In the British golfing industry, I think that it would be fair to say that Skechers are steady, if unspectacular performers. In the US, it is however the number two footwear brand in the whole country, which isn't the worst platform to build on. There is a perception that they are acceptable only for a certain type of golfer - and as a 22 year-old it'd be unlikely to find me or any of my friends clamouring for their newest release.
But when I saw images of the Pro V4 Honors a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised. Slightly sleeker looks, a modern half leather/half fabric upper, and a subtle logo seemed to me to be an improvement on their previous models. They still looked solid and comfortable, as you'd expect with Skechers, but the clunky, older-person's style I was (perhaps unfairly) half-expecting was absent.
What’s It All About?
Skechers' Go Golf Pro range has been around for quite some time now, and is marketed as their premium 'tour-standard shoe'. The V4 retains the low profile which means that the sole is relatively flat with no real change or drop in the arch of the foot, keeping you nice and level to the ground.
Although you probably won't find many junior golfers saying 'when I grow up I want to be like Matt Kuchar', the fact that the shoes are trusted on Tour by elite players does provide a certain pedigree, and suggests that these Skechers shoes can compete with the big boys.
The Pro V4 shoes benefit from H2GO Shield waterproof protection so you are 100% guarded even when it's raining or if you decide to venture after your ball into a water hazard. There are also eight Softspikes which are replaceable using the Stealth Pin system, and they have been strategically positioned to give you extra grip during the motion of the swing.
If you don't know a great deal about Skechers, then one thing that you can pretty much always rely on is that they're going to be comfortable. The emphasis on cushioning in this shoe - with ultra-lightweight Ultra Flight in the sole and a Resamax insole - suggests that they want to maintain this reputation. This insole can also be removed if you want to put your own in, which is handy.
This year, Skechers has also added a new Honors model to the Pro V4, which is half leather and half knitted textile upper for a little more breathability. This model looks more modern and athletic, and they are the pair which I was able to try out.
Designed and worn by our very own Matt Kuchar, the Skechers Go Golf Pro V4 Honors offers a classic design with replaceable Softspikes and complete Skechers H2GO Shield waterproof protection.
To put the Skechers Pro V4 Honors shoes through their paces, I took them out for an early morning round in Manchester to make sure that they could withstand the cold, damp conditions.
As seems to be the case every time I tee it up, I would encounter a variety of different lies, slopes, bunkers and rough along the way where I would discover whether the Pro V4s were the real deal.
Skechers Go Golf Pro V4 Honors Golf Shoe Review
When I first took these out of the box, I was pretty impressed. They looked smart, with a pretty simple design, and felt lightweight but sturdy. Skechers have a reputation for creating quality shoes, not just for golf, and that was immediately obvious.
I quite liked the contrast between the leather and the textile on the upper, with the single white border line around the sole. There were definitely no fears of the shoes not matching with the rest of your outfit due to any garish colour schemes, and that is not really what Skechers go for. The Honors are available in this black or in a charcoal grey. Big tick for practicality.
On The Course
When I first got to the course and slipped the Pro V4 Honors on, I was a little distracted by their size. On the putting green, when focusing on the ball below I couldn't help but think that they did look a little large, both in terms of width and the roundness of the toe. Some people would probably not notice this depending on the shoes they are already using, but it would definitely take me a few rounds to get used to the shape.
Although it wasn't raining when I went out to test the shoes, the ground and especially the rough was still pretty damp and I am happy to report that the H2GO Shield worked well, keeping my feet nice and dry. I was initially unsure whether the textile upper would be prone to leaking a little bit but I didn't encounter any issues, and the thickness of the tongue also helped to ensure that no moisture passed through.
Skechers claim that there is a 'quick release, full ground contact design' but I actually liked the fact that the spikes felt like the only real part of the shoe that interacted with the ground. There has been a growing trend amongst many golf shoes in the last few years to have spikes and then separate smaller studs/lugs which almost give too much traction, as silly as that sounds.
I want my foot to be able to twist and turn a little bit through the swing so I don't want to be digging in too badly. Besides, it can make a mess of the golf course if you're creating bigger impressions in the ground every time you hit a shot. The Softspikes were also great when I was in the bunker, as it felt like I was locking into the sand and my feet were secure without having to do too much shimmying. Ok, I didn't get it up and down, but you can't blame the shoes for that.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the Softspikes, and sole in general, didn't clog up too much with leaves and grass during the course of the 18 holes. Trust me, this was not because I spent most of it in the fairway either. Despite the time of year, not having to scrape course debris off the base of your shoe every couple of holes was welcome.
The tongue is thick and padded and feels great, it manages to stop the laces from digging in and also seems to cover the whole top portion of your foot so there's no chance of any pinching. Perhaps the best feature of the whole shoe though, as boring as it may be, were the laces.
There's nothing more annoying than laces which keep coming undone during a round, or even start to fray after a few uses. But these were thick, waterproof and the actual lace structure was quite wide which meant that they were really secure without being too tight.
There's also a heel lock feature which cupped the back of the foot really nicely and I didn't feel it rub at all. This is probably the area of the foot which gives people most trouble as they tend to wear quicker or they can sit too high or low, but Skechers seem to have got it just right.
I did encounter a slight issue with breathability during my round, however. The Honors version is intended to provide breathable comfort but I found them a little stuffy, wearing just one pair of medium thickness shoes. This round also took place on a pretty chilly morning in February, so I would be reluctant to use the shoes at any time except for during the Winter.
Would I Use Them?
During the winter, yes. During the summer, I'm not sure. They are good all-round shoe and I think they would excel if it was really cold or particularly soft ground. However I would be reluctant to use them in the summer when its warm as the breathability isn't great, and I would prefer a style which is sleeker and more flexible.
I couldn't help but like the Pro V4 Honors as they did everything I wanted them to do. They felt really solid and my foot was well supported, comfortable and very warm. They look smart enough without blowing anyone away, and the materials felt premium and more than justified the price tag.
The issue I have is for that price, I think I could easily find a number of models which would perform just as well whilst also having the design to appeal to the younger generation of golfer. Having said that, I suppose that I am not really within Skechers' target market and so you can't blame them for maintaining their traditional shape and styling as it is what their regular customers prefer.
If you are someone who is not too worried about cutting edge design, and are looking for a shoe which is solid, sturdy, comfortable and waterproof, then the Pro V4 Honors are for you and if the conditions are tough I am sure that they won't let you down.
- Very comfortable
- Great support during the swing
- Tongue and laces were the best I have seen
- Softspikes worked really well
- Looked and felt a little big
- Breathability was an issue, even in February
- No option for wider fit