If the temperature is above 60 degrees, I wear flip-flops. From March until October, sometimes November, I wear flip-flops. I like to let my feet breathe.
However, flip-flops aren't really an option when I play golf. Sure, I can wear them on the range, but I've never been able to find a pair of golf sandals that I actually like to wear on the course. And I've tried three or four pairs over the years. Past pairs have either led to slippers, a bad fit or both. By the time the round is over, I've regretted wearing the sandals for at least 14 holes.
That's why I was excited last year when I learned of new golf sandals called Swannies. Four fresh-out-of-college kids from Minnesota (of all places) first glued a sandal onto some street-style golf spikes in hopes of developing a product that performs well and is comfortable. After a crowdfunding effort, the guys raised enough to get the shoes into production and seel them to the masses. When they landed on my doorstep, I was excited to try them. The only problem? A cold snap dropping temperatures into the 40s and 50s.
This week, though, the thermometer went back into flip-flop range and I took the Swannies for a test play at my home club.
The sandals are lightweight, but the polyurethane bottoms feel heavy enough that they can both grip the ground when needed and stay on your feet through the swing. The spikes are shaped like swan feet and they're all over the bottom of the sandal. The footbed is indented so your foot can fit in it and not slip out while swinging.
On top, the sandals are closed with a leather flap-based system using a velcro system. You can make the shoes as loose or tight as you'd like, though the key is really finding the spot where the flops lay comfortably at the base of your toes.
For the first few holes, I had to admit I wasn't happy. I was still trying to figure out the fit, and I had hit no balls ahead of time. Even though the sandals were comfortable, there was an adjustment to hitting in the Swannies. On the third hole, I had the fit figured out and felt fine making a swing that didn't seem gingerly compared to wearing golf shoes. The traction was good on all lies, but there was a mental block to playing golf and seeing my toes.
I tripped up a few times when I forgot that I was wearing sandals that could get caught walking up hills. You have to take slightly more conscientious steps wearing Swannies. That's not a problem.
You can also go from the course to the grill to most anywhere else in your Swannies. It's a nice option.
If I had one suggestion, I'd love to see a model that's more like a thong sandal. That's the style I prefer with my flip-flops and it could be fashioned to offer the same kind of give and stability as the Classic model.
At $69 per pair and available in black-black, blue-white and white-black styles, Swannies are a fun and comfortable change-up for a casual round.