Comfort with stability or, if you prefer, stability with comfort, is the Holy Grail for any golf shoe. But finding satisfactory levels of both in a spikeless shoe? That can be harder than finding Bigfoot. That’s why this week’s release of the new ECCO Golf S-Three is intriguing, as ECCO clearly believes it has struck Bigfoot Gold.
Or at the very least an acceptable balance.
ECCO has no fewer than 11 spikeless – or hybrid, the ECCO-preferred term – shoe models in its lineup. While its shoes remain popular, ECCO has been a middle of the road performer in MyGolfSpy’s last two Spikeless Shoe Buyer’s Guides. The Biom Hybrid 3 has scored well in comfort, style, and elements (weather) but so-so or less for stability and traction.
So, the trick for ECCO is to increase stability and traction while staying comfy, weatherproof, and slick looking. It sounds easy, but can the S-Three pull it off?
Building comfort and stability into one shoe isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some companies are better at it than others but there’s usually a trade-off: get more of one by giving up some of the other. For the golfer who prefers spikeless shoes, it’s a question of at what point are you comfortable enough and at what point are you stable enough?
With the new S-Three, ECCO is using a special midsole made with something called Zonal Fluidform™ Technology. It’s a new development for ECCO. In simple terms, it’s a single-piece molded midsole with three different firmness areas or zones.
First is the heel zone, which ECCO says is medium-firm to provide walking comfort and some cushioning and rebound during the swing. Next is the central zone, or the arch/midfoot area. That’s the most rigid part of the midsole for lateral stability. Finally, there’s the forefront or the toe area. That’s the softest and most flexible for maximum comfort while walking.
ECCO can usually be counted on for some nice-looking golf shoes (they have had their share of head-scratchers, though), and the S-Three surely qualifies. Mostly. ECCO uses a multi-section injection process to mold the S-Three’s midsole and every pair will have unique color transitions highlighting each zone.
Club manufacturers call it “visible technology.” I’ll call it “distinctive.” You can call it as you see it.
Uppers and Outsoles
ECCO scores well with MyGolfSpy in the elements category, which combines waterproofing and breathability. Like other ECCO shoes, the S-Three is 100% waterproof thanks to a healthy dose of GORE-TEX®. The S-Three upper is made from soft calf napa leather, which ECCO developed in its own tanneries.
The S-Three also features a double layer of neoprene in the collar for comfort. Again, ECCO takes that opportunity to add a little pizzazz, matching the collar color with the midsole’s heel section. The women’s models offer contrasting colors.
If you like a little flair in your shoes, this might work for you. If you don’t, well…
The outsole is standard-issue ECCO with its ECCO Dynamic Traction System™, or E-DTS™. Last month, ECCO USA General Manager Jesper Thuen told MyGolfSpy that E-DTS™ is the longest-running outsole in ECCO’s history (it certainly outlasted the Spyder-Grip sole). E-DTS™ was used in ECCO’s original Street shoe as well as this year’s, uhh, reboot. For grip, E-DTS™ features more than 100 traction bars and 800 traction angles.
As with all of ECCO’s golf shoes, the S-Three uses what the company calls Fluidform technology to bond the upper, midsole, and outsole into a one-piece shoe. There’s no glue or stitching which, says ECCO, makes the shoe more durable.
The BIOM 3, which features ECCO’s Tri-Fi-Grip™ outsole, fared poorly in MyGolfSpy’s testing for both traction and stability. It remains to be seen if the S-Three’s combination of the more rigid middle portion of the midsole plus ECCO’s older traction system can do any better.
Price, Options, Availability
The ECCO S-Three is available now on ECCO’s website and through ECCO retailers. The men’s models come in three colorways: White (black collar and heel), Magnet (greenish collar and heel) and Concrete (yellow collar and heel). Women’s models are also available in three colorways: White (black collar and heel), Gravel (grey collar and teal heel) and Magnet (grey collar and red heel).
The men’s models list for $200, the women’s for $190. And, sorry BOA fans, these are laces only.
For more info, visit www.eccousa.com.