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Review: Vesti Ascendi Apparel

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Pros: One of the most comfortable and wearable garments in its category. The Vesti Ascendi shirt and tie will help you to make a statement, both on and off the course.

Cons: While Vesti Ascendi is surprisingly comfortable, the dress shirt is not designed to accommodate a golfer on a hot summer day. Some golfers aren’t prepared to ditch their casual golfing attire in favor of a more sophisticated look, or pay the price tag associated with that style.

Bottom Line: If you possess an adventurous spirit, the Vesti Ascendi brand of shirts and ties will not disappoint you with it’s great fit and bold style. Give your favorite short-sleeve polo shirt a day off and golf like a gentleman.

Overview

A shirt and tie, as much at home in a boardroom on Madison Avenue as on a golf course in Madison, Wisconsin; that’s the premise behind Vesti Ascendi, an up-and-coming apparel label founded by Ryan Heiman a little over a year ago.

Heiman is not a fashion designer by trade. He isn’t skilled with a needle and thread. He makes a living as a Lutheran Pastor, and his love of golf (and its traditions) derive from his childhood days picking up the game from his father. The idea of Vesti Ascendi — latin for “dress up” — was a solution to a problem: how to seamlessly transition from the office to the course for a quick nine without having to carry around an extra set of clothes.

“I started really sketching and going after it January of 2013, after visiting the PGA Show,” Heiman said. “I walked and looked at every apparel booth that was there and realized that my idea wasn’t represented.”

To come up with the concept, Heiman critiqued his own wardrobe, studying both dress shirts and polos. He systematically picked apart both things he liked and didn’t like until he had a list of features he felt would enable his shirt to function for the golf swing while maintaining the sophistication and formality of his everyday workwear.

Working with a manufacturer in Peru, Heiman went through six prototypes before signing off on a finished product.

“Since I don’t sew myself, I had to work closely with an apparel designer and the factory to get the specs to where I wanted,” Heiman said. “The retention straps on my sleeves, for instance, they did those wrong on the first four shirts.”

The retention straps, as mentioned by Heiman, allow you to roll up the sleeves and hold them in place for a more casual look. It also allows the shirt to be worn on warmer days.

A Vesti Ascendi shirt is made from 95 percent Peruvian cotton and 5 percent spandex, allowing for plenty of stretch. The shirt’s forgiveness is further accentuated by a seamless extension pleat that replaces the traditional yoke between the shoulder blades.

As for the tie itself, no, it doesn’t flap in the breeze. A clever, patent-pending “tie rail” uses an elastic strap and button system to secure it in place. To the uninitiated, the Vesti Ascendi look must seem like an overly-complicated garment to slip into for a round of golf. Trust me, I felt the same way at first. But once you have it on and start waggling the club, you’ll quickly forget why you believed it was a contrivance in the first place.

Performance

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The Vesti Ascendi dress shirt is as comfortable as any polo I have ever worn. At no time did I feel it was impeding on my ability to swing a club or distracting me on the putting green. The length of the sleeves felt just right and there’s extra room in the chest, perhaps just a touch more than I would like. The contrasting pima-cotton collar is extra soft and is devoid of any tags might rub up against the skin.

The Peruvian cotton yarn used in the shirts is rugged enough to withstand being washed the hundreds of times golfers will expect, and is highly resistant to fading or shrinking. The shirt does wrinkle easily; it’s not a grab off the hanger and dash-to-the-course, polyester-blend polo you might be accustomed to wearing.

You may be thinking to yourself that Vesti Ascendi is a gimmick, that it’s designed to amuse golfers who like to throw on a pair of knickers and play a round or two with hickory-shafted clubs in an exhibition for the thrill of it. Rest assured, it’s not.

Two separate high schools, one in California and the other in Minnesota, have partnered with Heiman to outfit their varsity golf teams. If Vesti Ascendi is good enough for structured competition, surely it’s good enough for your five-dollar nassau games on Sunday with the boys.

Looks and Feel

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The Vesti Ascendi line offers three different shirt styles: white, grey and light blue with coordinating ties. The shirts are currently on sale for $100 (normally $150) and are available in limited quantities. Each shirt and tie that is purchased arrives with a custom-made Vesti Ascendi-branded wooden hanger and a handwritten note by Heiman; an unexpected and welcome nicety.

