It has long been recognised that the front and back foot move differently during the golf swing, but apart from a Padraig Hi-Tec shoe a while back that had spikes in different positions, golfers have had to put up with shoes that are the same on both feet.
That was until Adidas came up with the Asym Energy Boost shoe. Asym is short for asymmetric, which means that the shoes have no symmetry, so the front shoe is a different design to the back.
I say front and back because Adidas has made different pairs for right and left handed golfers and each shoe is marked with 'front' and 'back' on the insole.
The other way to tell them apart is that on the white version, the back shoe has a purple toe cap on the front of the sole and the front shoe has a purple 'Energy Sling' by the bottom lace hole on the outside.
There are lots of power and stability 'technologies' in the Asym Energy Boost and I fear trying to explain all nine of them will make you want to commit hari-kari on a pair of upturned spiked shoes. I don't know if I want that on my conscience and I am not sure I can take it either as the TM and ® on my keyboard could explode.
I think we can trust that all the research Adidas did on the swings of hundreds of golfers using force plates to measure the pattern of movement of their feet during the swing has resulted in measures to help, as it certainly looks that way.
Starting on the upper the tongues are shaped differently to most shoes with a slight offset similar to some previous Tour 360's, so that it laces up more to the inside of the foot. The V shape created by the tongue is quite pronounced and just what you want to see when lacing up a golf shoe.
The top of the tongue is a rubber material and is a little higher and more shaped than usual and I think this really helps add to the comfort, especially under the point where the laces are tied.
On the front foot at the bottom of the laces, the reinforced band of the Energy Sling (TM - sorry) gives you an idea of where the stability is required on the front foot as you move into impact.
You can tell that this is a premium shoe by the metal eyelets for the laces that are raised up, although longer term I worry for the lifespan of the laces given there were a few snags on them from the top eyelet after wearing a couple of times.
The upper is made from a microfiber leather that is resilient, flexible and waterproof, which they back up with a 2-year guarantee.
Moving down through the sole and you come to the Energy Boost part of the name. You may remember from the Adidas AdiPower Boost review that the Boost material returns more energy when compressed than other sole materials.
Thousands of TPU capsules are bonded together under high pressure steam and then expand and contract as you move to collect and return the energy generated. You can poke it and it feels like flexible polystyrene, but when you walk it combines that movement with enough firmness to provide the right level of stability.
What is different in the Asym Energy Boost is that the Boost material is not just under the heel, but goes the full length of the shoe.
The Adipower Boost shoe is very comfortable, but the Asym Energy Boost takes it to the next level. You are not bouncing along, as it is more controlled than that, but it is not far off it and one of the most comfortable soles I think I have tried to date.
Turn the shoes over and you really start to see the rationale behind the Asym name.
On the front foot you can see that the sole is broadly similar, with a wider channel up the centre to allow the left foot to roll over a little through impact, but allowing the sole to stay in contact with the ground for longer.
This is not new, but I like seeing it on any shoe as you can really feel the difference compared to a shoe that does not have it. Other than that, there are a couple of extra Gripmore spikes in the heel and slightly bigger spikes elsewhere.
The Gripmore material is great stuff and is more wear resistant than normal rubber spikes, so much so that they almost sound like metal spikes when you walk across concrete. However they are flexible and comfortable and it is more likely the shoe will wear out before they will.
The back foot is where there are bigger differences as the full length channel is replaced with more Gripmore spikes to provide that solid base during the backswing and as you drive through impact.
The forefoot also features a couple of smaller channels to help the shoe move as you push off the back foot heading for the follow through.
So does it all work? Without being able to measure it on a force plate on a wet grassy course then it is difficult to measure scientifically, but importantly for me, it makes sense and that usually is a good guide.
Certainly the grip is excellent and the comfort and support through the swing is as good as anything else out there so to me there doesn't seem to be much point in taking any risks. Plus as I have mentioned, they are extremely comfortable, so put the two things in one shoe and you have a winner.
Which makes it all rather odd why Adidas is not throwing the kitchen sink at these shoes.
OK, so they are £70 more than the Adipower Boost, which means it may appeal less to the market and maybe some of the extra has to go towards the extra Boost material and all these ® technologies, some of which are under license.
Apparently the production is more complicated and therefore more expensive, but the last time I checked my left and right foot were different shapes anyway.
However the full length Boost sole is so much more comfortable in the Asym that I would have thought they would have started with that in the first place and gone for the knockout blow at a price between the two.
Then you find out that if you want the right handed version, you can only get it in full sizes, so 6, 7, 8, 9, etc and if you want the left handed version it is only available in the half sizes, so 6.5, 7.5, 8.5, etc.
Therefore if you want a 8.5 right handed version you will either have to chop your big toe off to get into an 8, wear 2 pairs of socks in a size 9 or learn how to play golf left handed to keep your tootsies happy in an 8.5.
We are not talking about a small niche retailer here, but one of the biggest multinational and renowned sports shoe manufacturers in the world, so surely they want to aim at more than 50% of the population with a product this good?
Having spoken with Adidas, it seems that capacity was tight this year so that is why the Asym is only in these restricted sizes. However the future is bright as apparently “due to the demand and popularity of the Asym Energy Boost shoes this year, it is likely that there will be an asymmetrical shoe in the line-up for 2016 that will feature the usual full range of sizes”
Until then, if you are one of the lucky Cinderellas of the golfing world who can easily slip into the Asym Energy Boost proferred by their local Pro Charming, then you will be rewarded with a golfing kingdom at your feet, as this is one of the best golf shoes in the market, pricey or not.
As for the rest of us half size righties, until next year, better look out that Phil Mickelson training video.