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The Callaway Shoe Array – REVIEW


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The Callaway Shoe Array – REVIEW

An Official MyGolfSpy.com Review

www.callawaygolf.com

 

The Wide World of Footwear

Happy New Year fearless readers. Today I bring you a different type of review that I hope to be able to do more of in 2012. Whereas most of our reviews of golf gear represent single items from single manufacturers, this review encompasses a range of golf items from a single manufacturer. My hope is that this type of review will provide you with a broader knowledge base for making your golf purchases.

 

Today's review focuses on three different models of shoes from Callaway golf: FT Chev Blucher Reptile, Razr, and Del Mar. These three models cover a wide range of golfer preference and golfing conditions. I would hope that one of the three would be a model that is appropriate for your golf game and sense of golf fashion.

Callaway Del Mar

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Callaway Razr

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Callaway Reptile Blucher

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Aesthetics and Style

Now if you have read my other reviews, it probably comes as no surprise when I say that I love Callaway Golf. I had a great fitting experience with them last spring, and my current bag is nearly all Callaway clubs (Cleveland CG16 wedges and a Byron 611 being the exceptions). I have yet to come across a Callaway product that was not of the highest quality and that was not competitive with similar products from other manufacturers. All that being the case, there was one noticeable exception to my Callaway love:

 

I used to think that the Callaway shoes were some of the ugliest on the market! The mammoth chevrons all over the shoes were distracting visually and ultimately kept me from even trying them on. Not a great way to be an informed consumer, I know, but there was no way that I was going to wear shoes that looked like those.

 

Thankfully, the shoe designer at Callaway must have received my psychic message and redesigned their line into a more attractive batch of shoes. Take a look at the Reptile Bluchers:

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Granted, the introduction of exotic leather to the shoe is almost like cheating in the style department, but much like the new Callaway chevron placement, the reptile skin is almost understated and classy. These are very well designed with a great deal of attention to the small details. The eyelets are all metal reinforced. The stitching is very solid, but also ties into the aesthetics. The addition of the brass plate to the heel adds a touch of class, rather than just being another way for the shoe to say Callaway.

 

I think that based solely upon looks, I was most interested in checking out the Del Mar model. Callaway's Del Mar is the companies offering into the field of the casual, sneaker-type golf shoe. These look a whole lot like my old pair of Vans skate shoes. Suede leather rather than smooth really gives the shoe that casual appearance. The bottoms of the shoes look a whole lot like skate shoes, with the exception of having golf spikes there, of course.

 

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The Razr shoe is probably the one that would appeal to the broadest golf consumer group. It is the “just right” bowl of porridge for most with the Blucher being too fancy and the Del Mar too casual. This is the shoe where I think that the aesthetics have improved the most over previous years shoes. Check out the reduced Chevron on the side along with the classic, yet modern, white and black leather construction. This, to me, now looks like a shoe that can compete with the Adidas and Foot Joy shoes in the same price bracket.

 

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Comfort

The initial winner in the comfort category for me was the Del Mar. That probably does not come as a surprise. Both the Del Mar and the Razr models come in wide widths and that for me is always a plus for comfort. The Reptile Bluchers do not come in wide widths, but they do possess an interesting insert that features “XWT: Extra Width Technology”. As you can see from the photo below, the insert has a section that can be removed. When this is removed, the interior volume of the shoe increases, thus accommodating more foot width.

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I was a bit skeptical about the XWT, my wide feet having been squished too many times before. Short story is that removing the insert did free up more space for my feet. However it was not quite enough to accommodate my truly wide foot. I played and practiced in the Bluchers, and didn't end up in tears and blisters, but they always felt just a bit too tight for my foot. If your foot runs a touch on the wide side though, the XWT may allow you to get a great fit in width without having to go up a size. Try them on with and without the XWT to know for sure.

 

Above, I said that the Del Mar pair was the initial winners in comfort, but as the shoes stretched and became worn in a bit, the Razr's are my comfort winner. The Razrs were a bit tight and stiff initially, but after one round and a range session, these became the go to shoes for playing and practicing. The best accolade that I can give them for the comfort is that once they are on, I forget all about them while playing. The Del Mars are still very comfortable and they will get some rounds in 2012, but the Razr just fits like a great golf shoe should.

 

All three shoes have kind of a crazy feature on the tongue: The Callaway Comfort Tech Gel Tongue.

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Here is the blurb on it from Callaway:

"A proprietary feature using injection molded gel tubes to disperse lace pressure uniformly across the entire surface of the tongue, promoting better circulation and maximizing comfort."

 

What that translates into are numerous ridges on the underside of the tongue. This was something else that I was skeptical about in terms of comfort as I tried on the shoes, but it works as advertised. I did not feel the ridges at all, nor was there any pressure on the top of the shoe during wear. Comfort Tech Gel Tongue seems to be a unique comfort coup for Callaway.

 

Course Play

All three shoes were great on the course, with the winner for me being the Razr. Had the Bluchers run just a little wider, I think that they could have given the Razrs a better run. I would feel confident recommending all of the shoes to play in with a few caveats:

  • The Del Mars did slide here and there when swinging in wet rough and on wet mats at the range. Under dry conditions, the spikes and soles did provide sufficient traction though.
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  • The Bluchers were a bit too tight for my foot, even with the XWT, causing my feet to be a bit sore after walking a round in them.
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  • The Razrs have about 300 spikes on the bottom. OK, not 300, but there are eleven on each shoe. If you walk through a patch of leaves, be prepared to spend some time with a tee cleaning them out.
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  • White shoes show dirt more than black or grey ones do. :)

 

All in all though I was impressed with the shoes. All three did a great job at keeping my feet dry, even though the Del Mar guarantee is only one year. My feet did not sweat either. Is that too much information?

 

Value

 

I think that the pricing of the Del Mars at around $130 and the Razrs at about $185 makes them competitive, but may be a touch high. I am not saying that the price and the quality of the shoes are not well matched, but I would really like to see the numbers closer to $100 and $150 respectively to get consumers to try these shoes. I think that this would help them to cut into the Adidas and Foot Joy marketplace.

 

The Reptile Bluchers are priced at $230. For me, I would not buy these shoes, not because of the price, but because I tend to play golf in shorts. The Reptile Blucher, to me, is a great golf-in-pants shoe. The $230 price is a bit less than the Foot Joy Icons and about a hundred less than a pair of custom shoes from Allen Edmonds. If this is the style of shoe you play in, you should look at the Callaway Bluchers when the need for new kicks kicks in.

Summary

So I would have to say that Callaway no longer is making an ugly shoe. The Del Mar, the Reptile Blucher, and the Razr models are all good-looking shoes that perform well on the course. Callaway may be following a trend with the Del Mar, but there are some unique innovations, like the Comfort Tech Gel Tongue, that makes the Callaway interpretation worth checking out.

 

Do yourself a favor and just try on one of these models the next time you are shopping for shoes. I think that you will agree that Callaway shoes have reentered the competition.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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So the RAZR's your favorite of the bunch Dave?

Definitely. I think that the Del Mars will get some more run in the warmer, drier Summer rounds, but the Razrs are the best of the bunch. I think that they are probably my favorite of the past year, although the Pumas are close. Way better than the Tour 360's or FJ Contours that I wore last year.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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