The shirts can be worn tucked, or untucked, and with or without the tie. I personally prefer the more the refined look and I recommend coordinating your Vesti Ascendi shirt with a pair of dark trousers from Dunning or Matte Grey. For a little more pop, go ahead and treat yourself to one of the unique Jacob Hill leather belts designed exclusively for Vesti Ascendi and sold directly through Heiman’s website.

On cooler days I pair my dress shirt with either a contrasting merino wool vest or cardigan. It’s a look that The Hawk would definitely approve, and is on a short list of inspiring styles that Heiman channeled into the Vesti Ascendi brand.

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The Takeaway

Heiman is a savvy guy. He didn’t launch Vesti Ascendi with the absurd hope of connecting with and swaying the flat-bill crowd to embrace a more sophisticated look.

“My success model is probably different than a lot of companies,” Heiman said. “I don’t mind being small and doing something unique.

“I see it as a niche brand, not something mainstream that will be available at every pro shop. I’d like to see it be available at some of the private clubs or resort destinations where customers are looking to take something home that isn’t necessarily another polo with a Nike logo sewn on it.”

Realistically, is Vesti Ascendi appropriate for a casual round at your local muni, or to be worn on a sweltering day in the middle of July? Perhaps not. But it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from the pack if you’re competing in your club championship or celebrating an outing on Father’s Day, or making a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Scotland. If you find yourself in any of those situations consider ditching the big logos, the engineered stripes and the bright colorways.

The phrase, “golf like a gentleman,” isn’t just a motto Heiman plumbed from the annals of golf history to sell shirts; it’s also a good piece of advice.

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Rusty Cage is a contributing writer for GolfWRX, one of the leading publications online for news, information and resources for the connected golfer. His articles have covered a broad spectrum of topics - equipment and apparel reviews, interviews with industry leaders, analysis of the pro game, and everything in between. Rusty's path into golf has been an unusual one. He took up the game in his late thirties, as suggested by his wife, who thought it might be a good way for her husband to grow closer to her father. The plan worked out a little too well. As his attraction to the game grew, so did his desire to take up writing again after what amounted to 15-year hiatus from sports journalism dating back to college. In spite of spending over a dozen years working in the technology sector as a backend programmer in New York City, Rusty saw an opportunity with GolfWRX and ran with it. A graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor's in journalism, Rusty's long term aspirations are to become one of the game's leading writers, rising to the standard set by modern-day legends like George Peper, Mark Frost and Dan Jenkins. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: August 2014 Fairway Executive Podcast Interview http://golfindustrytrainingassociation.com/17-rusty-cage-golf-writer (During this interview I discuss how golf industry professionals can leverage emerging technologies to connect with their audience.)

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. J

    May 25, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Meh… 150.00 price tag for a startup….

    Get some credibility first.

  2. vegasgolfandsneakers

    May 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Sounds like a bad spinoff to Alial Fital.

  3. 3 putts

    May 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Who wouldn’t want to wear a shirt and tie when it’s 80+ out. Talk about getting some sideways looks, haha. This seems like an epic fail to me.

  4. marcel

    May 21, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    the tie is nice touch – with the tennis ball at the end would make it nice practice equipment.

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Apparel Reviews

On the course? Off the course? Adidas’ new adicross line has you covered

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Furthering golfwear’s trend toward the more casual and versatile in a big way, Adidas today unveiled a new line extension: Adicross.

Urban inspired. Decidedly non-traditional. The Adicross line (styled “adicross”) leverages Adidas’ clothing and footwear styles from other arenas and reimagines them for wear on the fairway. Available December 1, the line brings Anorak jackets, henleys, hoodies, joggers, and even an Oxford to the golf course.

And before you clutch your saddle shoes in terror, remember, this is a line extension targeting a particular segment of the golfing population, not a total change of course for the entire Adidas Golf brand. If you’re wondering who represents the segment in question, think Erik Anders Lang: filmmaker, irrepressible golf enthusiast, and host of Skratch TV’s Adventures in Golf.

Lang hosted a launch event in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District warehouse space where he sat down with Adidas execs and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for a chat about the new line. He praised the performance aspects of the five-pocket pant and the footwear styles, in particular.

