Speed XC Lite.
Speed XC Lite.

Vibram FiveFingers: Golfers Need a Barefoot Shoe, Too

Will toe shoes help links players with their swing?

Speed XC Lite.
Berne Broudy

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Vibram FiveFingers, the ubiquitous toe shoe company, has decided that golfers need a barefoot shoe, too. It makes sense. FiveFingers give athletes the best ground feedback, which could help golfers get a better feel for the game.

“There’s a reason golf pros practice barefoot,” said Mike Gionfriddo, CEO of Vibram USA. “That connection to the earth improves stance and stability, which can ultimately improve your game. Whether a golfer is facing the unique attributes of a sand trap or getting a feel for the green, FiveFingers offers the benefit of going barefoot with the protection of a Vibram sole.”

Vibram brought its newest FiveFingers model, the Speed XC Lite, to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, last week, where it won an award for best new footwear product. Vibram’s testing team demonstrated that the FiveFingers Trek sole keeps golfer’s feet stable through the swing, matching the traction of other spikeless golf shoes.

The Speed XC Lite is comprised of a breathable, lightweight mesh upper over an EVA midsole for underfoot protection. The shoe uses the cleated but not spiked Vibram performance Trek rubber outsole for excellent traction on terrain ranging from grass to sand. And that means you don’t have to change shoes at the end of your game; the Speed XC Lite is as at home on asphalt or your clubhouse’s slate patio as it is on the green. Traditional lacing makes these FiveFingers easier to get into. Available July 2013, $110; vibramfivefingers.com.

Vibram is also marketing three of its existing shoes with the Trek sole to golfers.

For players who are willing to hit the green in any weather, Vibram’s Speed XC pairs water resistance thanks to a multi-layer laminate upper with fully-taped seams and a gusseted tongue, which keeps moisture out. The seamless polyester lining is blister-free when you’re walking the links. Available now, $140; vibramfivefingers.com.

If you’re golfing across Mongolia or somewhere similar, the TrekSport is the FiveFingers of choice for you. It uses rugged, high-performance materials, abrasion-resistant Coconut Active Carbon in the upper for breathability, and EVA in the midsole to cushion your foot. Available now, $100; vibramfivefingers.com.

For long, hot days on the course, the TrekSport Sandal combines the versatility of a sandal with FiveFingers’ “natural movement experience.” Available now, $90; vibramfivefingers.com.