I have owned nearly every style of True Linkswear golf shoes except the original Proto. While the Proto carried the Bozo style toe box, the shoe garnered great reviews and many True Linkswear fans still contend it remains their best shoe with legendary comfort and quality. Could the True Linkswear Orginal be the heir apparent?
I have a shoe problem but I don’t expect any sympathy. The good thing about having a shoe problem is that, unlike clubs, golf shoes are super easy to swap in and out of rotation. So much so that I rarely wear a pair of shoes twice in a row. The “good news” for you the reader is that I have logged hundreds of miles in the shoes I review.
Of all of the companies I work with, True Linkswear is one of my favorites. I have reviewed about 8 pairs of their shoes and still have about 6 that are in and out of rotation. What has really been fun for me is to see the evolution of the brand. While you may think it is really quick and easy to design shoes, the fact is that it is a long process from sketch pad to retail shelf.
Every year it seems TRUE Linkswear evolves in a way that exceeds even the highest expectations. Ok, maybe not everyone’s but certainly mine! I’ve been wearing True Linkswear on the golf course for almost three years now, and with each new pair I’ve added to my collection my love for the TRUE brand grows stronger.
“Game Changer”. Strong words for sure. I mean, when ketchup put the squeeze top on the bottom so you avoided the watery first gloop, that was a game changer; or when an eraser was added to the top of a pencil, that was a game changer. Heck, putting soap on a rope is nearly a game changer, but when True Linkswear puts spikes on a golf shoe does it really qualify as a “game changer?”
Where to start? Let’s start with the basic disclaimer that I have been a huge fan of True Linkswear since I got my first pair of PHX a couple of years ago. Looking back at those early models I am genuinely impressed that the company has been able to make such huge improvements to a shoe that (at the time) I thought was pretty darn solid.
Once known as uber comfortable clown shoes, True Linkswear are now far better looking and even more comfortable than ever before. The three new shoes that I have personally worn are the Oxford, Lyt Dry and the Limited Edition Masters Wingtip.
True Linkswear Oxford:
True Linkswear Lyt Dry:
True Linkswear LE Masters Gent Wingtip:
Each year we sit down to come up with a list of the absolute best products we have reviewed in the past 12 months. Not only is this task mentally taxing because we have to choose between hundreds of good products, but also because of the fact that each product is typically reviewed by only one of us.
Who in their right mind would want to play golf in Death Valley during July? How about the kind of guy who thought this picture was in focus rather than realizing his brain was on the wrong side of “medium well done”.
TRUE Linkswear Proto Review: I don’t know about you, but I can only read how something is clearly “The Best” before I have to find out for myself. Muddling the matter further is our desire to put that prestigious label on every new widget that comes to market. Therefore, I was very excited to finally get my hands (or feet to be exact) in a pair of TRUE Linkswear shoes as they have widely been described as the most comfortable golf shoes available.
Interestingly, TRUE Linkswear has garnished a ton of praise with comparably little marketing. However, inside the world of golf, the shoes are widely considered by many players (most prominently Ryan Moore) and bloggers to be the premier golf shoe.
Not only does TRUE Linkswear market their brand differently, they just seem to think about shoes differently. Unlike many shoe companies, TRUE Linkswear does not promote added distance, shaved strokes, increased spin or game improvement. Instead, they are solely (pun intended) focused on two things: comfort and allowing the body to function naturally. And get this, they actually require their employees to play at least 18 holes of golf during the work week (umm, where do I send my application?). Beyond just being good employers, TRUE Linkswear uses this as a way to get constant feedback on how the shoes perform in the real world.
TRUE Linkswear Proto
My first impression when I opened up the box of Proto’s was “Wow, that’s a great looking shoe!” The entire design and concept is very appealing and I could instantly sense the high quality. As we all know, the casual sneaker look craze that was started a few years ago, thank you Freddie Couples, is still going strong and TRUE has done a remarkable job of capitalizing on this look. Where TRUE has exceeded everyone else by a mile, in my opinion, is comfort.
The only thing I was a little concerned about was the zero drop aspect of the shoe, but once I stuck my feet inside and started walking around in the Proto’s my worries were quickly erased.
As far as sizing goes, I spoke with a representative from TRUE and they told me that a good rule of thumb is that the TRUE’s run in sizes typical to what you would find in a FootJoy and about a half size larger than Adidas. Three Guys Blogger, Adam, who is a big TRUE fan, says he always orders his normal size or maybe a 1/2 size smaller. While the TRUE are a broad shoe, they do incorporate a memory foam heel which locks you in and prevents traditional slipping.
The very wide toe area did take a little time to get used to, but only because I’m tied into a very snug fitting running shoe every day at work. When I initially put the TRUE’s on my first thought was that it was way too big. Toes should not have that much freedom to move around. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The wider toe area allows your feet to be freer and move around more. It also gives you an amazing sense of balance, which I experienced immediately during my first practice session I had while wearing them.
