By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of Adidas Golf
CARLSBAD, CA – Those are golf shoes?
It’s a fairly common reaction these days, as looking around the greens often generates double takes as to what kind of kicks the players are wearing. Some look like ordinary deck shoes, others look more like football cleats – and there’re still your Johnny Miller saddle shoes around, too.
As a trendsetter in the industry, Adidas is leading the way in golf shoe fashion and its latest offerings are no different. But it’s more than just looks with Adidas – it’s all about performance.
Brendan Sweeney, Global Product Coordinator for Adidas, explains. “Performance is one of our core values at adidas that is rooted in our rich history started from Adi Dassler over 90 years ago.
Adi Dassler believed that every athlete should have different shoes that were specific to that athlete’s sport.”
Dassler believed a sprinter and high jumper should have different shoes because their feet had different performance needs. He started making event specific shoes for different Olympians, quickly gaining support from the world’s top athletes.
Sweeney continues, “When Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin wearing Adi’s shoes, he put the signature three striped shoes on the map. At adidas Golf, we continue the legacy of creating the ultimate golf specific shoes. Our research is aimed at understanding the construction of our shoes that will maximize performance for the golf swing.”
Adidas goes even further by making performing golf apparel, which we also liked – more on that below.
For our purposes, we chose the recently introduced Pure 360 and Adizero One shoes to try. The Pure 360 looks like more of a “traditional” golf shoe, while the Adizero One appears similar to an athletic shoe you’d see for other sports.
Both are revolutionary in design and comfort.
Brendan Sweeney helps explain the thinking behind the shoes, and offers some thoughts on where the future lies in golf shoe manufacturing:
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: Golf shoe looks have certainly evolved over the years. The Pure 360 is a more traditional looking golf shoe, whereas the Adizero One appears to be more like an athletic shoe. How important are looks in golf shoe design?
Sweeney: Throughout the last 10 years golf shoes styles have drastically changed. Brands continue to lead the golf fashion trends giving consumers fresh and modern designs and styling.
This evolution has occurred in consumers’ perception as well with their new understanding of what “traditional” and “athletic” means for golf. When adidas Golf launched Tour 360 in 2005, it was first seen as a very aggressive and athletic look, challenging golf shoe norms.
Almost ten years later, the Tour 360 is seen as a conservative shoe in the golf market.
While the adizero one seems to be very athletic, if you look at the trends in sports footwear, it seems to align very well with the direction of consumers’ tastes. The design of our shoes is essential and the first thing every consumer considers when purchasing new shoes.
Golf is hard enough -- we want to make looking good the easy part!
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: True enough. Describe the technology incorporated into the Adizero One and Pure 360. How is it improved from what you've produced in the past?
Sweeney: The adizero one and pure 360 are two shoes featuring ground-breaking technology that are new to the golf industry. While traditional golf shoe construction requires the stitching of multiple layers, we created a new, ultra-light one-piece fused upper that bonds together five layers to deliver a consistent glove-like fit on the foot.
The adizero is our lightest performance cleated golf shoe weighing under 10 ounces, 10% lighter than last year’s -- the adizero Tour. This lightweight shoe allows golfers to retain even more energy throughout their round.
The pure 360 is the most comfortable golf shoe we have ever made with a flexible TPU outsole with a soft poured PU (polyurethane) midsole. This poured PU midsole gives the golfer’s foot a sensation like they are stepping on a memory foam mattress.
PU has been used in golf for insoles to help improve step-in comfort, but there has never been a complete midsole with this soft foam. In a recent study, we discovered that many golf shoes lack traction in the mid-foot area, an area important throughout the golf swing.
Through this discovery, we have added an extra cleat in the mid-foot called CenTraxion that gives both the pure 360 and adizero one a greater level of traction. We continue to push the performance of our products to cater to the golfer's needs.
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: What materials help supply the "performance?"
Sweeney: We continue to work with different suppliers to find out the latest materials that help golf footwear. While many materials are consistent throughout the footwear world, it is how you execute and where you strategically place them on the shoe that delivers performance.
We have an advantage of using the resources of new materials used in other adidas sport categories to help our golf shoes. Our newest material is our gripmore technology, which is a new dynamic hybrid cleat that performs like a cleated product but has the comfort of a spikeless shoe. This direct-injected material does not need a receptacle, which allows the shoe to be more comfortable and flexible.
We continue to discover the newest material that can help us innovate.
