I have been fighting the running shoe/golf shoe trend for a few years now but it may be time to give up. The reality is that for 90% of golfers, shoes don’t make a bit of difference when it comes to scoring so you might as well wear the most comfortable shoes possible. Sure, we can throw a few nubs on the bottom if it makes you feel better.
The first pair of expensive golf shoes I ever pined for were the Ecco Street. Unlike anything at the time, these shoes represented one of the first steps in the evolution of cross over golf shoes. While I never purchased the Ecco Street, I ended up reviewing them a few years later. Since that time I have reviewed a number of Ecco golf shoes and have carefully watched as the brand has made steady improvements to their line.
I have been following the evolution of Ecco for quite some time now and have been 100% on the bandwagon since the first pair arrived at my doorstep. Since then, I think Ecco has continued to make improvements, with each iteration being just a little better than the last. A few years ago I reviewed the Ecco Street Premiere golf shoes. and while I no longer wear them on the course, they have become my everyday shoe (they are on my feet as I type). For those math majors out there, they are nearly two years old and still in great condition.
Last year Ecco introduced the BIOM and got rave reviews. Unfortunately, I never owned a pair, but I personally thought they were a huge improvement over the Street Premiere both in terms of look and performance.
With the EVO One, Ecco looks to build on that success in part by beefing up the actual construction of the shoes, an area that I think was a bit lacking in the Street Premiere. To do this, they added a large contrasting sturdy area around the heal that adds to both the look and the stability.
Additionally, the EVO One has a wider base than some of the older models. Oddly, the EVO’s definitely run nearly a size larger than other Ecco’s (European), specifically in the toe area. I have worn size 46 in every pair of Eccos I have owed (about 5) but needed to step down to a 45 as they are just longer in the toe.
Another improvement to the shoe (at least from the Street Premiere) is a well-constructed heel cup, which improves stability during your golf swing. In terms of resistance to water, the shoes are rated “water resistant” but I had no issues when I put my foot in standing water up to the third eyelet. I am unsure of the exact difference in rating but Ecco uses Hydro-max technology in the leather which make this shoe perfectly acceptable for wet weather golf (albeit maybe not torrential rains).
The cleat system that Ecco is known for remains basically the same, although it has also been tweaked and now boasts 800 traction angles. Unlike other soft spiked golf shoes, with Eccos you will never see a rapid decline in traction. For example, my handy old Ecco Street Premieres are worn every day (I have a dog and walk a lot), and the only real noticeable wear is on the heel. Note that I have been wearing them every day for about 6 months and walking on concrete.
As for comfort, the Ecco brand shines through and provides a lightweight but stable platform. However, I was noticeably concerned about wearing them straight to the course. My first day with the shoes came during the PGA Show where I walked for about three hours in the convention hall before heading out to play golf. I made a last second decision to change shoes as they were just a bit stiff around the ankle. Since that time I have not had any issues as they have softened up, but I do think the added stability has made the EVO One a touch less forgiving (at least on day one).
Like the other Ecco shoes, the EVO One is available in a number of colors and all come with an extra set of laces (in a different color). Speaking of laces, I think Ecco does a great job. Many golf shoes have laces that refuse to stay tied. My Street Premier’s stay laced 24/7 and never come undone. Kudos to Ecco for this small detail.
The Ecco EVO One run about $160 and can be purchased on the Ecco website.
It’s that time of year again. Another Masters is in the record books which means it is time to clean out the bag, polish the clubs and get ready for the new season. This year we have a fresh batch of goodies perfect for making your rounds more enjoyable and assuring that you will not come to play ill-prepared. Below is a list of must haves to put in your golf bag.
PlayKleen Golf Towel:
Lets start with a fresh golf towel. This years pick is PlayKleen golf towels. These towels are super absorbent and feature what is called FlexTEK technology. I have no idea what that means, but I do know that they work great. The one thing I really noticed about the PlayKleen towel is they feel much lighter than others. With that said, they will absorb a ton of water so you can wet one side without it dripping all over your bag. That way you can properly clean your clubs after taking a nasty divot. See the PlayKleen website.
If you are still using a penny or the marker on your golf glove, it is time to step up your game. A ball marker is a great way to show a little personality and have some fun. We recently discovered Photo Ball Markers . . . the process is stupid simple. Just upload a photograph or logo and, boom!, you have your very own custom ball marker. We went for a logo, but feel free to add a picture of your sweetheart if you are of the romantic nature. Visit the Photo Ball Marker website.
What is one thing that every pro on tour has but barely any other golfer has (besides a super model girlfriend)? That’s right, a badass yardage book. I have long been on a hunt for a cool yardage book but the only ones in the stores are super cheesy. Recently, I found these guys who make yardage books by hand with a variety of leathers and colored stitching. With tons of options, you can create your one of a kind yardage book that will be sure to garner lots of oohs and ahhs. No yardage book, no problem, just pop in a scorecard. Visit the Appalachian Leather website.
