Barefoot golfing shoe - does that even make sense? Possible Footgasim?
When learning about TRUE you may hear/read the phrase "barefoot" when mentioning their shoes. This seems like a confused message to someone who actually knows people who do walk/run barefoot. I've never wanted to golf barefoot - I've done it once when I soaked my shoes, and it wasn't a terrible experience, but I've never purposefully golfed barefoot again since. (I have long hairy toes... so I'm not exactly excited to show them off)
Wanting to learn a bit more about this "barefoot" term, I headed to TRUE's website to see what they have to say. One of the first things I noticed was their "about" page - all of their employees are required to play 18 holes a week in order to give first-hand reviews of their product. Makes a guy wanna apply for a job - who doesn't want to be required to play 18 a week!?
Last year TRUE linkswear made a big splash in the golf shoe market with their original release. This year they have four new/updated models - stealth, tour, phx and the women's isis.
TRUE decided this year to send out a pair of their phx shoes for each of our reviewers to experience their barefoot platform and let our spies get even more insight into the new designs. We each selected a color and will be sharing our own thoughts and experiences.sa
My phx shoes came in White/Navy and have been on my feet for rounds just over a month now.
Full Grain Leather Upper
3D Mesh Liner
Memory Foam Heel
ErgoTraction 2.0 Outsole
Dual Density Anti-Slip Rubber Sole
Everything I've ever heard about TRUE linkswear shoes is that they are incredibly comfortable. So much so that I kinda played these guys up in my head enough to believe it might be possible to have a footgasim.
Slipping the phx onto my feet I expected to be immediately quivering and smirking with each step I took. While I was smiling with my first few steps, I can't say there was anything magical or even slightly orgasmic happening with my feet.
These shoes are comfy, but I can't say it felt like walking on air. Right off the bat, I really wasn't so sure about these shoes, they actually almost felt uncomfortable. It wasn't until I stepped onto the grass that I began to see what everyone was talking about.
Barefoot is nearly an accurate description of the feeling wearing these shoes. Not exactly, but almost. Walking on cement/asphalt this "barefoot" feeling isn't exactly ideal, but as soon as you're on the grass, it starts to make sense.
Style matters - especially if your'e one of the guys on the course trying to get the cart girl's number (you know the number she's giving you is a fake number right?)
My first thought was the phx looked liked clown shoes on my feet - but then I started to add things up - I wear a size 13 but I'm only 5'9"... I HAVE clown feet!!!
The white with blue sole, AWESOME. The other color options definitely allow you to adjust for your personal style, whether loud or more traditional.
Walking around the PGA Show for nearly a week with these guys on my feet, I did receive quite a few comments about the looks, all positive.
The toe box IS pretty wide, and from a style standpoint I feel like these would have a perfect score if the toe box didn't stand out as much.
I ordered my phx in my normal shoe size, 13. I probably should have asked to have a size 12.5 sent out as soon as I put these on, but I was heading out of town soon and just needed to get them into action, so my performance experience may have been affected by the sizing.
Performance and comfort hold the same importance in my shoes (though I guess if I found a shoe that directly lowered my score I might wear it no matter any of the other scoring parameters)
In early morning dew and a few other slightly wet conditions my feet never were wet. Walking a course my feet were always comfortable, but... probably mostly due to the shoes being a little big for my feet, when it came time to tee up the ball and transfer the weight in my feet, I found the large toe box to be too large, and my foot moves around inside the shoe. After a few swings, I was able to adjust for this, but it's something I do take note of when playing in these shoes - and at the same time, I really believe if I had a size smaller, this would go away.
Funny enough, the one place I thought the performance stood out to me was the same place that GolfSpy T did in last year's review - the sand. Wearing these shoes in the sand I was finally able to learn how to better get my weight on my toes in the sand and it's helped my sand game quite a bit.
As far as grip is concerned, the phx sole design worked great. I didn't have a situation where traction was poor - but I also never felt as confident about my traction as I do with spikes.
Ultimately, I don't see these shoes as a "performance" oriented shoe - I see them more geared toward comfort with "good enough" performance. I know this is not how they are marketed, but it's my experience.
For the performance category, I'll be very curious to see what the others guys thought with their shoes and a better fit.
At $99 these are priced similarly to a "typical" street shoe purchase for myself. Considering that the "spikes" are not replaceable, you will eventually wear these shoes out vs. being able to replace the spikes - but then you can wear them as street shoes.
I think TRUE made a great move with their pricing on these shoes, putting a value driven price that just makes sense - why wouldn't you buy a pair of these to have in your bag.
I mentioned already that these shoes do result in comments from others - and thankfully my experience has been all positive comments for these shoes. I mentioned to one group that I thought they looked like clown shoes on my feet, and they pretty much unanimously told me I was crazy.
Most of my peanut gallery comments came without me asking for input, these shoes were catching eyes on the course both because they look so much like a tennis shoe, and because of their simple splashes of color barely noticeable at a quick glance.
Total Score: 88/100
Though this shoe didn't live up to the expectations I had in both the comfort and performance departments, it is still a shoe I'm glad to own and these will make it into my weekly rotation.
The slight "lack" of performance may be partially due to the sizing problem I had, but I still don't believe these are a "performance" golf shoe. These are pretty comfortable shoes. Not the most comfortable I've ever worn, but I do look forward to rounds with these shoes - I feel like I can relax more when wearing these shoes.
Having worn these shoes all week at the PGA Show I think was the ultimate test - not the same as walking on grass, but from a comfort level, much more strenuous of a test. I can't say there is another golf shoe on the market that I would want to wear all day long walking miles of concrete trade show floors. Each night getting back to our hotel at the end of the night, my feet weren't screaming at me.
I give a thumbs up.