The New Adidas Superstar Cleat Is What Happens When Sneaker Culture and the Golf World Get It Right
"If I saw myself in clothes like those, I'd have to kick my own ass."
Golf style has come a long way, my friends. The sport's standard clothing used to be embarrassing. Its footwear was to be paid no mind. Surely you've watched your favorite NBA player take to the tunnel in a fit that sparks a Google search. But watching a PGA pro approach the first tee? Nah, man. Nothin' to see here.
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Over the past half-decade or so, things have begun to change for the better, though. For the most part, gone are the days of oversized polos and billowing pants (not the good kind) that send your style-minded brain into oblivion. Golf attire is getting smarter by the day. Dress codes at your local courses are loosening up. And the game's young stars are bringing their millennial-minded personal styles to the course, all leading to what's been the most exciting evolution in the sport short of protein-shake-fueled jacked dudes hitting absolute bombs. At last week's PGA Championship, the first major of 2020 due to pandemic delays, we saw tie-dye injected into one of the world's stuffiest sports. A few weeks earlier, Viktor Hovland took to the tee in what are more or less a pair of track pants from his sponsor J. Lindberg. Finally, players aren't afraid to embrace bucket hats, bright colors, and—gasp—clothes that fit them.
It's beautiful to watch. And although there's still a long road ahead for anything worn above the ankle, golf footwear is way out ahead of it, thanks to the sneakerhead boom finally reverberating on the golf course. Jordan brand has tweaked several of its most popular retro silhouettes into golf spikes, including the Jordan 1 and Jordan 11, their resale prices proving it's not just your weekend warrior getting excited. Adidas has also been on fire lately. The brand's flagship golf shoe, the Tour360, has always been a sight for sore eyes, even prior to the aforementioned revolution, but the implementation of the brand's Primeknit technology into the classic silhouette made for my favorite golf shoe in decades. That was, until, I came across the new limited edition Superstar golf, Adidas' tee-to-green take on perhaps its most iconic silhouette.
Golf Superstar Spiked Shoes, Adidas
Adidas took almost no liberties with its golf iteration of the shell-toed sneaker, which, to be extremely brief about its history, was originally released as a basketball shoe in the late '60s, and popularized by Run-DMC in the '80s. At first glance, there's no evidence that this is a golf shoe at all. But flip 'em over and you'll find Adidas has found a sweet spot in the sneakers-become-spikes insurgence.
Six softspikes take this sneaker-inspired golf shoe up a notch.
For the most part, the lot of sneaker-inspired golf shoes on the market tend to lean all the way in to the sneaker vibe, trading the classic soft spikes seen on most golf shoes for more a more subtle, lug-soled gripping feature that's nearly absent to the naked eye. For the average hacker, it's an inconsequential change that at best frees them the worry of damaging their spikes in the parking lot. But pro golfers are still very much on their spike game, many still adhering to the superior grip of a metal spike—hence the clank-clank you may have heard watching the pros walk from their cars to the course at Harding Park at last week's major. These Superstars come equipped with the lugs, but they also add six softspikes to the mix. The result is an inconspicuous (and waterproof) golf shoe that carries the style of a sneaker with all the grip of the best spike on the market.
Mindful dressing in the world of golf is catching on. And while the bar started relatively low, the minds behind biggest brands in golf are finding that they don't have to abandon tradition or performance to bring their offerings into 2020. Sometimes all it takes is paying homage to a classic. Here's to hoping the Superstar golf shoe is a bat signal to the footwear world that a handful of softspikes can help change the stigma for good.
Like the brand's CodeChaos "Summer of Golf" shoes (which are also getting the resale treatment right now), these Superstars are a limited release, so if you're looking to switch up your vibe before fall golf season, don't sleep on them.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.