50 Words or Less
The FootJoy FreeStyle golf shoes are easily one of the most comfortable shoes on the market, but must be understood when committing to them.
The 2016 season has already been pretty killer for golf shoes with some of the best comfort, performance, and overall quality ever seen in the history of golf shoes. FootJoy’s latest entry, the FootJoy Freestyle, is no exception. FootJoy put a heavy focus on making the Freestyle one of its most comfortable shoes ever with superior grip and mobility. Buyer beware though, the “mobility function” of the Freestyle may not be for everyone so make sure to know your needs before purchasing.
The FootJoy Freestyle is far and away the most comfortable golf shoe I’ve ever tried on right out of the box. The materials are super breathable, the “Xtra-Thick shock absorbing Fitbed with HeelLok” makes it feel like your feet are resting in pillows, and the additional features like the “InnerSok system” (achilles) and “Tongue-Lok” make for a snug and proper fit so you don’t have to worry about slipping around during your shot.
My first foray into testing the Freestyles came courtesy of walking 18 holes in mid February with 25 mile per hour winds which made for quite the stroll. In the grass and softer areas, the Freestyles felt more comfortable and padded, but walking across cart paths and firmer ground made the “hard spots” (where the spikes are) more noticeable. This is to be expected out of a shoe designed to move and roll rather than a hard and firm shoe designed for a more solid feel like the FootJoy Icon.
What seemed to make the FootJoy Freestyle the most enjoyable over the 18 hole trek was their lightweight. I don’t care what anyone says, you certainly notice when a shoe is heavy while walking 18 holes and these Freestyles were so light it was like they were barely even there.
The bright orange, blue, white, and neon green FootJoy Freestyles pictured in this review are not for everyone. Let the record show, it’s my preferred colorway of the Freestyle, but I know I’m an oddball. The good news is that there are more “normal” white and black options available so you don’t have to make such a bold statement if you don’t want to. All models still have the highly visible FJ logo on the side.
The “F.R.O.G.S. outsole (FJ’s Revolutionary Outsole Grip System)” from the sole of the shoe wrapping around the edges of the shoe scream “GRIP” in case you weren’t aware of the overall aim of the Freestyle. In case you forgot, the inspiration behind the FootJoy Freestyle is a tree frog and a nice little reminder can be found on the heel pull where FootJoy used an image of a frog footprint.
At this point in the FootJoy Freestyle discussion, I’ve pounded the themes of grip, mobility, and comfort into your head. These three areas all combine to create the overall performance of the Freestyle golf shoe. Like I mentioned before, if you are looking for something with a firmer base that doesn’t move much, you want to explore something more along the lines of FootJoy Icon or Dryjoy Tour. The FootJoy Freestyle is designed to be the exact opposite. Some players tend to roll on their feet more throughout the swing rather than pivot or stay planted. The Freestyle excels as a mobile shoe because its soft upper allows your ankles and feet to move freely rather than having hard and resistant leather that may otherwise “cut” into your feet. With more traditional golf shoes, as your feet roll over, you lose your traction and can slip out. The FootJoy Freestyles have the F.R.O.G.S. grip on the outsole to help you hold the ground that much longer. The question is, does it actually work? While I can’t speak for everybody, I definitely felt like it was nearly impossible to lose traction in these shoes.
If I were to make a few comparisons performance-wise, they are:
- The FootJoy Freestyle are the result of combining the best parts of the FootJoy HyperFlex and DNA, then adding a much greater level of mobility.
- If most golf shoes (including “sneaker” styles) are like dress shoes, the FootJoy Freestyle is like a flexible rock climbing or cross training shoe.
My biggest recommendation for golfers interested in buying the FootJoy Freestyle golf shoe would definitely be to make sure you go to a store, try them on, and walk around on as many different surfaces as possible to get familiar with the feel of the shoe and really make sure it’s what you’re looking for. I absolutely think the Freestyle is a great shoe, but they are very different from most other options on the market and understanding what you’re committing to is going to be imperative. As I stated multiple times, you will be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable shoe right out of the box and they make for a great walk on the course, but make sure you’re looking for a flexible and mobile golf shoe.