I ran across a press release about TRUE linkswear golf shoes and was intrigued by their ‘Barefoot Platform’ so I contacted the company. After getting in touch with their President, Rob Rigg, ex-Nike, I was convinced that this shoe would fit the Minimalist Lifestyle discussed in my book, The Minimalist Runner.
The Dallas-based company consists of passionate golfers and earlier this year, pro-golfer Ryan Moore invested in the company and helped them perfect their Ergo-Traction outsole.
TRUE has removed the midsole and spikes thus allowing the golfer to feel the course like never before – less than 10mm from the ground. This allows a golfer to read the greens and to feel the texture of sand in bunkers.
The Barefoot Platform has a toe box that allows your toes to function individually. Awesome stuff that also applies to runners so I had to check it out!
The flexible outsole and cushioned foot bed allow your feet to work naturally during the golf swing while the TPU Ergo-Traction tread maximizes surface contact and grip. And of course, waterproofing (with one year guarantee) keeps your feet dry all day long.
In two days, the shoes arrived – TRUE original back upper with white saddle and white sole, full grain waterproof leather upper, and it came with two sets of laces (black and white). The wonderful memory foam in the heel cup gives a custom fit (personalization) and the fitted sock liner creates optimal comfort. The upper is really comfortable. I could wear this shoe without the shoes laces tied. And the shoe is good looking!
Now let’s go back to my point about the Minimalist Lifestyle. Golf pros and serious players wear them while travelling on airplanes, while driving your car, enjoying the local scene and dining, morning exercise and run, and of course, golfing – all activities in a single pair of shoes. And I can see myself doing that even though I’m not a golfer!
One thing that I noticed immediately when I took the shoes out of the box – a pretty high toe spring – worried that it might incorrectly lift my toes off the ground. I put the shoes on and it felt like I’m standing on the balls of my feet. But after I walked for about 3 miles and jogged in the wet grass (its waterproof) for a few minutes, the shoe really felt comfortable. And the toe spring did not bother me – ultimate test is a real run.
The high toe spring is for the benefit of the golfer as the optimal weight distribution is between the ball of the foot and the heel. As the golfer begins their downswing, it is easy to push off from the back foot by “grinding” the ball into the ground as they transfer weight from back foot to front foot. On the front foot, the wide platform and slightly raised toe encourages the golfer to get their weight on the outside of the foot and really dig in the heel.
The next day, I ran about 4 miles on a tartan track on the Tour without socks. I think this is the almost perfect transitioning or bridging shoe between traditional running shoes and minimalist shoes! It is so comfortable with cushioning, almost zero differential, and perfect for someone who wants to transition slowly without going to a true minimal shoe immediately. I took the later route and there are pros and cons for the strategy chosen. But for the masses of recreational runners, take it slowly – details in my book.
I probably ran longer than I should with a new pair of golf shoes. The toebox is wide enough but probably should be higher because I did get a blister on my little toe on the right foot. My running partner did notice that I was modifying my form and stride because of the cushioning and hitting the ground harder. And maybe the high toe spring is affecting my running form. My thighs and calves will tell me if I worked them more in the next few days.
Other than the blister, it was a great run in a pair of awesome and comfortable golf shoe! This would never have been possible without innovators and risk takers like TRUE linkswear. Who would have thought of running in golf shoes, ever?
The aforementioned 10mm consists of the Ergo-Traction sole with a 4mm tread, a 2.5mm outsole, and a 3mm sock liner. I wish the sock liner is removable (it’s integrated with the tongue) like the Vivobarefoot Ultra.
If TRUE linkswear is to make a running shoe (TRUE Run?) based on their Barefoot Platform, there are a few minor things that they will have to correct – minimal or no toe spring, cut the weight to about half, and thin out the outsole (remove the 4mm thread) for better proprioception. And I’ll be first in line to pre-order!
*Product provided by TRUE linkswear (MSRP $160).
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