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The FootJoy Stratos is a golf shoe focused on comfort. Updated VersaTrax+ sole allows you to wear these shoes anywhere. Tremendous feel right out of the box.
In the last few years, golf shoes have borrowed heavily from other types of footwear. We’ve seen both style and technological cues taken from running shoes and minimalist footwear. The new Stratos is different because FootJoy engineered the cushioning specifically for the demands of the golfer. I tested a pair to see if the result was noticeably different.
With the Stratos, FootJoy brings an upscale feel to a fairly minimalist design. The leather upper looks and feels high end, and the monochromatic motif keeps the focus on details like the stitching. Brown leather elements around the tongue add just a touch of visual interest.
Overall, this is a shoe that can look good in a wide variety of settings. It’s a natural on the course, and it will look equally at home with jeans or khakis at dinner. This is a case where the form and function fit perfectly since this shoe is designed to be worn everywhere.
The FootJoy Stratos is available in three colorways: grey, off white, and navy.
The focus of the Stratos is the cushioning, but I’ve got to start with the initial feel. Right out of the box, these shoes feel fantastic. The leather upper is extremely soft, and there’s no break in period at all. You could absolutely pop the tags off these and walk 18.
On to the StratoFoam. With all the focus on the cushioning, I was expecting a very thick, mushy, pillowy feeling. However, the Stratos feels more like a firm mattress. It gently supports your foot without swallowing it up, and it makes for one of the best feeling shoes I’ve tested.
It’s also worth noting the that Stratos feels lower, particularly in the heel, than most FootJoy shoes. As someone who prefers a zero drop, minimalist shoe, this is a welcome change. To be clear, the Stratos is not zero drop and it has plenty of cushioning, but compared to other FootJoys, it feels closer to the ground.
The FootJoy Stratos is offered in four widths in addition to the full range of sizes. At the time of publication, the Narrow width is only avaible in grey.
When I unboxed the Stratos, one of the first things that caught my eye was the new Advanced Verstrax+ sole. It looks very aggressive, and there’s another element that you can’t see: multiple durometers of TPU. What that means is that some of the “cleats” are harder, others are softer so that you can get traction on every surface. Anyone who’s ever worn “normal” spikes on cement knows exactly how valuable this can be.
In wearing the Stratos both on grass and in everyday situations, I found that this sole delivers on its promises. While running errands, I was able to walk confidently on wet and icy streets and sidewalks. On both real and artificial turf, the cleats provided the solid traction I’d expect from a quality spikeless shoe. For anything short of all-out swings in muddy conditions, the Stratos will give you solid footing.
In terms of lateral stability, the Stratos hits a nice middle ground between minimalism and the structural shoes that lock your foot in place. There’s clearly some support when you twist, slide, and swing, but you have some freedom to move, too. I also prefer the aforementioned lower heel and sole. Again, it’s far from minimalist, but it gets you a little closer to the ground.
As with most premium FootJoy shoes, the Stratos comes with a 2-year waterproof warranty. I dunked my Stratos-clad foot into a bathtub of water, and my sock came out as dry as it went in.
Finally, the StratoFoam cushioning does a great job keeping your feet fresh on long walks. Mine have been on more pavement than grass due to the weather, which is an even tougher test for the shoes. The one tradeoff for this level of cushioning is weight: in size 13, the Stratos weighs 16.9 ounces each.
If comfort is your focus, the FootJoy Stratos should be high on your list of shoes to try in 2021. These shoes perform well in all environments and keep your feet fresh no matter how far you walk.