I’ve talked about the TRUE Linkswear TRUE Tours shoes several times on this site. Back in September I previewed their debut shoe line-up. And at last month’s PGA Show, I gave everybody an update on their upcoming styles. But now, after having played several rounds and walked numerous miles in my pair of TRUE Tours, I’m finally ready to post my review.
As I mentioned in my post about the TRUE Linkswear booth at the PGA Show, Rob Rigg, TRUE Linkswear’s President, set me up with a pair of TRUE Tours. I wore them all around the show, probably walking 10 or more miles. There was clearly a lot of buzz in the air as a number of people stopped me to ask if I was wearing the new “Ryan Moore” shoes.
Ryan Moore is one of the co-founders and co-owners of TRUE Linkswear, but the shoe design itself is the brainchild of Sean Edison (CEO) and Rob Rigg. Sean was playing at a local course in the Dallas area when he met a golfer that was wearing Vibram Five Fingers on the course.
He recognized the potential to bridge a “barefoot” shoe like the Vibrams with traditional golf shoes, bringing the benefits of both to golfers. He showed an initial sketch to Rob and TRUE Linkswear was born.
Make no mistake about it, the TRUE Tours are a “barefoot” shoe. When you first try them on it almost feels like you’re leaning backwards on your heel. That’s because the TRUE Tours provide a flat surface for your feet (just like being barefoot) rather than pushing your heels up and shifting your weight forward to your toes like traditional golf shoes.
The TRUE Tours also feature a wider-than-normal toe box. This gives your toes room to flare out a bit, just like they would when barefoot. Additionally, the shoes feature a very thin and flexible outsole (2.5mm) without a traditional midsole.
The midsole is where traditional shoes provide “support”. As I’ve talked about before, there’s a strong case to be made that the “support” that many shoes provide is actually the cause of a number of the foot/knee/hip/back problems that people experience. By leaving out the traditional midsole, the TRUE Tours allow your feet to work as they’re designed. It also makes them extremely comfortable.
A couple of Nike reps that I played golf with in Orlando asked me if the lack of structure made my feet hurt. I just laughed and asked them if walking around barefoot made their feet hurt. The best way I can describe the TRUE Tours is to say that they feel like a pair of slippers with traction. They are extremely comfortable.
After walking around at the show, I knew the shoes felt great but I was concerned about traction and waterproofness. I’ve now played over half a dozen rounds in both wet and dry conditions and can vouch that the spike-less design provides excellent traction and my feet stayed completely dry. The other nice thing is that the tread design doesn’t seem to pick up a lot of grass and leaves (I was always getting leaves stuck to my feet with my Adipures).
The spike-less design also has the benefit of letting you wear the shoes before and after your round. Yes, you’ll wear out the tread faster, but it’s very convenient to be able to wear your shoes straight to the course and out and about after the round. This is also a killer feature for PGA professionals that are constantly walking back and forth between the pro-shop/range/course.
Are the TRUE Tours perfect? Well, I do have a few hang-ups. The first is the price. They retail for $159, placing them on the upper end of the golf shoe market. Why is it that as shoes become more “barefoot”, they seem to cost more money?
Right now, TRUE Linkswear is a new shoe brand. So hopefully as the demand for these shoes increases, they will be able to capture economies of scale, decrease their per-unit cost and pass that savings on to consumers. I do think they’re a good value at $159 but many people aren’t going to spend that much on a pair of shoes.
The second point is a bit of a minor quibble. The rubber used on the out-sole squeaks on hardwood floors. It’s not a big deal but it’s something that I’ve noticed when wearing my shoes out after a round of golf. And my final issue is more of a warning for people really hung up on keeping their shoes new looking. My TRUE Tours have a black sole, but I’m told that the white soled versions will eventually turn yellow-brown after a few rounds.
All in all, the TRUE Tours are one of the most comfortable and best performing golf shoes that I’ve ever worn. They’ve displaced my Adidas Adipures as my “go-to” golf shoe. And it’s apparent that I’m not alone in that opinion.
TRUE Linkswear has been running through inventory on their website every time they get a new shipment. The PGA Tour Superstore has started stocking them at select locations and Golfsmith is now carrying them online and in select stores.
TRUE Linkswear isn’t resting on their laurels though. They’ll be releasing a white/brown saddle model in April along with 2 new Stealth models that provide a more low-key solid black or brown color design. They’re also working on a very limited edition Masters shoe that looks really great. Update: You can view my review of the Stealths here.
If you’re in the market for new golf shoes and can swing the price tag, the TRUE Tours definitely deserve a hard look.
You can buy TRUE Linkswear shoes here from Golfsmith. If you do, it helps keep the lights on around here. Thanks. – Derek