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Inside the Leather

Jeff Harris Inside the Leather

Photo: Jeff Harris

Footwear designers have Made strides to improve golf shoes, with goals as basic as enhancing comfort and as complicated as adding cleats that rotate with the terrain (though, thankfully, not with your swing). The biggest advances have occurred at ground level. Companies have taken varying approaches to how their soles function—increasing flexibility or lowering the player's center of gravity (CG), to name but two. Some of the following are classic in style, others are more modern, but all provide a stable, powerful platform.

Adidas Golf Tour360 LTD

Tour pros are obsessed with feeling "connected," from their grip on the club to their shoes' grip on the turf, so Robert Allenby was only half-joking when he said that if pros "could screw cleats directly into their feet, they would." Adidas took this feedback seriously, lowering the Tour360 LTD's platform 2.5 mm closer to the ground than it was previously. And yes, the difference is noticeable. Other Tour-inspired innovations include a sewn-in "mono-tongue" construction (so the upper won't slip) and a ten-cleat configuration on the split outsole. $250. Call 800-888-2582 or visit adidasgolf.com.

Callaway Golf XTT Chev Tour Saddle

Designed for Tour professionals, who often prefer the snugness of a slightly smaller last, the Chev Tour boasts classic looks (an elegantly simple European waterproof calfskin upper) and top-of-the-line technology, including adjustable-width insoles and an independent-suspension traction system in which each cleat articulates and rotates with the terrain. Speaking of the cleats, they're oversize and asymmetrical to provide better grip. $320. Call 800-588-9836 or visit callawaygolf.com.

Ecco World Class City GTX

Ecco's wingtip-like World Class City GTX feel a bit stiff at first, but they seem to melt to your feet within minutes—an anatomical heel counter provides a customized nonslip fit. The attention to detail is obvious from the ultra-high-grade calf leathers, but during play you'll also notice how well the heel absorbs shock (thanks to a cushioned midsole) and how stable they feel in every lie and turf condition. Best of all, they command a three-year waterproof guarantee. $400. Call 800-886-3226 or visit eccousa.com.

Hi-Tec CDT Super Power Tour

The first thing you notice about the Super Power, besides the futuristic look, is the bulky, stable sole. Padraig Harrington won the 2007 British Open in a pair of Hi-Tecs and praises the way this outsole helps him keep his CG moving toward the target longer. This model features asymmetrical cleats that can be oriented (using a standard wrench) to improve gripping on various terrains. Finally, Hi-Tecs are great for golfers with wide feet, though spacers easily narrow the fit for others. $210. Call 800-521-1698 or visit cdtpower.com.

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