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The Big Review – Druh Belts & Buckles

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Players like Ian Poulter and Camilo Villegas have shown golfers that you don’t have to dress like your Grandpa when you’re on the course. The last few years has seen a real change in style, not just the plus fours and shirts and ties of yesteryear but in the replacement of the dreary beige and black. Bright colours and bold patterns are in and I don’t mean eye-bleeding tartan but proper stylish clothes.

The likes of J Lindberg, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger make clothes that you might actually WANT to wear off the course and with these sharp clothes comes the accessories like hats, shoes and belts and buckles.

Quietly making waves on the European Tour is Druh Belts & Buckles with the likes of Robert Karlsson, David Howell and Paul McGinley all having been seen sporting them. In fact the brand claims that they have over 50 Asian golfers, 60 European golfers, two current Ryder Cup players and six major winners wearing the belts. One of those major winners would be John Daly who sports his own Lion’s head buckle. They are the brain child of Simon Hurd (the brand being his surname backwards), a Touring pro who has been on the European and Asian Tours for 14 years and it’s no surprise to find that he roomed with Ian Poulter for 2 years.

Druh Belts & Buckles were launched at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando earlier this year and look offer the discerning golfer a selection of stylish handmade leather and snakeskin belts in sumptuous classic and chic casual styles. Druh belts and buckles are firmly aimed at the top end of the market with the snakeskin retailing at US$150 and leather for $100. The snakeskins used in production are guaranteed not to come from protected species.

The designs vary from classic black and brown to more colorful pinks, turquoises and reds and are made from high-quality leather or snakeskin. The buckles come in brushed nickel, polished silver or gold and are easily interchanged so that you can mix and match to suit your outfit.

While they are obvious funky and stylish when you’ve taken one out of its stylish drawstring bag your first impression is how well made it is. The belts are just beautifully made from quality materials. What is noticeable about it is that, vivid colors aside, how elegant it is. As a regular of Saville Row, the area of London where you can barely move without bumping into world renown tailors like Gieves & Hawkes and Ozwald Boateng, Simon Hurd is obviously a fan of craftsmanship and it shows. With precise stitching and finishing these belts are not just about a name. The textures of the leather make even darker belts stand out. An effect that is even more noticeable with the snakeskin versions but you would have no problems wearing the more conservative colored ones with a suit. The buckles are also well made with the enamel fill looking great and feeling very durable.

So if you’re on the lookout for something new to hold your trousers up and feel like treating yourself, have a look at one of these.

For more information visit www.druhbeltsandbuckles.com/

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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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