Golf style has undergone an awakening in recent years, and it was a long time coming. While pretty much every other popular sport had seen its style progress with the rest of society, just as the rules and equipment naturally evolved with the times, the golf style was stuck in the mid-20th century, like a particularly nefarious sand trap.
Then in the 2010s, pros like Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Billy Horschel dragged fairway fashion pitching and screaming into the 21st century. They relaxed the vibe with bold prints, fun colors, and slimmer fits. Best of all, from a competitive standpoint, they made way for golf shoes that look and perform like athletic shoes.
Golf apparel companies were quick to modernize and major athletic apparel companies like Nike and Adidas adapted their existing athletic shoes to golf. Today, you can find golf shoes that are indistinguishable from running shoes or basketball shoes, apart from the soles. They not only look better, but they also perform better. Applying all the advancements in footwear technology available in the 21st century has kept golf shoes up to par with all the other sports.
GFore is a relatively new brand, but it brought exactly the kind of energy to golf that the sport needed. It ignored traditional golf style and set out to build a shoe from scratch that would provide all the comfort and performance modern footwear technology could offer.
The company's goal was achieved with the MG4+, a sneaker that looks nothing like a golf shoe by traditional standards that does everything you want a golf shoe to do.
The exterior is a seamless upper that's 100% waterproof while remaining breathable. A 3D molded heel cap provides excellent comfort and support. The footbed features G4 "nubs" that support and massage your feet as you walk. The two-piece, knurled, and sawtooth outsole provides traction in any condition at any angle.
For most of the 20th century, golf shoes were little more than oxfords with spikes added to the soles. FootJoy honors that heritage with its Tarlow design. The upper looks like a classic leather cap-toe oxford with some eloquent broguing detail along the seams. The entire upper is made from full-grain leather with a sheepskin lining, rivaling most oxfords out there.
From the welt down, however, the Tarlow is all business. A lightweight rubber sole is lined with FootJoy's patented VersaTrax system to provide excellent traction from any angle, in any conditions. the Tarlow is ideal for anyone who wants to honor golf's style heritage while still getting top-of-the-line performance.
Adidas Tour 360 22
Adidas is a relative newcomer to the golf shoe game, but it brings decades of athletic shoe-making experience with it. A solid leather upper marked with the signature three angled stripes provides a classic look worthy of the country club. Underneath that understated exterior, Adidas packed these golf shoes with cutting-edge athletic footwear technology.
Its Boost sole technology has become the industry leader in comfort and spring. It started out in running shoes and was so successful that Adidas put it into pretty much every other line of shoes it makes. So of course, it's in the golf shoes.
The Boost sole in the Tour 360 22 provides added spring in your step for making your way through 18 holes. Under that Boost sole is its Spikemore traction system, which features six circular screw-like spikes that dig in like a bottle into a lid when you swing.
Adidas Tour 360 22
The Gallivanter is GFore's signature model because just like the brand itself, it respects the game but with a cheeky attitude. GFore took a standard oxford design and tricked it out with stylish details and progressive technology. The Gallivanter passes as a traditional golf shoe from afar, but you have to see it up close to appreciate the thought and passion that went into it.
A removable footbed is not only comfortable but washable to extend the life of the shoe. Customized cleats provide enhanced traction. The full-grain leather upper has a subtle pebbling to it. A pop of blue along the sole is topped off with a Jolly Roger stamped on the footbed, covertly presenting GFore's irreverent love for golf.
Nike Air Max 90 Golf
The idea was simple here: Take one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, Nike's Air Max 90, and turn it into a golf shoe. The execution is everything you would expect from a Nike performance sneaker.
The company has an unparalleled way of varnishing cutting-edge sportswear technology with stylish design so you can have your cake and eat it too. That is to say, you can look like you're wearing a pair of Nike Air Max on the greens without hindering your golf game with a pair of basketball shoes.
However, these don't have traditional spikes and really only provide enough traction to anchor your swing. So they are for a more casual golfer who wants to carry their shoe game onto the course.
Nike Air Max 90 Golf
Under Armour HOVR Drive 2
Under Armour has taken a progressive approach to sportswear technology since the company started. When it applied that progressive innovation to golf shoes, it came up with the HOVR Drive line. HOVR refers to its patented insole cushioning designed to support not just your foot but your entire leg as you rotate through your swing. More than that, it also returns the energy of your swing back to your body with elasticity.
The tech doesn't stop there. The HOVR Drive 2 has a lightweight, breathable, and waterproof membrane exterior. This is the same type of molded heel your running shoes come with for maximum support. You also get a 3D printed toe guard to protect from any errant swings, not unlike a steel toe work boot, but much lighter.
Under Armour HOVR Drive 2
Ecco Biom C4
You're probably familiar with Ecco from its dress shoes, but the company also makes sneakers and some top-notch golf shoes. Just as with its dress shoes, it has a modernist approach to its golf shoe aesthetics.
The Biom C4 resembles a basketball sneaker more than a traditional golf shoe. The feel of this golf shoe is more like a basketball shoe as well, with the high ankle and extra cushioning. Unlike a basketball shoe, though, the exterior is made from a combination of Gore-Tex and Ecco's Performance leather, so these shoes are both durable and water resistant. As is always the case with Ecco, comfort is paramount, and if that is your primary concern as well, then these are the golf shoes for you.
Ecco Biom C4
The Field series from FootJoy is refined, yet understated in both looks and performance. The calfskin leather upper is a classic plain-toe oxford design, which is the type of dress shoe that will always be stylish without exclaiming itself as such. It complements classic golf style and contemporary golf style equally.
The Field is just at home at the ritziest of country clubs as it is at your local public course. The modest package comes with all the performance you would expect from FootJoy. A VersaTrax outsole provides traction in any condition and an OrthoLite footbed provides all-day support. A waterproof finish keeps your feet dry no matter what.
The key to good golf shoes is a combination of comfort, traction, and balance. Only a generation ago golf shoes weren’t much more than leather oxfords with spikes on the bottom. They may have looked great but offered little in performance. The modern embracement of athletic technology and style has advanced contemporary golf shoes exponentially.
They have taken the comfort and support from basketball and the balance and traction from running to maximize strength and accuracy with your swing and keep you cozy on your feet all day. The broad range of looks available means you can go fully modern or keep it classic while still getting modern performance. Now that the stuffy old style rules have been swept away, it's only a matter of finding the right golf shoes to match your personal style.
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