Real Steak Jerky:
Speaking of prepared, who amongst us has not got the case of the munchies while on the third hole? Fear not, put some Real Steak Jerky in your bag and never be left wanting. Honestly, this is the best jerky I have ever had. These guys sent us a bunch and it may have been the only time the three bloggers came to blows over who would get to keep the most. The stuff rules . . . P.S., they make Turkey Jerky too! See the Real Steak Jerky website
Now that spring is in full swing, we all know you need to stay hydrated (especially during the heat of the summer). I am one of those folks who enjoys a little flavor with my water but most of the sports drinks have tons of sugar. NUUN makes these really cool tablets you can drop into a jug of water that have all kinds of electrolytes and such. Basically all the good stuff without the sugar. Plus, you can just throw a box of them in your bag so you are always prepared. See the NUUN Website
Tritan Series of Tumblers
Ahh, the tumbler. That little wonder cup that keep cold drinks cold! Forget about refilling that plastic bottle, these little guys are much better and as we all know “everything is better with a logo”. Whether you bring your “cup of joe to the course” or a “little nip”, the Tritan Series of Tumbler is perfect for your beverage of choice. Plus they will fit perfectly in the golf cart cup holder. You can see all of the option for Tritan Series of Tumblers on their website. NOTE: These are for retail sale only with 24 piece minimum. For order info contact Lfbiddinger@williamsindustries.com
Champ Spikes and Fly Tees
I always carry extra cleats in my bag just in case one pops out or I realize they have been whittled down to nubs. For me, Champs are far and away the best cleat around. They are made to fit just about any shoe and are quite durable. As for the tees, I used to go through boatloads of wooden tees believing that plastic tees were for old men. So either I was wrong or I am in fact an old man because I now swear by them. I now only use one or two per round. Be warned though, not all plastic tees are made the same. The two reasons I prefer the Champ Fly Tees are 1) they last and 2) it is easy to put your ball on them (something not all plastic tees have in common). Champ spikes and tees can be found on their website.
Bonus: Ecco white belt
No, it has nothing to do with your golf bag, but everyone should have a cool white belt. I don’t care how many people say you have to be under 30 to wear one, I think they makes nearly every outfit look just a little sharper. The new Ecco belt is understated but classy. Pick one up and be a player. Ecco belts can be seen on their website.
That’s the 2013 list. Good luck and have a great season
Ecco Women’s Street Golf Shoes: There would be no future without the past. The game of golf has a rich history, which has given way to our present day game. Old wooden drivers have been replaced with titanium and carbon fiber technology. Five woods and low lofted irons are more and more being replaced by hybrid clubs. So are our traditional spiked shoes heading the way of the “wood?” Let’s face it, there will always be the old school players that scoff at riding in carts and wearing shorts on the course, and they will probably insist on keeping their spiked shoes. But, If Ecco has anything to say about it, their new Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe is going to buck tradition.
The Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe that I received was sharp footwear indeed. It looked more like an updated version of an old fashioned canvas sport shoe than leather golf shoe. Ecco has pulled off a classic look without being “in your face overcool.” It was tan with contrasting deep purple shoe strings and sole. I got an immediate thumbs up from my 14 year old daughter and her approval is rare. I would slip this pair of shoes on and head out to a back yard BBQ or to the movies. So, as far as style is concerned, the Ecco Street Golf shoe is a winner. But how do they perform?
The traditional spikes have been replaced with a sole full of small round spikes. Leaving no detail undone, each spike is topped off with the recognizable Ecco “e.” At no time did I ever feel like I didn’t have a good grip on the tee box or fairways. But, if I’m being completely honest with you, I have days that I spend a lot of time in the sand traps . . . they are like magnets for me. These shoes outperformed my expectations in the sand. I had a great feel for digging myself in and setting myself up -what a plus! They look great and as far as the sand is concerned, I had great outs all day. The comfort level was right up there with my well worn 2 year old sneakers. You can’t ask for much more.
There are plenty of days that I go straight from the course to my daily routine and vice versa. In these shoes, I can go straight from the course to just about anywhere without looking like I just walked off the course. I can also put my shoes on before I leave my house and still get a few things done inside without the fear of scratching my floors or snagging a rug. The future has arrived and the Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe is definitely here to stay.
Like the men’s counterpart, the Ecco Street are not waterproof, although I have worn them in dew type situations without leakage. The ladies version comes in six color variations and retails for about $150.
You can see the whole line of Ecco women’s golf shoes on their website.
Over the past 6 months I have worn about 7 pairs of golf shoes. Some I really like, some I kinda like. So when I had the opportunity to finally test out the Ecco Street Premiere shoes I was eager to see how they stacked up against the competition. Let me be clear, I am an unabashed Ecco fan. Over the past years I have purchased four pairs of Ecco golf shoes and to this day I cannot bring myself to get rid of a single pair of them, despite the fact I have more shoes than I know what to do with. Basically, I just think that Ecco not only “gets it” but they have the technology to back it up.
