When I used to work at my local driving range as a teenager, I saw a good number of customers come through the shop to get their tokens, grab their balls, find a mat to their liking, plop down their bag...
...and take off their shoes.
It might seem strange, but a number of customers loved to practice barefoot. It wasn't because the mats felt like carpet. Hardly. Rather, time and again, barefooted patrons told me they felt like they had more control of their swing with their feet truly on the ground.
It's that kind of thinking that inspired TRUE Linkswear to make great shoes with the primary aim of keep as little space between you and the fairway (or the rough, sand or even water, if you're feeling froggy). The comfort is outstanding, but one-ness with the turf is first.
There's also been a movement in broader active footwear to bring people closer to the ground when they're running, hiking and traversing terrain. That's where Vivo Barefoot came in, sensing that they might be able to have an impact on golf with their commitment to letting feet do what they do best.
After an initial effort, the company has come out with a new golf shoe, called the Linx, that is somewhat reminiscent of the TRUE lines.
The Linx is a basic-looking shoe, coming in two appealing colorways: red-white-blue and black. They're good looks that work with most anything you wear above them on the course.
The upper is water-resistent, but not waterproof, and, like with any low-profile shoe, the morning dew and other water has a way of seeping into the shoe from above. However, during your typical round, there's no issues with water. There are also no issues with sweat and moisture inside the shoe. The Linx has a removable pad inside the shoe which helps keep feet cool when it's warm.
The shoe fits comfortably, but it lacks the amount of padding you'll typically find in a TRUE shoe. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you need arch support, look elsewhere. However, it's evident from first wear that the shoe sacrifices some padding for getting a few millimeters closer to the ground. Despite that, the shoes sports Outlast material, akin to what's in the Puma Golf Titan Tour shoes, which are my go-to spiked shoe right now. The total package is incredibly light, which is great for a summer day when it seems like everything weighs you down on the course.
Linx offers good traction, with its nub pattern pointing away from the inside of the shoe. The nubs are long enough to stand up to plenty of wears and most any length of fairway grass.
However, with a $160 price tag, it's a pretty big hit in the wallet for these shoes, especially when you can snag comparable pairs of competitors for less. If you're deterred by the asking price, you may still be able to work VivoBarefoot into your golf shoe rotation. These shoes are said to be for everyday wear, as well use on off-road trails -- in other words, an all-purpose shoe. Other VivoBarefoot shoes, not specifically marketed for golf, are cheaper and some have similar nub patterns that could work on the course.
JOIN GNN PLUS AS AN ANNUAL MEMBER & YOU'LL GET:
- A FREE USGA handicap ($30 value, annual members only)
- Entry into member-only giveaways
- Special discounts and member benefits
- An ad-free experience
- Equipment testing data
- Exclusive fantasy golf and betting research