Ben Hogan was meticulous about everything having to do with his golf game, right down to his shoes. They always had to be fine English leather and spit-shined to glisten in the summer sun – with an extra spike or two, please. What would Hogan think if he found out that the all new for 2016 FootJoy FreeStyle golf shoes were inspired by a red-eyed tree frog rather than the traditional cleats of old?
What Does a Bug-eyed Amphibian have to do with Golf Shoes?
Tree frogs have phenomenal gripping power, scooting up and down nearly any surface from wet leaves to glass, thanks to a thin layer of mucus secreted onto the surface to help its feet adhere. The frog’s pads follow the contours of whatever surface it’s on to achieve maximum contact. That is essentially what is going on with the new FootJoys – (thankfully) minus the mucus.
The golf shoe is fabricated from SoftMax molded translucent rubber that mimics the frog’s amazing flexibility. The idea is that traction will be maintained at critical contact points as the golfer’s feet roll through the swing in any weather condition, rain or shine. Pulsar cleats on the soles provide even more bite to generate torque in the swing up above. FootJoy calls this new outsole technology F.R.O.G.S. and went all in with the whole tree frog thing by recruiting one of the South American native to star as Moby, the new FreeStyle pitch amphibian:
Who are the FootJoy FreeStyles for?
FootJoy’s lab testers say that traditional golf shoes are great for stabilizing the lower body and providing control for players who tend to get overactive with their movements through the swing. But other players benefit by a loose, athletic swing which produces additional power, and these are the golfers who FootJoy is aiming their FreeStyles at. The FreeStyle will provide peak traction on uphill lies, sidehill lies, downhill lies and flat lies when it’s time to unleash the power.
As for the uppers, the FreeStyles use performance-enhancing mesh for an athletic look, following the shift to lightweight golf shoes along the lines of FootJoy’s best-selling spikeless Contour Casual. The shoes also sport an achilles pad for additional support and comfort in the heel, while any internal shank has been left out to further coax natural motion and cushioning for the foot.
This is funky footwear as well. FootJoy calls its FreeStyles their “most imaginative and mobile shoe ever” and that “ever” goes all the way back to 1857 and the Burt and Packard Shoe Company. And with the unusual styling and bright colors, this is certainly not a shoe that will be hard to find in a locker.
Getting FreeStyles on Your feet
The FreeStyles were first spotted late in 2015 on Hunter Mahan’s feet at the Shark Shootout. While traditionalists blanched, others agreed with Moby that, like him, the shoe was “ridiculously good-looking.”
FootJoy FreeStyle golf shoes are available in the following models:
All new 2016 Nike RZN golf balls are now available in the following models: