If you are a loyal reader of GolfThreads, you know that I have an affection for brogue style shoes. To me, they are the quintessential kicks for the fairways. Sure, saddle shoes are a classic part of the sartorial nature of the game, but they have always been a bit too preppy for my tastes. Besides, saddle shoes come in and out of fashion depending on the latest trends. Brogues, on the other hand, are timeless. They are as relevant and fashionable today as they were a century ago. It is no coincidence that over the course of history, the best dressed players in the game have laced up a crisp pair of brogues before heading to the first tee.
When it comes to footwear, though, the only thing that I like more than a finely crafted brogue is a comfortable one. If my good walk is going to be spoiled, it better be because of a chunky iron game rather than a couple of barking dogs at the end of my legs. Thankfully, the good folks at ECCO recently released their Casual Hybrid II in a brogue style, virtually guaranteeing that any pain I feel on the course will be associated with my off plane swing instead of my feet.
If you have worn ECCO shoes on or off the course, you know that the brand excels at combining comfort and style, and the Casual Hybrid II certainly fits in with the brand’s DNA. When I wrote about ECCO’s Street EVO One shoe last year, I noted that the break in time was about three holes. Somehow ECCO knocked three holes off of this break in time with the Casual Hybrid II, because this shoe is good to go right out of the box.
There are two comfort features that I noticed right away with the Casual Hybrid II. One is that the toe box feels a bit wider than the toe box on the Street EVO One. This gives the toes a bit more room to spread out. The second is an innovative width customization system. A special leather inlay sole, with perforations for airflow, can be slipped in the shoe for a narrower fit or removed for additional width. This is a brilliant idea as it takes the guess work out of choosing a width, especially for players who wear orthotics or switch between thin and thick socks, and it solves an age old purchasing issue for retailers and green grass shops.
From a style standpoint, the Casual Hybrid II is not your grandfather’s brogue. ECCO was a pioneer in bringing street style shoes to the links, so it is no surprise that the Casual Hybrid II is a modern mash-up of a traditional brogue and a contemporary street style shoe. ECCO has absolutely nailed the brogue detailing on this shoe right down to the full wingtip design, multipart construction, perforations and serrated edges. These old school features are fused with new school aesthetics, like wide laces, a white mid sole and a street shoe silhouette to create a stylish and modern look.
The brogue detailing makes the Casual Hybrid II more versatile than other street style shoes on the market. While I would still opt for a traditional brogue if I was wearing a pair of classic wool slacks, the Casual Hybrid II is right at home being paired with chinos, technical trousers and shorts. ECCO has also released the Casual Hybrid II Brogue in a range of modern colors (concrete grey, grassy green, rich navy and black) that allow your shoe game to stand out or blend in. The distressed matte finish on the rich madara leather adds a bit of texture to the shoe and gives it a bit of an imperfect, yet stylish quality.
By now, anyone questioning the performance qualities of golf shoes with molded street style soles are probably among the same people claiming that this Internet thing is a complete fad. That being said, the patented E-DTS outsole that ECCO employs on the Casual Hybrid II is among the best that you will find. I’ve worn this shoe in wet and dry conditions and haven’t lost traction once. The outsole of each shoe features about 100 molded traction bars that deliver nearly 800 traction angles. Now, I’ve never been mistaken for a geometry wiz, but 800 traction angles sounds like a lot of gripping power to me. Add to this the fact that the Casual Hybrid II is treated with the ECCO’s water repellant HYDROMAX treatment, and this is one high performance shoe with all the modern bells and whistles.
ECCO’s Casual Hybrid II is now available on the brand’s website for $170.