New technologies have made the ZG23 a supremely comfortable, stable, and lightweight shoe that will keep golfers of all swing speeds fully supported during the swing. While the looks aren't as sharp as others, this is pound-for-pound one of the best spiked golf shoes of the year.
Super soft midsole and upper
Lightweight yet incredibly stable
Upper wipes clean easily
Not the most premium-looking shoe
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Adidas ZG23 Golf Shoe Review
The adidas ZG21 was easily one of my favorite spiked golf shoes when it was released in 2021. It was the shoe of choice for Collin Morikawa through his dominant performances in 2021 that included the Open Championship at Royal St George's. When the ZG23 was announced earlier this year, I was excited to try the new model for myself and, after two rounds of golf out in California, I was impressed with the developments adidas has made to one of its flagship golf shoes.
The biggest improvement over the ZG21 - and a standout feature in the whole shoe market this year - is adidas' new Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro technology used throughout a newly revamped midsole. Those who have worn a pair of adidas running or basketball shoes before will recognize the Lightstrike moniker as the midsole technology the brand has utilized in its running and basketball division to much popularity. Now in a golf shoe for the first time, I was super impressed with the comfort on offer and the overall softness on offer in this midsole. Lightstrike replaces the familiar Boost technology we've seen in recent adidas golf shoes, and it's definitely a marked and noticeable improvement when it comes to cushioning and comfort under the foot. Paired with the softness of the upper - both on the outside and inside of the shoe - and it is right up there with one of the most comfortable spiked golf shoes I've tested this year and for me overtakes the Boost technology used in other adidas shoes.
While Lightstrike covers comfort, the improved Stability Fin (pictured above in silver just below the adidas three stripes) is what gives the ZG23 the ability to keep your feet incredibly stable as your weight shifts through the golf swing. Although we saw this technology in the ZG21, it has been upgraded for 2023 to be a 3D shape wrapped around the outside of the shoe and has been updated to be even lighter than was seen in the ZG21. The ultra-lightweight nature of this shoe is very satisfying and really reduced foot fatigue after walking 18 holes. Heavy golf shoes can become burdensome after a while and this certainly won't be an issue long-term with the ZG23.
For me, the only thing holding back the ZG23 is the looks. It hasn't really developed on the ZG21 look and for me, it doesn't stand out aesthetically in a crowded shoe market. I appreciate this is totally subjective - and you may love the silhouette of the ZG23 - but I just feel the shoe lacks the punch that shoes like the Ecco Biom C4 or Under Armour HOVR Drive 2 have. For me, it's also too similar in look to adidas' premier budget golf shoe the Tech Response 2.0 and I think the brand makes sharper-looking shoes in the shape of the Codechoas 22 and Tour 360 22. However, if performance and comfort are the most important factors when it comes to buying a golf shoe, it's hard to ignore the improved performance and comfort the ZG23 offers.
The outsole features six traditional spikes as well as plenty of secondary traction in the form of lugs. The placement of the secondary lugs you can see scattered in between the conventional cleats has been altered from the layout of the ZG21 thanks to some clever research from the R&D team at adidas. Using heat mapping technology with golfers from across the handicap spectrum, the brand has been able to better understand where golfers need extra grip and where they don't, thus refining the positioning of the secondary lugs. This refined outsole is therefore a little lighter than on the ZG21 but with equal - if not more - grip where it's needed most. There is no doubt there's a confidence-inspiring sensation of grip when you hit the turf in the ZG23 and I also found the shoe to still looks and feels low-profile despite the presence of the spikes.
Despite my personal qualms with the looks, the ZG23 is pound-for-pound, one of the most comfortable and confidence-inspiring (in terms of overall grip) spiked golf shoes I have tested and has earned a place in our Editor's Choice awards for 2023. It's certainly an improvement over ZG21 and will be a real contender for the best performance spiked shoe release of the year. As is the case in most adidas golf shoes - and the brand's shoes and apparel outside of golf for that matter - the ZG23 is made using at least 50% recycled plastic in the brand's efforts to reduce plastic waste. From my time testing golf shoes, adidas is comfortably the most conscious brand when it comes to awareness about its carbon footprint and production methods. The ZG23 will also be available with a BOA lacing system, will retail between $200 and $250 depending on the model, and will be available from March 3rd, 2023.
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Dan has been with Golf Monthly team since 2021. He graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe, golf bag and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 6.5 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands.
Dan is currently playing:
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2
Hybrid: Ping G425
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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