The FootJoy Tour-S shoe sees a return to the fairways of the high stability platform that was first seen on the FootJoy XPS-1 six years ago.
That revolutionary shoe used a wide base with ‘outriders’ that extended beyond the edge of the upper to create a very high level of lateral stability during the swing.
This look returns in the Power Plate of the Tour-S sole where the Launch Pods position the pairs of spikes further apart than they were in the XPS-1 with the exception of the front pair. This is deliberate as it permits a little more movement of the forefoot than its ancestor, which is a good thing.
The spikes are also wider than the recently stabilised FootJoy DNA Helix, so if stability is what you need then the Tour-S has the answer and you can get your own by taking part in a FootJoy BodiTrak Performance Fitting to see how stable a shoe you need.
At address the Launch Pods are visible if you look closely, but they have cleverly been made transparent in most of the styles so that they blend in with the ground. Besides if you are put off by what your shoes look like during the swing, then your real issue is that you are looking at the wrong thing.
There are four colours that are pretty mainstream in white, black, and white with blue that have transparent Pods, but the BOA version in white/grey has the solid orange ones which will be noticeable, not that you should be looking, as will the extra £20 for the lace less tightening system.
This uses the IP1 dial from the Helix that tightens the wires like the original version and can also now loosen them a little with an anti-clockwise turn if you tighten them too much.
I actually quite like the look of the Tour-S and it seems to have a forefoot that looks a little narrower in the forefoot than the DNA Helix.
The stability is very good as you would expect and the old benefit from the XPS-1 of better comfort from the wider footprint of the sole is still there.
There has been a lot of technical improvement in the sole as various elements come together to create the stability and comfort.
The Launch Pods that hold the spikes sit on a lighter Pebax outsole that is made from material that you normally find in football boots.
The Champ spikes also have a little bit of flex in them and grip the turf well as well as providing comfort with a little bit of give on firmer surfaces.
In the centre is a new lightweight carbon fibre disk where the shank usually is to provide the rigidity.
On top of this is a white polyurethane layer that the dynamic TPU Power Strap attaches too and wraps around the back of the foot to be part of the stability story.
The other part is more carbon fibre that comprises the heel cup and is visible in the back of the shoe.
The upper is made from the most premium Pittards’ full grain leather that FootJoy has put in a shoe to date. It has been treated to create a waterproof layer that is durable and breathable without the use of a membrane.
The upper has a lovely dappled finish that oozes quality and is easy to break in right out of the box in a similar way to the DNA Helix.
Comfort also comes from the SecureCollar foam rim to the throat of the Tour-S that moulds to the shape of your foot each time it goes in and then returns to its original shape. This was first seen on the original FootJoy DNA and is one of the best shoe collars in the market.
The ComforTongue is similar in design to the DNA Helix tongue but without the stretchy section.
The padded top section has also been replaced by a soft rubber version that provides good comfort under the knot for the top of your foot.
I am not mad about the camouflage pattern that seems a little out of place for a shoe of this quality, but it is in fashion in the USA and as I am not an NFL player I am going to stay out of any flag waving military debate and just salute a comfortable tongue.
Finally the Dual Density Fit-Bed insole uses a firmer TPU on the edges to hold your foot better and a softer TPU on the bottom for comfort.
Lately some of the FootJoy shoes have got a little large for each size, so if you are familiar with the range, then for me the Tour-S was the same sizing as a DNA Helix and about half a size smaller than my fit in the Pro/SL.
However quality is what the Tour-S is all about and as the saying goes, you will get what you pay for, which given the quality of the materials involved means that the Tour-S is going to be one of the most expensive shoes in the market.
And this is the rub because if you like a reasonably stable spiked shoe then you can have a DNA Helix and have change for 3 or 4 FJ gloves.
Or its real competition could be the superb FootJoy Pro/SL that combines stability with excellent spikeless performance in all conditions. The Pro/SL leads the market by a distance and you can almost get two pairs for the price of a Tour-S, which could make the latter hard to justify to the better half.
The advantage of the Tour-S is that the spikes can be replaced, so it might have a bit more longevity than the Pro S/L to justify the price difference, plus of course you have the greater stability if that is going to help you play better.
Therefore the decision is a little more than just the price and whichever one you decide to slip on would be a great step forward for your game.