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Softspikes Debuts Black Widow Tour Golf Cleats

Jun. 22, 2009     By     Comments (18)

Softspikes introduced the original Black Widow spike about a decade ago, and one would think that there isn't much room for improvement after 10 years. What could possibly be done? Apparently a lot!

Bag DropWe hardly think about them when playing golf unless one pops out or needs to be replaced, but the cleats on our golf shoes play an important part in our inventory of golf gear. Gone are the days of the familiar click clack of metal spikes. There is no doubt that the metal spikes of the past provided better traction than the plastic spikes we use now, but the damage they caused on putting greens and clubhouse floors, combined with some clever marketing from the early manufacturers, lead to the virtual extinction of metal spikes.

Softspike Settings

Softspikes, the leading manufacturer of plastic cleats, has held that position for over 15 years. Its products are in use by 70% of PGA Tour players even though the PGA Tour still allows the use of metal spikes. That number amounts to more than 300 victories and 44 straight majors. The Softspikes brand has become one of the golf industry's greatest success stories. Pride Manufacturing Company purchased Softspikes, LLC in December 2003, launching the non-metal spike revolution. Today, metal spikes account for less than 1% of the spike market, and the vast majority of U.S. golf courses have banned the use of metal spikes.

Softspikes introduced the original Black Widow spike about a decade ago, and one would think that there isn't much room for improvement after 10 years. I mean, what could possibly be done to improve a little piece of plastic that attaches to the bottom of our golf shoes? Apparently a lot!

Softspike ConfigsIn late May, Softspikes released the Black Widow Tour golf cleat, along with a website to promote the new product and a Facebook fan page to boot. The website – blackwidowtour.com, is designed to promote the new spike, the first adjustable spike in golf.

According to the website, it will allow the golfer to adjust the cleats to their swing, balance, and weight distribution. The main innovation in the new spikes are the "support rings" that enable golfers to customize the level of comfort of the spikes. The spikes have eight teeth, or traction elements, along with four large flexible legs to provide a high level of traction. The cleat is completed by four cushioning areas that absorb shock and distribute weight among the cleats. Combined with the support rings, this allows the golfer to turn the ring to change the spikes' effective performance.

The two main settings are Tour-Comfort and Tour-Firm. The Tour-Comfort setting provides maximum flex, comfort and extreme traction, where the Tour-Firm setting provides traction through a firmer, spike-like feel by providing more impact resistance. You can even adjust each spike individually, to create custom settings. The website shows a few examples, such as setting the cleats on the outsides of the shoe to the firm setting for better lateral support during the swing, and comfort setting on the inside for better cushioning while walking. Another possible custom setting places the firm cleats on the outside of the right foot, creating a more stable platform during the backswing. The new Black Widow Tour cleats will retail in the $12 to $15 range.

Softspike Configs

We have seen the rise of adjustable shoes, with the FootJoy BOA lacing system, and we have seen adjustable clubs with the TaylorMade R9, Callaway i-Mix, and various other adjustable hosel clubs. It only makes sense that we now have adjustable spikes, right?

While it's hard to argue with the market dominance of the Softspikes brand, it remains to be seen if adjustable spikes will really catch on. Wouldn't it be great to see a PGA Pro attribute his win at a tournament to his new adjustable spikes? How will the rules look upon a player who takes off his shoes and adjusts his spikes to changing turf conditions? Maybe I'll throw a set of these technological wonders into my Eccos and put them through their paces… (pun intended). See you next week!

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Discussion

  1. Max Lanier says:

    :roll: Are we talking $12-$15 per cleat. I thought my grips were expensive.

  2. :roll: Are we talking $12-$15 per cleat. I thought my grips were expensive.

    For a pack of 16.

  3. JDogg says:

    It seems to me that by "customizing" the spikes, it would be similar to the old weight-rite shoes that John Houston wore which were illegal.

  4. Adam A. Carbarundum says:

    An interesting concept, but I'm not really sure that the amount of extra work involved to set up the cleats to any configuration may be worthwhile. These cleats offer really no more stability or softness than any other offerings from Softspikes or Champ. The only plus to this would be that I can achieve a mixed setup without having to purchase two different sets of cleats. To that end, it's likely worth a look and, who knows? Having actually tried a few of these cleats, it is not for those with fumble fingers as some dexterity is required to set them up.

