immediately.
I took both the shirt and the shoes out to walk 18 holes in the heat over the weekend (it was around 90 degrees with a good deal of humidity) to really see how well these clothes performed. Throughout the day, my playing partners shirts began to show saddlebags (sweat marks in their shirts that come from under their arms) that connected in the front, while I showed none. I was sweating, it's just that the fabric in the shirt was wicking away the moisture and drying almost instantly. To be honest, I felt like a new man. With a normal cotton shirt, I can feel very restricted on a hot day when I swing because my shirt tends to stick to me and become somewhat heavier and uncomfortable. With the ClimaCool shirt, I didn't have a problem with my shirt restricting me in anyway. Also, I have to admit that while my buddies and I were playing our $5 skins game, it gave me confidence to see them uncomfortable and sweating.
As I said earlier, I did think the fit of the shirt was slightly big. The sleeves hung just past my elbows which began to get annoying after a while. I had to keep tugging the shirt sleeves up prior to swinging. As far as the SPF-15 protection, I believed it worked. While I would have normally tanned a bit, I was relatively pale at the end of the day. If you care about cancer, why, that's a good thing.
The shoes are what floored me. I had one of those epiphanies on the 15th hole as we were walking up a hill. It all of a sudden occurred to me, "My feet don't hurt right now. That's never been the case when I walk 18 holes." As I said in the forum, I don't think that golf shoes are comfortable and I prefer to wear sneakers or sandles when golfing. Well, I've changed my mind and I will be wearing these when I play now. They were very comfortable and the traction was quite nice.
On one hole a sprinkler was broken, leaving a wet and marshy area. Of course, I hit my ball in it and once I got out of the standing water, I played my ball and swung a little harder to see how the traction was. I didn't slip at all. I did notice that the "360 degree ventilation" wasn't water resistant. When I walked through the standing water my socks got wet through the ventilation area. Which makes sense, of course, but still left me with wet feet. They dried quite quickly, but on a rainy day I can't imagine these shoes would keep your feet dry. My recommendation would be to use these during the summer and get a different pair to provide waterproof protection.
I really liked the shirt and shoes. Adidas has created some comfortable and functional apparel items that look great. I'm sold on the Adidas footwear, at least when it's not raining. In fact, since I tried the golf shoes, I have purchased a pair of their ClimaCool trail running shoes and love them as well. As for the apparel, I really prefer a more fitted shirt, but I'll give it one more try, in a smaller size. I really hope that fits better because the fabric kept me cooler than other shirts. Plus, I got a lot of comments on the style and look of it.