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Adidas TechFit PowerWeb Review

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“Equipment for your body” is the new mantra for Adidas Golf. They have taken that to a whole new level with their TechFit PowerWeb base layer.

Adidas has had a successful line of compression products already used by players like Sergio Garcia, Natalie Gulbis, and Justin Rose. PowerWeb is the next step in the evolution of compression products. I’ll admit it right away, I usually hate wearing long sleeves to play golf. I’ve always found them restrictive and binding. Living in Texas doesn’t afford me the opportunity to get used to long sleeves either. The idea of testing a compression product left me a little worried about how my own biases would affect the outcome. However, after a few rounds wearing the PowerWeb my mind has changed.

Technology

It seems odd devoting a technology section to an undershirt. However, TechFit PowerWeb products are designed with quite a bit of technology in mind. There some research supporting the idea that compression products keep muscles warm, supported, and lead to better performance. The PowerWeb garments are golf specific versions of products which have already been successfully used in professional track and field, soccer, football, and tennis. According to Tiss Dahan, Adidas Golf’s Global Director of Apparel, “Our parent company found that with PowerWeb athletes are jumping higher, running quicker, and are much more confident. How much is psychological and how much is physiological is difficult to measure but we believe it is a combination of the two.”

The base of the product is ClimaCool – a polyester base which wicks away moisture. A large mesh panel located in the mid back helps promote ventilation. However, the key to the PowerWeb are the strategically placed thermoplastic bands which help enhance compression in key areas such as the core, and back. The bands in the midsection help promote core stability and take pressure of the lower back. Upper bands are used to promote posture without restricting shoulder movement.

Performance

One of the best words to describe the TechFit PowerWeb is “experiential.” You simply have to try it on to see the benefits. The first time I put it on, I felt my back straighten, shoulders roll back, and navel draw in. It is a feeling I haven’t experienced in any other compression shirt I’ve tried before. On the flip side, other compression shirts I’ve worn in the past have been a nightmare when it comes time to take them off. The PowerWeb is a snap to remove with the fabric stretching just enough to make getting it off a breeze.

Out on the golf course the support the PowerWeb provides is very beneficial. The core reinforcement it provides for the core is noticeable especially towards the end of the round. Although it won’t prevent you from getting out of good posture, it served as a good reminder to maintain proper golf posture.

As I mentioned earlier, warm Texas winters and year round golf have ingrained a phobia of long sleeves that I have not been able to break. I’ve found most long sleeve garments to be restrictive. However, what struck me about the PowerWeb was the large range of motion it allows. In fact, once you put the PowerWeb on, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it – other than the core and posture support.

The best part of this product is how comfortable it is. The ClimaCool fabric kept me dry in warm conditions. I’ve worn my long sleeve shirt on days which started windy in the mid forties and warmed up into the seventies. Not once did I have any inclination to take it off because it was too warm. Small details like flat seams and light weight make it really easy to layer under clothes. A little extra length in the tail was a welcome addition so I wouldn’t have to worry about my shirt tails coming un-tucked.

Although the Power Bands perform as claimed their silver color leads to a bit of a dilemma when it comes to wardrobe choices. Every white polo I wore over the PowerWeb allowed the bands to show through. Although switching to a dark shirt is an easy fix, it would be great to see this product with the same performance attributes which blend under clothes more subtly.

Conclusion

Will the TechFit PowerWeb transform you from a 12 handicap to a 5? Probably not. However, it is an incredibly comfortable base layer which provides more support than similar products on the market. However it does not sacrifice flexibility to achieve support. The potential for this product will be realized further when the thermal versions made for cold weather are introduced later this year.

Currently available as a warm weather shirt in short and long sleeves as well as a compression short, there is a product available for the summer conditions you’ll face. While it may be a bit more expensive than some of the other options on the market, my only advice is to try it on before making up your mind. The difference between the PowerWeb and every other product on the market will be apparent the second you put it on.

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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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Apparel Reviews

Review: Under Armour Drive One and Tempo Hybrid shoes

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Pros: The comfort, style and stability of the UA Drive One are 5-star quality, and the shoes are waterproof. The Tempo Hybrid blends a “lifestyle” golf shoe with surprising stability.

Cons: At $199.99, the UA Drive One are on the high end of the mainstream golf shoe market. The Tempo Hybrid ($159.99) miss the boat on comfort.

