We analyse the appeal of the new Puma RS-G shoe, combining our opinions on the unique styling with how it performs on the course

Puma RS-G: The Ultimate Statement Shoe

Out on tour, ultra-traditional shoes like the FootJoy Icon remain among the most popular models but this year, one shoe in particular has pushed the other end of the sporty-traditional spectrum even further away.

Increases in street influences, off-course styling and out-of-the-box thinking mean that the choice for golfers has never been so varied and one of the best examples of this this the Puma RS-G shoe.

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Based on the popular RSX trainer, it comes in two colours and breaks new ground in golf shoe design, blending street and sport culture with golf performance. The reaction on social media tells us it is one of the most polarizing shoe launches in recent times.

If you’re young (or young at heart) and/or into your vintage sneakers, the chances are you’ll love what Puma has created. But if you cherish the history and heritage of the game, they will likely be a step too far.

We asked 15 Golf Monthly staff and contributors, covering all ages, handicaps and tastes, what they thought of the Puma RS-G upon seeing it for the first time. Opinions were predictably mixed.

Bill Elliott, columnist
Age: 75
Handicap: 18
Preferred shoe style: More traditional but always spikeless
Would you wear them? No
Verdict: The Puma RS-G are clearly not aimed at me and rightly so as I would not be drawn to them although my sons say they would be very likely to try them.

Mike Harris, editor
Age: 49
Handicap: 9
Preferred shoe style: Sporty spikeless
Would you wear them? Yes
Verdict: As a huge trainer fan I like the styling that is inspired by genuine street footwear. In a golf context, I think these are a real statement shoe and I’m not afraid to wear standout items with an appropriate outfit in the right setting.

Kevin Murray, photographer
Age: 63
Handicap: 10
Preferred shoe style: Traditional
Would you wear them? No
Verdict: Sorry but these aren’t for me as I do like wearing a more traditional shoe. There’s too much going on with the design and so I’m not sure what part is form over function. I’m sure they are lightweight but with the very thick sole they look heavy. They remind me of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 500 which is a pure trainer!

Dom Smith, videographer
Age: 24
Handicap: 14
Preferred shoe style: Spikeless
Would you wear them? Yes
Verdict: These are shoes I could easily see myself wearing all day long, not just for a round of golf. I’m not a fan of the white and grey colour but would definitely look at the other colour options available.

Fergus Bisset, freelancer
Age: 40
Handicap: 3
Preferred shoe style: Traditional spiked
Would you wear these shoes? No
Verdict: I would struggle to feel serious on the golf course wearing shoes that look like they should be paired with an old-school shell suit. Not for me.

David Taylor, content editor
Age: 42
Handicap: 18
Preferred shoe style: Sporty spikeless
Would I wear these shoes? No
Verdict: They look like they’re trying too hard to be modern – a bit like Back to the Future Part II! Not sure they’re aimed at my demographic. Definitely think I’m too old to pull them off!

Neil Tappin, digital editor
Age: 39
Handicap: 5
Preferred shoe style: Spikeless but fairly traditional
Would you wear these shoes? No
Verdict: I think they look pretty good and I can imagine them being popular but they too trainer-like for me. (Possibly a bit young as well!)

Nick Bonfield, content editor
Age: 31
Handicap: 12
Preferred shoe style: Traditional
Would you wear these shoes? No
Verdict: This shoe is too busy and clumpy. Is there really a demand for a shoe like this? Why do we need to have a street-style golf shoe? It wouldn’t bother me if someone wanted to wear it, but I would never choose a style like this.

Michael Weston, freelancer
Age: 40
Handicap: 12
Preferred shoe style: Spikeless
Would you wear these shoes? No
Verdict: If I were 20 years younger, I might have considered wearing them – not now. Only certain players (young, trend setters) will be able to pull this style off, I imagine.

Elliott Heath, social media manager
Age: 25
Handicap: 4
Preferred shoe style: Traditional
Would I wear them? Yes
Verdict: I think they’re pretty cool and it’s great that they can be worn on and off the course so no need to change shoes on arrival. As a traditionalist, I would only wear these in social games or after-work golf, not in a comp. Still, I’m a big fan. I have a new pair of adicross’ and love them for the exact reasons stated above

Sam Tremlett, writer
Age: 26
Handicap: 5
Preferred shoe style: Sporty spikeless that could be worn away from the course.
Would you wear them? Yes
Verdict: I think they are a positive step for golf because anything that chisels away at the negative/archaic image of the sport is a good thing. I think in terms of the shoes, I like the design, they look comfortable and I think the black/grey shoes colourway are ‘sick’, as the kids say.

Jezz Ellwood, rules expert
Age: 56
Handicap: 6
Preferred shoe style: Traditional spikeless
Would you wear them? No
Verdict: I just don’t really feel I want to be wearing such a trainer-style shoe on the golf course. I also have some reservations about the chunkiness/height of the heel section

Rob Smith, courses expert
Age: 63
Handicap: 14
Preferred shoe style: Sporty spikeless
Would you wear them? No
Verdict: I am not a fan of the cargo/military style look – they look like they are designed to offer a height boost. I think the bar down the side looks like a lever used to adjust a car seat – does RS-G stand for Rap Star Golfer?

Thomas Clarke, senior content editor
Age: 38
Handicap: 18
Preferred shoe style: Sporty spikeless
Would you wear them? Yes
Verdict: I think many may struggle to work out what they look like on a normal golfer who doesn’t look like or have the style of Rickie Fowler.

RELATED: Best Spikeless Golf Shoes 2020

These comments highlight how looks play such an important part in decision making when it comes to shoes as well as the limitations in terms of the appropriate environment for them to be seen. You can be as young and bold as you like, but if you turn up wearing the RS-G at a very traditional, historic golf club you may well be swiftly shown the exit.

The feedback also suggested they were more appropriate for fun, social rounds and off-course wear rather than competitive rounds.

All this tells us that the overall demand for the RS-G shoe may be small but for Puma, this is just fine. This shoe isn’t for the masses – part of the RS-G’s appeal is that it is so different and distinctive, and thus won’t be seen in abundance.

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We tested them for a couple of rounds and have to say, we really enjoyed the experience. The laces are unusually thick but the shoe feels really soft and snug, to the point where you might want to go up half a size, and you definitely don’t feel as high off the ground as the sole design suggests.

The level of grip was sufficient, even when testing during an unforseen rain shower (our feet stayed dry too), and there’s a good level of stability on offer. The white/grey colourway goes perfectly with a grey pair of slacks and they just didn’t seem as out of place visually as we were expecting.

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I can definitely see myself wearing these shoes again, perhaps not for the monthly medal but certainly during social rounds with friends with a pair of shorts. If you like your trendy trainers, you could definitely wear them away from the course too, although this would be a step too far for me I think.

The Puma RS-G shoe allows golfers to make a statement, telling others you aren’t afraid to try something different and aren’t interested in following the crowd. We commend Puma’s enterprise and while it undoubtedly isn’t for everyone, it certainly has earned its position as the ultimate statement shoe for 2020.