By Woody Hochswender
Tuesday, September 06, 2011

All-terrain-vehicles, known as ATVs, are designed to handle any off-road encounter or hairy surface condition. Last week Adidas unveiled its new Tour 360 ATV (for "all-terrain versatility") shoe at The Barclays and it was worn by several company-sponsored golfers, including Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson.

The new Tour 360 is engineered to maximize stability in wet conditions and on uneven terrain (think sidehill lie). It has an ultra-flexible forefoot and a five-pod heel that the the company says will enable the wearer to stay grounded in the most difficult positions. It still features Adidas's all-around wrap technology and Thintech sole like previous models, but weighs two ounces less and positions the wearer's foot 1.5 millimeters lower.

While Johnson wore classic black, the Tour 360 ATVs ($190) are available in bold colors, and in medium and wide widths. These are serious shoes for golfers who really grip the ground and pound.

Different Strokes
Not that he doesn't pound the ball, but add Vijay Singh to the list of pros going the other way — toward a more casual, less grippy hybrid golf shoe. At The Barclays, he donned ECCO's Street Premier, the kind worn by Fred Couples.

These shoes feature molded traction nubs instead of spikes and can be worn off course. They're more like sneakers than traditionally structured golf shoes, although they do have golf specific features (like the traction soles). Just as many golfers are opting for hybrid clubs instead of 3- and 4-irons, many now prefer hybrid shoes.

"We think 50 percent of the golf market will be wearing hybrid shoes in 12 to 18 months," said David Helter, sales director of specialty footwear at ECCO USA, who helped Singh pick out his hybrids.

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