Who they’re for: The UA Drive One are for any golfer who likes a modern-looking golf shoe, but is serious about performance. The Tempo Hybrid are for those looking to achieve a cool, laid-back look on the course.

The Review

Due to Jordan Spieth’s popularity and success in 2015, the release of the UA Drive One, which he wore throughout the year, was almost unbearably anticipated for consumers who care about that kind of thing. And the shoes do not disappoint. Even if you’re just not a fan of Jordan Spieth, or not a fan of the look, these shoes pass every test when it comes to performance for a serious golfer.

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They provide tremendous stability in the heel throughout the swing with what Under Armour calls carbon counterlocks, which really give you that “locked in” feeling. And they’re quite comfortable, too, with the leather insole and ample cushioning in the heel and midsole.

Some golfers have complained that the shoes run narrow, or have high arches that cause discomfort, but I found no problem with either.

Also, it’s difficult to ask for more from a spike configuration. They have CHAMP Zarma Tour spikes with the popular Slim-Lok system that you’ll find in the top golf shoes on the market. They have great traction in any weather (and it’s the rainy season in Michigan, so I know playing wet weather well). And the UA Drive One are waterproof as advertised, which is a huge plus for any golfer.

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One of my biggest tests for golf shoes is to play a round in them, and judge how excited you are to change out of them when you get back to the car. Even after playing in muddy/wet conditions, and wearing them for the first time, I was not in a rush to get them off. They’re just very comfortable golf shoes.

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It’s amazing for a company’s first run of golf shoes to deliver in such a big way. I would have no problem putting these up against the best performance shoes in the industry, and even surpassing them by way of comfort and overall look. They find a sweetspot, offering a modern flare without being too “in your face.”

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The retail colorways include White-and-Blue, White-and-Black, White-and-Grey, and Black.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”88″]

UA Tempo Hybrid

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Golfers love to say, “I can wear my spikeless shoes on AND off the course.” I’m always thinking, “Why would I want to wear my smelly, muddy shoes to hangout or get dinner?”

That being said, the UA Tempo Hybrids look exactly like those kind of shoes. Style wise, you can wear these with shorts, jeans, khakis, casual pants or whatever else you have in your closet. They’re versatile, and look very similar to the Tempo Tour shoes, but without the golf spikes… thus “Hybrids.”

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The Tempo Hybrid are made for golfers who want performance from their shoe, but also a more laid-back look. Under Armour knocked the look out of the park and provided consumers with four different colorways that each strike a different look and feel. I personally went with the Gravel colorway, as they seemed to be unique compared to other shoes on the market.

This specific colorway captures an “outdoorsy” vibe, and has boot-like laces to complete the look. If I was going for a hike through the woods, these may be my choice.

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As golf shoes, they provide great lateral stability due to their spike configuration, but not a great amount of traction due to the spike design. Slick grass or wet weather may cause concern.

My biggest issue with these shoes, however, was the odd tongue design; it wraps around the foot and is quite irritating on the top sides of my feet. It’s something I was not able to get past, and why I never got the chance to play a round of golf while wearing them.

That led me to get a few other opinions. For the purposes of this review, I had a fellow GolfWRX Staffer put the shoes on and walk around. He found the shoes to be “very comfortable” and had no issues with the tongue, but said that the back spikes on the heel kept scraping the ground as he walked. He said “I would never play golf in these because of (the spikes on the heel).” Another GolfWRX Staffer tried on the shoes as well, and said the tongue was bothering the inner part of his feet, and that he would not play golf in them for that reason.

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So I was 0-for-3 in getting these shoes tested on the course, which is unfortunate because they look slick in every colorway, especially the Gravel. I hope the next iteration of spikeless shoes from Under Armour corrects the comfort issues, as I’m a fan of the design from a golf-fashion standpoint.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”90″]

The Takeaway

The UA Drive One hit the mark, and lived up to the hype. They’re the ultimate modern golf shoe, providing stability, comfort, performance and waterproofing.

The UA Tempo Hybrid, however, did not provide the comfort that I expected from a spikeless shoe, but they did achieve the ultra cool, laid-back look that works on and off the course.

For Under Armour’s much-anticipated launch, and its introduction to the world of golf shoes, it offered high points and low points. The “Spieths” were a home run, while the Tempo Hybrid were a bloop single. With issues of comfort to be corrected in the Tempo Hybrid, Under Armour will have some serious staying power for both serious and casual golfers.

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