update: The Idio Syncrasy disc golf shoe, normally $129.00, is on sale for a limited time at $103.20!
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When I first saw an ad for the Idio Syncrasy disc golf shoe during a Disc Golf Network broadcast last season, I thought the timing was sublime. I happened to be shopping for new disc golf shoes just then. After 20-plus years of searching for the perfect “shoe to use for disc golf” (a true disc golf shoe did not yet exist) the search for my most important piece of athletic equipment was once again wide open.
Although I’ve yet found the perfect disc golf shoe, I had until recently refined my personal preference to waterproof trail running shoes. Hiking books, even supposedly light ones, feel too heavy and restrictively rigid. But where I play, I genuinely need water resistance and shoes that can handle all types of surfaces. Lightness and comfort are must-haves, as well. When you add up my time teaching, practicing, and playing, these shoes will be worn for long hours at a time.
I had gone through two pairs of my most recent iteration, from Brooks, and they were okay but ultimately failed in the way so many others had. They all wear out in one place while the rest of the shoe has plenty of life. So when I watched that ad and right away noticed how they are built up in areas where so many disc golfers’ shoes always break down, the timing was right.
Well, for me, anyway. The end of the ad stated they were taking preorders with delivery months away. I needed shoes right away, so I settled on a model from a top running brand I hadn’t tried yet: Sauconys. They’re okay, so far, but if the pattern holds they’ll start to crumble under the demands of NorCal disc golf any day now.
Not long after that, as luck would have it, the opportunity arose to review the Idio Syncrasy shoes here on the blog. I of course jumped at the chance, wanting these shoes to be what I and so many others have long awaited.
That was a couple of months ago now, and a (rather understated) summary of my opinion at this point is, ‘So far, so good.’ Since durability and water resistance are important factors for me when choosing a disc golf shoe, I plan to revisit this review at least two more times to let you know how they’re holding up. However, after 15 rounds on courses with cement, turf, and natural teepads in some pretty challenging conditions I’ve already collected plenty of intel. All of it points to a recommendation to buy the Idio Syncrasy.
The price tag of $130 seemed reasonable, since that is about what I’d been paying for waterproof trail runners. But Idio just lowered the price to $103.20 for a limited time. That is quite a discount for a shoe that in my opinion is a good value at full price.
Before I go any further, I should share details about this shoe’s unique, dare I say idiosyncratic, features. Disc golf-specific things like:
- Drag-on toe protection
- X-flex zone in the sole for “Natural transitions for powerful drives and saucy jump-putts,”
- High-rise midsole to help your plant foot hold fast
- Power Plant heel
- Larger toe box.
You’ll read more here in the future as each of these features carries a story of its own, but you can delve into the technical details right now at Idio’s website. For now, I can tell you this shoe was designed from scratch specifically for the sport of disc golf, as opposed to every other shoe marketed as a disc golf shoe in the past. In all those cases, the marketing was the only thing disc golf-specific about the shoes.
With that in mind, consider the features I just listed out. Each began with a blank slate and reams of information about what disc golfers want and need in a shoe. There are a variety of priorities out there, and with the Syncrasy, Idio is attempting to address them all.
I have to admit that for me, the promise of a shoe designed to resist the specific wear to the toe that teeing off can create – Idio calls it “teebox rash” – was enough to get me to bite. I remember my years as a pitcher in baseball, attaching metal plates and Shoe Goo to prevent a very similar fate. Then the shoes arrived, and it was one surprise after another.
In the ad, the look of the shoes made me think of them as specialized athletic equipment in the same way as rock climbing shoes do. Just a bit exotic, and built for a specific purpose. When I got them on my feet, though, they looked less blocky and utilitarian and more sleek and, well normal. If you end up wearing these other places besides the disc golf course, you’ll look marvelous (as long as you clean them up a bit).
