The new Adidas ZG21 shoes first appeared on the feet of Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, and Collin Morikawa at the Tournament of Champions a month ago. Now, those of us who are slightly less skilled in the art of hitting a golf ball can finally lace up a pair. While the ZG21 is an overnight success on Tour, it took Adidas designers nearly two years, multiple prototypes, and numerous configurations to see the brand’s latest Tour-level shoe become a reality.
It is no secret that I’m a fan of Adidas’ Boost technology. I’ve been wearing UltraBoost running shoes in the gym and various generations of the TOUR360 BOOST on the course since they first dropped in 2015. Plus, the brand’s CODECHAOS was one of my go-to’s last year. Needless to say, any time some new golf kicks with three stripes on the sides are released, the team at Adidas has my attention.
Graciously, they provided GolfThreads a pair of the ZG21 to take for a spin in advance of the launch. With a couple of rounds in the books, here is what you need to know about this new category of footwear.
Lightweight; Zero Compromises
When you unbox the ZG21, the first thing you’ll notice is that they are light—REALLY light. From a weight perspective, they remind me of a track shoe or a soccer boot. That said, it is not surprising to hear that the ZG21 weighs up to 20% lighter than comparable spiked models in Adidas’ range and other brands’ collections. It is also the lightest spiked footwear model in Adidas’ lineup.
The ZG21 is a great walking shoe for going 18 or more holes. Even though you may not see those familiar BOOST beads at first glance, they are in there. The BOOST technology sits underneath the heel for comfort where it is needed most and is only visible through a cut-out in the outsole.
The BOOST has been combined with a new technology called LIGHTSTRIKE. While LIGHTSTRIKE has been used in basketball and tennis shoes, it makes its golf debut in the midsole of the ZG21. LIGHTSTRIKE adds to the svelteness and comfort of the shoe, as it is 40% lighter than any EVA foam in the market and also provides shock absorption and quick recovery.
In addition to this new material in the midsole, Adidas designers gave the ZG21 an upper made from SPRINTSKIN. This lightweight, waterproof upper is comprised of four layers of innovative textiles and polyurethane films. It’s light, flexible, and seam-sealed.
Creating a lightweight and comfortable shoe was only half the battle for Adidas designers. The next challenge was adding stability while keeping the weight to a minimum. Historically, lightweight golf shoes have not met the performance demands of the course, especially at Tour-level swing speeds. Adidas’ solution is an ultra-lightweight stability fin in the lateral sidewall that offers increased lateral stability and a locked-in feel throughout the swing. As a result, the compromise between weight and stability is minimal.
“ZG21 is truly a breakthrough feat in spiked performance,” said Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf. “We were able to combine the latest and greatest materials, innovations, and manufacturing processes without sacrificing anything. It changes the game for those who love spiked footwear.”
The new ZG21 outsole features an ultra-thin TPU construction, six strategically placed cleats, and a new crescent moon-shaped secondary lug to optimize grip in a variety of conditions while reducing weight. This design was inspired by heat-map studies. Running from heel to toe, the ZG21’s outsole places the maximum amount of traction where it is needed most. This traction system is also green-friendly, so your greenskeeper will be just as happy as you when you step to the first tee in a pair.
How to Get the ZG21
Look for the ZG21 to be available in four models: men’s laced, men’s and women’s BOA®, and a simplified laced offering for junior golfers.
The two BOA models feature the new BOA Fit System, a ‘Y’-strap design that’s a first in the sport and provides an even higher level of performance. The configuration wraps around the foot, creating a secure fit over the instep and provides flexibility and freedom in the toe box. The men’s ZG21 BOA is also the first golf shoe on the market to feature Li2 – a sleek, low-profile dial platform that modulates tension when and where needed with enhanced speed and effortless execution.
You can grab your pair (or pairs) of the ZG21 on adidas.com starting February 1.