What we say...
FootJoy took inspiration from the red-eyed tree frog for this shoe – not so much its ruddy peepers as its uncanny ability to stick to almost any surface. Power hitting relies on traction, so is FootJoy onto something with their new sole gel nodules?
The first time I set eyes on the FreeStyle, FootJoy's rep literally folded the shoe in half to demonstrate its flexibility. For the first time a manufacturer is talking about a 'mobility' shoe that works with you to improve grip however you use your feet.
The colour of my FreeStyles was directly inspired by FJ's red eyed tree frog's colouration and it's fair to say the mix of blue, orange and green won't be the colour most UK golfers opt for. But there are plenty of other colour options available. They're a good-looking modern shoe that's had some heavy design influence.
Golf shoes of the past haven't actively been designed to be a part of you. The closest I can compare the feeling of wearing the FreeStyle to is wearing a new golf glove. It moulds to you and you hardly notice it's there once it's on. It works so effectively that it feels like it becomes part of you. You feel closer to the turf, and there's a more interactive, responsive feel, which I really enjoy.
The FreeStyle gives the impression of being grippy before you even pull them on. Masses of tiny tacky gel nodules (inspired by our web-footed friend) on the insole help grip the foot like no other I've tried. FootJoy claims improved grip helps transfer more energy at impact, so it seemed only fair to hit shots on a launch monitor to see if I could wring out any extra mph from my swing. I can't say I hit shots any further as my numbers wearing spikeless shoes and the FreeStyles were very similar, but I will admit to feeling really stable at address and throughout my swing.
I was pleasantly surprised with the FreeStyle. They're really comfortable, supportive and felt great. Personally even though they are guaranteed waterproof I probably won't wear them in the depths of winter as they are quite lightweight. But during spring, autumn and summer they'll be getting quite a few outings in 2016.