The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

Adidas goes dancing with its new Ballerina women's shoe

By Ashley Mayo

Two hot trends in golf shoes are lightness and natural motion. Adidas' new Climacool Ballerina ($100) pushes these concepts to the extreme.

Designed for women and available in three colors, the shoe weighs just 4.8 ounces—or about nine ounces less than the average golf shoe according to the company—and has an extremely flexible outsole, as its name suggests.

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Inside the frame, however, the shoe offers plenty of technology. The mesh upper is reinforced for stability through the swing; a foam insole conforms to your foot to customize the fit; and the spikeless outsole has strategically placed nubs for traction and deeper and wider grooves for comfort.

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Gear & Equipment

New Balance looks to bring its running shoe smarts to golf footwear

By Keely Levins

When a company known for running shoes takes up golf, no one should be surprised its focus would be on comfort, support and feeling light. These keys guided New Balance and its new NBG2002 golf shoe.

NewStuff-NewBalance-shoe.jpgThe midsole is made of the company's REVlite material, which aids in cushioning and keeps the shoe's weight to only 11.9 ounces. Its outsole offers stability, and just a 10-millimeter drop from the heel to the midsole increases the shoe's responsiveness.

New Balance's athletic influence is obvious, too. Though the upper is made of microfiber leather, it still has a running-shoe look.

The NBG2002 ($125) comes in three colors and has a two-year waterproof warranty.
 

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Style

FootJoy blends stylish design with modern technology in FJ City shoes

In a day where golf shoes are looking more like something LeBron James or Usain Bolt might wear on the hardwood or the track, FootJoy's new FJ City shoe returns to a style Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan and Payne Stewart might have been comfortable wearing.

Blog-FootJoy-FJCity-shoes.jpgAlthough the City offers classic looks and laces that match sole accent colors, its features are anything but old. An EVA-cushioned midsole buffers a rubber outsole that uses a mix of traction channels, lugs and seven Softspikes cleats.

Despite a more structured style with full-grain waterproof leather uppers, the City ($190, available in April) isn't too heavy--it weighs about the same as the more athletic FootJoy D.N.A., and almost 20 percent less than the more traditional FJ Icon. It's available in six styles, including three wingtip patterns and three plain-toe blucher models.

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Gear & Equipment

Exactly where do you want me to stick my toes?

By Ryan Herrington

ORLANDO -- At the risk of you not reading past this first sentence, I have a confession to make: I have average-looking feet. Indeed, if my feet had a handicap index, I think they'd be about a 14.5, which (sadly) mirrors my actual handicap index.

Vibram V classic (350).jpgWhat does that have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, I was walking past the Vibram Golf booth at the PGA Merchandise Show and noticed the unusual looking footwear the Italian-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Concord, Mass., sells.

Rather than the traditional rounded toe of an ordinary shoe, what you have with Vibram's assorted offerings are five actual toes that you stick your own little piggies in. (They refer to them as "five fingers," which seems to suggest somebody missed anatomy class, but I digress.) The shoe looks like an actual foot, and if you have average looking feet, well ... you see where I'm going with this.

Vibram V Classic LR (350).jpgThe unusual design stopped me long enough to learn that this is the second year Vibram has offered a spikeless golf line. The V-Classic ($130, with a washable polyester mesh upper) and the V-Classic LR ($190, with a kangaroo leather upper) are the new models the company is showing off here. And there seems to be some honest-to-goodness science to support the unorthodox look. 

The "Five Fingers" design, according to the company, lets your feet and toes curl and flex as they would if you were walking barefoot. In turn your balance and stability are honed in a natural way, allowing you to strengthen your lower leg and foot, and, in theory, reduce injuries. 

The shoes have found a niche among runners. Logically, given the amount of walking done on a golf course, there would seem to be a market here as well. Maybe you recall old photos of Sam Snead hitting balls while barefoot? By being connected directly to the ground, he said it allowed him to make a more proficient swing. In theory, the Vibram shoes would do the same thing. 

