Shoe Month: Options abound for style and function

Monday, May 13, 2013

Golfers may be a traditional bunch, but their tastes in shoe design are clearly changing, and their expectations for footwear performance never have been higher. Such developments have unleashed shoe designers to re-think what footwear could look like and how they should function.

The upside for golfers? A spectrum of choices, ranging from footwear with unprecedented versatility to shoes engineered primarily to tackle specific issues such as traction, movement, weight, stability or weather conditions. continues to highlight new offerings and give readers the opportunity to explore even more choices – either by brand or performance category – in the adjacent "Shoe Vault" widget. To enjoy golf in greater comfort and play better, invest the time to find the footwear that best suits your game.

Also, check out the other two features from this week surrounding Shoe Month:

Building on success: Ecco transformed the golf footwear category with its Street Premiere shoe. Now, it's seeking an encore by taking hybrid shoes mainstream. Story.

Looking up: "Natural-motion" or "minimalist" footwear has revolutionized the running-shoe market. With the promise of providing better balance, more comfort and smoother tempo, will it do the same in golf? Story.

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FootJoy XPS-1

The skinny: One of the distinctive features of FootJoy's most-advanced technological shoe is its lateral outriggers, designed for maximum stability. Many golfers struggle with their hips falling over the outside of their shoes; these outriggers help brace such a swaying motion. The outsoles have grooves to provide enhanced flexibility while walking, while a GelCollar and HeelLoc ensure the foot stays comfortably in place.

Price: $250

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Nike Lunar Control

The skinny: Set to debut in January, this tour-caliber model incorporates two of Nike's athletic-footwear innovations: Lunarlon and Flywire. The shoe offers full-length cushioning with Lunarlon, which the company says is superior to typical EVA midsoles that "flatten" over time. Flywire, made of high-tensile strength fibers, is used in the shoe's construction to wrap the mid-foot to heel for targeted support, lightweight structure and stability.

Price: $200

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Adidas crossflex

The skinny: Adidas designed the crossflex for the athletic golfer who places a premium on a shoe's light weight, breathability and comfort. Built on a lightweight, running-shoe last, the crossflex features a mesh upper with waterproof protection. The outsole is without replaceable cleats, and instead, uses strategically placed pods and zonal-traction elements designed to adapt to varying ground conditions. The alternative-traction design allows the shoe to be worn off-course, too.

Price: $100

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Puma Super Cell Fusion Ice

The skinny: Designed for Puma endorser Rickie Fowler, this model is the brand's top-of-the-line performance offering. For comfort, it offers an insole that molds to the foot and extra padding in the collar. The durable TPU outsole features flex grooves that enable the shoe to conform to uneven lies, according to Puma. In addition, the removable spikes use PINS (Performance Insert System by Pride), which is 32 percent lower to the ground for improved balance, feel and lateral stability.

Price: $220

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Callaway C-Tech Summer

The skinny: With the explosion in new materials, designers have gained the opportunity to create performance-specific shoes such as C-Tech. The ultra-lightweight, breathable "breeze mesh" upper makes this option ideal for sweltering summer play. The Ortholite insert continues the comfort theme by providing breathability, moisture transport and anti-microbial function. The shoe's traction system features 7 Callaway Chevron Comfort spikes.

Price: $79.99 (Available Oct. 15) readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.