A great practice session is always a good thing, and the TRUE Proto’s were fantastic, but I couldn’t wait to get out on the course to see how they handled real playing situations. As a golfer who has ALWAYS worn spikes this was going to be my first time ever playing in a shoe that was free of the twist-in spikes. Naturally I was a little apprehensive that my footing was going to be an issue, but not once did I find myself out of position, slipping or off balance on a downswing or a follow through. Sand, grass, rocks, mud – you name it – I found myself in some pretty sticky situations throughout the day, I even had to climb up the side of a dirt hill to track down a ball. The Proto’s were by far the best part of my game that day and my feet thanked me later on that night by not aching one bit. 18 holes on a tough desert course and I felt fantastic. That’s how a shoe should treat you.
The Proto’s I received came in White/Grey/Black. Other color combinations like White/Kelly/Charcoal, Black/Charcoal/Red, Black/Electric Blue and Brown/Sand/White gives the line some great versatlity. The Proto is a waterproof shoe that cleans up very nicely. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth post round then let them air dry and they’ll be good to go for your next outing. You might be more paranoid than I am about keeping your kicks clean and if that’s the case you can always add some leather conditioner to the shoe, but in my opinion it’s not a necessity.
Seeing as I have very limited experience with spike-less minimal shoes I can without a doubt say that the bar has now been set very high for me. The TRUE Proto’s have fantastic styling, amazing comfort and are now on top of my list for a must have golf shoes.
You can see the full line of products from TRUE Linkswear on their site.
This spring I had my first exposure to the True Linkswear when I reviewed the PHX model. Being my first foray into barefoot shoes, I was immediatly struck by how light they were and how connected to the ground I felt. The only real downside for me was that they were solid white and they tended to “flop” a little when I walked. With the release of the new True Linkswear Sensei, I believe they may have created a shoe for the masses.
Imagine if you removed all of the branding from a bunch of golf shoes. How many of them could you actually tell apart? On the other hand, I garuantee anyone who has ever heard of True Linkswear would be able to pick them out of any shoe lineup – they are just that unique looking. However, this also means that if you don’t like the style, you are out of luck. So while the Sensei still has a True look, it is significantly toned down such that I believe the appeal is much wider (perhaps because the toe box is much narrower).
I walked four consequetive days in these shoes (yes I have a job, kinda). Still that is nothing compared to company President, Rob Rigg who ran an entire marathon in the Sensei shoes. So while I have no intentions of ever dashing more than 50 yards, I do appreciate the dedication to the product and it really is a testament to how versatile the shoe is. Back to reality, walking 18 is a pleasure in the Sensei. Even compared to other street shoes, the Sensei is far lighter than nearly any shoe on the market. With this new model moving to mesh rather than leather, the weight seems to have been reduced even more, plus they breathe. I literally can feel the wind blow through them.
Turning the shoe over, you will notice that the Sensei has a beefed up sole. They have added a larger outer ring to the bottom which will protect the cleats better and add addtional traction. Not that traction has every really been an issue for the True line, but since the spikes are non-replaceable, this design improvement seems to be a good move.
The only real downside to this shoe is that because your feet are so close to the ground they are not a great choice for winter as you will feel the cold through the sole. On the flip side they are a great summer shoe since they breath so well. I also wish they were waterproof but again I see this as a summer shoe where dew is not much of a issue.
Finally in terms of sizing, the Sensei run a hair big. I wear a 12 in nearly every shoes and I while I am happy with a 12, I could go a 1/2 size smaller with no problem.
The True Linkswear Sensei still may not be for everyone but I expect a lot more people to give them a try and for good reason. They are just insanely comfortable and also very good looking. Moreover, the price point is $99 which puts them significantly below the Tour edition or many of the other high-end street shoes.
You can see the whole line of True Linkswear on their website.
I have to be honest here, I was a little skeptical about the True Linkswear ‘True Isis’ ladies’ golf shoe. First of all, I have always worn the traditional shoes with spikes. This shoe is very different, but, that is not a bad thing.
I am not your average golfer. I am a full time mom of two teenagers and my primary job is that of taxi driver. This being said, I am known to squeeze in a couple of hours for golf, but get sidetracked for errands around town in my golf attire. This is a true test of shoe comfort, playing golf then getting stuck in your golf shoes while driving to baseball practice, dance recitals, etc. You all know what I mean . . . I am not recommending that any athletic shoe be your “around town” shoe, but let’s face it, it happens. So, if you have any foot issue, e.g. bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, etc., and you are comfortable in a golf shoe for 18 holes plus some, you have accomplished something. Enter, True Linkswear.
I admit that I wear orthotics with all of my shoes. I have the feet of an old woman! Therefore, when I pick out new shoes of any sort, needless to say, I am very picky. For my first day in the True Isis from True Linkswear, I decided that the true test would be sans orthotics. This is not a decision I made lightly – the fear of the sore heels for the next three days loomed over my head. I purchased a new bottle of Aleve and set out on my mission . . . first up, the driving range.
