If you have been following our equipment news you will have seen the gradual unveiling of the FootJoy 2014 golf shoe which we can now reveal is the FootJoy DNA.
The DNA name stands for 'DryJoys Next Advancement' and FootJoy has lived up to the name in creating a state of the art premium golf shoe and I have had a pair for the last month to evaluate and here is the low down.
First off is how it looks. It is hard for golf shoe companies to create a shoe that combines cutting edge technologies that build on the advancements in materials and athletic performance with something that looks more like a shoe than a football boot. However I think with the DNA that FootJoy have managed this very well indeed.
The clean classic lines and almost understated design are visually appealing and the use of 5 different accent colours in a gloss finish on the heel to compliment the all white and all black models provide that modern touch.
The ChromoSkin upper is made from a lovely soft Pittards leather than has been tanned in such as way that it is waterproof without requiring the use of a membrane, which makes it more breathable too. It was very easy to break in and most people could easily wear these shoes out of the box.
The upper was supple yet was still able to provide the walking and lateral support through the swing that you need and would expect from this type of shoe.
The leather has a lovely grainy look on the front of the shoe and the sides have a pitted circle look that I think looks very good, but I wonder how easy it will be to keep the circles looking clean in the long term given the muddy nature of certain courses.
However the DNA is more than a pretty looking shoe as I found out when all the various pieces arrived through the post over the last month. The DNA has been in design for a long time and hence why FootJoy may appear to have been wrong-footed by the trend to lightweight performance golf shoes. However with the DNA you can see that they have taken their time to get it right and they are back at the forefront as they have thrown the technical kitchen sink at it.
FootJoy have managed to introduce this technology without increasing the weight of the shoe. Lightness is a key factor in any performance shoe and the DNA uses a variety of technologies to make the it 20% lighter than the FootJoy XPS-1 and 19% lighter than the FJ Icon.
Certainly the shoe felt very light to wear on the course. It was not quite like walking in bare feet as you know they are there, but they are lighter than most quality golf shoes and that will have a beneficial effect towards the end of a 5 mile walk around a golf course.
The NitroThin TPU (ThermoPlastic Urethane) outsole is a low profile design and features a revised Optiflex sole design that enables the foot to move more easily as you walk and swing. There are 9 low profile spikes in the sole and FootJoy have moved these right to the edges of the sole, so much so that you can see the edges of some of them from above.
The stealth cleats have dynamic legs that are quite flexible so you don't feel you are walking on stilts and the spike at the front has been moved to the edge of the shoe under the big toe on each foot to provide longer contact with the ground.
I would have to say that the grip is top drawer and the flexibility of the sole combines with the low profile spikes to give a shoe that is equally comfortable on soft as well as firm ground.
It is possible to see the edges of a couple of the white spikes at address if you look for them. However I don't feel that his a major issue as they blend in with the shoe and if you are looking at your feet during the swing then that is a bigger problem than the spikes showing.
The last, or design, of the shoe features a slightly wider forefoot area, which is due to the success of the FootJoy M:Project shoe. This allows you toes to spread out more and I feel that this really helps the comfort of the shoe as other performance shoes tend to be a little on the narrow side.
The sole combines very well with the Xtra-Thick FitBed insole that uses the FineTuned Foam (FTF) that is also used in the FootJoy DryJoys Casual. The insole features memory foam that conforms to your foot each time you put it on and give a lovely cushioned feel when you put your foot in. It did feel a little on the springy side to walk in which was a lovely feeling, but it was still stable enough when you are swinging.
Turn the insole over then you will see that there is a darker, firmer EVA foam around the edges of the heel and arch to work with the contours of the last of the outsole. This provides some arch support for your foot together with some contouring built into the base of the shoes as it draws on the design of a 'natural motion' shoe. If you use orthotics you may want to check this works with your inserts as the arch support does not make the shoe base 'neutral'.
The comfort and lightness are topped off with 2 more features.
Firstly, a very thin SnugFit tongue that features a pressure pad just under where your laces tie is a nice touch and evidence of the attention to detail. So many times I have worn shoes where the laces bite into the top of your foot as you try to get them tight enough, but with this tongue it is not an issue on the DNA. Or you can go for the BOA laceless system which is only available in the white/black option and at £15 extra is my personal preference.
The second feature is the 3D FoamCollar that is an enhanced version of the collar FootJoy has on their other shoes. This does an excellent job of gripping your heel and combining with the tongue to hold your foot. It does stand out a bit more from the collar of the shoe than before and therefore there is a little more space in the heel area of the shoe for your foot should you need it.
Overall I think the DNA is the sports performance shoe that FootJoy fans have been waiting for. It looks great, is very comfortable and provides all the performance benefits that you would expect from a top of the range shoe, which is reflected in the premium price.
However if you can afford it, and maybe even if you can't, you should push the boat out as your feet will thank you for doing so.