Barefoot B.E.R.B.S Review: We all know there’s been an onslaught of new style golf shoes to hit the market over the past several years and frankly the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. New designs from the major manufactures and upstart companies encompassing all facets of shoe development are arriving at your local golf retailer what seems like daily. It makes the choice and decision to purchase some new shoes that much more difficult.
New to the game is Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. (B.etter E.nergy R.ecovery B.alance S.tability) who have taken the small market ideology of barefoot running and applied it to the game of golf.
When I first started reading about the B.E.R.B.S. my first thought that came to mind was an appearance by Sean Foley on “The Golf Fix” where he talked about having some of his pupils perform some drills barefoot. At the time I thought that was silly. I’ve always been taught play how you practice and practice how you play and I can’t recall anytime that I’ve been shoeless while on the course. Despite my doubt, I was willing to give the Barefoot BERBS a try and see if this new Barefoot Technology for golf is all it’s cracked up to be.
To make matters more interesting, not only are these shoes unlike anything I have worn, but they also come with instructions. Yup, when I opened the box I was presented with these tips for breaking in the Barefoot BERBS. Basically, because of the design, you will be using new muscles which requires a bit of time to get used to.
What? I shouldn’t wear my Kentwools? As much as a love to follow directions, I just can’t justify my feet to not being surrounded by some Kentwool socks when I’m playing golf. So, other than the lightweight sock suggestion I took into consideration everything else they mentioned and actually wore the shoes (without the spikes) around the house while I knocked out my honey-do list. I even changed out a water valve in one of my toilets while wearing them. If that’s not the ultimate test for a golf shoe I don’t know what is!
Their claims of a lightweight golf shoe are no joke. The B.E.R.B.S. shoes are SUPER light. Honestly I was very surprised at how great the shoes felt once I put them on. Made out of Full-Grain Leather and very waterproof the design concept of the shoe is great. The shoes do not have any laces (there are two Velcro straps, one across the top and a second around your heel that hold the shoe in place) and the word “slipper” instantly jumps into your head when you look down on at your feet. Without a doubt you can very easily slip in and slip out of the BERBS., but by no means are these slippers.
After a few hours with the shoes on my feet I started to understand the reasoning for the disclaimer. I was feeling a little discomfort it in my calfs the most, but also in my feet. Not being used to having this type of structure did take some time for my legs to adjust to but in time the subtle discomfort passed and the shoes felt wonderful. In fact, I ended up wearing them the entire day!
When reviewing a golf shoe I think the most important aspect to pass on to the reader is the comfort and feel of the shoe and this is where Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. knocks it out of the park. Their shoe is amazingly comfortable for barefoot style shoe; it’s incredibly light and in no way is it a nuisance to your game. I purposely walked over some pretty aggressive hillsides, splashed around a few deeper than normal water puddles and hit a couple of shots from some very unfavorable stances (not on purpose) and the shoes didn’t disappoint one bit! Even in those extreme conditions. After playing I thought for sure I was going to experience some sort of leg discomfort but that wasn’t the case. The shoes performed flawlessly and my feet felt great.
The idea of being lower to the ground and having a more solid base is appealing, but does it make a difference? I think so. I found in playing a few rounds in the shoes and using them frequently to practice that my balance has shown some improvement. I find myself not being as fidgety with my feet and my lower half has quieted down some as well. I’m not sure how scientific that is but it has me thinking.
The only issue I have with the Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. is its look. The fact is you either like a shoes look or you don’t. While I don’t hate the style, I guess I tend to gravitate toward a more traditional shoe. With that said, I have found myself practicing more with the B.E.R.B.S. than with my everyday Adidas which I think is a testament to their performance.
Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. comes in three different varieties for men and for women (the version I wore is called the Polar Bear). There is a ton of information about the scientific benefits of barefoot running on their website so if you’re at all interested in the science behind barefoot running and the B.E.R.B.S. I recommend you check it out.
You can learn more about Barefoot BERBS and purchase them on their website.