If we could play golf barefoot, many of us would. There is something about the tactile softness of cut grass vs. the confines of traditional golf shoes that inspires rebellion, the desire to feel free, to spread one’s toes in the earth -- to perhaps grip it and rip it, from the ground up.
So it is perhaps no surprise that one of the hottest technical movements sweeping golf today is “natural motion” golf shoes, based on the barefoot training innovations of other sports.
If you have seen or tried those odd-looking five-toe running or hiking shoes, you get the idea. These shoes place the foot very close to the ground and exploit the principle that the usual method of pronation -- heel striking the ground first, with the foot rolling forward on a tight, heavily cushioned platform -- may not be nature’s way. Advocates of natural motion contend that primitive man probably ran with the ball of his foot striking the ground first -- on his toes, so to speak. In short, natural-motion footwear dispenses with some of the support structure of athletic shoes, especially the built-up heel, in order to restore the wearer to a more perfect and balanced posture.
For some time top players have been experimenting with less-structured, spikeless shoes -- Fred Couples, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els -- and now a few have moved to these more radical natural-motion models (Tiger Woods wears Nike’s TW ’13s; Hunter Mahan wears a prototype FootJoy model). More and more variations on the natural-motion concept are turning up in golf all the time. Here’s what you need to know:
Buy on Golf.com
Buy on Golf.com