Walk a mile in another athlete's shoes...
By Torleif Sorenson on 2/6/13
Let's face facts: Your golf shoes are NOT machine-washable. And your golf shoes certainly don't look like these.

But before you totally dismiss the idea of wearing the new Vibram Fivefinger Speed XC golf shoes, consider this: Oliver Wilson has worn their running shoes on the course already - at the 2010 Dubai World Championship, no less. His reaction seemed straightforward:
I've had them for the last three weeks after my trainer turned up wearing a pair. I practice barefoot sometimes and swing it better, so I'd thought I'd give them a go. They look horrific and I've had lots of comments, but they're good for you and I think the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. You walk better in them and there's less strain on the legs, but I'm not sure I'll be keeping them on."
After testing their Speed XC shoes on a number of golfers, Vibram USA rolled out these zapatos at last month's PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. Vibram USA rep Tyler Allan was quoted in Golf Digest as saying,
"So far reaction has been great. We've been testing with all different types of golfers. Everyone is really liking the feedback of being able to feel the ground or the firmness of the greens. We have all these sensory perceptors on our feet, just like our hands, that we haven't been using.

"We used our original Trek sole designed specifically for trail running and we combined that with a lug sole for traction. Spreading out the toes over time increases the strength of the toes. Stronger toes provides better balance."
These shoes have already been tested by runners and other athletes under far more brutal conditions than golf courses provide, and have been developed with both ergonomic design and durability in mind. The upper is a multi-layer laminate that provides water resistance and insulation, as does the gusseted tongue. A seamless polyester lining provides the same sort of breathability for which technical fabric golf shirts have become massively popular. And while the 4-mm EVA sole might appear to be rather thin, it includes "plating" for protection from stone bruising, as cleats/nubs on the ball and heel. Perhaps best of all, they are machine-washable and air-dry.

One outdoors enthusiast who has already tried Vibram's shoes on the course is Dennis Littlefield of Joe's Sporting Goods, a popular ski and outdoor equipment retailer in Maplewood, Minnesota:
"I used the Komodo Sport as a golf shoe because of the outsole. It has little nubs on the bottom and I've found that it actually holds my feet to the ground better than golf shoes. Whether it's raining or the grass is wet, the shoes dry pretty quickly.

"It's a great all-purpose shoe to wear. You can wear it in the water and canoe in it. At first, you need to be a little cautious and gradually get used to them, because you're using more muscles than you usually do in a traditional shoe. But when I'm up at the cabin, I wear them roughly 80% of the time."
Do they look unconventional and untraditional? No question.

Would you try them? This writer refuses to rule out the possibility, although if Vibram combined their technology with a more traditional "golf shoe" appearance, it might prove more popular with "traditionalist-leaning" golfers like me.

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Image via Vibram USA Inc

[ comments ]
GolfSmith7 says:
I heard that these type of shoes smell bad and not even washing them gets the stench out of sweaty feet. For free I'd give them a run but not sure I'd drop my own money on them.
bobhooe says:
I have wore my vibrams that I use for kayaking on the golf course and they were great except they are black neoprene and it felt like hot coals on the top of my feet in direct sun. Yes Golfsmith they will stink forever if you wear them for 8 hrs at a time and then throw them in a closet. I hose mine off after every use but mostly because of sand and mud.
mjaber says:
These shoes, wether for running or golf or any other sport, are not for everyone. If you walk with a normal heel/toe action there is a very good chance that you could develop heel/achilles issues. I did, though not with these particular shoes. I used to run in racing flats, and had some issues with my achilles before I smartened up and got a good pair of trainers, and changed my stride. They do not offer the same type of support/cushioning that is offered in a "traditional" shoe. You have to change to way you walk/run in order to prevent injury. You need to have a mid/forefoot strike with these. It's been well documented by many runners that it is a great shoe, but not for everyone.

If I still ran, I'd probably try a pair, but I wouldn't use them for golf or any other "walking" activity.
jgideon84 says:
I havent tried them but it seems like they would chafe in between the toes. No thanks
mmontisano says:
i like the minimal show revolution, but i can't get past the toes on Vibrams. so i wear the True Linkswear stuff, which still do look kinda goofy, but you get used to it.
blstrong says:
Best shoes for your feet. Period. I've worn them hiking, running (half marathon), on the course, etc., for the past three years. You will feel connected and balanced like never before. Chafing? No. Do yourself a favor and give them a try.
Backquak says:
I think these shoes are on to something by using more muscles in the foot = better balance, but the shoes are ugly, how about they put a mesh toe cover over the top to make them look like a regular shoe with all the good stuff underneath. Would that be so hard?
Torleif Sorenson says:
Backquak: I really appreciate your comment, sir; balance is still an issue for me in my swing. Perhaps it's just being tense, but I feel like I have to curl my toes during my swing - to such an extent that it almost feels like I'm playing in hockey skates.
mmontisano says:
just get the True Linkswear stuff. they have a large toe box area so your toes have room to spread out and give you more balance while you swing.
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