I spent 45 minutes on the range just getting used to my new shoes. I looked them up and down. It took me a few to get used to my view. They are wider than the traditional shoe at the toe box. For me, this is a very good thing. At what point did shoe cobblers decide that making shoes more pointed at the toe was a good idea? Maybe the appearance of the narrow toe is more appealing? I’m not really sure, but I will say, that I do not wear a wide shoe, just a traditional width, but my foot, like most of the human race that has five toes per foot, is wider at the toe than the heel. No question about it, these shoe were, by far, the most comfortable athletic shoe I have worn in quite some time. The wide toe box allowed plenty of room for my toes and there was absolutely no squeeze factor. This might be a little weird, but my test then went to the tennis courts. Not with this shoe, but I had to play in a charity tennis event for about two hours, on hard courts. I switched to tennis mode, after which my feet are always achey.
The true test here came when I switched back to golf mode and played 18 holes, in my True Linkswear True Isis. No way will my feet hold out, I thought. Again, no orthotics. No problem. While it took me a few minutes to adjust to the feeling of walking more on my heels, which is what it felt like after my traditional heel tennis shoes, I got the hang of it. I played 18, waiting with baited breath, for the aches and pains to begin. Not even a twinge. So, driving range, check, tennis, check, 18 holes check, now back to real life. Off to the afternoon of errands without switching from my True Linkswear True Isis shoes. I walked the grocery store, the post office and finally, a trip over the black asphalt drive in Georgia temperatures to check on the progress of the charity event. These “spikes” on the bottom of the Linkswear shoe can’t hold out for this. Or can they? After a full day, most of which was spent in the True Linkswear True Isis, I got home ready to inspect the damage I surely inflicted. To my surprise, other than a little Georgia red clay left behind, these remarkable shoes barely looked worn. How is this possible? I’m not saying that you can wear these for the next five years with no wear and tear, but they are definitely much more durable than you might expect.
All that is fine, but, how do they work in my game? Again, I am used to the traditional shoe and was very weary of this “barefoot” technology. Will I slip without my spikes? Do I want to feel barefoot on the course? Will my foot suffer when I step into the shallows of the magnetic water hazard? Here you go: no, yes, and yes. After my initial worries about slipping without spikes, I relaxed and did my best to shove the ball down the throat of the fairways. My best Happy Gilmore impression couldn’t even coax a slip out of the True Linkswear True Isis. Now, in golf, weight balance, not your spikes is the key to not slipping. That being said, when you do get carried away, the mental note that you have ground hugging spikes on your shoes does make you feel a little more confident. Never once did I feel as if I was not firmly anchored when I most needed it. I had full range of motion while maintaining steady, planted feet.
Fast forward a few weeks. Now my True Linkswear have been everywhere with me, from my home course to a local par three course to a mountain course in South Carolina and let’s not forget all the menial tasks in between. My shoes and my feet are still in excellent condition. There is still no sign of wear to the bottoms of these shoes and I have retired my traditional golf shoes so this is the only pair I wear. I can’t tell you the physics behind any golf swing or paraphernalia. What I can tell you is what works for me, the average, learn as I go along golfer. This shoe, the True Linkswear True Isis, works. It is comfortable, durable and innovative. I would recommend it to anyone, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned golfer.
You can learn more about True Linkswear Isis on their website.
True Linkswear PHX Review: Unlike every other product I have reviewed to date, I was genuinely worried that I would not like the True Linkswear PHX golf shoe. While I had heard all good stuff about the shoes, I was just not convinced they were for me.
Basically, I had three concerns: the style, the comfort and the traction. Let’s take these in order.
While the low profile street shoes are becoming more common, True Linkswear still have a rather unique look. Not only is the sole very thin but the toe area is much wider than any shoe I have worn in the past. Normally I judge a shoe’s look on the overhead view because that is the perspective I get when I am putting. Admittedly, it took a while for me to become accustomed to the wider toe but they have honestly grown on me. Other than my wife, I get a lot of compliments, and lets face it, my wife thinks I look like a dope most days anyhow. However, the real gem in my opinion is the contrasting blue sole which is super cool and a feature I loved from the get-go.
From a comfort standpoint the one thing you instantly notice is that walking is a completely different experience than in traditional golf shoes. You can actually feel the ground beneath your feet. Said again, you can literally feel the contours on the green as you size up a putt. While I am not nearly good enough with the flatstick to take advantage of this feature, I can see how it would help (at least sub-consciously). Of course it would stand to reason that with little apparent cushion, my feet should be sore after walking eighteen but that was not the case at all. My suspicion is that because True Linkswear are so much lighter than typical golf shoes, your feet are net winners in the cushion for weight trade-off. The bottom line is that I have found the shoes to be incredibly comfortable.
My final concern was about the traction since the soles have much smaller spikes than a traditional shoe. Despite playing winter golf in NC, I did not have any slippage issues and as for the life span of the spikes, I have worn them for about 4 weeks (10 or so rounds) and they have not shown much wear.
Finally, from a value stand point, the True Linkswear PHX edition (which is what I have), run just under $100 putting them in the mid-range for street shoes. True Linkswear does carry a number of higher-end lines, but as an entry shoe the phx are an amazingly comfortable shoe.
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