I have always had an issue with the golf shoe market. It seems that as golfers we can't have it all - shoes that are comfortable, hold up on the course, but are stylish at the same time. Designing and manufacturing a shoe is costly, which is why companies like FootJoy have a stranglehold on distribution. For the most part, it's not a product category where the small guys can survive. As such, we are mostly stuck with what the major companies are churning out. For me, it's a little disheartening because I love to see smaller, independent brands push things forward.
That is exactly why a company like TRUE Linkswear was a breath of fresh air for golfers. They focused on making shoes that are so comfortable that it made all of your other pairs seem extinct. Sure they looked a little funny, but it was hard to find any other shoe that protected your feet as well while walking the course.
Unfortunately, after initial success, they have struggled the last several years. But they're back with two new shoes that represent a rebirth of the brand.
I've been wearing the new offerings for the last couple of months, and I think they have finally solved their issues. It turns out that someone was actually able to give it to us all in a golf shoe.
What Happened to TRUE Linkswear?
For the past two years, it seemed that TRUE Linkswear had gone completely silent. Their only release was The Elements. While I did like that shoe, there was almost no communication from the company and to be honest I was expecting to hear that they were going to call it quits.
That is why I was excited (and a little surprised) to see pictures of their two new releases. Their website got a completely new design and it looked like they were getting a reboot as a company.
It turns out that TRUE Linkswear was sold to new ownership. I got a chance to speak with one of the representatives from the new group, Justin Turner. Long story short, TRUE Linkswear had lost its way. Despite the company breaking onto the scene in 2009 and developing a loyal base of customers, there were many issues with product quality and distribution that eventually took their toll.
The company has a completely new direction now. They are focusing more on selling direct to consumers through their website. They also changed the way they design their shoes, starting with the materials. If you look at the about us section of their website, you will see complete transparency on their business model now. Their goal is to invest more in product quality and use the increased margins from direct sales to fund that process. While this can be a risky proposition, there are other brands that are having success using this strategy.
All of the older models have been relegated to the outlet portion of their site, and they are completely focused on their two new releases - the TRUE Outsider and Original.
The idea behind the TRUE Outsider is fairly ambitious. The shoe was designed for both on and off the golf course.
I think they really nailed this one, and I've been wearing them almost every single day since I got them. To be totally transparent, this is my favorite between the two.
Two things become abundantly clear when you first slip them on - they are insanely comfortable and have tons of support. A lot of this is attributed to the new sock layer in their design. It fits your foot snugly and comfortably.
Additionally, I think they have accomplished something with the design that they have never done before - they are actually pretty stylish. While I've always been a fan of the comfort that TRUE Linkswear provided, they weren't shoes you wore off the course because they looked a little funny.
The TRUE Outsider has become my go-to "out and about" shoe. They look pretty slick with a pair of jeans, and they are easily the most comfortable walking/casual shoe I've ever worn.
Oh, I forgot to talk about golf!
All of that comfort and stability translates nicely to the golf course. Their cross tread design provides enough traction for golfers who are used to spikeless shoes. You won't get as strong as a connection to the ground as a soft-spiked shoe, which is to be expected. However, they provide a ton of support, which I know certain golfers are looking for.
Overall, this is a really interesting shoe because I think it has accomplished something significant. It truly is a lifestyle shoe that can be worn on and off the course. A lot of other shoes out there have tried to fit that mold, but I don't think they have the combination of design, comfort, and support that the TRUE Outsiders have. Personally, I am partial to this model because this is not just a shoe for the golf course.
The Outsiders certainly represent a new direction for the company, but the TRUE Original is billed as an homage to the roots of the brand. Anyone who has been a fan of TRUE Linkswear is going to appreciate this shoe. This is now their flagship golf shoe.
The Originals are contoured in a way to make you feel more connected to the ground. This is certainly not a stability shoe; they are meant to make your feet naturally flex with the contours of the course. It has a much thinner sole than the other pair, with a little less cushioning. Additionally, these are much wider in the toe box, which fans of the brand will instantly recognize.
For some golfers that might feel a little strange, but for me, it is the kind of fit I want. If I had to choose between the two models for on-course performance this would be the pair I would side with. However, other golfers might prefer the stability and enhanced cushioning sole of the Outsiders.
Overall the sock layer provides a nice level of comfort. Your feet are certainly going to enjoy the walk with this pair.
One thing that really impressed me about both shoes is the quality of the leather. Their website claims that both pairs are crazy waterproof, and I really put that to the test. Several weeks ago I was preparing for a tournament and had to play in some extreme rain conditions. The first round was a torrential downpour that actually forced us off the course. This was the kind of rain that soaks you from head to toe. However, my socks were completely dry; not one drop of water had made its way inside the shoe. The next two rounds were played in a more steady rain that generally will saturate your socks eventually, and The Originals again were impermeable to the rain.
In terms of design, this is a more modern look. Personally, I would not wear them off the course like I would with The Outsiders, but that can be a matter of taste.
Simply put, these are absolutely fantastic golf shoes. They're comfortable, flexible, and are a better version of what the company has done in the past. The original fans of the brand are going to love these, and I think they are going to win over some people that have never heard of TRUE Linkswear.
I Like Where This is Headed
I'm very excited that TRUE Linkswear is back in the game. Both of these shoes are a major upgrade over their past releases. If you have worn any of their shoes you are going to instantly recognize that the materials used and the design are superior. If this is your first pair of TRUEs, well then I think you're going to become an instant fan.
The company has delivered on their promises. The leather is nicer, the new sock layer is extremely comfortable, and the designs are fresher. I am excited to see what else is going to come out in the future.
You can purchase the TRUE Outsiders and Originals directly on their website here. The TRUE Outsider retails for $169.00 and the TRUE Original is $149.00