Anyone who's seen Fred Couples' leisurely stroll down the fairway lately has no doubt looked to his feet with curiosity. Couples used to play in the era of long, metal spikes and stiff, leathery golf shoes (and remember his Lynx driver?). Now, older and wiser, he's opted for the new, spike-less Ecco models that look like something he'd wear on the boardwalk, not while competing in high-pressure golf events.
I finally decided to give these ultra casual-looking Eccos a try with a pair of their Biom Golf Hybrids (MSRP: $190). Ecco continues to make golf shoes with the traditional, replaceable soft spikes, but the Biom Hybrid's sole is filled with 72, tiny little stubs. It's also built with Hydromax, waterproof leather.
For starters, the Biom Hybrid is, by far, the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn on the golf course, and it's not even close. You feel the ease on your feet in every stride. During my first round with them, my golf swing felt a little more relaxed and I could really feel my balance.
Off the course, the stubs on the bottom are so small and the style of the shoe is such that you could wear these into a fancy restaurant after the round and no hostess will give you the stink eye.
But the real question is if these Eccos replace my more traditional golf shoes exclusively. I would say the only time I notice the Ecco's lack of support compared to a traditional shoe is when I'm on severely sloped lies, or if I'm crawling up and down dunes in search of lost balls. Also, if you're on the golf course first thing in the morning in dewy ground, you may not have as much confidence in them as something with deeper spikes and more support. But in 95% of conditions, the Eccos are a favorable alternative.
When I went to Scotland this spring, I stuffed two pairs of golf shoes into my ClubGlove travel bag: my more traditional Adidas FitFoam shoes and the Ecco Biom Hybrids, and rotated between the two throughout the week. The strategy helped keep my feet fresh for the full week of Scottish links golf. When I knew I'd be teeing it up somewhere a little wet or hilly, I'd opt for the Adidias. But for 36-hole days, I'd go with Eccos from morning till night - and usually leave them on in the 19th hole, too.
To view the full line of Ecco shoes, visit www.eccousa.com/shoes/golf