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DarkPrince

The often overlooked golf shoe, and why its worth investing in quality.

49 posts in this topic

As I opened my fedex package today, I realized that I seemed waaaaay too excited to open up a new box of golf shoes. Years ago I never cared about golf shoes and just played in my good old Samba Classics, but since the first pair of golf shoes I had were from high school around 6 years ago, I started buying better/newer shoes (and certainly ones that were far less ugly than my all white like 3/4 Nike's). I've come to the realization that I now have 6 pairs of shoes

Nike - old POS ugly white junkers lol
Nike - SP-3 Black (like 2 years old on clearance at work when I bought them last spring and now don't fit well.)
Nike - Tour Premium Spikeless Teaching Shoe (this summer can't pass up wholesale price :P)
Adidas - Tour 360 LTD White/Black (Last Summer)
Adidas - Tour 360 LTD Black/White (This Spring)
Footjoy - FJ Icon (today :D) Manufacturer closeout, couldn't pass up the deal for next season lol

At work I find golf shoes are a tough sale to a majority of golfers. Most in my area are weekend warriors or guys who play like 6 times a year, but even the people I know play a ton don't invest in a pair, whether cheapies or high end shoes. I mean a pair of good spikes isn't going to take 5 strokes off your game, but man a comfortable pair of shoes makes the walking portion a heck of a lot more comfortable, and the spikes DO make a difference on damp/wet days or in early morning/late afternoon dew :P Which actually brings me to the other reason it's a tough sell, 90% of the people who come in ride in carts exclusively (I usually ask to get an idea of what price range they are looking at). We've got the FJ Greenjoy's on sale almost all the time for around $40 so they sell more than the rest (FJ Contour, Nike Durasport, Adidas Beacon/Tech Response, and a few FJ/Nike's on the clearance racks). Coming from a sporting goods retail background I can say around 80'sh% of the time you get what you pay for. You buy the $30 Nike running shoes, don't expect the same comfort/technology/quality as the $70 or $120 Asics running shoes. You buy cheaper golf shoes they are generally EVA outsoles, synthetic leather or mesh uppers, non-waterproof, and primarily geared toward someone who plays less than 10 rounds a year. This isn't a slight towards them as they do what they are designed to do, the EVA foam and mesh uppers do a wonderful job of making the shoes very lightweight and breathable, and the synthetic leather requires much less care/maintenance that genuine leather. The downside is that mesh does nothing against dew, standing water, rain, getting nailed by the random malfunctioning sprinkler (weirder things have happened), it also tends to get dirty and stay dirty, or tear/blow out at inopportune times. The synthetic leather also tends to scratch/scuff and break down much faster than real leather (granted that it's taken care of correctly). EVA foam although very lightweight and "cushony" tends to break down much quicker.

Even one step up in terms of quality gets you into rubber outsoles, genuine leather uppers, some form of waterproof guarantee/warranty, higher end comfort/support technologies...etc I'm not advocating buying the tour models since there are many to choose from in the mid-cost range, but then again that's not to say the tour models aren't worth the cash (they are :P). Sometimes just looking for good deals gets you into the aforementioned 20% of the time there's a difference in price/quality, and its usually something good on sale/clearance for a steal of a price from last year or so. I will jokingly say though that any Nike Shock or Sketchers ShapeUp is in theopposite category of not worth the $100+ they cost :P As an example of bargain hunting, the Nike SP3's I got for $40 bucks down from 99, the Nike Spikeless I got for 110 instead of 220 for volunteering at the PGA Championship (they look like business shoes so I wear them to work and then go to the course afterwords), Adidas Tour 360 LTD's I got for $110-120 down from $250 since they are last years model and www.TGW.com had an extra 30% off of clearance one day, and the FJ Icon's were closed out to $150 down from $250 on another online shop I frequent ( www.GPPGolf.com ) which was still a cheaper price than even TGW and Golfsmith who are also closing out the style (not to mention that for some reason every time I order from GPP they send me a free wire brush lol).

