The showroom floor at the PGA Merchandise Show is massive, loaded with exhibitors and new products, ranging from golf equipment and apparel to gadgets and services. Hours walking from booth to booth can take a toll on one's feet, which serves as a reminder to how important footwear is.
Golf is no different.
Much of the energy in the golf swing comes from the ground, and golf shoes serve as a golfer's point of contact with the ground. Traction is crucial, but so it stability and comfort. These are all factors shoe manufacturers consider when designing the latest and greatest in golf footwear.
At this year's PGA Show, golf footwear technology continued to take a step forward. The newest offerings from FootJoy, Adidas, Puma and others have proven that we've come a long way from the uncomfortable, heavy shoes of previous decades.
Here are a few of the fresh kicks we can expect in 2020:
Pro|SL and Pro|SL Carbon
Since its the debut in 2006, the Pro|SL has been a favorite among FootJoy’s stable of Tour pros. The popularity has led to some difficulties, though; when FootJoy would ask players how to improve the Pro|SL, many Tour pros said to not change a thing. Yet with the latest Pro|SL, FootJoy has found ways to make the shoe better. During an 18-month process, FootJoy added more stability and traction by increasing the width of the heel by 11.5 percent and using a new Infinity outsole that has 189 points of contact with the ground. It also improved comfort by offering two densities of its FineTuned Foam, firmer around the perimeter of the midsole and softer under the foot. The Pro|SL carbon, a favorite of PGA Tour veteran Charley Hoffman, integrates a full-length carbon-fiber insert into the midsole to increase stability and reducing foot fatigue as carbon naturally snaps back to its molded position, which recovers some of the energy lost while walking.
What the company says: “As the industry leader, we didn’t tweak or adjust the new Pro|SL, we innovated and advanced and received Tour approval. As a result, we’ve developed a product that delivers more stability, more traction, more comfort and more choice, setting the standard in performance footwear, again.” – Richard Fryer, Director of Product Management, FJ Footwear
Price: Pro|SL – $190 (laced), $220 (boa); Pro|SL Carbon – $220 (laced); Women’s Pro|SL – $175 (laced), $210 (boa)
Availability: Feb. 1
While its Tour360 franchise continues to offer golfers with a traditional, high-performing cleated shoe, Adidas is pushing the boundaries with its new CodeChaos shoe. The decisive feature of CodeChaos is a new technical spikeless outsole that blends soft, durable rubber with a TPU insert called Twistgrip, which was designed using heat maps and grip-predictive analysis to give golfers traction throughout the swing. The upper also is a new concept for Adidas. Made of multi-layer mesh, the upper is more durable, breathable and lightweight than past Adidas offerings in this category, and a thin film adds waterproofness. As far as comfort goes, a full-length Boost midsole ensures all-around comfort and energy return, while a Torsion X stability bar increases support. Perhaps the biggest testimony for the new shoe: Dustin Johnson, typically very picky with his footwear and who juggled different options last year, wore CodeChaos all four days at Kapalua. Jon Rahm will also wear the shoe this year.
What the company says: “For us, we wanted to come out with something that was visually disruptive, functionally disruptive, different. There’s a lot good product out there, but in some ways, there was a sea of sameness in our minds. … We went down this path of let’s bring out the mot high-performing spikeless shoe we’ve ever brought out, that has a very disruptive look but is very functional and exciting, that a Tour player would wear, that would kind of stir up the industry a little bit. That’s what led us too CodeChaos.” – Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf
Price: $150 (laced); $180 (boa high-top); $130 (Sport version)
Availability: Jan. 31
Ignite PwrAdapt Caged
The Ignite PwrAdapt family gets an upgrade with Caged, a shoe designed to offer improved support and comfort over its predecessors. The biggest feature of Caged, which is worn by Gary Woodland and Bryson DeChambeau, is the 360-degree PwrCage, which supports the midfoot and increases stability during the golf swing. The Adaptive Fit System, which is essentially an internal bootie that encompasses the foot, also works to support the foot, especially in high-wear areas. The shoe also features an Ignite Foam midsole and PwrAdapt three-dimensional traction.
What the company says: “Our new Caged footwear will keep you locked in and comfortable all day thanks to our new Adaptive Fit System and PwrCage saddle unit which provides the perfect fit, and stability like you’ve never felt before. Best of all, they come in a stylish, lifestyle-inspired, extremely comfortable package.” – Andrew Lawson, Footwear Product Line Manager, Puma Golf
Price: $150 (laced and disc)
Ecco’s new signing Henrik Stenson wasted no time putting this unreleased shoe into play when he teed it up in Singapore last week. While the shoe won’t come out until late March, there will be new technology in the midsole called Zonal Fluidform. For the first time, Ecco will use three different injections in its midsole, three colors that represent three different densities. The middle part is the hardest because that’s where golfers need the most stability. The heel is slightly softer, needing comfort but also support, as well. The front of the midsole is the softest because that’s where comfort is most needed. Other features are a full-grain Soft Calf Nappa leather upper with GoreTex, 100-percent waterproof technology, and an open-cell OrthoLite insert for added comfort.
What the company says: “The midsole, that’s the technology we’re really excited about because it has all the comfort features that you know from Ecco, but you also have real player performance, as well, with the firmer mid-part of the midsole.” – Jesper Thuen, U.S. general manager, Ecco Golf
Availability: late March