Another big surprise was the combination of comfort and performance. The surprise had nothing to do with me starting out skeptical about Idio being able to deliver on both fronts. I spoke with the owner/designer and came away extremely impressed by his capabilities. Rather, it had to do with assumptions I made after I put the shoes on for the first time but before I played my first round in them.
First off, these shoes are way lighter than I expected. To look at them, I thought they were a hybrid between trail runners and light hiking boots, and that made me think they’d be heavier – “clunkier” – than I like. Not so! Every time I pick them up, I notice how light they are.
Putting them on, I was struck by the way they felt very secure at the top of the shoe but almost too roomy inside in the front (the toe box). If I was asked in general “How do those shoes feel?” I would have said right away they felt great. They did. They do. But it seemed almost certain that that comfort would come at the price of performance.
By the time I got to wear them out on the course I had forgotten about this fit issue, likely because my feet quickly acclimated to this uniquely designed shoe on the walk from the car. I received no trepidatious warning signals that my footing wasn’t to be trusted. That’s a good thing, an essential thing, because my full drive requires tons of trust as I plant my anchor foot and count on it to hold fast. If I was hesitant right from the start, the shoes would not have received a full test and any drives launched would be severely compromised.
I didn’t think about that issue again until the end of the round when I began to formulate this review. I realized that not once while playing a very rugged mountain course did I feel like I lost balance or traction due to my feet moving around inside the shoe (or for any other reason). In a future review I’ll get into shoe lingo a little (very little, probably) to explain how this is possible in more technical terms. For now, though, I can say they protect my feet and by extension the rest of my body like stout footwear designed solely for that purpose, but feel like comfortable walking shoes the rest of the time.
As to the water resistant qualities of the Idio Syncrasy: I threw LOTS of water at these shoes, and they resisted all of it. You may have read about the storms and flooding in California in January 2022. I played in steady rain a couple of times for hours at a clip. Each time, when I checked my socks afterward, they were completely dry. I even lowered one shoe as far into a deep puddle as I dared without allowing water to pour in through the top.
Time will tell more, and like all athletic shoes no one expects the water resistance to last forever. But in one of my key areas I can report: So far, so good!
At this writing, the Syncrasy has 388 ratings on the Idio website, with an average of around 4.5. That’s a decent sample size, but I find face-to-face testimonials much more useful. Right after ordering the shoes I began to notice people at my local courses wearing them, so I started asking for opinions.
I did not hear one single negative comment, and common themes were “comfortable,” “lighter than I expected,” “great traction,” and “so far, so good.” I didn’t get down on the ground to conduct a super-close inspection, but from a few feet away I detected no visible signs of early wear or shoddy craftsmanship. Granted, none could have been older than 6 months, but I spoke to seven different people, and the consistency of their answers is noteworthy.
It seems pretty likely Idio managed to nail down good quality control right from the start. Also, if any of the company’s disc golf-specific design elements were a big swing-and-miss, I believe one of the folks I spoke to would have noticed already and called it out. The word on the street: So far, so good.
Time will tell whether the Idio Syncrasy lasts significantly longer than the parade of trail running shoes I’ve tried. We’ll know more as the months wear on. After a vigorous trial period, they’re showing no signs of distress.
Aside from the built-up toes, the other disc golf-specific features are difficult to judge. I’ll learn more as I delve into each with the shoe’s creator in future posts. It’s clear that the roomy toe box, X-flex zone in the sole, and high-rise midsole work together to create that unique combination of comfort and control. I experienced it first-hand. If you’re the type of person who loves or needs to learn exactly how and why, stay tuned for future updates to this review.
If you’re in a similar situation as I was last year, watching DGN and looking for my next disc golf shoe, I’d say it’s a no-brainer. The Idio Syncrasy is a genuine disc golf shoe that is well-built and designed from scratch for the sport of disc golf. (Update: I typed those words before noticing the price of the shoes has temporarily dropped from $130 to $103.20.)
If you just bought a pair of something else (like me when I saw that ad on DGN), stay tuned. I’ll be adding updates here as the test goes on and I glean more info from Idio.