Shoes Buyer’s Guide 2007

What you wear on your feet can make a huge difference in not only how comfortable you are, but also how powerful a swing you can make

Traction Action The soles of today's top golf shoes have not only superb gripping capabilities, but also integrated webs and channels to whisk away water and debris for a steady grip. Better yet, most golf shoes resemble running shoes from the bottom, replete with a two-pod sole for a more effective weight transfer into the ball.

Adidas Tour 360Adidas Tour360 II ($180) Talk about taking "fresh" to the next level. The new Tour360 II from adidas retains the two-pod technology that made its predecessor popular, albeit this time with an improved sole design and slicker aesthetics. Each Tour360 II shoe features 3D Fit Foam, adiPrene cushioning, a dual-pod, 360 Midfoot Wrap design, and a durable and grip-ready Z-Traxion sole.

Adidas PowerbandAdidas Powerband ($140) Ever swing so hard you come out of your shoes? Well, Adidas has figured out a way to make sure that doesn't happen again. Their new Powerband shoe is designed specifically for the modern, athletic golfer who likes to bomb it. The Powerband chassis helps stabilize the perimeter of the swing foundation, the highly resilient adiPrene material helps with weight transfer and Adidas' Gripzone technology keeps your feet secure.

Bite VibeBite Golf Vibe ($89) The Vibe from Bite Golf is the ideal shoe for those who want a pair of golf shoes that not only promote good foot health, but also supply a healthy dose of traction. The Vibe levies excellent foot support, a generous toe box and some of the most aggressive, hip styling you'll ever find in a golf shoe. Don't miss the lighter, airy Vibe AC version for a great summertime alternative.

Ecco Hydromax Ecco Hydromax ($180) Ecco has built a cult following for its incredibly comfortable dress and walking shoes, so it's no wonder the company's success in golf is starting to blossom. Shoes like the Hydromax feature Ecco's awesome shock absorption, dynamic sole design and the innovative glueless sole/upper bond. These babies will never crack at the seams.

Etonic G-SokEtonic G>Sok ($110) For the player who would rather not mess with changing or maintaining spikes, the G>Sok from Etonic is the ideal choice. This shoe features no removable spikes, and the traction of the G>Sok is built right into the shoe in order to provide excellent traction, comfort and durability no matter where you go. (If you want to wear them at the office, we suggest a black pair.)

FootJoy Golf ReelFitFootJoy Golf ReelFit ($200) Talk about a departure from the norm! The ReelFit from FootJoy bucks the company's conservative golf shoe trend and comes equipped with Boa lacing technology that's controlled via a ReelFit mechanism in the back of the shoe. The result is a custom, secured fit every time. This is the new era of slip-ons, folks.

Hi-Tec V-LiteHi-Tec V-Lite ($105) Despite having some tremendous bite (pun intended) when it comes to gripping the turf, the new V-Lite from Hi-Tec is about 100 grams lighter than most other shoes on the rack. That kind of weight lifted from the feet makes walking and swinging a lot more comfortable. Say "Goodbye!" to tired feet.

Nike SP-6Nike SP-6 ($155) Everyone knows about Nike's air-cushioned comfort, but the new Power Platform is what's creating the latest buzz. It starts with a Power Channel in the sole to help the feet push the ground for more power, a Flex Channel in the forefoot for more flexibility where needed and other stability plates for added support. Oh yeah, they look cool too.

Softspike RevolutionSoftspike_â_¨ Revolution Over the weekend, I had the chance to catch a few holes of the Nissan Open, a tournament played on the storied Riviera Country Club. "Riv," as it's known to us Angelinos, was also the site of the 1995 PGA Championship where Steve Elkington captured his only major. During the Nissan telecast, they showed highlights of Elkington's victory, including a close-up of his ball hopping over a very spike-marked 18th green. I could barely believe my eyes. How could anyone make a putt before soft spikes?

Today, most pros have traded in their metal spikes for soft ones, so the greens are Teflon-smooth. Leading the charge in the industry is a company whose name is synonymous with the nonmetal cleat era: Softspikes_¨. More than 75 percent of all touring professionals wear Softspikes_¨, primarily because they're adaptable, easy to use and provide great traction. _Ê SoftspikesJust consider their Pulsar brand. It's available in all three of today's most popular golf shoe insert systems and features a first-of-its-kind color-coded thread ID system that allows users to select their proper golf shoe thread type. Pretty adaptable, eh?

They're also pretty darn comfortable and sturdy. Softspikes'_¨ Reactive Comfort Technology delivers maximum comfort and performance via a 16-component design that reacts to every angle of force exerted by the golfer–something today's high-swing-speed Professional desperately needs. It's safe to say these aren't your father's spikes.

As Softspikes_¨ continues to look to the future, it becomes more apparent that those spike-marked greens truly are a thing of the past.


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