There are not many sports where fashion almost trumps the game itself, but that may well be the case with golf, although I think cycling probably takes the win.
Ok, I might be going a little overboard, but fashion is a big part of the game. Expensive clothing worn by the pros, fancy golf bags, expensive clubs, and the one item that demands the most attention; your golf shoes.
Like it or not, a good pair of golf shoes is essential; they’re more important than just making you look cool. A round of golf can last up to 5 hours, and depending on whether you’re playing soldier golf, left-right, left-right, you might walk close to 10kms. So you can see, choosing the correct golf shoes is actually a pretty important decision.
But where to start? With so many brands, types, spikes, no spikes, and budgets to consider, choosing the right shoes can be a difficult task. And when you consider most golf shoes are pricey, it’s a choice you need to get right.
I consider myself a golf fashionista. So I’ve gone ahead and put together a comprehensive buying guide that will have you looking good, feeling great, and well on the to playing better golf.
Do you need Golf Shoes?
That depends on who you ask, but to me, a good pair of golf shoes is essential to your game.
Golf shoes, much like shoes for other sports, are designed specifically with golf’s movements and physical requirements in mind. Knowing that you’re wearing shoes specific to golf provides added confidence when you’re standing on the tee box, ready to grip it and rip it.
Golf shoes are designed with spikes or cleats that provide stability and balance when playing your shots. Wet grass, long rough, dirt tracks, and bunkers all require a solid base when playing your shots; this is where golf shoes come to the fore.
Most clubs in years past made it compulsory to wear golf shoes while playing, but that rule has been eased in recent years, with most clubs allowing sneakers and tennis shoes. Sneakers are comfortable, so I understand the temptation. Still, they’ll be more of a hindrance than a benefit, offering little to no traction.
Finally, be sure to check the dress requirements before teeing it up, especially if you’re visiting a club for the first time. There’s nothing worse than driving 90 minutes to a new course, only to get there and realize you need golf shoes and a collared shirt; now you’ve added $200 to your greens fees.
For the Golf Course Only?
So you’ve bought a stylish pair of golf shoes, and you cant take them off your feet; they’re your pride and joy, and you want to show them off.
Unfortunately, wearing your golf shoes in the clubhouse is considered poor etiquette in golfing circles. The spikes or cleats can damage expensive wood flooring or carpet, which won’t leave you in the good books at your local club.
A good idea is to carry an extra pair of dress shoes or sneakers. This way, when you head into the clubhouse for lunch and a few drinks, you’ll be dressed appropriately and won’t offend other members.
Type of Golf Shoes
When you first walk into your pro shop or local golfing store, you’ll be astonished at just how many different types of golf shoes there are.
From well-known high-end brands to lesser-known, spikes or spikeless, boots, shoes, and even golfing sandals all grace the shelves. The question is, though, which golf shoe is right for you?
Style of Golf Shoes
There’s no shortage of styles to choose from when it comes to golf shoes. The most popular golf shoes have cleats or spikes that are designed to keep you from slipping when playing your stroke.
However, spikeless golf shoes have surged in popularity in recent years. They offer the appropriate amount of traction and provide you with superior comfort and feel.
Spike and Cleats
Golf shoes tend to have a very traditional style. However, that has changed recently with some pretty funky-looking shoes on the market.
Spiked shoes are probably the first type of golf shoes people think of when asked and with good reason. These shoes are for those who value functionality and performance over style and comfort. Now that’s not to say that you can’t find spiked shoes that are stylish and comfortable; you can, but be prepared to get your checkbook out.
In years gone by, spiked golf shoes were cumbersome and left your feet throbbing in pain after every round. Thankfully with the advent of innovative design and contemporary materials, spiked golf shoes are comfortable and offer excellent stability and traction out on the course.
Spikeless or Cleatlees Golf Shoes
Spikeless or cleatless golf shoes have come of age in recent years and are even worn by many of the game’s top professionals.
With specially designed rubber soles that are “dimpled” or “studded,” the spikeless shoe provides golfers with excellent traction and the added benefit of being as comfortable as a sneaker. However, although these shoes offer a good amount of traction, they’re not ideal for playing in wet conditions.
I’d highly recommend purchasing one good pair of golf shoes and one cheaper pair. Having two different types of shoes will ensure you’re covered for any kind of weather or playing conditions.
Boots for Golf?
Yep, you read that correctly; golf boots are perfect for those golfers who regularly play in cold or challenging conditions. Many golf courses are set in the mountains and have undulating fairways, dense rough areas, deep bunkers, and countless water hazards.
Golf boots make the ideal choice in these circumstances as they offer warmth and comfort with unparalleled traction.
For some players, though, golf boots can be tough to get used to., The boot severely restricts ankle movement, making it uncomfortable to swing. But with that being said, the flip side is the added support, which reduces the chance of twisting or spraining your ankle.
Golf Shoe Materials
In some ways, golf shoes are just like any other shoe, yet some stark differences separate the two.
Playing golf outside in the elements can take its toll on your body, and one of the areas of your body susceptible to the cold and heat are your feet. So with that information in mind, let’s take a closer look at the different types of materials and which one might be suitable for you.
Traditionally most golf shoes are made from high-quality leather. The leather undergoes a rigorous “waterproofing” process to ensure the shoes keep the water out and your feet nice and dry during manufacturing.
