Can't be bothered to read our Adidas ZG21review in full? Shame on you! But here's the top line: it's perhaps the best trainer-styled golf shoe to date and one of the best spiked golf shoes I've tried.
If you’re back playing golf after the enforced lockdown the ZG1 is among the best golf shoes to see you through this summer and beyond. It's spiked but with a bit of the look and feel of an on-trend spikeless shoe. Check out my handy guide to the pros and cons of spiked vs spikeless golf shoes. It'll hopefully help with that, but if you're a traditionalist who insists on having spikes on your golf shoes then the ZG21 shoe from adidas could be just the ticket.
Adidas has attempted to combine the lightweight benefits and comfort of a spikeless shoe with the stability and performance of a classic spiked golf shoe and I have to say they've absolutely nailed it.
Spiked shoes in general tend to run a little heavier and be less comfortable than a rubber soled spikeless shoe and while it would be a stretch to say the ZG21 completely bucks that trend, it certainly narrows the gap considerably.
A number of top professionals are wearing the ZG21 including reigning USPGA Champion Collin Morikawa and Danielle Kang, a leading star of the LPGA Tour.
This a well cushioned, lightweight, flexible and waterproof, spiked golf shoe that will no doubt prove to be one of the biggest sellers this year.
Adidas ZG21: Price and availability
A pair of Adidas ZG21 will set you back around £149 in the UK, from $179 in the USA and around AUS $220 in Australia – see our pricing widgets for the best current deals, wherever you may be. It comes in three colours.
Adidas ZG21: Technology
The ZG stands for Zero Gravity due to the feeling of weightlessness you have when you put them on. The shoe weighs only 13 ounces which is considerably lighter than most other spiked models and 20% lighter than anything else adidas have produced for golf.
How have they done it? A little something called Lightstrike cushioning which is 40% lighter than any EVA foam in the market. This has actually been taken from their running shoes and provides shock absorption and quick recovery through the golf swing.
This is then combined with Boost technology in the heel, which is something adidas have used to great effect in other sports footwear like tennis and basketball. Lightstrike and Boost working in unison results in supreme comfort in the heel area.
Additionally there is the Sprintskin tech which is a lightweight four layer waterproof (one-year warranty) upper made from innovative textiles and polyurethane films.
Another innovative feature is the ultra-light Stability Fin which is a lightweight and durable TPU insert in the lateral sidewall of the shoe that gives increased lateral stability during the swing.
Finally there is the ultra-thin TPU outsole, comprised of six strategically placed plastic spikes and crescent moon shaped secondary lugs which are specifically designed not to clog. The design ensures no damage damage to the greens while giving maximum traction on shots.
The grey section on the sole (see above photo) is the Swingplane Traction which was inspired by heat-map studies. This represents the area in which the force of your golf swing will put most pressure on the shoe. The sole is stiffer in certain areas and more flexible in others in order to provide the maximum amount of traction where it’s needed most.
There are four variations of the shoe; men’s laced, men’s and women’s BOA (a lace system that features a dial to tighten them) and a junior option.
Adidas ZG21: Looks
The thing which immediately appealed to me about the ZG21 is that it combines the new lightweight ‘trainer’ design with a traditional golf shoe look. You almost get the best of both worlds.
The sole is very much like a traditional shoe while the upper is lightweight and stylish. This shoe looks fantastic and will certainly attract envious glances from fellow golfers when you rock up to the first tee wearing them.
The sole is particularly eye catching due to the colour scheme and contrast provided by the Swingplane traction zone. The Stability Fin may be there for the increased support it provides during the swing but it also brings a lot to the shoe aesthetically. It’s just a great looking golf shoe.
The ZG21 really deserves a better name though. Something cool and memorable. After all, adidas are known for that when it comes to their footwear, whether it’s iconic training shoes such as Samba or Gazelle and football boots like the Copa Mundial and Predator.
ZG21 doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue though does it, which is a shame given how stylish they are.
The ZG21 comes in three different colours (all of which look great) and is also available in a standard or wide fit.
