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There hasn’t been a bigger fashion story in the game of golf this year than Rickie Fowler’s high-tops and joggers from Puma Golf. While Rickie is getting a lot of credit for pushing the boundaries of golf fashion, he wasn’t the first professional golfer to lace up a pair of high-tops, and he won’t be the last. Keegan Bradley has been sporting custom made Jordan Brand golf shoes for a couple of years, and Nike crafted a golf version of its popular Blazer basketball shoe for Michelle Wie last summer when she was battling ankle issues. Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jamie Lovemark have been spotted rockin’ a new Flyknit Chukka golf boot from Nike that is expected to hit retail this year. Mossimo Giuliani’s G/FORE label unveiled two colorways of a high-top shoe at the PGA Merchandise Show that possesses a high fashion, streetwear vibe. With all the buzz that Fowler and Puma have created around high-tops, expect other shoe brands to jump into the mix.
Ironically, one of the biggest trends in golf apparel has nothing to do with on-course attire. With more golfers heading to the gym for power and flexibility, and the active wear craze taking over society in general, nearly every golf apparel brand is making a push into the athleisure market.
TravisMathew’s Red Collection includes everything from T-shirts to boardshorts to take you from the gym to the beach and everywhere in between. Dunning’s Sportswear Collection combines luxurious fabrics with stylish silhouettes that are perfect for hardcore workouts and long travel days. New label Greyson Clothiers is set to introduce a sport collection, in addition to its golf collection, that features sporty hoodies, sophisticated joggers and jackets with Fair Isle and camo prints. It is as raw as it is sophisticated. J.Lindeberg’s new activewear collection with sleek fits and cutting-edge fabrics is complete with puffer jackets, joggers, T-shirts and more.
Bye Bye Belts
Belts have been the hottest accessories on the fairways over the last decade, but are they set to become the dinosaurs of the golf fashion world? They are if Phil Mickelson is setting trends. Phil has ditched his super luxe House of Fleming exotic skin belts in favor beltless pants with adjustable side tabs.
For those of you who are too young to remember the Sansabelt pants of the 70s and early 80s, first, consider yourself lucky, and second, here is a bit of background info. Sansabelt slacks featured a wide elastic band that was sewn into the waist, making a belt unnecessary. They were made from polyester, and not the nice moisture-wicking kind that we have today.
Mickelson, of course, has put his own upscale spin on the Sansabelt slacks of yesterday by trading that 70s polyester for modern tropical wools. Will Phil’s trend catch on?
I’ve been talking about prints for a couple of years, and the trend will reach a crescendo this spring. No matter what your taste in prints is, whether it’s mod paisleys, all-over micros, intricate florals, pin dots or 80s geometrics, now is the time to jump on this trend, if you haven’t already.
Looking for a little inspiration? Ryo Ishikawa is your guy. He was the first player to bring micro florals to the fairways. A best practice is to always pair a print with a solid, but if you are looking to make a total boss move, check out how Ryo scales his prints by mixing and matching micros and macros.
Simple > Swaggy
The theme for golf style in 2016 is ‘simple and subtle.’ There is no reason to meet a group of friends for lunch after a morning nine in a kit that screams, “I just played golf!” The days of the golf uniform are over. Instead, effortless looks that are just as easy to wear on the course as off of it are ‘in.’ Keep textures soft and subtle rather than bold and loud. Brands like J.Lindeberg, Chase54 and Carnoustie are offering ranges of super subtle embossed prints and jacquards, which can elevate the look of entire outfits without being over the top.
This idea also applies to belts (unless you are Phil Mickelson). Appetizer plate-sized buckles and thick straps have given way to more casual braided and webbed styles with simple frame-and-prong, D-ring or plate-style buckles.
Suited and Booted
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Since golf fashion has become more casual over the last few years, it is not surprising that the pendulum is beginning to swing in the other direction. More formal suiting styles are starting to make inroads into the game. Fashion-conscious labels like J.Lindeberg and Hugo Boss are pulling in pinstripes and windowpane checks from menswear lines. Rather than offering these styles in traditional wool fabrics, they are putting a modern and athletic twist on them by incorporating them into lightweight technical materials.
Made in the Shade
By now you know all the health benefits of wearing sunglasses on the course, but did you know that the right lens could actually improve your scores? Oakley’s PRISM lenses have been specifically engineered for golf, which can highlight the contrast between the green, the fairway and the rough. This helps players to identify bare spots, and wet and dry patches that can impact how the ball will react on the ground. Under Armour’s new Game Day lenses help to sharpen on-course contrast by making the sky a brighter blue and the grass super green.
In 2016, the golf shoe market is all about new high tech foams that return high levels of energy with every step. Adidas Golf’s TOUR360 BOOST shoe uses the brand’s responsive BOOST cushioning material – a lightweight foam in the midsole comprised of thousands of popcorn-like TPU beads that are steam-molded and pressed together. Puma Golf’s new TITANTOUR IGNITE shoe also features a polyurethane foam in the midsole to deliver responsive cushioning, optimal rebound, and step-in comfort
The biggest advantage that these revolutionary foams have over traditional EVA midsoles is their energy return. In fact, Adidas Golf says that BOOST possesses an energy return of greater than 84%. Standard EVA materials are said to have an energy return of between 50% and 65%. The net/net is happier and more comfortable feet.
It’s Denim, But Not Denim
Even though denim has become accepted in the workplace, restaurants, and other more formal settings, golf continues to have a frosty relationship at best with the fabric. How can hip golfers achieve the look of denim without being escorted to the parking lot? It all has to do with denim prints rather than the fabric.
QED Style has a denim-inspired polo in its line-up for spring that received high marks from buyers at the PGA Merchandise Show. It is available in four washes and is well appointed with rivets on the chest pocket, contrast stitching and snap buttons for a jeans-like feel. J.Lindeberg’s Jack Trouser features a 5-pocket design with rivets and metal buttons to resemble a classic denim pant. Even Adidas Golf has a denim textured technical pant in the script for the Men’s U.S. Olympic Team.