You’ve heard about them, maybe seen them too. Everyday products are being hyped in your Twitter and Instagram feeds. They’re sometimes endorsed by pros, celebrities, and influencers alike. But do they live up to the hype? We take a closer look.
What are Golfers Talking About?
In 2017, Brooks Koepka issued Nike a challenge. He said, “Design me a running shoe that I can golf in.” Nike responded, “Let’s do it.”
Nike knows itself a thing or two about a good running shoe. The mega-brand integrated elements originally designed for running shoes and soccer cleats and combined it with Nike Zoom Stroble technology, first utilized by the NBA’s Kevin Durant.
The end result? The Nike Zoom Air Infinity Tour. They got the thumbs up from Koepka and Nike claims his swing speed increased as compared to his speed while wearing previous Nike models. How much? Nike doesn’t say, but we’re here to see if the Air Zoom Infinity Tour lives up to the hype.
Hi, I’m Harry, and I am a professional golf shoe tester. (Yes, they exist.) I actually test a lot of things at MyGolfSpy and play professionally when I’m not checking and comparing specs on gloves, rangefinders, bags.. ball retrievers.. etc. You can call me the Director of Soft Goods Testing here at MGS. You can also just call me Harry, that’s fine too.
Why the Hype?
Simple. Brooks Koepka. Koepka is known to tailor his equipment, regardless of brand association, to best fit his game. Not to mention, he’s got one of the fastest swing speeds on tour. And modern research shows that a golfer’s shoe contributes to said golfer’s ability to generate speed. The design of the Air Zoom Infinity Tour also invites curiosity. It has three spikes, a large one on the heel, and two on the balls of the foot meant to be positioned to support weight transfer. It’s a spiked shoe? No, it’s a spikeless shoe? It has spikes.. but they’re not removable. Yeah I’m a little confused too. It is a golf shoe, status confirmed.
Where The Hype is Coming From?
Nike gets people talking. Wearing the swoosh, to some, is as close to part of their identity as their preference for pineapple on pizza. If you like it you live by it and Nike diehards are there to buy and try almost anything they put out.
Assessing the Hype
Let’s break down the golf shoe market quickly. An obvious but necessary piece of information, there’s two categories. Spiked and Spikeless. Typically to be categorized as a spiked shoe, the spikes have to be removable. A spikeless shoe doesn’t have removable spikes, the studs are traditionally rubber and cover the whole sole of the shoe. In the last number of years we’ve seen the spikeless category bridge the gap between a traditional golf shoe and a lifestyle shoe. I tested a number of shoes in 2020 that I could wear straight to the gym (cough, pub) afterwards and no one would be any the wiser.
What’s interesting about the Air Zoom Infinity Tour is that they’ve created a category of their own. You could use the word hybrid and you wouldn’t be all wrong.
We mentioned the large, circular spike on the heel. May I emphasize large? The large spike on the heel is absolutely unique to the Air Zoom Infinity Tour. According to my assessment, you get traction but is it any better or worse than any other spiked/spikeless shoe on the market? No.
Another important design element is the padding on either side of the Achilles, intended to stabilize the foot and reduce heel movement. I love the idea but I’m also very emotionally attached to my Achilles. These shoes were very mean to them. Very mean. I might write a sad breakup song about it.
That said, it’s a great looking shoe. We might not be right for each other, but I would buy a pair and hang them on my wall. I’ll get them the fancy frame too.
Does it Live Up To the Hype?
The Bottom Line
Nike did what Brooks Koepka asked of them. Does it live up to the hype? Depends. For a Nike loyalist, it’s another job well done. Based purely on performance, I think they’re a little over-hyped. As I said, it’s a good looking shoe. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts.