Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve never actually owned a sporty, athletic style golf shoe. It’s nothing personal and I certainly cast no shade toward the sneaker-inclined cohort, but even with the swath of off-course favorites reincarnated as golf shoes in recent years, it’s done little to change my mind.
Claims of comfort and proof of their lightweight, feathery feel have been tempting, but my mind, body and golf soul has always gravitated toward the more traditional, classic look of a wingtip or modern-day golf take on more elevated shoes (think G/FORE Captoes and Tuxedo Gallivanters). The classic golf shoe has come a long way, too, as leather bottoms and replaceable spikes gave way to more comfort and surprising traction from spikeless bottoms.
Before you cast me off as a luddite, stuck in his ways and unwilling to adapt and change, I’m happy to report that when it comes to sporty golf shoes, I may finally be coming around. Why the change?
The GFORE MG4.1.
My affinity for GFORE golf shoes is well-documented as the brand’s been instrumental in moving golf footwear forward, with an endless array of creative designs. Their ability to develop elevated styles while maintaining a great level of comfort is something I’ve found unmatched by other brands thus far. Needless to say, when GFORE releases something new, I pay attention.
That something new just happens to be the GFORE MG4.1, an athletically-inspired crossover shoe designed for function well beyond the golf course. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), I found myself wanting to try this new creation. So, I picked-up a pair during their April pre-release and have put them to use for walks with the dog, morning coffee runs, daytime strolls around town, and of course, loops around the golf course.
Here are some thoughts on how the GFORE MG4.1 performs on the course and beyond.
Out of the box comfort
Not surprisingly, the GFORE MG4.1 delivers an incredible amount of cushiony-soft comfort. Thanks largely in part to a custom triple density foam footbed, the shoe is as cushiony soft as any. Simply put, it’s designed for wearability. Rather than rushing to kick-off the golf shoes after a morning 18, the MG4.1 actually creates a desire to wear the shoe from the course straight into afternoon festivities.
Their ultra-lightweight body paired with a snug-fitting knit upper that hugs the foot adds to the “all-day” comfort of the shoe, and after spending numerous 14-hour days on my feet in the MG4.1, I can attest to their out-of-the-box comfort – no break-in period required.
Traction in the elements
Being a crossover, the MG4.1 features a spikeless bottom. They’re designed with an army of angled, rubberized sawtooth edges to ensure traction on the course while still working well around town. To test their on-course performance I played 9 holes in a light rain with the MG4.1, and I’m happy to report that I experienced no slippage during the round. This bottom is different than the impressive spikeless bottom of GFORE’s well-known Gallivanters, but carries just as much traction. I wouldn’t recommend these in extreme elements as the knit upper isn’t water proof, however they performed just fine in a light rain.
Stability of a knit
I’ve often found that the ultra-lightweight, knit-style golf shoe lacked the stability needed on the golf course. Loading-up and ripping drives requires a sound based with ample support, which more traditional-style golf shoes tend to deliver.
For those accustomed to playing in this style of shoe, the MG4.1 certainly will give you the stability necessary on the course. However, for anyone who gravitates toward classic golf shoes, the MG4.1 may take some getting used to. My initial reaction was that they didn’t provide the level of support I desired, but after half-a-dozen or so rounds, I’ve tempered that feeling.
By and large I still reach for my Gallivanters for more serious or competitive rounds, but I’ve found the MG4.1 to be a great shoe for casual late-day 9’s with a half-set of clubs and beverage in tow. And truth be told, they’ve replaced my sneakers as a go-to for everyday off-course wear.
Aesthetics / Design
The visual appeal of a golf shoe can be as important as any other factor, and the GFORE MG4.1 delivers a super cool look. The top-down view showcases a sleek silhouette, with three rows of laces running across the GFORE logo’d knit-upper. This makes for a clean look at address, a must for me on the putting green.
The side profile reveals a uniquely designed sole, inspired by European architecture and adding a point of visual interest to the shoe. The MG4.1 is available in a variety of colors, with my favorite being the clean-looking snow (aka white).
I was a bit worried how quickly the knit material would show dirt, but they’ve held-up well and are pretty easy to keep clean, too. Throw them straight into the washing machine for heavy duty cleaning, or simply spot wash with laundry cleaner spray and a cloth every few wears (my go-to move for keeping all types of golf shoes minty fresh).
If you’re looking for a shoe that can swiftly crossover from the golf course to everyday life, the GFORE MG4.1 is for you. They pair well with shorts or joggers, but look equally as good with a performance trouser, too. Faster swinging players or traditionalists may need to test their stability, but trust the cushiony comfort and strong traction will serve all well.
And for those who only make it out once a month or a handful of times each year, this is absolutely the shoe for you. No longer will your golf shoe collect dust in the garage, as the MG4.1 takes you far beyond the course. Warn your golf and tennis shoes alike; there’s a new crossover in town.