So I guess my question is why people will spend hundreds of dollars on drivers/putters (I jokingly/seriously suggest they just use it on lessons instead much to the chagrin of my superiors [and no its not a shameless plug to make my store more money, we don't do lessons/repair/all that stuff...but I do shamelessly plug my instructors name :P]), $40-45 on a box of 12 balls that disappear within 2 weeks, and completely ignore something as basic as a good pair of shoes?
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interesting post... I do avoid buying cheapest ones but I don't like spending like 250 on a golf shoes either. I don't know if I am right wrong but you have a point too.
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interesting post... I do avoid buying cheapest ones but I don't like spending like 250 on a golf shoes either. I don't know if I am right wrong but you have a point too.

Exactly....just wait a year haha. Size selection seems to be very limited for me since I'm an 8/8.5 depending on the company, but if you luck out you can get some damn good steals. I guess coming from a golfer, I figure more people would beleive me when I talk to them about it, yet I think most think it's just a sales pitch. I've logged something like 52 official rounds this year and have walked I think 95% of the time, so I coun't on having a comfy/dependable pair of shoes. I think the difference in price v quality is more apparent in footwear/apparel than actual equipment since equipment you can buy the highest quality club(s), but if you can't use it to it's potential then it's not worth the investment. All a shoe has to do for golf is be comfortable, reliable, and provide you with the benefit of traction where normally you would have none. I think I wanted to write this more like an article discussing the different materials/constructions of golf shoes/sandals....but it's 1AM and kind of turned into a rant of "don't go cheap, but don't always get suckered into the next best/expensive thing" lol.

One thing I already realised I forgot was that the jump in price between cheap/basic and better/nicer is really not all that much. Sometimes it's just dropping the extra $30 to go from a $60 shoe (retail price, but likely always on sale around 40-45), to a $90 shoe (usually on sale around say 70). Most companies (FJ/Nike/Adi) have like 10 different styles with at least a few in each price range. I liken it to a 3 tier setup kind of like soccer cleats, Consumer (average people), Serious (HS/College athletes), Professional (College/Minor/Professionals). Consumer is around $35-70, Serious is $90-150, and pro is 150+ depending on brand.
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Ah, someone who is spot on with my way of thinking about shoes and most things. A few decades ago I splurged on a really high quality backpack when in high school and it gave many years of service and stayed looking sharp while all my friends were replacing tattered bags frequently; since then I've always sought out quality in all things I buy, and I think in my 30+ years as a significantly spending consumer I have never once wished I had economized and not gone for quality. That doesn't mean I spend $500 on a pair of shoes - at that level I feel you're paying for exclusivity, not just quality - but a couple hundred dollars is certainly reasonable. And I feel that it actually costs less in the long run; I've got 10 year old Allen Edmonds dress shoes that still look nearly new, a few Armani suits that have had much greater life than typical department store purchase (and still look great), nice slacks that have a great drape and hold a crease perfectly after years of frequent wearing - I know that these would have all been replaced several times if I had purchased lesser quality items.

I feel the key is to purchase quality, not just fashion, and shop hard for a good price but not compromise on the merchandise. And the other key - make sure it fits properly. It's always disappointing to see people who don't take the trouble to get truly fit right for shoes or clothes. With shoes it is amazing the comfort difference, and with clothes a person in ill fitting clothes even if they're top quality just sort of looks like a slob with a bigger checkbook.

End fashion rant.
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I totally get the golf shoe theory...I own three pairs of FootJoys, 2 DryJoys and 1 Gel Fusion. I only had to wear a pair of cheap shoes one time to realize that having dry feet on any given South Florida morning was worth the extra money. I have had DryJoys last forever with some proper care. My theory is that if you buy at least 2 good pairs of shoes, use the cedar inserts and rotate the wearings, they will last over the long term and actually save you money.
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Addidas, 360 Tour 4.0.. They were the only shoe that really fit well to my feet. Also, they are just comfortable to walk in. I love them. I also like that the toe section of the shoe is a bit up more than the rest of the shoe, this helps me get a better feel for not standing on my toes at address and having proper balance.
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As a long distance runner I tell attest to the importance of having quality shoes that are right for you and fit your foot. Most runners are injured because they a) add too many miles to their runs too fast, b) run in the wrong shoes. I have a pair of FJ Sport (white) and Nike Air Zoom TW (black). They both provide good foot support and make walking a round of golf painless. I'm planning to add a pair of Adidas Tour 360 4.0 or AdiPure (white) for next year.
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I second the comment on the 4.0s fitting my feet better. I had the choice (as a 12.5) to try ton those, the Innolux, or another Adidas shoe I couldn't remember. Tried on two of them and stopped at the Tour 360 4.0s once I put them on. Immediately they felt so much better than the others, and they were comfortable to walk in. I just didn't want to pay $180 at the time. I'm still holding off even though I've found them on eBay for about $112 ($100+ship). The only golf shoes I have are spikeless and from 10 years ago, more of a style pair than functional, and I haven't bothered to get new ones (mainly been playing in my $100 running shoes :P).
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Cheap $40 shoes lasted me about a season before cracks appeared in the soles, but I figured a new pair every Spring was not a big deal. I am now a fan of more expensive dry-joys. Always stepping into wet muck.
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I have 2 pairs of golfing footwear. FJ Contours and FJ Golf Sandals. Both are comfortable and offer stable support.

