spikeless golf

WHAT WE TRIED

Duca Del Cosma JL1 Golf Shoes

THE TESTERS

Hi, I’m Chris, a golf-obsessed member of the MyGolfSpy team. As the Director of Business Development, I generally work as a conduit between our staff and golf companies. I also spend a fair bit of time in my hot tub collecting thoughts on equipment or other golf topics. And, like many of you, I grew up during the era when “it’s gotta be the shoes” meant something.

Hi, I’m Harry and I am a professional golf product tester. (Yes, they exist.) I 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 Product Testing here at MGS. You can also just call me Harry. That’s fine, too.

WHY ARE WE TRYING IT?

Duca Del Cosma is a leader in Italian golf shoe design. Founded in 2004 by Baldovino Mattiazzo and Antje Elle, the objective of Duca Del Cosma is to produce golf footwear that is equal parts stylish and functional. Duca is working to break into the U.S. market dominated by brands such as FootJoy, adidas and NIKE. Duca’s European aesthetic might not be for everyone but they do have some great styles.

Duca Del Cosma has the support of professionals like Joost Luiten and Erik Flores. Let’s dive into the brand and if it could compete with the big boys.

golf shoe

WHAT ARE DUCA DEL COSMA GOLF SHOES?

With Duca’s style variety, you have “loud and proud”, the more traditional style and the everyday casual shoe look that can be worn on and off the course. The term craftsmanship is overused. In this case, it applies. True to its Italian heritage, each pair is an opportunity to showcase designs “that are inspired by an Italian way of living” and “unmatched attention to detail.” Their JL1 are a special edition shoe co-designed by Luiten, a six-time winner on the European Tour.

This special-edition shoe will set you back $229, comparable to the adidas Tour360 22. Other Duca Del Cosma models range from $180 to $250.

The JL1 shoes offer an Airplay XI spikeless outsole, combined with five-millimeter square-shaped nubs across the outsole to help stability and optimal grip. When you get to the heel section, it is raised slightly which Duca claims improves your stance and prevents foot fatigue.

The men’s spikeless golf shoe is waterproof. The interior has a breathable ARNEFLEX® insert sole memory foam with OnSteam® recyclable microfiber with heel support made from recycled cork.

Golf Cleats

TESTING THE DUCA DEL COSMA JL1 GOLF SHOES

Harry: Having tested a few pairs of Duca Del Cosma in the past, they left too much to the imagination. When looking at the JL1, the style might still be too loud for golfers. This was the case for me. But no matter, I’m about performance.

Chris: I applaud Duca’s desire to be different without being so “out there” that the designs are off-putting. If you’re a fan of plain, white classic wingtips, Duca might not resonate with you. However, if you don’t mind drawing a bit more attention to your feet, Duca offers a look that’s aggressive but not outlandish.

Harry: In previous models, my foot slid from side to side because of the insole being silky smooth. That has been changed in the JL1 which is a huge improvement. You feel more connected to the ground without your feet moving around. 

Chris: Zero complaints about the fit. It’s what you should expect from a high-end shoe.

PGA Tour

Harry: With performance being my main priority in a golf shoe, let’s talk about traction. There’s a debate going on in the industry on which type of shoe provides the best traction. Spiked or spikeless? I feel spikeless shoes can provide great traction but only if the right materials, nub design and orientation, height and distribution of the nubs are correct. Unfortunately, the JL1 doesn’t quite hit the mark and let me tell you why.  The midsole only covers a third of what could be in contact with the ground. This leads to reduced ground force and potential loss of traction.

Chris: Every golfer wants performance. But the real question is how much performance is sufficient? We’re just starting to be able to really quantify the relationship between things like spike designs and ground forces (and ultimately score). In my several rounds of testing, I didn’t notice any issues with traction or stability. That said, I played in primarily dry conditions and the shoes were brand-spankin’ new.

Harry: Another apart of the sole where I have issues with is what I call “hot spots.” In the heel sole section, where you load your weight on the backswing, the JL1 has a bar with branding that cause you to slip slightly in damp conditions. The other “hot spot” is at the balls of your feet. This is incredibly important when loading and transitioning to your lead side. The shoe has another brand logo which takes up nearly half the surface area and causes you to lose traction in any condition. 

