Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today, we take a take Oakley's new Cipher golf shoe for a spin around the course, and give our take on their apparel line.
Testers -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.4
Target Golf Audience -- All Players
When it comes to playing golf during dog days of summer, the last thing you want is a pair of shoes that bogs you down -- especially if you enjoy slinging your bag in the heat.
Over the years, golf companies have come out with ways to make the trek easier, cutting down on materials and bringing the shoe closer to the ground, to make you feel as if you're one with the turf.
Both of those ideas have certainly changed the shoe game as we know it, but Oakley decided to take things another step with the Cipher, getting rid of the spikes and replacing it with NanoSpike technology (we'll touch on this more in a sec).
The result? The lightest golf shoe on the market, weighing in at 0.57 pound (or 260 grams). Making it lighter should help your legs in the long-term when you're on the course, but we all know the only thing that really matters is how it performs on the course.
How did they fare? Here's our review.
I've always been a traditional guy when it comes to my golf shoes. Give me a pair of black and white golf shoes and I'm good to go. Needless to say, I was taken aback by the Cipher's sleek, futuristic look. These aren't your grandfather's golf shoes, folks.
With moisture wicking textile liner and a breathable outer, the Cipher is built to dew sweep in the morning, and handle a round during the heat of the day.
One thing you'll also notice right off the bat is that the shoe is missing spikes. Yes, that was done on purpose, after the company found a way to cut down on the sole by adding NanoSpike technology in lieu of standard spikes. The red boards have the texture of sandpaper on steroids, giving it the ability to hold during your swing, while keeping your feet as close to the ground as possible.
And if you're wondering what happens when the NanoSpike start to wear out, Oakley sells replacement kits that cost $20 and can be popped out and replaced within a matter of minutes. We sure have come a long way from the days of trying to pop out old spikes with a cheap, metal wrench.
First things first, we need to touch on the NanoSpike technology. Like a lot of golfers, I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to new technology -- especially on a golf shoe. There's only so much you can do to make them better.
The NanoSpike sounded like a great idea, but I had to see how it worked for myself. I honestly didn't know how they'd handle various lies and conditions. But after taking them out for an early-morning round following a rain storm and during the middle of the day, I can confirm that these spikes hold.
Not only that, but I felt confident enough in them to take a rip at the ball, never once feeling like my feet were going to come out from under me.
Also, living in the southern part of the country, I can tell you having a pair of light shoes is pretty much a must, and these definitely fit the bill. The secure liner makes it fit like a glove, allowing you to feel the ground below you on every shot. It's almost like you're playing barefoot.
After putting the Cipher through the paces, I'd say it's worth a serious look. While Oakley isn't a big name in the golf shoe market like FootJoy or Adidas, they've carved out a spot as a serious contender with a design that not only turns heads, but performs on the course as well. (Side note: If you plan on buying a pair in the near future, know that the Cipher runs a half size larger than your normal shoe . So if you're a 13, get 12.5)
Oakley golf apparel
If you've turned on your television during the last year to catch the final round of a tournament (and if you're reading this site, that's probably the case), you've likely seen a couple guys with the big "O" on their shirt having some success on the course.
While Rory McIlroy is the face of Oakley Golf, he isn't the only big name sporting the threads. Keegan Bradley and Brenda Steele are also on board. With so many big names in Oakley's stable, it would lead you to believe they're doing something right besides making quality sunglasses.
But what is it exactly? Here's a look at Oakley new apparel line.
The one thing I liked from the moment I saw Oakley's line was the variety of colors. There's no question they enjoy testing the entire color wheel, mixing bright oranges with blues and yellow for the Stroke polo (above), to a pink and grey number for the Sleeve Grid polo.
The best part is even if you don't like those colors, Oakley actually make about three of four different color variations for every shirt, so you don't have to worry about being short on options.
Another great feature is the O Hydrolix moisture management, which pulls the moisture away from your body when you start to sweat. And for a guy who sweats in buckets on the course, being able to stay somewhat dry is a huge plus.
All of Oakley's golf shirt are designed with a four-way stretch system that allows you to never feel like the shirt is keeping you from making a full turn. And the addition Antibacterial action to the shirt (it helps mask the odor) means that no matter how many strokes you take, you won't have the stench of defeat when you walk off the course.
The pants and shorts also have a lot of the same components as the shirts, as well as a two-way stretch system and hem slits at outseams, so your pants never bunch up around your golf shoes.
It's always a good thing when you step on the first tee for a quick round and your playing partner asks how you like Oakley's clothing line. There's no question the colors will have you standing out from the crowd.
Not only that, but you'll stay relatively cool at the same time. The Oakley shirts definitely stood up to a balmy afternoon of golf, pulling the moisture away from my body and keeping me comfortable for all 36 holes.
The four-way stretch system on the shirts also proved up to the test, because there wasn't a single moment during the round where I felt the need to pull up my sleeve before a swing. For a guy who does that on almost an almost shot-by-shot basis, it was nice change.
It's easy to side with a company because of who's playing their products, and while there's nothing wrong with wearing Oakley gear because Rory sports it on the course, the bottom line is the apparel has to work for you.
The great part about Oakley is that their shirts and pants perform. That may be different from golfer to golfer, but in this particular case, Oakley nailed it with their new golf line. From the colors down to the materials, this is one apparel line that, in my opinion, is only going to get better in the years to come.