The IDIO Diaries Vol. II: Eighteen Rounds of Eighteen Holes


[To catch up to current, check out The IDIO Diaries Vol. 1 by clicking here.]

We pick up our adventure with rough notes from the 11th round played in the IDIO Syncrasy disc golf shoe.

Round 11

I’m not even leaving to go play for three-and-a-half hours and I’m already dreading it.

The sloppiness of it all.  I realize that I’ve got some serious thoughts about whether or not disc golf is a “sport” at all, but, by all means, disc golf is thoroughly athletic.  If you’re serious about it.  If you’re serious enough about it to spend $120, sight unseen, on “sport”-specific footwear.

The Vans Ultrarange is a more athletic shoe than this.  Honestly, the “skate” version of the Vans Slip-On is more athletic than this, at least as far as foot-feel goes.

How appropriate it is that I’m going to be playing a round with only an Innova Groove today. It’ll just be a gimmicky, “nice try” sort of day all around.

Round 12

Groove day was uneventful.  The round wasn’t one to make any serious critique out of that I haven’t already made.

I didn’t get hurt.  My feet weren’t any more sore than usual, and the shoes didn’t fall apart.

So now, here we are, in to what I’m fairly sure is the 12th round in these Idios thus far.  It’s a mucky, grimy day worthy of giving these things a little bit of adversity.  Slick leaves on ever-slicker red clay, and pinestraw, pungent with fungus, fallen atop.

At a course where parking has already become problem in better weather, there is but one other vehicle in the lot.  A ten year old Lincoln Navigator with limo tint on the windows.  A smoke break, surely.  They rolled off as I sat on my stool under the awning of my Toyota’s hatch, writing this.

It is a gross day.  Flat, serotonin-sapping light.  Temps dropping as this morning’s storm pulls the warm air northeast toward the ever-enviable disc golf mecca of Charlotte, North Carolina.

It’s the kind of day where you’d double check that your pals are going to be at dubs, because otherwise you’re out – and making that decision after being spotted rolling up to scope the crowd is Grade A Bullshittery. That’s the kind of day it is.

I didn’t die.  I slid around about how I’d expect to, given the conditions.  The tread pattern works, but the rubber doesn’t appear to be of a lasting quality.  The real discomfort here goes back to the fit.

This is a clunky box of a shoe, speaking from the inside out, and getting my feet into the most useful pivot points of the design is not natural.  I have to spread by toes wide and wild in order to really access the parts of the tread design that were initially intriguing.  Again, it feels like I’m wearing the shoebox and not the shoe.

Round 13

It is cold again today.  Atlanta has been doing this.  Vacillating between this frigid blast of mountain-crisp wind and these 60º days that are somehow uncomfortably and unpredictably humid.  Those days where you are expecting pleasant, slightly breezy hoodie weather and you end up sweating through two layers of dry-fit tournament shirts before making the turn and being near enough to the car to do something about it.

Today is, thankfully, cold.

But the test for the Idio’s today isn’t about the weather.  It’s about brutal elevation.  It is about the hikeability of the shoes. These experiments will fail if they only function properly on the West Coast and in Emporia, where the golf is far more 2-dimensional than it is on the East Coast.  Today we’re at Parker’s Pasture:  A ravenous and ravine-ous track out east from Atlanta.

Round went okay.  It was A-OK.  These are pretty okay disc golfing shoes.  In fact, I dare say that they are the okayest disc golfing shoes I’ve ever spent $120 on.  That’s it.  That’s the long and short of it.  Why continue?

Round 15

Two days in a row now.  My plant foot is not having a good time.

Round 16

A new sensation:  Biting.  Pinching near the laces, on the outside corner of the tongue of my RHBH plant foot.  Tread is getting shredded.

The shoes are already beat out, as we’d say in grade school when clumsily describing the state of last-season’s ski boots.  It feels like I’ve zip-tied sandwich bags to my feet.  Everything hurts.  They’re packed out.  That was the phrase.  Not beat out; packed out.  What a weird colloquialism.

This tangent is more interesting than these shoes.

These things are toast after 15 rounds.

This was SUDDEN.  One day tolerable, the next day terrible.  My mother raised me to be more polite than this, but man these things are rough.

Same routine, same course, same me for the last few days.  They have just become immediately unbearable, and it’s all that I can think about.  I’m almost thankful that my local track has become uncomfortably slow these days, otherwise there would be no reprieve; no parking my cheeks next to the requisite “disc charger”.

Stepped toward an untoward  lie and the fear crept in.  The ugly reality of not trusting a disc is one thing…but footwear?  We’re talking about health and safety here, if we want to drag the conversation out that way – which feels a shade closer to the sun than this Icarus is willing to fly.

An avoidable and ugly crease line is developing now, as the shoe buckles over itself on the inside of my plant-foot’s ankle.  It appears to be caused by a design flaw in which the tension at the top lace hole is pulling at the heel cup from below the seam line that runs under your ankle bone.

Jesus, what a sentence that was.

Basically, the line of tension between the last lace eyelet and the heel of the shoe is too low, and the “extra” shoe above that line is bending.  It’s something that prototyping probably would have caught if that didn’t mean waiting for a container ship from Shanghai.

The leather-ish heelcap is about to bust loose, go rogue, and start accumulating dirt and grime.

These things fell off a fucking cliff, y’all.  One day acceptable  The next; asinine.

This has me wondering at what point I’ll end this experiment.  Where’s the line?  Chronic foot pain or the complete annihilation of the shoe?  (The latter of which I’m expecting at any moment, given the sudden acceleration of the degradation).

I’m almost terrified to find out.

Round 18

Round 17 took place at JP Moseley, a lengthy bomber’s course that can be fatiguing on your fittest days.  That remained true this go-round.

Round 18, today, I’m back at the mostly pitchy-putty Dekalb Memorial Park and my feet are already begging for support of some sort. The sparse tread pattern is somehow holding on to a whole of earth.  I’m surprised, honestly, but didn’t notice this during play…only after sitting to jot these notes.

The toecap is holding up pretty well despite the sneakers having now packed out completely.  But they’re deteriorating in other ways.

Apply some pressure to the sole, and you can actually hear the dried glue splitting.  Thank god Idio doesn’t make aircraft.

I don’t know that these will make it to thirty rounds. That’s $4 per round.  That’s two tallboys at the Shell Station across from 3’s basket at the home course.   And hoppy tallboys at that.

They fit like rental shoes.  Borrowed shoes.

I will go on no longer.  This is my final take on these $120 experiments-turned-lawn mowing shoes: Disc golf’s best shoe are going to come from a shoe company, not a new company.