50 Words or Less
The Cole Haan Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker brings modern styling, wonderful comfort, and a blend of performance materials to golfers seeking versatility in their footwear.
If your initial reaction to seeing ‘Cole Haan’ and ‘Golf Shoes’ in the same headline elicited a puzzled eye brow furl, you aren’t alone – I had the same reaction. As it turns out, the upscale dress shoe brand began offering golf shoes nearly 80 years ago – just not in the past two decades. But all that changed this year with Cole Haan giving golf shoes their own category that “doesn’t sacrifice a single stroke of style or performance. It’s everything you need to rewrite the rules of the game.” The category currently consists of three unique styles, including the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker reviewed here.
The Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker certainly fits the basic definition of a sneaker, but it’s far from ordinary in the looks department. From the ground up, the shoes exhibit three distinct layers starting with the segmented thick white midsoles highlighted by bright yellow accents at the toe and heel. Above that, a sleek white strip of material makes the statement that morning dew will not be an issue. The fabric topping off the uppers exhibits wonderfully intricate stitching. Combined, the layers blur the line between athleticism and casual elegance.
Flipping the shoes over, the nubs on the sole of the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker are like nothing I’ve seen before. “Traction” is what the pointy nubs communicate, but in a non-aggressive fashion.
Overall the shoes have a very coherent modern look that is sure to garner attention. The subtle execution of the multiple points of branding adds to the style. While I love the simplicity of the basic white Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker, for more pizazz check out the black-cyber yellow and sleet-black-cobalt blue colorways.
I don’t know if it was the bright yellow insole or the fabric uppers that did more to beckon me to try the Generation ZERØGRAND sans socks right out of the box, but I’m glad I did. My feet felt swaddled in comfort. Ample lacing provided a secure fit, with room to wiggle my toes. Going with my normal 9.5 sizing, the overall fit was perfect. There’s not much padding around the heel or ankle, but the fit and cut seemed like they were tailored to me. Underfoot, there was plenty of responsive cushioning that added to the overall outstanding comfort.
As you may have guessed by now, the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker is a mobility shoe offering lots of flexibility. One not so obvious feature is that Cole Haan designed the shoe to accentuate the natural heel to toe walking motion. What felt like a high heel seemed odd initially, but I was soon going with the flow without any thought. Interestingly, in the address position the design gave me a great leverage point at my heel to build my back swing around.
The traction nubs were more than adequate for most of the conditions I encountered on my relatively flat and currently dry golf course. For a golfer who plays on hilly terrain or tends to swing out of their shoes, the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker probably isn’t a great match.
The Cole Haan website lists the shoe as “great for rainy days,” which I do not concur with. I would agree that the tight weave fabric section across the toe box would stand up to a few sprinkles, but the fabric became saturated quickly in my testing. Further, the more open weave fabric from the laces to the heel offered no resistance to water intrusion. That said, the uppers are very breathable – again adding to the comfort.
One final noteworthy feature of the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker that didn’t get mentioned above is how lightweight they are, adding yet another check mark in the comfort column. Although not the shoes I’ll grab for normal play, they make total sense for a practice session, casual walk on a par 3 course, or gathering with friends at a venue like Top Golf. The Cole Haan Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker is also versatile, with looks that make them ideal for transitioning to the clubhouse for a beverage and beyond.