Ten years after first introducing the Tour360 concept, adidas Golf unveiled the latest generation of their flagship shoe, the Tour360 Boost, which marks several firsts for the line.
The shoe, now available in stores in limited quantities ahead of a broader Jan. 8, 2016, full release, introduces the Boost padding concept into the line for the first time. With Boost proving so successful and important throughout the company, the golf side first brought out shoes with the proprietary fused-popcorn padding at the start of the year. The models proved so successful that bringing back the Tour360 practically demanded Boost was a part of it.
That choice led to a first-time compromise for the line, with the Tour360 Boost being the first model of eight ever produced not to have a separate toe and heel outsole. After testing performance in the field, the data showed the adidas team that a full-length TPU outsole performed better and was a must.
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The result is a dual-density outsole, with 10 cleats and a series of CenTraXion nubs for additional traction, serving as one slice of a sandwich that houses separate Boost padding for the toe and heel sections of the shoe. Another thin TPU piece on top of the Boost padding completes the compartment. The look is a little odd at first, with a noticeable gap between the 360 midsole wrap, which is the namesake of the shoe, and the outsole. Engineers suggested what could be dubbed a bridge piece has flexibility which actually improves the shoe's performance by some 15 percent on lateral movement testing machines, while keeping mud, dirt and grass out of the gap.
The Tour360 Boost also has a S-curve shape in the heel designed to fit with the natural contours of the foot for improved fit and preventing the kind of digging that golf shoes can do when the heel shape doesn't match with a player's foot. On the inside, etc lining material helps regulate moisture and temperature. A two-piece tongue is designed to improve fit and closure by adapting to top of the foot.
The waterproof leather upper introduces a premium look for the $200 shoe, with the initial colorway of red, white and black harkening back to the original 2005 shoe. Five additional colorways will come alone in January, along with the $30 option of a Boa closure system, which represents a collaboration between the two companies for a first-of-its-kind fit.
After the introduction on Thursday night at Terranea Resort, 45 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles, we put the shoes to the test on the resort's nine-hole par-3 course, the incredible Links at Terranea, in conditions fitting of a field test. The morning brought gail-force winds off the Pacific, visible from most holes of the well-designed short course, and, at times, sideways rain. So, there was mud, soft ground, slippery wet concrete -- all the kinds of things a great golf shoe is built to handle.
The Tour360 Boost feels great out of the box. There's no need for breaking them in. They fit well for folks, like me, with wide feet, while not looking either balky or too pointy, which was a criticism that was lobbed about the adipower Boost spiked model from earlier in the year. The styling is appealing without looking too sporty.
On the course, the shoes handled the soft conditions well, not digging in too much, making it pretty easy to get around the greens and tee boxes. When it came to the particularly slick concrete paths between holes, the shoes slipped ever so slightly going uphill, which was a whole lot better than falling flat on my face, an outcome possible in other shoes. On flat and downhill paths, the shoes did great, surprising me in places where I thought I was sure to slip. Despite the rain and the soft conditions, my feet stayed dry and felt great throughout the round.
As we got through our second loop around the nine-hole course, the middle of my right foot started to hurt a little bit. That's not unique to this shoe -- it happens with a flat arch -- but there is a concern that the split Boost padding, even with the flexible TPU bridge, may influence that some. The Boa enclosure system may well eliminate any potential issues there, but your feet will vary.
After playing 18 holes, albeit short ones, my feet didn't feel tired and the Tour360 Boosts never felt heavy on the feet, which is something that you could say in the past. Boost, being both comfortable and lightweight, allowed adidas designers to avoid a compromise of performance and feel.
At the high end of golf shoes, not having to make a compromise is a must. The adidas Tour360 Boost represents a deserving addition to what is now a decade-old line. This new generation continues in search of the perfect fit, blending in with Boost what has been winning technology for the company, to put together a well-performing shoe that advances the category.