Adidas ZG21: Comfort
Adidas say this is their most lightweight spiked golf shoe yet and that the primary focus was on comfort. It was designed for golfers like myself who prefer to walk the course and carry their bag so I was intrigued to see if they delivered the goods.
Were they as comfortable as advertised? Pretty much, yes. Were they as comfortable as a pair of spikeless shoes? Not quite, but I don't think that is even possible. After all, it isn't a flat sole and it has half a dozen screw in cleats in it.
A day after playing 18 holes with this shoe I tried out the Puma Ignite Fatsen8 Pro on the same course. The Puma shoe is spikeless so as you’d expect it was more comfortable. My feet felt fine after a round wearing the Pumas but there was a little soreness towards the end of the round I played wearing the ZG21s.
It was nothing major and for 12 holes or so they were extremely comfortable and my feet felt great, but gradually over the course of the back nine some fatigue set in and by the end I was relieved to be able to just kick them off and throw on a pair of light trainers for the drive home.
On that note, you can drive without any real issues while wearing the ZG21s but it probably isn’t the wisest choice so have a pair of flat soled shoes or trainers in the car to change into.
That mild soreness wouldn't put me off wearing the ZG21 because it's par for the course (sorry!) with spiked shoes and I’d expect this mild discomfort to ease once the shoes are more broken in as wearing a brand new pair of spiked shoes for the first time often has this result.
The discomfort was more towards the side of my feet where the Stability Fin is located so maybe that did its job a little too well, but it's more likely that I just needed the wide fitting shoe.
On the positive side, the Lightstrike Foam and Boost Technology in the heel really did provide the extreme comfort that adidas say it does. It's like having a pillow stuffed with marsh mallows under your heel.
Even though a spikeless shoe maybe slightly more comfortable, my preference is to wear spikes and given the choice between the ZG21s and a pair of spikeless shoes I’d go with the adidas on most occasions. The only exception would be on holiday when it’s just more convenient to have the more versatile option of a shoe without spikes that you can wear all day and not just on the course.
Adidas ZG21: Performance
I simply can’t fault the performance. This shoe does everything it’s supposed to do. With some products (golf clubs especially) you read about all the tech and what it is supposed to achieve but you don’t really know if it’s a load of old nonsense or not as in many cases it’s impossible to tell.
For example, if a new driver claims to have new ground breaking technology in the face that provides 5% more forgiveness, you almost have to just take the manufacturers word for it because, let’s face it, how could we possibly know for sure?
With shoes it’s a little easier to sift through the marketing jargon and figure things out for yourself and I have to say that every claim adidas make about the tech in the ZG21 did indeed translate to the course.
The is really lightweight but it is also very stable. Generally with a lightweight shoe you lose out on some stability when you’re swinging the club as they don’t have that stiffness to hold your feet securely in place. The Stability Fin did its job.
The Swingplane Traction sole also did exactly what adidas claim it does and as mentioned already the Lightstrike Foam sole provided excellent cushioning, especially when walking up and down the hilly ground at my local course.
Your feet are locked in and secure when playing any kind of shot from any type of lie and I found that the six spike design ensured great stability.
This is just a personal observation and has nothing to do with what the shoe is designed for, but for some reason I felt particularly comfortable when putting. You don’t need spikes for putting as that’s something you could even do in bare feet, but I just liked the solid, slightly elevated base these shoes gave me and I felt good over the ball. I still didn't hole any putts but at least I looked pretty dapper while missing them.
Adidas ZG21: Verdict
The ZG21 is certainly a high end golf shoe but at around £140 it represents excellent value. For some golfers who perhaps don’t play so often that price may be too steep and if so there are plenty of excellent options at a lower price point. For the serious golfer who plays a couple of times a week and likes to have high quality gear, this shoe will certainly be appealing.
As far as spiked shoes go, the ZG21 ticks every box. It’s comfortable, lightweight, gives strong performance and it looks great. Yes it is at the high end of the market in terms of price but you can see the quality as soon as you pick it up.
This could be the best golf shoe adidas have ever made, and that is a high bar. Two thumbs up from me. A great golf shoe.