When it comes to golf footwear, no company is as diversified as FootJoy. Whether you’re a purist, a minimalist, or prefer a structured, stable shoe to help quiet your lower body during the swing, FootJoy has something for everyone. Furthermore, FootJoy’s newest product, the FreeStyle, shows their commitment to a new category of shoe that is designed to let the foot move freely throughout the golf swing, while at the same time delivering uncompromising grip for additional power.
The inspiration behind the shoe comes from a Red-Eyed Tree Frog named Moby. As Doug Robinson, Vice President of Design and Development Worldwide puts it, “By drawing inspiration from a tree frog and emulating their incredible grip and flexibility properties in the texture and functional elements of an outsole, our design and development team has created something truly unique in the golf shoe market.”
What the FreeStyle shoe does is help golfers generate maximum power by providing greater freedom of movement throughout the golf swing. And while the FreeStyle allows for a more natural movement, the shoe doesn’t compromise on grip – a crucial factor in generating more power.
In keeping with the Amphibian theme, FootJoy’s new midsole that is used in the FreeStyle is appropriately named F.R.O.G.S. – short for FJ’s Revolutionary Outsole Grip System. The F.R.O.G.S. outsole utilizes several new technologies. SoftMax is a molded, translucent rubber material that delivers both soft cushioning and complete mobility. The Softspikes Tour Lock system and Pulsar cleats offer dynamic cushioning and green-friendly traction.
If you’re the type of golfer who prefers to roll their foot freely through the golf swing, then you’ll want to pay special attention to the rubber traction cleats on the midsole that wrap around on the side of the shoe – these are there just for you to prevent slippage. Once again we can employ the formula freedom of movement + stability = more power!
Another key element of the new FreeStyle Shoe is the uppers. They are made from a super lightweight performance mesh that delivers the utmost in comfort, breathability and durability. The InnerSok system features an achilles pad for additional support and comfort in the heel area (HeeLok), and an instep grip that ensures a slip-resistant fit in a key location under the tongue (TongueLok). Once you slip your foot into the shoe, you’ll see what I mean. It’s a snug, comfortable fit that gives your foot the feeling that it’s “locked in.” FootJoy is so confident that the new FreeStyle will keep feet dry and comfortable that they offer a 2-year waterproof warranty.
Something else of note with FootJoy is that over the past few years, they have embraced the branding aspect of marketing. Up until a few years ago, the only way your playing partners knew what footwear you were sporting was to look at the small “FJ” emblem on the shoe. With the introduction of the DNA, a larger FJ appeared on the back of the shoe and then with the HyperFlex, there was a larger logo under the mesh, Now, with the FreeStyle, there is no doubt as to what’s on your feet. These ain’t you granddaddy’s shoes – unless he’s super cool!
The colors of the shoes this year are a lot bolder; the pair I received is navy blue, neon green and orange; kind of like a Moby. There are also a couple of “pull tabs” on the tongue and heel to help get the shoe on. It’s definitely a shoe that will appeal to the younger crowd and who knows, it might even spur some “traditionalists” to take a step outside their comfort zone and live a little. Other, less obtrusive color combinations will also be available when the shoe hits retail in mid-February – Black/White/Grey and Grey/White/Charcoal. A couple of other color combinations Grey/Navy/Berry and Black/Lime/Grey will be available in a BOA model and a Green/Grey/White color combo will be available mid-March.
There were two things that came to mind when I slipped this shoe on my foot. First of all, the fit is very snug, almost glove like. Secondly, was how light the shoe is; it’s amazing how something with so little mass can provide such stability and support. The next thing you notice as you start to walk around in the FreeStyle is how comfortable it is and all of the cushioning provided by the midsole. But now the true test begins.
A few warm up swings on the range on some very wet grass proved everything FootJoy claims – these shoes keep you anchored to the ground. There was no slippage during any part of the golf swing. The Pulsar cleats are very soft and springy and leave virtually no indentations in the green. I suppose all that’s left to do is to try and climb a try with them. Perhaps another day.
As I said, the new FootJoy FreeStyle will be available at all major golf retailers in mid-February – most are taking preorders now. Retail price is $190; $210 with the BOA closure system. For more information or to order on the FootJoy website, please go to www.FootJoy.com.