I still remember the first time I saw the Ecco Street shoes. It was during the Masters a few years ago when Fred Couples was in contention so the TV was regularly showing him strolling down the fairways of Augusta National in his Ecco’s san socks. Like other golf geeks I actually Googled “what kind of shoes does Fred Couples wear?” . . . they were just so cool and so unique. Now of course, everyone and their brother thinks they can make a street shoe – there are some good ones out there, but there is also some junk. In my mind Ecco still represents best of breed in the street shoe department in part because they are not only focused on design, but equally involved in developing new materials and improving ergonomics.
What do I love about the Ecco Street shoes? Well we can start with the style which is simply classic cool. They are not “hopped up on hip”, but still stand out from the pack. For me it is the little things that make the difference. Whether it the orange laces, raised orange nubs or the fact that the seams are clean and straight, Ecco shoes are easily recognized and always admired.
On the sole you have tons of spikes which provide ample grip and will not wear down like some of the other “alt shoes”. So sturdy are these spikes that I really don’t even try to avoid the pavement. And they are so comfortable, I often forget to take them off after returning from a round of golf. Oh, and I never have to change shoes on my bumper.
Sure, other street shoes can go from the house to the course and back, but the Ecco Street Premiere can actually serve as a regular shoe and I have heard from many an Ecco fan who say they wear them all of the time. Really the only downside for me is that they are not water-proof which makes them impractical for morning rounds when there is heavy dew. Other than that they are a perfect warm weather shoes and despite the fact they are leather, they do no feel hot.
So yes, my expectations were absolutely met by Ecco. While they are a bit pricey, $150, you will be hard pressed to find a better street shoe (unless it is the new Ecco Biom Hybrid shoe).
You can see the whole line of Ecco Golf shoes on their website.
2012 PGA Show: Having just returned from my first visit to the 2012 PGA Show I am feeling a bit punch drunk. Much like a kid in a candy store, the PGA Show had so many sweets it was easy to go overboard and end up with a sugar high. So without further adieu, lets get to some of the highlights.
Equipment: Yes, all of the big boys had a huge presence at the show but for me it was a great time to learn more about some of the boutique companies. In the putter and wedge niche, I was able check out Edel, Piretti and T.P. Mills putters which are simply stunning (I only wish I had taken pictures). Newer on the scene but also impressive is a line of putters from former player Chris Carnahan who makes both wedges and putters for Carnahan Golf. Finally, in the putter and wedge area, we visited with Rife putters and Renegar Golf, both of which I really like and look forward to taking out on the course.
While I did not make the demo day, I did get to spend some time with Stephen Boccieri of Boccieri Golf who explained his weighted club design. In short, his clubs, or separately sold grips, are weighted at the butt end to promote greater lag and hence better club speed.
Golf Shoes: Since Ecco came out with their Fred Couples street shoes, everyone seems to be jumping on the band-wagon. While Ecco is not about to go away, new mid-sized companies will give them a challenge. For example Kikkor added about 4 more lines to their portfolio including, wait for it, a high top. TRUE Linkswear is simply exploding with new styles and even Crocs is jumping into the market. However, the most minimalist shoe I found was Barefoot BERBS which are as close to no shoes as you can get. While each brand has a unique style, consistent among them is a lower profile, closer to the ground feel. Stay tuned as we will be putting these shoes to our 18 hole test in the coming months.
Golf Apparel: Although am no fashion expert, it seems like the Europeans are having an impact on the fashion industry. Bright colors were everywhere – this was no more evident than at the LoudMouth booth where everyone was decked out in the zany attire.
While not quite as colorful as LoudMouth, Ian Poulter’s collection is just as unique as you would expect from the man who seems to always be ahead of the fashion curve. As an added bonus Ian made an appearance at the booth and I can honestly say he is a super nice guy.
Speaking of super nice, let me just say that just about everyone at the show was awesome, but a quick shout out to some of the folks were were particularly welcoming to Three Guys Golf Blog:
Kikkor: Hosted an awesome night golf event.
Sligo: Great clothing selection plus they had Brian Gay stop in for a while.
Abacus: A Scandinavian company who will be outfitting the Euros this year.
Cross Golf USA: Great outerwear and clothing.
Arnie Wear: Can’t wait for this new line of clothes that was literally designed using real items from Arnold Palmer’s closet.
Other Stuff I liked: There was so much great stuff and hopefully we will get a chance to review much of it in greater detail, but for now this is a quick list of items that caught my attention.
Asher Golf: Makers of creative golf gloves and part owned by the #2 long distance driver in the world Ben Tua’one. I was lucky enough to play 9 holes of night golf with Ben and suffice it to say we used all of his drives in the captains choice except when he hit it too far and it went into a lake we did not see 325 yards out.
Jan Craig: Wonderfully hand made head-covers.
59 Belts: In the top 3 coolest belts I have ever seen.
Pro Mental Coach: Computer brain training for us mental disasters. Look for a review in a couple of months when I finish my training.
Jones Bag: Throw back to the simple days of golf when bags did not have 36 zippered pouches.
Kentwool Socks: Saved my feet on Saturday.
Optishot: Affordable indoor golf simulator.
Flavor Flav: Yes, Flavor Flav was in the house with the Back 9 channel. No idea why but Matt is such a huge fan that I got him a signed hat.
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