Walking 18 holes of golf racks up somewhere around 5 miles of steps on your feet, yet your typical golfer will spend far more time and energy finding a driver to squeeze out 10 more yards than find a pair of shoes that maximize comfort and performance.
Traditionally there have been the high-end golf shoes that look nice at a country club, but until you break them in (if ever), you're bound to trade looks for a pair of shoes that feel like you just walked 15,000 steps in your father's wingtips. You don't play golf in a shirt and tie, why wear uber-fancy shoes just for show?
On the other end of the spectrum is the sporty segment, sneakers that simply look out of place in certain settings, with long pants, or when you're trying to impress your client (or boss, if you're lucky enough to have a boss that thinks the course is a great place to do business). But for casual, everyday rounds, these shoes help when walking, wearing shorts or when your only concern is relief for the feet.
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Luckily for us as golfers, the footware industry has recognized there is a strong market for a shoe that combines the best of all: Comfort, technology and looks that can be either dressed up or down.
Adidas recently sent along a pair of their new Tour360 ATV shoes for a review, as well as some background on the Tour360 line.
"Engineered with a revolutionary, patent pending construction to give golfers the ability to attack every shot, no matter how challenging their position, TOUR360 ATV utilizes innovative forefoot flexibility and zonal traction elements to deliver maximum grip, comfort and stability throughout the swing. The ATV's multiple flex points in the forefoot allow the foot to move and flex in the way it was inherently meant to, and adapt to any surface.
TOUR360 revolutionized golf footwear style and performance expectations
when it was introduced in 2005, completely altering the performance
footwear landscape with the 360WRAP. Today, the TOUR360 franchise
continues to lead the industry with new technologies and innovations
engineered to give serious golfers who seek every competitive advantage
the ability to perform at their highest level."
That's pretty lofty talk for a pair of golf shoes. But as I have found through an extensive playing review, Adidas has found a winning combination. Read on for the full review (and a tip of the cap to equipment gurus over at Golfwrx.com for coming up with a pretty user-friendly review format, which I will be using on The Subpar Golf Blog from now on).
Playing Review: Adidas Tour360 ATV golf shoes
Pros: According to Adidas, the goal is to "give golfers the ability to attack every shot, no matter how challenging their position," and in my experience, they achieve this nicely. Adding fixed traction points with the traditional spikes adds up to a great shoe, especially in wet conditions and on sloping terrain.
Cons: All that sole technology means you won't be able to get around soft greens without leaving your mark. In other words, be especially attentive to your playing partners' putting lines, or be ready for the evil eye as you leave a crater behind.
Bottom line: Adidas has found a great blend of comfort and performance, a pair of golf shoes that looks great whether at your fanciest club or at the local muni, and has constructed it to be ultra-comfortable.
Look: Adidas has built its look — three stripes — that make their products, whether golf shoes, shirts or even slacks instantly identifiable. But despite their roots in the sneaker business, the Tour360 line is elevated into a premium shoe and is clearly not only an "athletic" model. For those seeking a traditional look, the white/black or black/white options will fit the bill. But for someone wanting a splash of color, choose the "energy" colorway, featuring just enough orange to stand out from the pack.
Right out of the box, I liked the Tour360 ATV, with the burst of orange. I typically wear shorts when I play and I knew that these would go well when I wanted to run out for an everyday round, but would certainly look nice in a more "fancy" setting as well.
Performance: This is where the Tour360 ATV really shines. I was shocked at just how much traction these shoes could provide, most notably during a recent round following nearly an inch of overnight rain. With casual water and muddy footing all over the course, never once during my 18 holes walking did I slip, slide or feel anything but stable. These shoes offer a two-year waterproof warranty and I have had no problem keeping the moisture on the outside.
There are several elements of technology that add up to producing a very comfortable pair of shoes. Here is the description from Adidas:
• The TOUR360 ATV features a dual-density outsole with 10-spike configuration to help golfers maintain stability and sure-footedness in wet or uneven conditions.That's a lot more technology than I ever gave a thought to, but the bottom line is that it shows in the finished product.
• Its revolutionary construction connects a 5-pod decoupled heel for adaptability, a strengthened TPU midfoot for support and aggressive TRAXION secondary lugs in the ultra-flexible forefoot for enhanced grip and feel.
• A premium, full-grain leather upper with 360WRAP promotes maximum stability and support around the midfoot while inside, a FitFOAMTM molded polyurethane insole provides everlasting cushioning and comfort heel-to-toe.
• The footwear's platform utilizes THINTECH low-profile technology with PINS (Performance Insert System), an advanced cleat system and thinner outsole to bring the foot closer to the ground for improved stability, power transfer and balance.
• Overall, the TOUR360 ATV weighs 2.0 ounces less than the previous TOUR360 and is 1.14mm lower to the ground.
Feel: All of the praise I'm heaping on the wonderful performance of the Tour360ATVs would be meaningless if they weighed a ton, left me full of blisters or simply weren't comfortable. I will admit, the first round I wore them, riding in a cart, the shoe was rubbing up against my ankle bone. Not so much in a blistering way, more like it was hitting a funny bone (who knew we have a funny bone in our foot?). I chalk that up to needing a day to break in, and me wearing a pair of socks that threw off the fit by a bit. By my second round, this time walking, and they felt perfect. By the end of the day, I felt fresh and energized and my feet had no hint of soreness.
Conclusion: Now, I'm not a shoe architect, so much of the technology is lost on me. However, after spending some time wearing these, I completely
understand how all Adidas' points add up to make the shoes lighter, more
stable and incredibly comfortable.
Based on this, I have to consider the Adidas Tour360 ATVs to have passed my test soundly, excelling in all areas: Feel, performance and style.