Review: Oakley Cipher Golf shoes

“Zero”-weight Golf Shoes
OK, well maybe they are not “zero” weight, but the name “cipher” means zero because they are the lightest pair of golf shoes on the market. 

What do you get from a lightweight golf shoe? The Ciphers offer comfort, ventilation, and less fatigue.  Not only did Oakley make a lightweight golf shoe, they also made one that looks amazing.  Every time I wore these shoes on the course, I had numerous compliments. It was hard to miss the bright blue Cipher shoes.  (in black or white they look good, but not as head turning.)
The reason Oakley could make them so light is because of the new “Nanospike” system they used.  It is basically a couple of pieces of sandpaper stickers on the bottom of the shoes.  When I first saw them at the PGA show I had my doubts, and even in person when my pair arrived, I wondered if it would really work.  But as far as traction goes, there wasn’t a single slip or twist that was any different between these shoes and traditionally spiked shoes.  They worked great on dry or damp conditions.  The Cipher shoes are not waterproof so I did not try them on any rainy days, so I can’t say how they would work in the rain, but in the dewy grass they worked perfect.  While these might look more like a spikeless shoe, they can’t really be worn all the time.  If you decided to wear these to work, around the house or just out and about, you would leave a trail of destruction.  One step on hardwood floors would be a disaster.  This extreme textured sandpaper that serves as spikes will chew up many flooring surfaces.  On the course they gripped and I suppose off the course they would too, but the property damage would be noticeable. 

Another thing that I’m curious about the nanospikes and their long term wear.  I have used my shoes for 6 rounds and I can really see the edges of the spikes wearing down.  While I haven’t had any slippage, I’m considering replacing the nanospikes with new ones so I’m sure that I don’t.  It seems like the more you walk on concrete the more they wear down, while walking more on grass will allow them to last longer.

The Oakley Cipher shoes were comfortable from day 1.  Right out of the box I walked 18 holes with them with no blisters or discomfort.  The uppers are a synthetic material that breathes and flexes to offer any amazingly comfortable fit.  I thought they fit my feet well, but for many they probably would be too narrow, they are not a very wide shoe.  Another key factor to the comfort is the sole design, while the nanospikes  are flat so that keeps anything from feeling like it is poking in the sole of your foot, the flex seams or “Coreflex” is in just the right location so the shoes flexes just like your foot flexes.

The Oakley Cipher uppers look porous but I didn’t have wet feet even in the morning dew.  They are sealed just enough to keep out the water, yet breathe enough to keep your foot cool throughout the entire round.

They do run a 1/2 size big so if you normally wear a 9.5 in most major brands you will want a 9 in the Ciphers.  Even with the lightweight nature of these shoes they still did offer adequate support.  They still feel like a regular golf shoe.

The final design feature of these shoes that I liked was the fact that the nanospikes allowed you to feel closer to the ground, much like some of my “barefoot” shoes.  This has really seemed to improve my posture and thus my game.  While these aren’t true barefoot shoes, they are in between the traditional style golf shoe and a barefoot shoe.

So if you want the lightest shoes you can buy along with cool looks and great comfort these are a great choice.  The nanospikes work, but I’ll be curious how often I will have to replace them and how that will go. 

For more information:

Quick Hits
+”Zero” lightweight
+Comfortable right out of the box
+Breathable uppers
+Nanospike offers good traction

–Nanospike durability
–Not waterproof