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|The Riley by Sandbaggers is a superior golf shoe that is stylish enough to be worn off the course. (Courtesy of Sandbaggers)|
Oddly enough, golfers view the traditional "sandbagger" in the same way that many women golfers view the traditional golf shoe: a necessary evil, utterly devoid of character, which you simply must endure if you want to play the game.
Happily for women golfers searching for more comfort and style in their golf shoes, the rather ironically named Sandbaggers golf shoes offer remarkable amounts of both.
Founded in 1987 in Maine by Joan Villani, Sandbaggers golf shoes for women are characterized by a daring blend of comfort, color, and functionality. As has become the trend in golf clothing, most Sandbaggers also boast the chameleon-like ability to be worn both on and off the course.
Obviously, my impressions of women's golf shoes are, at best, vague guesses. So I enlisted the discerning eye and delicate feet of my 11-year-old daughter, who is also a golfer.
She slipped on a pair of black-and-white Sandbagger Rileys and then a pair of yellow Fionas, and trotted around the house, yard and course.
The Rileys feature a "contour fit" which my daughter found "really comfy," even if she didn't know precisely what it meant. She also appreciated the extra padding in the shoe, and the strap-top look. Best of all, she said, "These can be worn on or off the golf course. I would wear them to school, no problem."
The Fionas (the "Sunburst" model) look a bit more like golf shoes, with a bright yellow and white upper. My daughter found them a little harder to put on, especially over socks. This is to be expected, however, as they are slip-ons that "move well with your feet," according to my daughter. She also liked the built-in orthotic insert, and again, described them as "very comfy." She liked that they didn't slip at all on her heel as she walked around.
My daughter did report being less likely to wear the Fionas off the course, though, given that they looked more like the traditional golf saddle shoe. Still, on the links, she loved how "cute" they are.
Sandbaggers aren't cheap, at $134.50 MSRP per pair, but even my pre-teen daughter could tell that the materials (leather, soft spikes with a "grippy" rubber sole, copious cushioning and foot support) were all top-notch. Moreover, she was quick to point out that "I can wear the Rileys everywhere, so it's not like you're spending all that money on 'golf shoes.'"
Although it was hard to argue with that logic, somehow, I felt like she was playing me - a future sandbagger in her own right.
For more information, visit www.hersandbaggers.com.
October 30, 2009
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
One writer who travels more than nearly anyone I know said his Sun Mountain's Club Glider Meridian Golf Travel Bag was a "game changer." He said he'd never travel again without it. After this jaunt to Northern Ireland, I have to agree.
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