FootJoy are quite rightly known as the #1 Shoe brand in golf, and they have set the benchmark over the last few decades when it comes to golfing footwear.
Indeed if you were to ask golfers to describe FootJoy shoes in one word, you'd probably get responses such as 'reliable', 'comfortable', 'traditional' and 'stylish'. However you might not hear the term 'modern' banded about quite so often.
I think it's fair to say that their shoes have traditionally been favoured by older golfers, but if you take a look at some of the brand's designs over the last few years I think it's clear to see that they are looking to appeal to younger golfers with some bolder, more forward-thinking designs and more casual options.
FootJoy are no longer just the brand who make leather Icons and the Pro|SL, and the newly updated HyperFlex, now in it's third generation, is a shining example of this transition in recent years.
What's It All About?
There are three main technologies which combine to provide a shoe which FootJoy describe as being 'tuned specifically for golf'.
Firstly, the StratoFoam Cushioning System, which was first unveiled in the FJ Stratos, is a foam blend that is designed to provide ideal support and comfort no matter the conditions.
This new midsole design blends the need for shock absorption with the potential for more energy return, to leave you feeling fresher throughout the course of a round of golf.
An all-new OptiFlex sole features dual flex grooves, which are designed to flex as your foot moves to eradicate that feeling of firm spikes at the bottom of your foot as you walk. The TPU flex plate provides traction and stability in all directions, meaning that you are supported yet unrestricted during the golf swing.
The most eye-catching aspect of the new HyperFlex design is the new Wrapid Fit System, which is powered by BOA. This 'breakthrough performance fit technology' has an asymmetrical configuration ensures a more precise fit for your foot within the shoe with less pressure on the top section.
This wrapping around the foot means that the shoe moves in unison with you whilst walking or during the golf swing, providing a little more support than with a traditional style.
Other features include an engineered mesh upper with Hot Melt yarns to enhance structure and provide more support, as well as an added toe spring for a more athletic, curved shoe profile and an EVA FitBed in the heel of the sole for better comfort.
The Grey/Red and Black HyperFlex Shoes, complete with BOA, are priced at an SRP of £149.99. The laced HyperFlex Shoes are available in Blue/White and Grey/Blue at £129.99.
FootJoy HyperFlex Golf Shoe Review
I like modern golf shoes, but to be perfectly honest, these aren't quite my cup of tea. Yes they look lightweight, comfortable and the sock lining did make me feel like I was a Premier League footballer for a milisecond as I pulled them on, but as far as similar fabric-style golf shoes go I'd say that I preferred the look of the adidas Primeknit or Puma Pwradapt Caged.
I think some of that is because of the strap design of the new Wrapid System, and I'm sure that FootJoy themselves would admit that this is not going to be to everyone's taste, which is why there is also an option of a laced version of the HyperFlex which is much more like it in my eyes.
The HyperFlex are nice and lightweight thanks to that knitted upper, and as soon as you put these shoes on you can feel the design of the shoe wrapping right around your foot, which is supportive and also makes it easy to move around.
Golf shoe manufacturers talk a lot about 'out of the box comfort' and the HyperFlex certainly deliver that. It's the combination of the lightweight, breathable upper with the StratoFoam cushioning on the sole and the fact that there are no big tongues or laces digging in.
This brings me nicely on to the BOA Wrapid system. I have used BOA fastenings a few times in the past, and whilst I like the idea (I use something very similar on my cricket spikes) I find that the designs can sometimes look a bit clunky.
It does take a bit of getting used to but you have to trust the system and it's one of those things that gets more and more beneficial the longer you're wearing the shoes for. I really started to see the benefits of it towards the end of a round where your feet are more likely to be getting tired or sore.
Another bonus of the HyperFlex in our current situation at golf clubs is that they are ideal for use at the moment when our clubhouses and locker rooms are shut.
They're so easy to slip on and off that it saves a lot of scrambling around at the boot of your car before your tee time, and also means you're not fiddling with laces when it's freezing cold in the winter - a definite practical bonus for regular golfers.
As soon as I put these shoes on I noticed that the heel section of the shoe seemed a little thicker than other shoes I have worn, and this is in part due to a new Laser Sport Last which narrows the heel in order to cup the base of your foot a little better. This resulted in a really supportive feel around the back of the shoe which only added to the overall fit.
Probably the most impressive aspect for me was the OptiFlex outsole, with the Softspikes combining with the dual flex grooves and TPU plate to give fantastic grip even during the wet English winter.
FJ have managed to give you the lightweight, knitted feel of a summer shoe but with the sturdy stability and grip or a more heavy-duty spiked shoe, meaning that they can be used all year round.
The upper itself was also more durable than I expected it to be when I first saw pictures of the shoe, although it may not be the easiest material to clean.
The HyperFlex come with a 1-Year Waterproof warranty, but from my experience FootJoy shoes tend to be pretty safe for a number of years before you get any issues rather than just one. Still, considering these are £150 a pop you may want the reassurance that you're going to get more than one year's usage out of them... I would anyway.
FootJoy HyperFlex Golf Shoe Verdict
FootJoy continue to sit at the top of the golf shoe tree thanks to their range of traditional, quality golf shoes alongside more cutting-edge models like the HyperFlex.
Yes, the design won't be for everyone but FJ are looking to widen their appeal among golfers and we can only applaud their commitment for trying to introduce more golfers to their market-leading products.
The HyperFlex are extremely comfortable and provide great traction. The looks mean that I would probably use them predominantly during the summer but it is reassuring to know that there's waterproof protection and lots of grip if you do want them as more of a year-round option.
- Excellent traction
- Midsole feels very comfortable
- Lightweight whilst walking
- FootJoy name means you should expect reliability
- Perfect for golf without locker rooms!
- Designs will not be to every golfer's taste
- Good luck getting them completely clean
- The Wrapid System will divide opinion
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