As for golf’s top-ranked player, regarding the Adicross line, DJ told us the line is much more in keeping with stuff he’d actually wear than the baggy shirts and khakis that were the uniform of golf when he started out on tour.

“This is a line that I’ll wear all the time,” Johnson said. “I can wear it to the course and then go meet some buddies for lunch, and I’m not a walking poster for golf.”

From the Stretch-Woven Oxford, to the jogger pant, to the Adicross Bounce footwear, every item Dustin Johnson wears in picture below is intended for both on- and off-course wear.

“Adicross is the lifestyle brand that golfers everywhere have been waiting for,” said the world No. 1. “This is something that I’ll wear when I’m traveling to a tournament, practicing at home, or even headed to the gym.”

The aforementioned versatility of the Adicross line is very much a function of the materials: No-show sweat wicking technology, nylon-spandex blends (featured in the five-pocket pant and short), Primeknit (featured in Icon Polo and Jacket). These are clothes that are ready to wear to the office, but stretch, are light enough, and offer enough comfort to play 18 holes in.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves to design a line that would aid in helping athletes in their game, their life and in their world,” said Chad Alasantro, senior designer, men’s apparel at adidas Golf. “adicross is a perfect blend of hidden technology, fused with a creative aesthetic.”

 

The Adicross line also boldly brings street-inspired footwear to the golf course, retooling Adidas’ ultrapopular Bounce design to support the foot and grip the turf during the golf swing (and resist water during dew-sweeping early morning rounds)

“Adicross was designed as a result of the feedback we were hearing from our core consumer,” said Dylan Moore, Creative Director, Adidas Golf. “Like everyone else, golfers live in a complex, busy world with many diverse interests. They expect more from less and demand performance out of what they wear.”

The centerpiece Bounce features an ergonomic fit, offset wrapped saddle with multiple eyelet rows for customizable lacing, and a non-marking adiwear rubber spikeless outsole that features 181 strategically-placed lugs for a green-friendly grip.

The Bounce will be released in January, and additional styles will follow in February.

Regarding said “additional styles,” you can spot a few in this promo video. 

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Apparel Reviews

Review: Nike Flyknit Elite golf shoes

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OK. Let’s discuss the elephant in the Flyknit Elite golf shoe room straight away: A percentage of golfers will never wear a high-top golf shoe, regardless of how well it performs. Likewise, a percentage of golfers will not wear sneaker-style golf shoes.

If you don’t find yourself in one of the groups above, however, beyond aesthetics, the Flyknit Elite presents a viable option if you’re already a Flyknit wearer in other shoes, or are looking for lightweight spikeless shoe with ankle support (and more ankle support than the Flyknit Chukka offers).

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Appearing on the global sports scene during the Sochi Olympics, Flyknit footwear featuring Flyknit technology has been a fixture in other sports for the past few years. The Swoosh brought the TPU yarn technology and high-strength support fibers to golf footwear with the Flyknit Chukka and Flyknit Elite to market in June.

The tech is aimed at offering lightweight support, and the precision weave allows targeted areas to stretch and others to support. The company indicated the concept was born out of “runners a shoe with the snug (and virtually unnoticed) fit of a sock.” Breathability is the hallmark of the knit upper, and the sock-like, mid-height collar prevents debris from entering the shoe.

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While the shoes aren’t waterproof, they do have what Nike calls “dew protection” along the upper’s edge to keep feet dry in wet grass. Obviously, another element of the Flyknit imperative is to use fewer materials is less overall waste, for which our landfills thank us.

The sole, of which a picture is worth more than a thousand words, features what Nike calls an Integrated Traction pattern, which offers a grip at least commensurate with any spikeless offering.

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For this review, I was sent the Flyknit Elites in the Black/Clear Jade/Glacier Blue/White colorway. Two other colorways, pictured below, are also available. The shoes come in sizes 7-12, with half sizes in-between, as well as sizes 13 and 14, and sell for $270.

Here’s the essential question for potential purchasers of the Flyknit Elite: There are bulkier shoes on the marketplace with more stability. There are spike-laden shoes on the marketplace that offer more traction. However, to get a lighter shoe with the Flyknit’s performance and aesthetic characteristics, is that trade off worth it?

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Below is a quote from Nike Staffer Jamie Lovemark about the shoes. And yes, he’s paid by Nike, but he could also be wearing the more traditional Lunar Control line of shoes as he plays for his daily bread.