Plus, by wearing them you wouldn't have to see my average feet.

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That's me in the Vibram Speed XC Lite.


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Gear & Equipment

Biion is bringing rubber shoes to the course

By Keely Levins

The brains behind Biion were looking to make a shoe that you could wear to the course, on the course, to the 19th hole and wherever you end up after that. So Wednesday at the PGA Merchandise Show, company officials released these unapologetic rubber shoes:

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The upper part of the shoes are made out of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), and the outsole is made of HEXtra rubber. Basically, they kind of felt like a sturdier Croc. The ventilation holes punched along the top of the Biion shoes, and the fact that you can wear them sockless are also throwbacks to Crocs. 

Right now, the shoes are available in unisex sizing. The guys at Biion say they can make a shoe with any color/print combination you could want - and after seeing leopard prints, boat anchors, and a lot of neon at their booth, I think I believe them. 

The bottoms of the shoes are covered in hexagon cleats, following the spikeless golf shoe trend. And the foot beds have a pattern of small raised bumps on them, giving you a little foot massage as you walk.

As far as maintenance goes, they're machine washable. Which is pretty ideal if you basically never take the time to clean your leather golf shoes (guilty).  


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Style

Last-minute holiday golf gift ideas

By Marty Hackel

From the Dec. 11 edition of Golf Digest Stix:

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Holiday gifts can be tricky in my household. We don't give a lot of presents, so the ones we select need to be special. Here are some of the items I've come across lately -- with the help of my colleague, assistant editor Stephen Hennessey -- that you might want to consider. Most of what we've compiled is directly connected to golf, though a few are just things that I think most golfers would like. What they all share is a commitment to high quality. Here's to that!

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G/Fore Gallivanter: Lightweight and stylish, they're perfect on and off the course ($225, more info).

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House of Fleming belt and buckle: PGA Tour pros might play a bit better than you, but you can be their equal around the waist ($450, more info).

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Ralph Lauren RLX Wool Hybrid jacket (left): Merino wool, Elastene sleeves and a coated Teflon body to keep you extra warm ($225, more info). J. McLaughlin Jonah Cashmere sweater (right): Indoors or out, it feels "like butter." I love the suede detailing on the half zipper ($378, more info).

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Peter Millar Napoli Wool Reversible vest (left): Wear it like this for windproof water resistance or flip it for a tailored wool look. How cool is that? ($395, more info). Dunning Merino wool turtleneck (right): Ralph Dunning is from Canada, so he understands staying warm. This real turtleneck will not disappoint ($99, more info).

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Citizen Eco-Drive World Time watch (top left): Solar-powered, it never needs a battery, covers 26 time zones and comes with a perpetual calendar ($575, more info). Rose & Fire puttercover (top right): This California company makes gifts in authentic camo and denim ($60, more info). Personalized balls (lower left): Titleist.com allows three lines and your choice of number on any dozen ($28 and up). Other brands are available at TGW.com. Customized ball markers (right): Upload any photo at photoballmarker.com and choose from combination packs ($25 and up).

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Jan Craig headcover: Design your gift at jancraigheadcovers.com. These handsome accessories make a colorful statement ($30 to $57 each).

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Tivoli Albergo clock radio: Connect it to any Bluetooth-enabled device and stream your playlists to a beautiful AM/FM radio with great sound ($300, more info).

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Bushnell's Tour Z6 Wingman pack(left): The range finder has Pinseeker technology and 6x magnification and comes with a Folds of Honor towel ($400, more info). Play Nine (right): The card game, great for families, is based on golf's scoring principles ($15, more info).

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SuperFlex for Golf kit: A lightweight and durable way to work out on the road or at home ($80, more info).

