Testers -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.4
Target Golf Audience -- All Players
The street-inspired golf shoe market is full of big names like ECCO, TRUlinkswear, Adidas and Nike. While there's nothing that says you can't survive with the big boys, based on who's currently out there, breaking through with something that really gets a golfer's attention can be difficult.
So when Ashworth decided to branch out and add a shoe line, it piqued our interest. Could one of golf's most recognizable apparel makers hit a home run with a golf shoe? Heck, could they even produce one that would make people consider trading in the current kicks for something that was unproven.
We decided to find out by giving Ashworth's new Cardiff shoe a try. PGA Tour player Justin Rose, Ashworth's brand ambassador, seems to like them. But what about the weekend golfer? Here's our take on the newest street-inspired golf shoe on the market.
First impressions are everything when it comes to a new pair of golf shoes. Without question you want them to be incredibly comfortable, but if they don't have that "look," you're likely going to go elsewhere. Every golfer is searching for the complete package in a shoe.
It's been a while since a street model really blew me away right out of the box, but when I pulled the Cardiff out, I had a feeling it was going to be a major contender. One of the first things that I noticed was the suede (lining the toe-box and laces) and leather on the outside. With the exception of the white version that has grey suede, the other four color ways (black, brown, iron and tan) have the same color leather and suede throughout, giving it a classic look on the course.
With a soft, suede-like insole that feels like pillow (but doesn't feel too cushy when you're walking on the course), you can slip these shoes on and not have to worry about getting a blister the first time out.
Another thing you don't have to worry about? Breaking in the leather. While the Cardiff felt a little stiff right out of the box, I went out the very first day and played 18 holes without a problem. And honestly, the only time they really felt stiff was when I was trying to swing, and as you already know, having lateral stability in your shoes is pretty darn important.
This is a shoe you easily could throw on for 18 holes and then leave on with a pair of khakis for dinner with your friends. The Cardiff is incredibly sturdy and just looks good. The mixture of leather and suede give it the feel of a high-end shoe that, frankly, is going to be tough to beat -- especially at $120.
The sure-footed spikeless soles performed well on the course -- I also liked the fact that a couple of the color ways, like the white version, for instance, had a green sole that popped against the white -- under dry and wet conditions. I always felt comfortable and confident standing over the ball in them, which is an absolute must in street-inspired golf shoes.
The Cardiff also has a two-year waterproof warranty, which, I'll be honest, is a nice feature. But don't think for a second these shoes are going to stand up to heavy rains. We tried them out during a storm -- yes, we're willing to go to great lengths to make sure these products actually work -- and the shoe did get damp on the inside.
However, in a light drizzle or moderate rain you shouldn't have any issues keeping your feet bone-dry. And really, who's really going to be out on the course playing golf in a torrential downpour anyway?
As far as comfort goes, I was able to walk 36 holes in these without a problem (that's usually our litmus test for every golf shoe we try), and when I took them off after the round, they still look clean and fresh.
Ashworth has been known for years for their clothing line, but it's clear from their first foray into the shoe market that they have a big winner in the Cardiff.
Performance is everything when it comes to golf shoes and after putting the Cardiff though the ringer, we feel confident saying this is the best street-inspired model on the market. From the styling and craftsmanship down to the color ways and price, this shoe is definitely worth your consideration.
- Sports & Recreation