Did you know the first pair of golf shoes was “invented” more than 150 years ago? The basic design consisted of loafers with nails and pins in them; a far cry from modern-day comfort and certainly not good for the golf course. What’s worse, the nails would sometimes go into the bottom of the shoe causing serious injury to the golfer; who said golf isn’t a dangerous sport!?
In 1891 screw-in-spikes were introduced; while its convenience quickly caught on some courses didn’t appreciate the shoes’ inclination for tearing up the putting surface.
Some 15 years later in 1906 Spalding’s trendy “Saddle Oxford” came on the scene. The style was an immediate hit and still remains the standard for classy golf shoes today.
By the 1980s shoes went from being rigid to bendable; brands paid more attention to support and softness. Ten years later, to the joy of superintendents everywhere, plastic cleats replaced metal spikes.
ECCO was the innovators behind the spikeless shoe; the hybrid “Golf Street” made famous by “Boom Boom” himself Fred Couples featured a comfortable sole perfect for walking on and off the course. Since then dozens more iterations of the popular shoe have come out including the Casual Hybrid. Yet with bold colors and evolving styles, the Saddle Oxford still remains present in all.
Then PUMA threw a curveball this year, designing a custom high top golf shoe for Rickie Fowler. It’s been the topic of many conversations, I’m not sure how I feel about them but with Fowler playing well I’m sure they are in high demand. And then at the PLAYERS Rickie sported some multicolor, bright pink, neon and black shoes; PUMA is certainly branching out with the bright and bold colors.
NIKE is also hopping on the high top train. Keegan Bradley sports Air Jordan’s while Rory McIlroy has become their poster child for modern golf shoes. Not too long ago Rory was spotted wearing a pair of NIKEs with the date of Kobe Bryant’s last game (4.13) in honor of another great NIKE athlete.
As golf’s new guard continues to get younger and more hip, who knows what the next hit style will be. Perhaps another hybrid, or heck, maybe even sandals. Only time will tell to see what new shoe will take off running.