Published on May 23rd, 2012 | by Jeff Shelman1
True Linkswear and Spikeless Golf Shoes
Why I’ve gone spikeless
It was a few Sunday mornings ago when I put on my golf shoes and strolled to the first tee. It was cool and a little wet, but certainly fine weather to tee it up.
I played the first hole, a dogleg par 4 that’s a little bit uphill to the green. The second hole is a downhill par 3 where the green is just a short walk to the clubhouse. So I putted out that morning, told my playing partners that I would meet them on the third tee and ran back into the locker room.
Why? My toes felt squished and squeezed. They were claustrophobic. They wanted their room.
How did this happen? It was pretty simple: I was wearing traditional golf shoes. And I had cheated on my spikeless golf shoes.
Over the past year, I have become one of the many golfers who have ditched what has been the standard fare for golfers: Shoes that if you take out the spikes, you could wear them to the office in the morning and nobody would look twice.
It was midway through the 2011 season when I bought my first pair of True Linkswear golf shoes. I had heard story after story about how comfortable they were. They lived up to the hype.
I liked the feeling of being low to the ground. I loved how much room there is in the wider toe box. And I couldn’t get enough of how my feet felt both after the round and the next morning.
I am a pretty hardcore walker and take a cart only about 10 percent of the time. But finding comfortable shoes was always something of a struggle for me. I was a Footjoy regular for quite a while, then I had several pairs of adidas shoes. There were some decent shoes in there, but I often (too often?) woke up the next morning with sore feet and those first few steps would frequently be uncomfortable.
But from nearly my first steps in my first pair of Trues, something was different. Immediately they were the most comfortable golf shoes I had ever worn. Shortly after getting my first pair, I found a good deal on a second pair. Since this golf season began, I have acquired two pairs of the new models. Overkill? Perhaps, but there are probably worse vices than buying too many pairs of golf shoes.
Clearly I’m not alone in embracing the spikeless trend. That’s obvious when you walk into a golf retailer that sells shoes. As recently as a year ago, there might only have been a couple of spikeless models in a shoe department. Now there are more and more options. In the past year, adidas, Nike and Footjoy have all added spikeless models. I’ve seen more and more players wearing spikeless shoes from Ecco
There also seems to be a little bit of acceptance among the elite players. Justin Rose won earlier this PGA Tour season while wearing spikeless adidas shoes. Ryan Moore has worn and supported True for a couple of years. Fred Couples was the first to embrace the trend. And while they have spikes, Nike is about to launch the low-to-the-ground shoe that Tiger Woods has been wearing for several months, a shoe that appears to be based on the company’s minimalist “Free” platform.
And I’m certainly not alone in embracing True Linkswear. If you check out the photos on the True Linkswear page on Facebook, you’ll see a sweet photo of actor Samuel L. Jackson wearing Trues and one of NBA baller Shane Battier doing the same. A year ago, I was one of only a handful of guys at my club wearing the Trues. This year, the number has at least doubled.
I’m also seeing the shoes in many more places. Earlier this year, I played at a prestigious club in Texas that has a huge number of low handicap players and there were Trues for sale. You can also buy yourself a pair at Bandon Dunes, a place where riding isn’t an option.
I haven’t worn a pair of golf shoes with spikes for a full round since a trip to Chicago last July. The area had received a ton of rain and the forecast called for more rain. While my Trues have been good in wet conditions — I don’t find myself slipping — I wanted to make sure I had a little more traction.
Since then I’ve teed it up on more than 20 different courses with different grasses, different turf conditions and different weather. I haven’t had any problems. I’ve played in the rain, I’ve played on wet ground in the morning and I haven’t had any problems with slipping.
So why do I like them? Why do I own multiple pairs of Trues? And why have I become such an advocate for spikeless golf? The biggest reasons are comfort and weight.
Spikeless shoes are much lighter than shoes with spikes. Spikeless shoes don’t need a plate for spikes to be screwed into and they don’t need as heavy of a sole.
But how do they look? I was initially uncomfortable with how the Trues looked. The toe box is big. They look a little clown-like. And you might get a little grief from your playing partners.
But once I wore them and my feet felt great after, I didn’t care what they looked like. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic look of some sweet Footjoy Icons, but as a hardcore walker, I want comfort and function.
Are you interested in going spikeless? If so, here are some pieces of advice:
- Find a place to try the shoes on. Different makes and models run a little different when it comes to sizing. And Ecco shoes are based on European sizing.
- If you are looking at the 2012 True Linkswear models, consider the mid-range True Tour rather than the entry-level PHX. The difference in materials is significant and it is worth the additional cost.
- If you aren’t sure, there are a number of places where 2011 Trues can be found for a very reduced price. It is certainly possible to try spikeless shoes without a big financial commitment.
- Have an open mind and a little trust. Yes, many spikeless shoes have a wider toe box and look a little different the first time you stand over a shot and see your feet. And I can understand how and why you might think that you’re going to slip. Try to put those two things aside. You’ll quickly get used to the look and the stability is very good.
I won’t guarantee that everyone will have happy feet after wearing spikeless shoes, but we have reached a point where golfers can make a choice and potentially find a nice combination of comfort and function. I know I have very little interest in going back to spiked shoes.
To read more from Jeff check out his golf blog, Only Golf Matters.com