With the untimely demise and departure of my beloved Foot Joy XPS-1 shoes (damn you Foot Joy for discontinuing them), I was forced to look elsewhere for a new pair of shoes this year once the XPS shoes starting coming apart (to be fair, I had them for 3 years and wore them in a variety of conditions.
My options are limited because I have a very wide foot; I’ve had minimal luck with Adidas (they were okay comfort wise but I wanted a more stable platform), so I started looking. I’ve never had good luck with Nike (I bought a pair of their shoes 20 years ago and regretted it after one round- uncomfortable and two spikes came out mid-round) and Puma just feel terrible on my feet.
I’ve been a fan of the soft spikes since they came out, and trying on a pair of spikeless shoes, I immediately scratched this off my options. Since I tend to play early morning rounds and given that we do get a bit of rain here, a spikeless shoe made no sense (I immediately began having concerns about safety and stability). If I was going somewhere like Palm Springs or Scottsdale (dry areas that get little rain) I’d probably reconsider, but in our climate? No thanks.
Seeing that New Balance were entering the golf shoe market, I was intrigued. They make wide width sneakers that I’ve had decent luck with (currently I’ve leaned toward Asics but I still have a pair of New Balance shoes in rotation), so I did some digging. They make a “minimal” shoe but my size and need for stability ruled that out pretty much immediately.
After some digging and research, I settled on the NBG2002 shoe (photo from New Balance) because they had it in a 4E width and it met my requirements.
I put them in rotation in late June, so the review is after a dozen rounds (a good sample size, it seems)
Comfort: Out of the box, the initial feel was very light and very comfortable. There’s ample cushion. They’re very light. If you’re not used to this (and I wasn’t) it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise. While I do ride when I play, as we know, you still end up doing a bit of walking.
Grip/support: The spike design isn’t bad (see photo below taken after 12 rounds).
The spikes provide plenty of grip in both flat and hilly lies as well as in the sand. In terms of support, the base of the shoe isn’t as wide as my XPS-1 shoes were. Ideally it would be wider but it’s not horrendously different.
Waterproofing: So far, the waterproofing has held up. If I do have one complaint, the shoes aren’t that breathable compared to other shoes I’ve owned. If you buy a pair and you keep them in a shoe bag, I HIGHLY recommend taking them out of the bag after your round and let them dry naturally. They have held up in early morning rounds, but they do make my feet sweat something to beat the band.
Appearance: I’m something of a traditionalist when it comes to shoes, so you’ll never see me wearing the Rickie Fowler orange. I don’t mind a bit of colour, but from the so-called “mirror test” I’m happy with how these look. My photos don’t really show it but I like the tone-on-tone hexagonal motif (the first picture from New Balance picks it up).
Durability: After 12 rounds, frankly it’s hard to say. They appear to be holding up okay, but being somewhat large, my added tonnage probably doesn’t help things.
Overall: The lack the shoe breathing notwithstanding, they’re comfortable. If you wear orthotics the sockliner insert comes out (it’s the green thing you can see). They grip fairly well (no slips so far), and are pretty comfortable. I’m not that happy that New Balance isn’t making a 4E width in their higher-end models (seriously- WHY NOT?). If I was to add things to my want list, I’d like to see a customize option where I could get a pair with a certain English Premier League Team logo that happens to wear New Balance (if they do that or figure out how to let me get a Maple Leafs logo…then here- just take my money).