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: One thing that’s not new in shoes is leather. Is it more difficult to make a leather golf shoe waterproof?
Sweeney: Waterproofing our shoes is extremely important for golfers no matter where they play. Whether it is pouring rain or just a little morning dew, the last thing golfers want is their foot to be wet while walking 18 holes.
The waterproofing process begins at the leather factories where our leathers are treated to be waterproof. Only certain types of leathers pass the initial waterproofing process. After this, our shoes undergo rigorous dynamic and static waterproofing tests. These shoes must stay dry inside after being totally submerged in water for 5-6 hours – after passing these tests we are confident to call our shoes waterproof.
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: I’ll say – that’s a great way to ensure dryness. When a consumer is shopping for golf shoes, are comfort and looks the only factors they should consider?
Sweeney: While comfort and design are very important when purchasing golf shoes, I think golfers need to consider performance as well.
Just like a runner, football player, or basketball player your golf shoes have a huge impact on your overall performance. Adidas strives to provide the highest performing golf shoes with incredible stability, traction, and comfort. Many shoes do not have the support needed in the necessary areas, which can cause injury or a less efficient golf swing.
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: Speaking of performance, spikeless shoes are becoming much more common. Are golf shoes moving away from the concept of spikes?
Sweeney: Spikeless golf shoes have really grown in the US, reaching over 30% market share.
While I think spikeless shoes will continue to be popular with their on/off course versatility and comfort, there are still many golfers that need the higher level of traction delivered by a traditional golf shoe.
Again, that is why we are so excited about our new gripmore technology that has the comfort and versatility of a spikeless shoe with the performance of a cleat product.
GolfTheUnitedStates.com: Finally, there are many choices when shopping for golf shoes. What is the best reason why someone should choose Adidas?
Sweeney: When choosing golf shoes there are a number of great choices but none have the level of performance of adidas Golf shoes. We are focusing a lot of our resources on understanding a golfer’s feet during the golf swing.
Through our innovative shoes we are helping golfers prevent injury, save energy, and ultimately play better. Adidas started as a shoe brand over 90 years ago and no other brand has the rich history of innovation and performance. We believe all golfers are athletes and we are not just creating shoes but equipment for your body.
It’s funny that Sweeney should mention equipment, as Adidas is connected to TaylorMade, one of the leaders in innovative golf equipment.
Adidas shoes are as good as advertised. The Pure 360 joins others in the top-of-the-line golf shoe category and is as comfortable on the golf course as a pair of loafers in the office. They’re particularly friendly to those of us with wide feet.
The Adizero One model seems to be more of a specialty shoe, and took more time to break-in – definitely more suitable for narrower, more athletic feet!
They certainly are light – wow, it’s like walking on air.
Both shoes have impressive spike patterns and provide excellent grip. No need to worry about slipping down those steep green complexes at the local club.
As Sweeney indicates above, people shop for shoes on looks first – so we would recommend picking out some different kinds that you like, then try them on. Keep in mind performance, and you can’t go wrong with Adidas.
Golf shoes are pricey, so look at it as an investment in your overall game. You won’t be disappointed.
Adidas Puremotion Apparel
Though you probably think of shoes first when you hear Adidas, it’s important to remember the company also manufactures apparel. In golf, Adidas gives you the same kind of technical focus in clothing as they do with shoes.
Adidas says they want you to focus on your swing and nothing else – and in order to do that, they bring technology into the equation to help keep you cool on the golf course.
Their Puremotion line of polos utilizes high-performance, maximum-stretch, moisture-wicking fabrics to accomplish that goal. The shirts aren’t clingy, yet fit well and feel great on your skin – even on hot days.
Puremotion doesn’t have the feel of a cotton shirt, but the fabrics breathe better. They’re also more form-fitting, which is great for those with the golf body to match.
They’re probably more suited for younger players – but more so because of the contemporary looks than feel. The shirts feel great – and with the Climacool technology, really do keep you cool and dry.
There are dozens of colors and styles to choose from, and are widely available in golf shops. Definitely worth a look to expand your golf wardrobe!
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About the adidas Group
The adidas Group is a global leader in the sporting goods industry, offering a broad portfolio of footwear, apparel and hardware for sport and lifestyle around the core brands adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade, Rockport and Reebok-CCM Hockey. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the Group employs more than 50,000 people across the globe and generated sales of €14.5 billion in 2013.
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