    I enjoy the softness of Softspikes Pulsars, but the solid and firm grip of a cleat is what I really am needing. This season I changed my cleats to Champ Stingers and that is good enough for me. I may visit the BW Tour cleat sometime in the future, but for now I will stay with what I have.

  5. Tony says:

    Honestly? Give me a break! Someone apparently needed something to do over there at the Softspikes lab. :roll:

  6. The O says:

    Yes, please try them and tell us if they work. I have a very aggresive weight transfer (years of hockey, I guess), and I've never had the same grip with soft spikes that I had/needed with the old pegs. Anything approaching that would be awesome.

  7. Bob says:

    is that 44 straight majors accurate? It seems Mickleson uses metal cleats and Tiger does too? Or are they using softspikes brand metal cleats?

  8. John Duval says:

    is that 44 straight majors accurate? It seems Mickleson uses metal cleats and Tiger does too? Or are they using softspikes brand metal cleats?

    It's right from their website:

    http://www.softspikes.com/Phenomenon/tabid/339/Default.aspx

  9. Bob says:

    I just remember Tiger's shot in the 208 US Open when he had to hit the shot while standing on the cartpath and you could hear the metal. Softspikes must make metal spikes

  10. Ray says:

    just put a set on a pair of my shoes in the tour=comfort setting. very firm feeling. great grip

  11. Chris says:

    I have used these cleats for the last 3 weeks, both in the all Tour firm" setting and the mixed bag "foundation support" setting shown above (outside cleats firm, interior cleats comfort). I prefer these cleats over my "old" pulsars and about equal with the standard black widows. I do not like "Champs" brand cleats at all, except for the fact that they are the only ones that make streetcaps, a fact that saved me one night going to dinner after playing a round- I was able to wear my golf shoes with a suit! I also do not like that the black widow tours are only available using the fast twist connector and not the q-fit connection, meaning I am only able to use them in my Adidas shoes and not my Nikes, cutting down on their usefulness. Also, only 16 cleats come in a pack, while most fasttwist shoes use 10 cleats per show! I don't know if that is a sale tactic from softspikes, forcing us to buy 2 packs for 1 set of shoes, but it is annoying. All in all, the overall recommendation is that I would only buy these if you are a "gadget guy", like I am. (I ended up buying 3 packs, just to have an extra set of cleats on hand at all times, and keep them in the bag with the shoes, along with the softspikes brand tool to insert them- each shoebag of mine has one in it, along with at least an extra set of cleats and street caps made by Champs)

  12. ian roberts says:

    just to let you know chris, the B.W. tour soft spike does come in Qlok for the nike's . just bought a set .hope this helps

  13. Chris says:

    Where do they sell the Q Lok version, I have not seen it, although I think I will stick with the standard Black Widows for my Nike's , as I said above.

  14. ian roberts says:

    dont know where you hail from but i got them from american golf in u.k. they have a web site i think its http://www.americangolf.co.uk. , or try the nike store online .

  15. Mohun says:

    I find it interesting that the new FootJoy Synr-g have Champ Stinger cleats in them - FJ claims these are their most stable shoes ever. I was under the impression that FJ predominanty used Softspike brands (Pulsar, Black Widow, etc.).

  16. tim says:

    These are not a new technology, this is the same type of technology that Champ Stinger uses. Boo Softspikes, come up with your own ideas.

  17. Dave says:

    I got them as a gift on a voucher and they were as dear as.
    I would not buy them myself but willing to give them a go

  18. Bob says:

    I have been a Black Widow user for a few years and I believe they surpass all other when it comes to wear and grip. I just purchased a package of the new "tour" cleats and while installing I realized that my FJ ICons require 9 cleats per shoe. The package from sofspikes only contain 16. That would mean I need to to purchase 2 packs ($30) to recleat my Icons. Now my other FJ's do only have 7 per shoe so it appears the Icon is an anomaly. I called PrideSports and they agreed to send me two additonal spikes, after much discussion, so I wouldn't have to go purchase another box.

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