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Gear & Equipment

Ryan Moore Signature Series from TRUE linkswear

Ryan Moore Signature Series.jpg

By John Strege

Ryan Moore gave TRUE linkswear golf shoes visibility on the PGA Tour, notably by winning the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas wearing a TRUE prototype shoe a year ago. To commemorate the victory, the company is introducing the limited-edition Ryan Moore Signature Series.

Four offerings are available, including the Rebel High shown above ($169.99). Also available are the Rebel Low ($159.99), the Proto LE ($139.99) and Sensei LE ($99.99). The Proto LE is the same shoe that Moore wore in winning the Las Vegas event in 2012.

TRUE linkswear shoes were designed to allow the natural movement of the foot, as though walking or playing golf barefoot.

The Moore Signature Series is available at TRUElinkswear.com, while the Proto LE and Sensei LE are also available at select PGA Tour Superstores

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Gear & Equipment

Puma introduces 'lightest shoe in golf'

Puma Faas Lite Mesh.jpg

By John Strege

The minimalist running shoe movement that began as a means of replicating running barefoot already had been adapted to golf shoes, but Puma has attempted to advance the concept with its introduction of what it calls "the lightest shoe in golf."

The Faas Lite Mesh, a spikeless shoe designed to be worn "from the street to the course," weighs in at 6.5 ounces. It features zero heel-to-toe drop, similar to the bare foot.

Though it is without spikes, the Faas Lite Mesh does have traction elements that it calls SmartQuill technology to enhance stability. It also features corrugated flex grooves that allow the foot to move naturally.

Puma also is introducing the Faas Lite, a waterproof shoe that weights just 8.7 ounces. It, too, has zero heel-to-toe drop and SmartQuill technology.

Both models are offered in three colorways. The Faas Lite Mesh shown above is Brilliant Blue/Limeade.

There, too, are women's versions that are lighter yet -- 5.5 ounces in the Faas Lite Mesh, seven ounces in the Faas Lite.

The suggested retail price for the Faas Lite is $100 for the men's shoe, $90 for the women's shoe. The Faas Lite Mesh price is $90 for the men's shoe, $80 for the women's shoe.


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Gear & Equipment

Tiger was debuting new Nike TW '14 shoes

By John Strege

It might have been the same old Tiger Woods in many ways -- winning for the Players Championship on Sunday, his fourth victory of the year and 78th in his PGA Tour career. But there was something new about him. His shoes.

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Woods was debuting the new Nike TW '14, the heir to the TW '13 shoes that he began wearing late in 2011 and wore throughout the 2012 season.

Nike, in consultation with Woods, focused on improving fit, feel and function of a shoe designed to work with the natural movement of the foot, while still providing traction golfers require, in a lightweight shoe.

Nike incorporated its Flywire technology -- filaments strategically placed in the upper to provide stability during the a swing.

The TW '14 is available in the colors Woods prefers -- white, black and red. At the Players Championship, he wore the black with red accents on Sunday. A grey TW '14 with blue and green accents will be introduced on Aug. 1.

The TW '14 will be available June 7, with a street price of $180. A Nike TW '14 id that allows customization will be available June 7 as well at a price of $225. The options include a waterproof upper or breathable lightweight mesh and a choice between two outsoles, one with spikes, the other with its Integrated Traction option.


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Gear & Equipment

Ecco's Life Street Bootie (yes, it's a golf shoe)

By John Strege

The company that launched the hybrid golf shoe revolution with Fred Couples wearing Ecco Street Premiere shoes at the 2010 Masters continues to take golf shoes to places they haven't been before.

Ecco's latest is a women's shoe, the Life Street Bootie, that it touts with this: "From runway to fairway to everyday: Inspired by the boulevards of the world's fashion capitals."

ECCO Life Street Bootie.jpg

The Life Street Bootie features a TPU outsole with traction bars (producing "800 traction angles," the company says), to account for the golf part of the equation. The upper, meanwhile, is leather, while "a metallic finish allows for a fashionable look."

It is available in two colorways: moon rock/ginger/lion and white/white/steel. The retail price is $180.


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