If you know of relative newcomer TRUE linkswear, it’s probably due to their relationship with Ryan Moore (he’s part-owner of the company), or simply the unorthodox look of their line of shoes. With their line of “barefoot” shoes, they offer one of not just the most, ahem, unique-looking designs, but also the thinnest outsole in golf, which will allow you to feel the course more than any of its competitors. If you can get past the design of the original shoe, the TRUE tour, you’ll find a shoe that is incredibly light, comfortable, all at a reasonable price.
Retail price: $129
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The TRUE tour (no, that’s not a typo – for some reason they use all caps for the company name and don’t capitalize the product name) has a shape that makes it look like the golf shoe Bozo the clown might wear, due to the combination of large toe box and the roll/post toe, which is reminiscent of Keen hiking shoes (which, by the way, are among the most comfortable hiking shoes around). Adding to the craziness are some of the color combinations in which the TRUE tour is offered – blue/white/red (we’re all for patriotism, but you’re kidding, right?) and white/red (click on the image to the right to see additional photos of the different color options). We chose white with brown side detail for our pair of TRUE tour shoes. Additional color combinations are white with either black or white accents, black with white accents, or all black (recent updates to the shoe continue to offer even more color choices). With the exception of the clown shoes, the sole matches the center color accents of the shoe.
Even though the shoe looks a bit goofy to us, if you have the game to wear a tie and vest while playing, you can probably pull off wearing this shoe as a fashion statement (Ryan Moore most often wears the TRUE stealth model). But we don’t. The looks don’t stop us from wearing this shoe on the course, but it’s fairly unlikely we’re going to keep the TRUEs on when we hit the local bar on our way home. Mrs. Critical Golf said this shoe “looks horrible.” Much to her dismay, our decision-making process when selecting shoes isn’t based on looks, but rather what we find comfortable. She also asked, after seeing “TRUE” stamped on the left shoe (and not knowing the company name), if the right shoe said “FALSE.” Which, strangely enough, seemed like a logical question. The TRUEs come with two pairs of laces – in our case, white and brown.
CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY
Our test pair of TRUEs weren’t up to par in construction, with the left shoe featuring some serious puckering of the leather uppers at the toe of the shoe due to very poor stitching. We were somewhat surprised that they made it through TRUE quality control. It doesn’t impact the feel of the shoe, and hasn’t seemed to affect wear, but the build quality of the shoe wasn’t at the level it should be. We returned to the store to swap them for another pair, but unfortunately there weren’t any more in stock in the appropriate size – bummer.
The rubber on the TRUE tour shoe soles will undoubtedly wear faster if you keep them on while off the course, but we don’t expect most purchasers will do so. The rubber soles feel relatively soft, so our guess is that they would wear faster, but we haven’t noticed this to date.
The TRUE sole pattern isn’t a simple grid-like pattern, but rather features square “spikes” at the front of the sole, bars at the edges of the sole and running across the base of the boot, and smaller bars toward the heel of the shoe.
The TRUE tours come with a 1-year waterproof guarantee. In addition, the shoe has “temperature control lining,” though we can’t say that we noticed difference, temperature-wise, versus the other shoes we tested. The tongue is attached to the shoe underneath the insole of the shoe (okay, technically it’s attached to the insole, since what everybody calls an insole is technically called a sockliner…but what are we…shoe nerds?), so it in effect creates a sleeve that you slip your foot into. Comfy!
The TRUEs feel as if they are much more shaped to the foot through the heel and middle of the foot, but with a much wider (and also taller) toe box.
COMFORT AND ON-COURSE USE
You can tell the TRUE tours are a completely different golf shoe from the get-go, and this holds true throughout the round. As the only golf shoe with no midsole, the TRUE tour puts your feet just a bit closer to the ground. More importantly, the sole becomes extremely flexible – you can pick up a pair and easily twist and bend the shoe in half at the mid-point of the sole (as opposed to only near the toe, which is the case with most other golf shoes). Without the midsole, you’ll feel the course far more than you have with any golf shoe you’ve worn in the past. It’s somewhat an unusual feeling initially…and one we enjoyed. We’re not going to go so far as to say it feels like you are playing barefoot, but it is clear that there is the least amount of material between your foot and the ground of any golf shoe on the market.
We don’t know if we were influenced by TRUE marketing propaganda, er, material, that claimed at the time of purchase that the TRUE tour is the lightest golf shoe worn on the PGA tour, but as soon as we put them on we could tell they were light. The scale backed that up…TRUE tour shoes came in at 1.6 lbs. for the pair, which while when initially released was the lightest tested, now falls average within our test group.
The TRUE tour curls slightly upwards at the toe. This creates a slightly different sensation from most shoes that have a flat insole at the front of the foot, but we found that we didn’t notice this once we started play. We find that the wider toe box keeps the feet more comfortable throughout the round than shoes of more traditional form. And while we expected to have exhausted feet after a round without a midsole to provide support (we don’t spend much time barefoot or in flip-flops), our feet felt fine. They generally are a bit more tired than when we play in other shoes, but we haven’t played with the TRUEs for a full season yet, so perhaps over time our feet will adjust to playing without a midsole. There is a lot of us that is out of shape…and perhaps we need to add the bottom of our feet to the list as well.
The retail price for the TRUE tour is a fairly reasonable $129 (down from $159). It’s a great buy, particularly since the shoes are waterproof to boot. While we prefer the looks of many of the other shoes we tested, we found the TRUE tours to be more comfortable throughout, both due to the wider toe box and lack of midsole. In the TRUE tour, you’ll feel the course unlike any other golf shoe.