If I asked you to think of five golf shoe brands, I would bet you £179 that G/Fore wouldn’t spring immediately to mind, but to be honest you’d be forgiven. They are hardly a household name in the golfing world. Yet…
The more fashion conscious golfers among us may have heard of the sleeping giant however, mainly due to the likes of Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker claiming a number of PGA Tour victories whilst wearing them. Who can forget Bubba’s bright pink Hi-Top Disruptors he wore at Augusta last year? No, I wasn’t a fan either, but G/Fore sure know how to raise an eyebrow or two.
Having been a fan of the brand's attitude to do things their own way for a long time, I’ve always been keen to get my hands (or feet) on a pair of G/Fore shoes to find out what all the fuss was about. As it turns out, 2019 is my lucky year.
What’s It All About?
For those who don’t know, G/Fore Golf was launched by fashion industry veteran and avid golfer Mossimo Giannulli in 2011, when he became frustrated in his search for colourful and functional golf gloves. Recently purchased by premium clothing brand Peter Millar, G/Fore also has a wide range of luxury golf shoes for both men and women, including one of the most stylish models in the 2019 collection – the G/Fore Longwing Gallivanter.
The Longwing Gallivanter shoes no doubt fall into the premium category of golf footwear. Let’s just say they’re hardly the type of shoes you’re going to come across in your local pro shop, next to the coffee machine and Boost bars. Combining an athletic fit in premium waterproof leathers with classic brogue details, the Gallivanter showcases classic styling that harks back to ‘the good old days of golf’ when the likes of Palmer, Player and Nicklaus strolled the fairways in ‘proper golf shoes’.
Custom designed by G/Fore’s team of footwear experts, the Longwing model boasts a surprisingly lightweight sole that combines with a bespoke cleat, said to give optimal on-course traction.
The best of both worlds? On the surface, it certainly seems that way.
Mossimo Giannulli, Founder/Designer/Creator said:
Though I lead an active, art-and design-fuelled lifestyle, I'm a bit of a traditionalist at heart when it comes to golf. I'm a member at a time-honoured country club, I wear pants on the course, and I prefer traditional fabrics. So I’ve always wanted G/Fore to be rooted in all the right things. With the modern athlete in mind, we've fused a classic aesthetic with modern fabrications and details that make our products uniquely G/Fore.
There is no doubting these golf shoes look stunning. In my humble opinion anyway. Therefore I felt they deserved a stunning looking golf course to review them on.
Two weeks after receiving the shoes, I found myself swapping a snow-covered Stockport GC for the much more appealing, sun-soaked fairways of Hawks Landing GC, Orlando Florida.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, it was a tough day at the office.
G/Fore Longwing Gallivanter Golf Shoe Review
Before I go any further, I think it would be important to explain that I’m a sucker for classic golf shoe styling.
Aesthetically, it was therefore no surprise that my eyes lit up when unboxing the Gallivanters. What a beautiful looking golf shoe, from every single angle.
The attention to detail in all areas of the shoe is what really got me going. It's clear to see that this was a golf shoe designed by ‘fashion people’, who had experience and ‘knew what they were doing’. People who really cared about what they were producing. Just holding the shoes, it felt as if outstanding craftsmanship had gone into them.
I was also surprised at how light the shoes felt to hold. Having seen pictures of the shoes and seen how many materials had gone into making them, I was expecting a fairly weighty product. I was proven wrong. As it turns out – you can make a full grain leather golf shoe, with a traditional design, and it can be lightweight, weighing just 13oz to be precise. Well, G/Fore Mossimo Giannulli and his Californian team of shoe experts can.
On The Course
One thing that G/Fore have nailed with the Longwing Gallivanter is comfort. In years gone by, shoe models styled like the Gallivanter would have left your feet battered and blistered after a few holes. Thankfully however, G/Fore have completely eradicated the need to ‘break-in’ classic looking golf shoes.
Admittedly, G/Fore may not have been the first golf shoe manufacturer to do this, but in my opinion, they are doing it the best. Keeping premium well and truly premium.