Shoes Offer

Chris: I get the importance of branding but Harry’s right. The real estate on the sole is best used for traction and not marketing. I’m not against finding a way to increase brand recognition but it shouldn’t come at the expense of something as critical as the golfer’s only connection point to the ground.

Harry: Part of the shoe that falls under performance is inner comfort. What I mean by inner comfort is the memory foam insole and tongue padding. This combination allows your foot to feel hugged from above and below so you’ve got that going for ya. Which is nice. 

Chris: The JL1 is like a pig in a blanket wrapped in a Snuggie. Moreover, what Harry calls “inner comfort,” I might modify to “initial comfort.” The first point of comfort analysis for any consumer is the moment he/she slips on the shoe and laces it up for the first time. In that regard, the JL1 is more than up to the task.

WEARING THE JL1 GOLF SHOES

Harry: I’ve been wearing these Italian stallions for a few days around the office and on the course and here are my takeaways. After the initial stiffness of the leather, the shoe molded to my foot nicely. Not as quickly as other shoes on the market but still not bad. 

Chris: I don’t mind a shoe that takes a bit of time to break in so long as that’s what I’m anticipating. I wouldn’t suggest taking the JL1 right out of the box and walking 18 holes but it’s not nearly as stiff or rigid as leather shoes from a couple of decades ago.

replaceable spikes

Harry: The midsole of the shoe is very firm like the older shoes you used to wear. However, the JL1 is made of rubber so it does bounce back way more than the old midsole. Just a little too firm for my liking, unfortunately. The shoe is also heavier than your normal golf shoe which can lead to fatigue when walking the course. I really did like the stability. The combination of the memory foam and rubber cork insole partnered with the rigid upper allows your foot to remain locked in for longer.  Another area where I feel Duca got it right is the heel/Achilles section. I tend to get blisters on the heel in most shoes. However, the Duca Del Cosma JL1 didn’t give me blisters.

Chris: Every golf shoe is an example of limited resources. Meaning, that if a shoe is going to be exceptionally lightweight, it probably won’t be as stable as some golfers might like. Conversely, a heavier, sturdier golf shoe might not offer the same level of comfort or breathability but it will likely do a better job of anchoring the golfer to the ground. To a degree, it’s a game of pick your poison. Based on Duca’s brand ethos, it aims to give golfers something more than shoes that work exclusively on the course. The cost of versatility, in this case, is perhaps sole durability. Tbd on that. Recently I’ve shied away from shoes like the Duca Del Cosma JL1. I’m not entirely certain why that’s the case but it’s likely a byproduct of two factors. The first pair of Duca Del Cosma shoes I tried on were too stiff and heavy. And I bought the wrong size. That last part is 100 percent on me. That aside, the JL1 is much improved without any fatal flaws.

Duca Del Cosma

TAKEAWAY

Harry: There’s no doubt the JL1 is made with precision and craftsmanship but to be honest, the style/color combinations might not resonate with the large golfing public in the U.S. The camo and orange might be Joost Luiten’s favorite combination but when you’re trying to sell a product that resonates with the public, it’s a misfire in my opinion. The shoe has some great attributes but they don’t outweigh the areas of improvement needed. Plus for $220, the shoe jad better be perfect and, unfortunately, the Duca Del Cosma JL1 falls short for me.   

Duca Del Cosma JL1

Chris: With any product, it’s important to consider the target buyer. With the Duca Del Cosma JL1, I don’t think it’s for the golfer who buys a new pair of golf shoes each season or two and only buys a new pair when the previous one is worn out. That aside, many golfers own multiple pairs of golf shoes. And each pair likely serves a different purpose. While I’m not sure the camo and orange suffices as “office casual,” I know plenty of golfers that would take a $200 risk on a single pair of shoes that meets in the middle of lifestyle, business and sport. And with the Duca Del Cosma JL1, I think golfers will appreciate the fit, comfort and style, even if the sole design leaves room for improvement.

As always, tell us what you think!

Duca Del Cosma JL1

Duca Del Cosma JL1

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