This trend, I suppose, began when Fred Couples started wearing the Ecco street golf shoe in 2010. It grew in 2011. And now, in 2012, the rage of playing golf in shoes without spikes seems to be picking up more and more steam. If you don’t believe me, I will provide three examples.
1. That is the bottom of a True Linkswear shoe. And it is also one of the content pages in the newest issue of Golf Digest, the biggest golf magazine on the market. In the April issue, you will see several pages of shoe reviews. Six of the shoes reviewed are spikeless models.
2. If you watched any of Justin Rose’s victory at Doral, you may or may not have noticed that the he wasn’t wearing traditional spikes. While us normal golfers play at places where the old-school metal spike is extinct, you still hear some clicking of metal spikes on tour. While most guys wear some version of soft spikes, the players have an option.
As was the case when he won the BMW Championship last fall, Rose was wearing the adidas Adicross shoes at Doral. The shoes look like a tennis shoe and have nubs all across the bottom of the shoe. And this isn’t a high end, expensive shoe as you can go to lots of golf stores and walk out with them for $90.
3. I was recently in Houston and stopped at a massive Golfsmith in The Woodlands on my way to the airport. The shoe department was very large and it had more new product than I had seen in Minnesota. I was kind of surprised just how many spikeless models are out there in 2012. A year ago, spikeless shoe options were primarily limited to Ecco and True Linkswear, you can now buy spikeless kicks from adidas, Nike, Ashworth, Callaway and Footjoy.
In other words, the big boys have moved into this space. To me that means that they think there are spikeless shoes to be sold. It also means more spikeless shoes will be sold in large part because the big brands legitimize the trend.
As I’ve made pretty clear on this blog, I’m a big fan of spikeless shoes. I currently have two pairs of True Tours from 2011 and a pair of the new 2012 True PHX.
I haven’t worn a pair of golf shoes with spikes since a trip to Chicago last July 28-29. The area had received a ton of rain and the forecast was for more rain. While my Trues have been good in wet conditions — I don’t find myself slipping — I wanted a little more traction. Since then I’ve teed it up on more than 20 different courses with different grasses, different turf conditions and different weather. I haven’t had any problems.
Why do I like them? And why have I become such an advocate for spikeless golf? The biggest reason is comfort and weight. Spikeless shoes are much lighter than shoes with spikes. Spikeless shoes don’t need a plate for spikes to be screwed into and they don’t need as heavy of a sole.
I was initially uncomfortable with how the Trues looked. The toe box is big. They look a little clown-like. But once I wore them and my feet felt great after, I didn’t care what they looked like. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic look of some sweet Footjoy Icons, but as a hardcore walker, I want comfort and function.
As 2011 moved along, I would start to see more and more Trues out there. There are three other guys at my club that I know of that got them (one guy has two pair) and I expect to see more. When I was in the locker room at other clubs, I’d keep my eyes open for Trues and would sometimes see a pair here or there. On my trip to Texas, I saw Trues for sale in the pro shop of a very well-known club.
I expect that I’m going to see more and more Trues and other spikeless shoes this season.
All of that leads me to a couple of questions. Do you think spikeless shoes will continue a rise in popularity? Will they really gain enough momentum to stay in the shoe equation for years to come? And do you think you’ll try a pair?