In terms of versatility, it’s hard to go past leather. In the summer months, leather does an excellent job keeping your feet cool due to its breathability. In contrast, leather keeps your feet protected from the cold in the autumn and winter months.
As we all know, Leather is not cheap, but if you can find it in your budget to buy a pair, it’s well worth the money.
A lightweight fabric that most people wouldn’t associate golf shoes with, polyester makes an ideal shoe for those looking for maximum comfort and affordability.
Polyester is a breathable material, so it’s perfect for those who live in warmer climates but beware, if you live in tropical climates prone to heavy downpours, these shoes are probably not your best bet.
Polyester, however, is a good choice for those golfers with a limited budget, and, to be honest, if you’re only playing once a week, these shoes will definitely do the job.
Materials for Extreme Weather
If you’re a golfer who lives and plays the majority of their golf in the winter months, then you’ll want to make sure your feet are protected from the elements.
Materials like Goretex do an excellent job at keeping your feet warm and dry even through the heaviest of rainstorms. These shoes are weightier than your traditional leather golf shoe due to the thicker waterproof material. Still, the trade-off is well worth it, in my opinion, especially if you want to keep your toes from turning purple.
To Spike or not to Spike?
This is probably one of the commonly debated topics amongst golfers in the industry. Do I need spikes, or can I go without? At the end of the day, the answer comes down to two factors; one, personal preference, and, two, the type of conditions you play in.
Spikes offer players unparalleled balance and traction and are often favored by serious golfers with low handicaps. Spiked shoes have a downside, though; they’re generally not as comfortable as their spikeless counterparts, and the spikes can cause damage if you’re not too careful.
Spikeless golf shoes have grown in popularity recently. With ingenious design and manufacturing processes, these shoes are quickly becoming the pick of the bunch. Although they don’t offer the same traction as spikeless golf shoes, you’ll be much better off than wearing regular sneakers while you play.
Types of Spikes
The only type of golf spike available was made of metal back in the day, but metal spikes have been increasingly less common in recent years.
Many golf courses have actually banned metal spikes because of the damage they cause to the greens, not to mention the expensive hardwood floors in the clubhouse.
Nowadays, golf shoes spikes are predominantly made from durable plastic. Compared to metal spikes, plastic spikes do less damage to the greens and are much more comfortable while out on your feet all day.
Replacing your Spikes
In a way, spikes are similar to tires on your car. They will have to be regularly replaced to ensure traction, stability, comfort, and safety.
If you start to feel less traction and some slipping during your stroke, then it’s probably a sign you need to change your spikes. You can keep playing with less effective spikes, but the longer you leave them in, the tougher they are to extract; and believe me, trying to unscrew spikes that are stuck is no easy task.
There’s no steadfast rule when it comes to changing your spikes. However, I’d recommend getting into the habit of changing them every 2-3 months. By doing this, you maintain excellent traction and don’t have to waste time unscrewing stubborn spikes.
Removing spikes is straightforward, and you’ll find a specifically made wrench in the pack when you purchase them. Ensure to clean the area thoroughly after removing your old spikes and dispose of them responsibly.
And finally, be careful not to tighten the cleats too much, as you can damage the shoe’s sole or even crack it.
- Lightweight, breathable, stable feel
- Lace closure
- Textile and synthetic upper
- Durable non-marking adiwear outsole with X-Traxion primary lugs for grip and balance and green-friendly thintech EXP cleats
- Lightweight Cloudfoam sockliner
- Breathable performance mesh upper with supportive overlays
- REVlite 10mm drop* midsole provides lightweight cushioning & premium responsiveness
- NDurance spikeless rubber outsole
- CUSH+ insole for increased comfort
- Welded forefoot water-guard for extra protection
- FASTEN8-Advanced Nylon straps integrated with the lacing system wrap the foot to provide a secure, personalized fit.
- IGNITE FOAM-Revolutionary and proprietary midsole foam provides energy return, responsive comfort, stable cushioning, and superior step-in comfort.
- PWRCAGE-Super strong and lightweight TPU saddle provides excellent support and stability throughout your swing.
- PERFORMANCE MESH +TPU-Non-stretch waterproof and breathable mesh, premium TPU PWRCAGE and PWRFRAME combine for the ultimate spikeless performance shoe.
- ORGANICALLY ALTERED TRACTION-Traction inspired by nature, strategically designed lugs in proper zones for increased traction throughout your swing for more grip and power.
Cleaning your Golf Shoes
Ok, so you finally pulled the trigger and bought a fancy pair of golf shoes; now you’ll want to keep them clean. Let’s look at some steps you can take to keep your new shoes looking the part.
- One of the easiest and simplest ways to keep your shoes clean is getting into the habit of wiping them down after each round. This way, you keep dirt and grime from accumulating.
- Give your shoes a thorough clean every now and then by using some warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Don’t forget to unscrew your spikes or cleats, as dirt can become trapped in the screw holes.
- Grass stains can be stubborn, but using some warm soapy water should do the job. Pay attention not to get too much water on your shoes, and be sure to wipe them dry immediately after washing.
- If you have a nice pair of leather shoes, it’s well worth investing in some good quality shoe polish and leather cleaner. This will keep your leather golf shoes in top condition and ensure they last for years to come. Be sure to choose a leather polish that matches the color of your shoes; the last thing you want is to damage them by applying the wrong color.