Because I live in Phoenix, every year I am on the lookout for a good pair of warm weather golf shoes. In winter, I wear a standard pair of Nike leather golf shoes, currently the SP-5 and the Air Max Revive, both in all black. But in summer these tend to be too warm, and I look for a pair that is comfortable, light and breathes well. Earlier this year Nike came out with the Air Rate, which looked like a suitable replacement for my current pair of summer golf shoes (the Nike Air Max Edge). So I bought a pair (in the Granite/Green color) and put them to the test to see if the Air Rate would be a quality summer golf shoe. Here are my findings:
The first thing I noticed out of the box is how light they are. I mean really light. When you try them on it’s remarkable how comfortable and feather-light they feel on your feet. They are also very cool looking — different than traditional golf shoes, the interesting appearance takes a bit of getting used to, but the design is not only pleasing to the eye, it is functional too.
Traditionalists might balk at the progressive design or perhaps its casual nature, but if you like cutting edge footwear, this is one cool looking golf shoe. It’s interesting how Nike carries its design motifs across product lines — the laser-cut triangle pattern is one seen in other Nike footwear, specifically in the new Nike Free Run (which I also own). The triangle pattern on the insole is also seen in certain Nike Golf shirts. The color choices are interesting also — I chose the Granite/Green option, but the Black/Green option is attractive as well.
Nike is known for their R&D of the technology that makes it into their shoes (as seen in these three videos), and the Air Rate is no exception. The uppers are made of thin synthetic perforated leather that’s bonded to a nylon mesh underneath, which makes these shoes not only light but very breathable. The sole features a molded spike pattern, with two spikes at the ball of the foot and two at the outer heel. The rest of the sole has molded ridges that provide plenty of traction. The heel features the Nike Air unit that is visible at the back of the heel, and the Nike Power Channel runs in a zig-zag from the toe to the heel.
Because of the thin upper, these shoes are very comfortable not in a thick, padded way (like other Nike Golf shoes), but in their lightness and breathability — I would describe the feel of these shoes as “light and airy”. And the insole and Nike Air unit in the heel provide plenty of cushioning for every step on the course.
I recommend trying these on before buying to make sure the size is right for you. I noticed that this shoe was a bit narrower and longer than other Nike shoes I own (both running/casual and golf, and this was also the case in my SP-5’s). But once you get the sizing right, I think you’ll find this to be a very comfortable casual summer golf shoe.
These shoes are so light I barely noticed I had them on. I can vouch for the breathability of these shoes — I tried these out for the first time on a 104-degree day and the air really flowed through to keep my feet cool. The molded spike pattern on the sole more than did its job — in the several times I’ve played in these my feet haven’t slipped once.
Nike Golf has come up with a winner in the Air Rate. This ultra-light and breathable warm weather golf shoe is very comfortable, stylish and performs on the course. If you are in the market for a summer golf shoe, I highly recommend trying the Air Rate.
Editor’s note: The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.