Bethpage State Park’s Black Course is a grind, a mental and physical challenge clearly indicated by the warning sign behind the first tee. This year’s PGA Championship site is widely regarded as one of the toughest walks in golf, as the Black is strictly a walking-only course (John Daly and his medical exemption notwithstanding).
On the final day the course was open to public play ahead of the tournament, FootJoy surprised hearty golfers who were prepared to sleep in their cars for a coveted tee time. As rain fell in New York, FootJoy set up overnight accommodations in the way of “glamping” tents, provided a catered dinner and breakfast, and gave away rain gear as well as golf shoes, socks and gloves.
FootJoy also released a limited-edition FJ Flex “Blackout” golf shoe that featured a representation of the Bethpage Black’s iconic warning sign on the heel. There were several hundred pairs of the shoe, which sold out in about 80 minutes.
The walking-only demands of the Black begs the question: what are some of the most comfortable, stylish and lightweight shoes that golfers can turn to – both on and off the course? Here’s a closer look at a few of the top options currently on the market:
FootJoy FJ Flex
The “Blackout” version might not be available, but you can still get your feet into some of FootJoy’s most popular shoes. The Flex is a casual spikeless option that appeals to golfers who prioritize comfort and seek versatility, as the shoes can be worn on and off the golf course. With a sporty fit and a lightweight and breathable mesh, the Flex might look like a sneaker but offers incredible traction and performance on the golf course – perfect for the rigors of Bethpage Black.
Puma Ignite NXT Solelace
Puma took its Ignite spikeless franchise to the next level with its NXT Solelace footwear, one of three closure offerings in the new line. While there’s the traditional lacing style and the proprietary DISC tightening technology, Solelace might be the brand’s most innovative closure system yet. The laces are essentially attached directly to the midsole and completely wrap around a golfer’s foot, offering 360-degree support and a locked-in feel. These golf shoes have the versatility to be worn on and off the course, as well as a look that will turn some heads.
Just in time for summer, ECCO has released its lightest-ever leather golf shoe. While the S-Lite has a casual street-style look, it’s a blend of cutting-edge engineering and comfort designed to deliver an ultra-light on-course experience. The outsole is 66 percent thinner than ECCO has ever created before, the diamond-shaped embossing on the yak leather upper further reduces weight, and a soft textile lining provides for natural water repellency and breathability.
adidas Crossknit 3.0
The 3.0 is the latest edition of the popular Crossknit franchise that was introduced in 2016, delivering performance and comfort in an untraditional package. The Crossknit golf shoe is similar to adidas’ Ultraboost running shoe, featuring a spikeless outsole, reflective laces and internal lace loops, and a heathered textile upper that’s lightweight and water repellant. For those seeking cushioning – the popular BOOST technology — without sacrificing traction, the 3.0 delivers.
The True Knit golf shoe was specifically designed to seamlessly transition from the links to everyday life. The one-piece upper is stretchable and flexible while providing the stability and comfort that golfers need, especially on a course like Bethpage Black. The True Knit features an exceedingly lightweight and breathable construction, and although they’re not waterproof, the footwear has a water repellant treatment that causes morning dew to bead up on the outer shell and keep your feet dry and airy.
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