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Review: Oakley Carbon Pro 2 Golf Shoes

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Pros: These offer the complete package: they’re comfortable, good-looking, unbelievably stable, totally waterproof and have great traction. No break-in period required, either.

Cons: They’re $200 a pair and only available in three colors on Oakley’s site: white, ivory and black.

Bottom Line: Oakley’s Carbon Pro 2’s are designed to meet the performance needs of the best golfers in the world, which they do splendidly. While they’re sporty golf shoes at heart, their tasteful styling makes them a fit for both younger, hipper crowds as well as traditionalists.

Overview

Now that you know Oakley makes golf shoes, here’s the next thing you need to know. The company’s most premium golf shoe, the Carbon Pro 2, was designed to be worn by two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson, who leads the PGA Tour in clubhead speed (and most likely turf destruction with his feet).

If you haven’t see a slow-motion video of how Watson’s feet move during his 125-mph swing, make sure to checkout the one below from the PGA Tour’s 2014 Waste Management Open.

[youtube id=”SyQ3ErB52yA” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Oakley designers reasoned that if they could build a shoe that helped Watson improve his footwork, then that shoe would likely help all golfers improve their footing, which technologies like force plates continue to prove can lead to more power and control. That’s why the Carbon Pro 2’s sits lower to the ground than any of Oakley’s previous cleated golf shoes — remember, a lower center of gravity improves stability — and use carbon fiber in their midsections to stiffen that area without the addition of too much weight.

The Carbon Pro 2’s weigh 16.74 ounces and have a two-year waterproof warranty. Their uppers are constructed of full grain leather, while their midsoles are made with compression-molded EVA. The outsoles include a high-traction TPU plate, which means that there are tons of little plastic nubs on the bottom of the shoe to help increase traction, as well as a nine-spike PINS system that is sold with Softspikes’ Pulsar cleats installed.

IMG_2591
Above: The Carbon Pro 2’s in white. 

They’re available for $200 in three colors on Oakley’s site: white, ivory and black. Sizes range from 7 to 12 in half-size increments, and sizes 13 and 14 are also available.

Fit and Feel

The most important part of buying (or in this case reviewing) a pair of golf shoes is the first part; when golfers try them on for the first time. What kind of golfers would wear shoes that didn’t feel good on their feet? I’d hope only a reviewer who needs to play several rounds in them for a story.

Luckily for me, the Carbon Pro 2’s were impressive right out of the box. I take a size 11.5 (U.S.) in most brands, although every once in a while I’ll need a size 12. The Carbon Pro 2’s were great fit in 11.5 and provided ample room in my biggest trouble spot, the toe box.

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Above: The Carbon Pro 2’s in black. 

Modern footwear design has led to almost all golf shoes feeling great out of the box, but there are a few things worth noting about the Carbon Pro 2’s that puts them in the upper echelon of comfort.

  • Many performance golf shoes have gotten so light in recent years that the materials that surround the foot have become extremely thin, making them feel more like a lightweight running shoe than a golf shoe. The Carbon Pro 2’s uppers are pretty thin at 1.35 millimeters, but they retain the plushness that I remember from some of my favorite older models. Needless to say, they’re much lighter.
  • The “Octo-Stick” liner inside the Carbon Pro 2 sounds gimmicky, but the simple silicon-coated insert does an excellent job of keeping the foot – and especially the heel – in place during walking, helping eliminate some of the friction that can cause blisters.
  • Oakley made the end of the Carbon Pro 2’s tongue out of a rubber-like material that’s lighter, softer and more stable than leather or knit materials, which keeps the tongue from wrinkling over time and allows it to sit flatter against the top of the foot when a shoe is tied. That adds to the stability of the shoe, which I’ll discuss more later in the review.
  • Yes, the Carbon Pro 2’s were really stable when I was swinging, but they were pretty responsive and comfortable when I was walking thanks to the grooves on the outsole that Oakley calls “Coreflex.” That makes walking 18 (or 36 holes) a lot more enjoyable.

Performance

Maybe the biggest compliment golfers can pay a shoe is that they hardly notice it.

Think about it: if your shoes don’t fit properly, you’re constantly fidgeting with your socks or the position of your foot to make your feet more comfortable. And if traction is an issue, you’ll be weary of debris in your spikes and the terrain you’re standing on. That’s a lot of wasted energy during the 4-or-so miles golfers walk each round and the 4-or-so hours they spend on the course.

It didn’t take too many holes for me learn that the Carbon Pro 2’s wouldn’t cause me those problems.

IMG_2593
Above: Oakley’s Octo-Stick is a silicon coating on the insole of the Carbon Pro 2 that limits foot movement to improve energy transfer and comfort. 

The first thing I noticed during testing was the stability I felt from the shoes when I was hitting full shots. My left foot, which as a right-handed golfer is the foot that I hit into during my downswing, resisted the “rolling and twisting” that I’ve experienced from some models. That made me feel more comfortable swinging my longer clubs, in particular my driver, as I’ve been known to slip from time to time.