“I always have guys come up to me and ask about (the shoes),” Lovemark said. “They always want to know if they have spikes on them and if the traction is good, which has never been an issue for me with these shoes. Plus, I like the fact that they have a different look. There’s nothing wrong with standing out when you’re on the course.”

No doubt you’ll stand out. And in giving these shoes a spin, there is likewise no doubt that they are lighter and more fitted to the foot than any offering I’ve come across personally. There’s also more of a feeling of rootedness or connectedness with the ground than many spikeless models offer.

Ultimately, the Flyknit Elite is an athletic shoe you can comfortably and capably play golf in, while, you know, having a commendable shoe game, if that’s your thing.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”102″]

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Apparel Reviews

Review: Biion Golf Shoes

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Pros: Comfortable, lightweight and distinctive. Biion shoes are a unique option for those looking for a splash of color in their wardrobe. Considering all of their five shoe styles, there are a total of 50 different colorways available — a dream come true for golf fashion lovers.

Cons: Despite their unique design and wide variety of colorways, some feel that the looks of the Biion shoes are a bit too aggressive for their tastes. For a smaller group, the barefoot sensation was unfavorable.

Who They’re For: Biion’s blend of traditional aesthetics with modern polymer technology is unlike any other in the golf shoe market. If you are the “trendsetter” in your weekly foursome, it’s worth considering the many options offered by Biion.

What you need to know about Biion

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When the founders of Biion Footwear started their company, they sought to mix comfort and versatility into a shoe that truly stood out. They settled on a spikeless, slip-on design made entirely of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), a lightweight and rubber-like material similar to that of Crocs sandals.

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Functionally, EVA is a great choice of material, as it’s not only soft but also resilient, meaning that it will form to your foot during a round without permanently deforming afterwards. In addition, EVA is highly water resistant, meaning that even after a long, hot day on the course, the shoes won’t absorb your sweat (e.g. unlike a pair of boat shoes). The shoe did pick up dirt and grass stains fairly easily due to its low profile and all white upper, which would be a problem if not for the EVA construction, which can simply be hosed down or thrown in the wash in between rounds.

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Intended to be worn without socks, Biion shoes also feature patterns of small holes all throughout their upper surfaces. This feature, along with the tiny bumps lining the inner sole called “nodes,” works to enhance airflow and breathability while also providing “a therapeutic massage with every step.”

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Appearance

Offered in five different styles (Classics, Saddles, Brights, Wingtips, Patterns), each with nearly 10 different color combinations, it is definitely hard to pick one favorite. My two favorite pairs are the black-and-pink “Brights,” and the white-and-blue Brights, but I ultimately settled on the white version for this review.

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One key point I found was that, in order to be worn properly without socks, one should go down a size from their typical golf shoe size. So if you wear a 10, try Biions in a 9.

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Performance

Unless I’ve been doing something wrong this entire time, I would guess that I am like most golfers in that I don’t often play in rubber-like shoes, without socks. After getting used to this new sensation by playing a few rounds in the shoes, I found myself mostly impressed with how they performed. The EVA construction makes for a firm, yet cushioned insole, with the massage nodes being noticeably helpful in keeping ones feet from getting too hot.

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Due to the low profile of the shoe, I could easily feel the slope in the greens, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my feet were sufficiently supported in pretty much all lies. The one exception to this is that, depending on your course conditions or how off-line you’re hitting the ball, you may find yourself having to dump sand or wet rough clippings out of your shoes often because of the “holey” design of the shoe.

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And while I’m not so sure about those of you with 115-mph club head speeds, I can say that I certainly never felt like I was on the verge of “swinging out of my shoes” (literally). As I said earlier, playing golf with this kind of shoe on is a fairly significant change for most golfers. Within the extent of the rounds I played (one with, one without a cart) with the Biion shoes, I really enjoyed the fit and performance. That being said, a small group did say that the overall feel is just a tad too far out of left field for them. For such an extreme design, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Overall, the reviews were favorable among those I asked.

Takeaway

With an MSRP of $99, Biion golf shoes aren’t a bad option for those who look to add something new and different into their golf wardrobe. While their looks may not be for everyone, especially purists, the shoes offer a different approach to golf footwear that ought to be given a try.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”100″]

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