Shoe Month: Tour-caliber to casual, choices aplenty

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today's golfers have unprecedented options when it comes to selecting footwear. From top-of-the-line, tour-caliber shoes equipped with every conceivable performance feature to models emphasizing light weight or versatility, manufactures are meeting consumers' needs.

Golfweek.com 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.

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Adidas Tour360 ATV

The skinny: As its name implies, the ATV – All-Terrain Versatility – is a shoe that touts its traction and movement capabilities. With ultra-forefoot flexibility and a zonal-traction design, the shoe is engineered to move and flex to adapt to any surface. It features 10 spikes and secondary lugs for extra grip. Other enhancements make the shoe weigh 2.0 ounces less and 1.14 mm lower to the ground (for enhanced stability) than the previous-generation Tour360 model. The style shown here is a special edition created for U.S. Ryder Cup team member Dustin Johnson. (It will not be sold to the public.)

Price: $190

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Ashworth Cardiff

The skinny: So-called "hybrid" or "spikeless" shoes, which have traction nubs but no replaceable cleats, are soaring in popularity, mostly for their comfort and their versatility to be worn on- or off-course. Though some golfers worry about potential slipping, even elite tour players are beginning to wear them in competition. Ashworth staff member Justin Rose, for example, wears the Cardiff.

Price: $120

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FootJoy FJ Sport

The skinny: This athletic-inspired style places a premium on performance, including features such as a wrapped TPU outsole for stability, flex zones for ease of movement and an external heel stabilizer. Such elements make the Sport a popular choice on the PGA Tour. The shoe also is available with the BOA closure system. It uses a small reel, embedded in the heel, to evenly tighten steel cables that secure the foot – eliminating pressure points, stretching and untying associated with conventional laces.

Price: $145 (or $165 with BOA)

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Nike Lunar Ascend

The skinny: Using what it calls "hyperfuse technology," Nike crafted the Lunar Ascend's upper that combines synthetic mesh and thermoplastic urethane. The blend provides structure and support, yet offers lightweight breathability. The heel construction incorporates Lunarlon, Nike's proprietary material that the company says maintains support and comfort better than conventional cushioning. The outsole has a full-length, TPU integrated traction system that does not use replaceable cleats.

Price: $130

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Puma FAAS Grip

The skinny: For golfers in search of a shoe that can double for everyday wear, Puma created the FAAS Grip. The sporty, casual look makes the Grip versatile, but the shoe also delivers effective traction on course with its directionally molded S2Quill spikes. These spikes are not removable and are angled to better sustain traction during movement. The Grip also uses a construction that "decouples" the heel from the rest of the midsole for smoother impact and walking motion.

Price: $100