The Gallivanter features a Ortholite sock liner coupled with a compression moulded EVA midsole. The midsole itself feels almost like a memory foam mattress with slight ridges which help to stop the foot moving around in the shoe. This was a great feature - comfort, stability, big tick.
The tongue of the shoe again shouts premium quality, supporting the bridge of the foot in abundance. There was no aching or niggles from a set of well-designed laces, and certainly no discomfort in sight.
In the early stages of the test, the outstanding comfort of the shoe did leave me to have some reservations as to how breathable it would be over 18 holes… surely a full grain leather shoe with this amount of lining and cushioning couldn’t also be breathable?
The inside of the shoe was also lined with an anti-microbial cotton mesh lining that is said to improve breathability in warmer conditions. Given the fact I was in Florida testing these shoes in 24 degree heat, I was in the perfect scenario to put my earlier suspicions and this claim to the test.
Unfortunately, breathability wasn’t an area in which the Longwing Gallivanter excelled. Although I hate to admit it, by the end of the test my feet definitely edged on the side of sweaty as opposed to fresh. Don’t get me wrong though, this certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the round, the shoes themselves, or even the overall performance.
It may however frustrate some golfers, especially given that these are more of a summer golf shoe. I suppose it comes down to whether you value breathability over comfort. I fall on the side of the latter. A thin pair of golf socks is to be advised.
For traction, the Gallivanter features a bespoke cleat design. One that, true to form, looked brilliant. The cleats had an almost translucent finish that covered the G/Fore logo underneath.
Did the bespoke cleat support my golf swing though? 76 times out of 78, yes. On a couple, albeit rare, occasions however, my right foot slipped during the down swing whilst hitting driver, causing me to lose my balance. These were rare happenings, but alarming ones all the same.
On the other 76 occasions, out of the bunker, on the fairway, in the rough and even from the cart path at one point – no problems whatsoever.
Finally, a comment or three on the uppers of these shoes. The upper is made using full grain pebble leather which is both extremely soft to the touch and supple when walking and swinging. Holding the shoes for the first time I assumed that the leather may be a little stiff and harsh, I was wrong. Straight out of the box, the upper hugs the foot and combines flexible with strong whilst, once again, looking superb.
With an upper like this, it also meant the shoes were surprisingly easy to keep clean, any mud marks could be easily wiped off and cleaned which was another big plus for me.
Did I mention I like the look of these shoes?
Would I Use It?
All. Day. Long. What golfer wouldn’t want to wear this golf shoe?! Based on my personal taste and the aesthetics of the Gallivanter shoes, they would be towards the top of my list, no doubt.
Ok, there may be some minor performance issues when it comes to the breathability and traction, but to be honest I don’t care. When you’re buying a shoe that looks as good as the Gallivanter, I think you can let a couple of things slide.
After having the pleasure of meeting Mossimo (a.k.a one of the coolest men in golf) himself at this year’s PGA Show, the passion that he has for not just fashion, but the game of golf itself, struck a positive chord with me. I couldn't help but feel the same passion had gone into the G/Fore Gallivanter, and in my opinion, that is how a shoe should feel. When you buy a new pair of golf shoes, you want feel as if the shoe has been made by people who care about making it. G/Fore do.
I’m a big fan of how G/Fore are fusing the old with the new and doing it successfully. They understand the history and traditions of the game, but are nowhere near being stuck in the past.
The Longwing Gallivanter may not be the perfect golf shoe in every department, but it certainly is in some. I can’t help but think that if would have been right up there with the best golf shoes I had ever worn, if it was spiked. G/Fore are yet to release a spiked golf shoe, but when they do I’m sure we’re in for a treat.
- One of the most aesthetically pleasing golf shoes available on the market
- You get what you pay for: craftsmanship, premium materials and premium design quality
- Breaking in classically styled golf shoes is a thing of the past
- Solid yet supple upper offered support throughout the foot
- Compression Moulded EVA Midsole gives all the comfort you could wish for
- Surprisingly easy to keep clean
- Waterproof leather upper
- Breathability could be an issue in warm weather for some golfers
- The bespoke traction cleat is not advised for golfers who struggle with balance
- £179 for shoe without proper SoftSpikes shoe will put some golfers off