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Cool Hydromax, House of Kangaroo Coobers

Review:

Footjoy Reelfit (MSRP in US$225)

Ecco Cool Hydromax (US$200)

House of Kangaroo (CAN$235)

I have strange feet. It is one of those things I’ve become used to — trying on endless pairs of running shoes to find the ones that don’t hurt when I hit 3 KM has become a regular issue once a year.

Golf shoes have, for some time, been a similar case. Far too often, especially with the amount I play, golf shoes become sloppy affairs in a short period of time. Like running shoes, I tend to naturally gravitate to more expensive, better fitting golf shoes, and was a regular in Etonics until I discovered Eccos.

These days it seems every company has a line of high-end shoes that are appropriate for my odd feet.

Surprisingly, the best golf shoe I’ve ever worn is just hitting the market. Called the Footjoy Reelfit with Boa Technology, these will certainly be the golf shoe everyone is talking about next year. The shoes use a lacing technology from Boa, a company best known for making lace setups for snowboard and ski boots. Instead of traditional laces, Boa’s system uses a wire that runs from the back of the shoe to the front and tightens it like laces. Using Boa, golfers simply slip their feet in the shoes, snap the back cap in and turn it to evenly tighten the shoes.

It sounds a bit gimmicky, I’ll admit. However the even fit is remarkably comfortable and unlike shoes with traditional laces, the shoes never get loose over the course of the round. There’s no more bending over to tie laces that have come undone — that’s a thing of the past. Apparently there is almost no way — short of using wire cutters — to cut the wire laces, making the Reelfit shoes a great option for the coming year. Right now they are being offered in one style in several different colours. Run, don’t walk to pick up your Reelfits.

If you are looking for something slightly more traditional, but also offering a sporty, contemporary look and tons of technology, there’s Ecco’s Cool Hydromax. Until I put on the Reelfit shoes, I would have sworn it could not get any better than these Eccos. My goal with these shoes was to find a sporty style that looked smart on the course and felt great on my feet. Cool Hydromax worked in both instances. Ecco has updated their look for 2007, offering a new sole and water repellant design that is exactly the progression one would expect from a company like Ecco. The shoes, like all the Eccos I’ve worn, are remarkably comfortable.

Lastly, here’s an option for those in Ontario. An Ontario company called House of Kangaroo offers a golf shoe made of kangaroo skin that may be the lightest shoe I’ve ever worn. And yes, the shoes are actually made from our hoppy friends. Kangaroo skin is tougher than traditional leather and therefore takes a lot longer to wear out. I’ve been a huge fan of the company’s gloves for several years. I wear out gloves in near record fashion, and since I’m not a PGA Tour pro and some tour rep isn’t stuffing them in my bag on a regular basis, House of Kangaroo has become a real option. The gloves last more than a dozen rounds for me — where normal gloves would often only last a round or two before tearing. They also retain their form, even after getting wet. No more sticky, hard gloves.

House of Kangaroo’s shoes are very similar. They are extremely light compared to any golf shoe I’ve worn, making it easy to walk 36 in a day. House of Kangaroo’s shoes came with me on my recent trip to Scotland, where 36 holes a day was standard, and held up as expected. In a country where walking is expected, I needed good, comfortable shoes and HoK fit the bill. The only issue I can find with the shoes is they do not offer the same level of support you might find in more traditional golf shoes. That appears to be because the leather is so much softer than other golf shoes. For me it isn’t an issue, but if you need a lot of support in your golf shoe, then you might turn to a more traditional offering. If you are looking for light shoes that are a viable option to those being created by mainstream companies, then HoK might be the right fit.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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