Unfortunately I don't walk the course any more except an occasional 9 holes in winter, but even if you don't walk all of the time, a decent shoe is still a necessary part of your equipment.
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I'm with you 100%. I went cheap with my Adidas Tour Lites last year, as I had just started playing. Now, they are comfortable, but they're pretty much worn out now after 50rds of golf. I bought a set of Nike Zoom Elite II's at a huge discount (because they're fugly) and they've held up great. Unfortunately, they're uncomfortable for me, but I was impressed how well they held up.

Waiting on Adidas Powerband 3.0s to go on sale this Fall, I think that price range is the sweet spot for shoes.
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I have 2 pairs of golfing footwear. FJ Contours and FJ Golf Sandals. Both are comfortable and offer stable support.

If you don't mind me asking, how do you like your contours? I've got two colors at work (One super ugly White/Tan/Black, and the other is all Black) Neither of which seem to sell at around $70 unless I explain in detail what this whole thread is about lol. They look like they would be a relatively comfortable and very supportive shoe.

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I totally get the golf shoe theory...I own three pairs of FootJoys, 2 DryJoys and 1 Gel Fusion. I only had to wear a pair of cheap shoes one time to realize that having dry feet on any given South Florida morning was worth the extra money. I have had DryJoys last forever with some proper care. My theory is that if you buy at least 2 good pairs of shoes, use the cedar inserts and rotate the wearings, they will last over the long term and actually save you money.

I actually need to find a place in my area tha sells cedar shoe trees. I need like 3 more pairs now :P From what I understand with the higher end leathers is that you need to use shoe trees to prevent creasing/cracking in the leather, use a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt/pesticides/fertilizers after the round as they cause damage to the leather, and every couple of rounds (6-10?) just give them a quick polish with a leather conditioner/polish. Is there anything else that should be done?

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I actually need to find a place in my area tha sells cedar shoe trees. I need like 3 more pairs now :P From what I understand with the higher end leathers is that you need to use shoe trees to prevent creasing/cracking in the leather, use a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt/pesticides/fertilizers after the round as they cause damage to the leather, and every couple of rounds (6-10?) just give them a quick polish with a leather conditioner/polish. Is there anything else that should be done?

Most golf shops have the trees. I use them to dry the insides and to keep the odor down. You sound like you have a good handle on everything else with the polish/conditioner routine.

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Those are some sharp looking shoes :D I just don't know how the hell I'd match them to whatever I was wearing lol
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If you don't mind me asking, how do you like your contours? I've got two colors at work (One super ugly White/Tan/Black, and the other is all Black) Neither of which seem to sell at around $70 unless I explain in detail what this whole thread is about lol. They look like they would be a relatively comfortable and very supportive shoe.

I think they are the most comfortable leather shoe I've ever owned. They fit perfectly right out of the box. Don't know what else to say. I'll buy the same thing again if these ever wear out.... 4 years and counting.

Those are some sharp looking shoes :D I just don't know how the hell I'd match them to whatever I was wearing lol

You really like them???? My stomach did a flip flop the moment I saw them.

Even though I like wearing my FJ sandals, I'm still a bit too traditional for those. And I guarantee that I have nothing at all in my closet that would go with them.
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I do like the full leather soles.

A really good pair of traditional leather shoes -- something like the Ecco World Class -- could probably last a lifetime with the type of loving care that DarkPrince describes. It's a real pity that FootJoy killed their classics line.

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