Certainly the new spikes and fresh traction on the bottom of the shoes played a role, but the stability I enjoyed was about more than that. The Carbon Pro 2’s did an excellent job of wrapping around the midsection of my feet, keeping them more stable during my swing that any shoe I’ve ever tested.

Oakley Carbon Pro 2 Review
Above: Oakley uses real carbon fiber as part of its “Dynamic Motion Control” system to add stability to the shoe without adding too much weight.

It’s almost as though the Carbon Pro 2’s improve stability from the inside out. If your feet don’t move that much inside your shoes, then your shoes can’t move that much, right? The Carbon Pro 2’s are a testament to that.

But how are they in the rain?

In my last round with the Carbon Pro 2’s, I played 18 holes in a downpour. It was a nightmare that required rain gloves, a rain jacket and added permanent mud stains to the bottom of a perfectly good pair of pants, but it was a fitting conclusion to my testing procedure.

I wondered just how waterproof the Carbon Pro 2’s would be, and additionally, since my pair of shoes were white, how they would look after such a round. I’m happy to report that my feet were the only dry part of my body after 18 holes, and that the shoes were no worse for the wear.

carbonpro_2_14055_319_f_RGB_2_1800x1200_300_RGB
Above: The Carbon Pro 2’s in ivory. Notice how the outsole and upper portion of the shoe are bridged with protective materials that limit staining and help keep moisture outside the shoe. 

So how exactly could the conditions ruin a pair of pants and not stain my shoes? If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice the transition between the Carbon Pro 2’s outsole and the upper portion of the shoe is protected with stain-proof plastic, which gives the shoe a smooth, one-piece look. It also keeps mud and other debris from getting trapped in any crevices and staining an all-white pair of shoes.

Had mud made its way toward the Carbon Pro 2’s laces, it likely would have required a cleaning session to bring back the all-white look, but I was lucky to only have had a mud problems around the edges of their soles where the shoes are protected.

The Takeaway

These days, many golfers are interested in the versatility of spikeless golf shoes that they can wear to work or to dinner, and Oakley does make a few products in that category. I admit that I am fan of spikeless golf shoes and have really enjoyed their versatility in recent years, but the performance of the Carbon Pro 2’s has reinvigorated my interested in spiked models.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 1.03.02 PM

While most golfers will see their performance drop if they were to play golf with Bubba Watson’s driver, I’m willing to bet that many of them could actually benefit from wearing a pair of Watson’s golf shoes in the proper size, particularly if their shoes are starting to lose traction.

That’s why I’m encouraging golfers who think a little traction and stability might help their game to seek out a retailer with the Carbon Pro 2’s in stock and see if they fit you as well as they fit me.

If they pass that all-important test, I’m confident you’ll enjoy what they have to offer. If they don’t, well, I guess I’ll be hearing from you in the comments section below.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.oakley.com/en/carbon-pro-2/product/14055″ oemtext=”Learn more from Oakley” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OH9N9U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B008OH9N9U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=YXZ5A2WF36KU5SXC”]

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Coy

    Oct 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    $200 dollars, no thanks.

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  6. Grant

    Jul 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Can anyone speak to the volume of the shoe? I have a regular width foot, but a small volume foot (meaning I normally need to pull the laces so tight on my FJs that the inner and outer uppers touch and cover the tongue completely). Still looking for that “low volume” shoe. Could this be an option?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jul 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      I take either an 11.5 or 12 depending on the shoe, and an 11.5 was perfect for me. It was maybe even a touch longer than I needed, although that didn’t cause me any problems. So if you are usually an 11.5, you might be able to get away with an 11 without having to lace them too tight.

  7. tbowles411

    Jun 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    DNA’s are busting at the sides of the shoe. That’s a big no for me. I’ll give these a look!

  8. James

    Jun 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Loved the original carbon pros. Extremely comfortable and stable. Unfortunately the left one stopped being waterproof after 6 months so had to return them.
    Funny Golfraven mentioned the O on the front. It is in an area that flexes and after a few rounds it looked really crappy and distorted.

    One last note, Bubba didn’t win the WM open this year, nor was there a playoff. Kevin Stadler won in regulation.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      I did not see that issue in my review process, James, but will keep an eye out for it.

      Thanks for reading and the edit on the Waste Management Open.

    • Jason Hat

      Jun 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      These happened to mine as well, after two rounds the O started to crack/flake off where it creases. Not a big issue for me, but I was surprised how quickly it started to degrade. Those two round were in some pretty soggy conditions. Otherwise they stayed dry and comfortable.

  9. Golfraven

    Jun 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    One think that puts me of buying this shoe would be the big O on the top. Put it on the back or side like other companies do or just dimply leave the Logo out. Just look at Footjoy, they don’t fo such sonsense. Bit of a shame if those are confi.

    • Tom

      Jun 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Unfortunately even logo placement is a breach in trade marks.

  10. Jason

    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I have these and they’re extremely comfortable. I still think Foot Joy’s DNA might have an edge as far as cushioning, but I liked how low the soles are on the Carbon Pro 2’s.

    Highly recommend.

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Accessory Reviews

Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas

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GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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