Golf Monthly's FootJoy FreeStyle shoe review, a sporty new model with unique styling that focuses on offering grip, comfort and mobility during the golf swing
The outsole was inspired by the anatomy of the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, which can generate incredible grip thanks to its toe pads that are equipped with elongated cells on the edges and channels in between that allow excess water to drain away.
Traction elements include a super-flexible new SoftMax translucent outsole that houses a Softspikes Tour Lock system and new translucent Pulsar cleats, which together deliver dynamic traction with frog-like flex. The lack of an internal shank also encourages maximum freedom of movement. An InnerSok Fit System that includes both TongueLok and HeelLok mechanisms that help hold the foot securely in place.
This is the hot topic when the FreeStyle was launched. The colours are bold and combined with the polka dot effect and large FJ logo, creates a sporty, sneaker-like aesthetic. FreeStyle comes in five colourways, ranging from traditional black to outlandish orange and lime green.
FreeStyle certainly looks different to anything else on the shelf of your pro shop. Whether the radical styling is embraced will vary from golfer to golfer. Some will dismiss it on looks alone, but the most of the more open-minded golfers that try on a pair will be won over by the immediate comfort out of the box.
One of this shoe’s strongest attributes, no question. The softness of the foot bed moulds to the shape of your foot and it feels like there’s so much padding underfoot, it has the feel of a sports trainer. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest FreeStyle will be one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes you’ll have ever worn.
Another strong attribute, excellent grip from different lies comes from the multiple traction elements – be it the nubs on the outsole or the flexible pulsar cleats placed in strategic positions. Because the outsole material is also very soft, it genuinely feels like the traction elements get deeper in the ground, helping you use the ground more to generate power on full shots and assist traction on sloping lies.
Without question, FreeStyle is one of the most mobile shoes on the market. The lack of internal shank means the shoe is flexible in multiple directions, helping the shoe shape to the terrain it is on when walking and when hitting shots. The nubs on the outsole that transfer to the sides of the shoe will help golfers transfer their weight through impact.
This shoe is built to encourage weight shift and movement during the swing but that doesn’t mean you’ll be slipping all over the place. That’s because the grip offered is so impressive. If you tend to move your lower body a lot already during the swing, you will most likely require a different shoe with a firmer outsole.
The FreeStyle tends to come out slightly bigger than traditional sizing so many golfers will perhaps need to come down by half a size or so. FootJoy offer a variety of sizes and widths so be sure to get properly fitted using a Brannock device.
As well as the traditional lace options, FreeStyle also comes in BOA for an additional £15. Using a dial at the back, this closure system uses steel laces that pull evenly across the top of the foot the best fit. These laces are so strong, they are guaranteed for the lifetime of the product.
While the styling may put golfers off initially, try a pair on and you will quickly become impressed by the high levels of comfort and mobility FreeStyle provides. There are enough colour options to find a style that matches your wardrobe and there’s decent value for money here too.