There has been a trend in recent years of sportswear giants like Nike, Adidas and Skechers taking successful models from their running departments and 'remodelling' them for the golf market.
2023 and the launch of the new Charged Phantom SL sees Under Armour join this performance-led party.
Said to offer the comfort of your favourite pair of trainers, with all the performance and traction of a traditional golf shoe, Under Armour is claiming to take "the sneaker-style golf shoe trend to new performance highs."
The Phantom training shoe is the most popular Under Armour shoe model across the globe, but how will it fare on the feet of a golfer?
As you'd expect from a brand like Under Armour, these spikeless shoes are packed with technology.
Hence the name, the shoe boasts Under Armour’s charged cushioning platform which is used throughout the midsole and uses compression molded foam to deliver ultimate responsiveness & durability, enabling golfers to play all day in comfort on a soft and a flexible but supportive base.
There is also said to be huge focus on comfort in the Phantom SL through the storm flat knit collar and molded EVA sockliner, which provide step-in comfort with a sock-like fit and feel.
It then features a lightweight, breathable knit upper with strategic reinforcements designed to support the golf swing, most noticeably in the toe area, which has TPU infused yarn providing lateral stability.
Arguably the most important aspect of the shoe for golfers - the rotational resistance outsole is designed with directional rubber nubs offering a blend of torsional rigidity, ground traction and step-in comfort.
Under Armour make it clear that whilst this is not a waterproof shoe, it still remains highly water-resistant thanks to the UA Storm and 'Never-Wet' treatment that keeps your feet cool and dry.
Spikeless shoes have come along way since Ecco's first release back in 1994, haven't they?
Under Armour Charged Phantom SL Golf Shoe Review
At first glance, I have to say the Phantom SL shoes didn't blow me away in the looks department. I tested them in the blue colourway which will be a little loud for some - you'll have to give some thought to what outfit you wear them with.
They boast a very modern performance-led aesthetic. If you're looking for full-grain leather, cap toes and kilties - this really isn't the shoe for you. I just couldn't imagine playing golf in them, at first.
Whereas if you're looking for a shoe with a knitted upper that looks more like something you could go to the gym in - this could well be the shoe for you.
The Phantom SL has a busy and bright design with plenty of little technical features highlighted across various parts of the shoe. Six different Under Armour logos can be seen, in-case you were worried about what brand you were wearing.
There are some nice features that make the shoes pop also, like the gradient colour fade on the the outsole and the contrasting different shades of blue which give this shoe a real nice look for the summer months.
Although initially I wasn't sold, throughout my testing the looks of the Phantom SL certainly grew on me.
Similar to boost foam in most adidas golf shoes in recent years, Under Armour have introduced a charged cushion midsole which is said to offer life-long energy return and comfort. I can't comment on the life-long aspect of this claim as I only played 36 holes, but I can pass judgement on the comfort. They were extremely comfy on and off the course.
There were other elements that I felt helped to result in this being one of the comfiest golf shoes I've ever worn, for example the fit of the upper hugged the top of the foot with the right amount of stiffness to keep your foot secure without being too tight.
The heel area of the shoe, an area which is all-important to the overall comfort of a golf shoe also excelled during testing. If you're prone to rubbing or aching in the heel area with traditional shoes again the Charged Phantom are worth a look.
One slight niggle to note was that 9/10 times you're going to pair these shoes with trainer socks (they'd look daft with normal socks), which I did, but I found the storm flat knit collar to be quite itchy around my ankle. A few times during testing I found myself pulling my socks above the collar to stop it itching.
If comfort is what you're looking for in a new pair of golf shoes for 2023 - the Phantom Charged SL has to be on your shortlist.
Weighing just 10.9oz, they are super-lightweight which you'd expect from this kind of shoe. Playing a big course like Aphrodite Hills, in warm weather, you wouldn't want to be wearing anything much heavier.
Alongside this, I found them to be very breathable. Playing in 25 degrees, usually you'd expect at least a little post-round perspiration but thankfully I found none. The storm upper left my feet as fresh at the end of the round as they were at the start.
Traction-wise, again I was impressed. Prone to the all too frequent (and highly frustrating) foot-slip on the course I'm pleased to say I felt pretty locked in with the Phantom SL.
I've always found the traction on Under Armour shoes to be great, and they're continuing the trend here.
Under Armour Charged Phantom SL Golf Shoe Verdict
In the past I have struggled with the overall fit of Under Armour shoes, not quite getting on with the Spieth 3 model, but this wasn't the case here.
Having said that, I can't help but think that Under Armour could have packaged this up in a sleeker, therefore a little cooler looking aesthetic.
Despite this opinion, for a high performing spikeless golf shoe at a very competitive £100, Under Armour have all but nailed it here with the Charged Phantom SL.
Would I Wear Them?
In the right conditions and a more preferred colourway - yes.
At the Under Armour 23 launch I also got a first hand look at the Phantom SL in Black - which I thought looked great and will be a massive win for many different levels of golfer.
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