Born to Walk: TRUE Linkswear the Boss of New a Breed
I have seen the future of golf shoes, and its name is TRUE Linkswear.
My apologies to Jon Landau, who famously predicted in 1974 that a little-known Jersey ruffian, Bruce something-or-other, would alter the course of rock history.
Granted, TRUE Linkswear shoes have received a fair portion of hype since hitting the scene a couple years back, but they remain – like the Boss before Born to Run – more cult favorite than cultural icon.
Until they make the covers of Time and Newsweek simultaneously, a la Springsteen in 1975, I’ll keep preaching the TRUE gospel. These shoes are that good. The best I’ve worn in 30 years of golf, and I’ve owned them all – FootJoy, Etonic, even the vaunted ECCO.
If you haven’t heard of TRUE Linkswear, here’s a quick primer:
The company was started in 2009 by a group of dedicated walking golfers, inspired (at least in part) by the minimalist, British Isles-style architecture of Tom Doak and Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw.
The TRUE team set out to create a product that was not only comfortable to walk in, but dispensed with conventional golf shoe features – like raised heels and soft spikes – that the makers believe “nail you to the ground.”
Their overriding goal: To build a golf shoe that approximates barefoot walking as closely as possible, while still providing solid traction, support and protection.
I’ve known about TRUEs from the beginning and read pages of glowing golfer reviews and press praise. But I only recently bought a pair after re-dedicating myself to playing on foot whenever possible. (Sadly, in the supposed golf utopia of Palm Beach County, courses that allow walking are in the minority.)
I got them late one afternoon, when the day’s golf ship had already sailed. Eager to try them out, I slipped on my new kicks and headed outside with the dogs for a round of fetch. The shoes’ glove-like fit was instantly appealing, as was their near weightlessness. I couldn’t outrun my retrievers in them, but nobody promised a miracle.
These are Comfortable Shoes
A couple days later I got to test my TRUEs on the course – and what a revelation they were. It was like wearing a thick pair of socks with rubber soles, and my feet were as fresh at round’s end as when I started. (Fresh feeling, that is. I repeat, these are shoes, not miracle workers.) Aside from the comfort level, the TRUEs earned top marks for traction and stability.
As for looks, well, TRUEs have their detractors. Nick Faldo – pardon me, “Sir” Nick – has openly mocked company Tour rep Ryan Moore for his choice of footwear, while some stodgy types are put off by the shoes’ unconventional styling.
But my 20-year-old daughter thinks TRUEs are fashionable – fashionable! And that’s good enough for me.
Now, about that whole “future of golf shoes” thing. Just as a few critics dismissed Springsteen as the latest in a line of Bob Dylan clones, some think TRUEs are merely following in the footsteps of ECCO’s Street Premiere model, worn by forever-young Fred Couples. That’s not the case. The idea for TRUE Linkswear was hatched before Freddie made his shoes famous at the 2010 Masters.
To be fair, I haven’t worn Street Premieres, or any of the similar shoes proliferating the shelves at golf shops everywhere. I’m sure the products made by behemoths like FootJoy and upstarts such as Kikkor Golf are top-notch, and I applaud them all for embracing a fresh trend — regardless of who actually started it.
Admittedly, TRUE Linkswear hasn’t completely reinvented the wheel.
Neither did Springsteen. But like the Boss’s music, these shoes are rooted in deep passion, showing an unabashed appreciation for tradition while eschewing conventional boundaries.
Here’s hoping TRUEs’ glory days have just begun.
Learn more about True Linkswear
Daniel Mitchell is a golf writer who lives in Jupiter, Fla., a few miles from Tiger Woods as the crow flies but worlds away in every other respect. An avid golfer since age 12, Mitchell carries a (shaky) single-digit handicap, investing far more time in his dogs than his swing.