The 2011 Chapeau Noir shoe test lineup

The 2011 Chapeau Noir shoe test lineup

It is golf shoe review season here at chapeaunoirgolf.com, and with so many new models in the cue, it will take a while to put each pair through 18 or more holes worth of rigorous treading. Having worn most of these shoes around Chapeau Noir HQ, initial impressions are included below, but full reviews will follow based on actual playing experience. 

This year Chapeau Noir has enlisted the services of three enthusiastic helpers (Chapeau Noir Junior, Mrs. Chapeau Noir, and Chapeau Noir Senior) to bring you the most diverse, honest and non-biased shoe reviews possible. Here's what's in the lineup (in alphabetical order). Note that any shoe not worn by Chapeau Noir (of which there are three) will appear as 'as told to' reviews.

ECCO BIOM Golf

First up is the ECCO BIOM. From its aggressive stance, this shoe looks to be loaded with technology, but actually it actually isn't overflowing with bells and whistles. The BIOM is perhaps the shoe Chapeau Noir drooled over most when he received it, based both on the product packaging and the shoe form itself. It's a shoe that just looks like it knows what it's doing.

Despite how much he coveted this shoe, Chapeau Noir felt it would be the tonic needed to get Chapeau Noir Senior back on the course in 2011. Senior had a bit of an off year in 2010 when it came to golf. Now 84 years young, Senior doesn't tend to act his age, but had a couple of setbacks last year that prevented him from getting out on the links very much last year.

Senior happens to be the same size as Chapeau Noir, and as he shares a love for a good shoe, and for the game of golf, Chapeau Noir is happy to report that Senior is keen to get out there and hit it in the next few weeks, wearing his new ECCO BIOMs. Stay tuned for a special 'as told to review' in the coming weeks.

ECCO Golf Street (men)

Chapeau Noir has said it before, and he'll say it again -- everybody wants to be like Freddie. We'll never be able to swing it like Fred, but if we can the wear shoes that make him look so cool out there it's a step in the right direction.

Chapeau Noir sported the ECCO Golf Street shoes for his first nine holes of the season this week, on opening day at his club. The turf was generally spongy and wet, and if there was ever a day that slippage and leakage would be an issue, this would be it as the temperature rose no higher than 5 degrees Celsius. A full report will follow, but the initial Chapeau Noir impression is that this shoe stayed bone dry on the inside, and simply felt great. The Golf Street will certainly see many rounds in the coming season.

ECCO Golf Street (women)

As much as guys want to be Fred Couples, there isn't a woman out there with even a moderate interest in golf who doesn't want to be with Fred Couples. Yes, most women, Mrs. Chapeau Noir included, will have to settle for admiring Fred from afar. Perhaps they can feel a bit closer to Freddie when wearing the ECCO Golf Street for women. Mrs. Chapeau Noir will provide an 'as told to' review in the coming weeks.

FootJoy DryJoys Tour

When you think of a traditional golf shoe, you definitely think FootJoy. Out of the box, the DryJoys Tour golf shoe gives you the sense that this is the shoe you should be wearing if you are truly serious about the game.

As the only shoe in the Chapeau Noir review lineup that is equipped with replaceable soft spikes, the DryJoys Tour are also the most rigid shoe out of the box. That doesn't mean that this shoe isn't comfortable, because there is plenty of cushion under foot. What it does mean is that you may feel a bit more stable through the swing than you might when wearing any of the other models in this year's review lineup.

Aesthetically, this is also the richest looking shoe in the lineup. Even if you have no game whatsoever, these will make it look like you do. Just don't forget that you'll have to reveal your playing self to your partners at some point.

Kikkor Dress Sneaker

The Kikkor Dress Sneaker wins the Chapeau Noir First Impression Award for looking better than anything else right out of the box. The slick looking Dress Sneaker will be put through its paces by Chapeau Noir Junior, he of the ever expanding foot phenomenon. At 12 years of age, this will be Junior's first season with playing privileges at the club.

Provided he is first well schooled in the nuances of all club rules (fortunately there are no silly restrictions on sock height) and golf etiquette, and he thoroughly reviews his copy of Snoopy And Friends Address The Rules of Golf, even though he is a bit old for Snoopy (no one is too old for Snoopy, though no near teenage lad would ever admit to it), Chapeau Noir looks forward to having Junior at the club, and showing him what Fearless Golf is all about.

Kikkor Tenny

If you've been reading Chapeaunoirgolf.com for a while, you might remember that as a youth Chapeau Noir divided his time between the local golf club and the tennis courts. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? It may not have been posh, but both facilities were more than serviceable. As long as the Coke machine was working at both locations, Chapeau Noir was good to go.

The Tenny (in the Clayburn colorway), is a distinct reminder of those summers spent cycling between endless rallies and extended range time in his Stan Smith's from adidas. Damn, I loved those shoes. But I think I will love the Kikkor golf incarnation even more. The Clayburn has more cushion, and is extremely supportive. Kikkor’s Diacon Embedded Spike System™ (DESS™ for short) provides the traction. These spikes aren't replaceable, but word has it these spikes are virtually indestructible. 

TRUE Linkswear Stealth

One of the coolest things about running chapeaunoirgolf.com is getting my hands on product before they become available to the public. Having experienced the barefoot platform from TRUE Linkswear in 2010, I'm especially keen to see how the original incarnation of the TRUE Tour has evolved with the introduction of the TRUE Steath.

Chapeau Noir loves the all black look of the Stealth, and though the wide toe box characteristic of the original Tours remains, the visual as you look down to the ball at address is more muted, perhaps because of the dark colorway itself. The Stealth feels very similar feel to the 2010 Tours, but the new styling queues, though subtle, make the Stealth a more fashionable shoe, one that Chapeau Noir will wear not only to and from the course, but out and about the town.

The new Stealth is scheduled to be available for sale soon from truelinkswear.com.