Mar 02, 2022
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

5 Best Substitutes for Golf Shoes If You Don't Have Any

Whether you don't own a pair of conventional golf shoes or you've lost yours, there's no need to panic. Golfers have a vast array of options for shoes they can wear comfortably on the course. 

The truth is, you don't need to have the heavy-duty spiked shoes you see the pros wearing to perform well on the course. There's a wide selection of alternative golf shoes you can wear that still protect the integrity of the sport and meet the dress code of traditional courses. 

But not all shoes will pass golf club dress codes. So which ones can you wear, and which ones should you leave in the trunk?

Continue reading below to discover more details about each substitute for golf shoes if you don't have any.

5 Best Substitutes for Golf Shoes

1. Running Shoes

Running shoes (especially those designed for trails) are among the best alternatives to golf shoes to wear on the course. 

For starters, they are exceptionally comfortable and offer a good amount of support for your feet. The soles are naturally more suitable for golf than most other shoe varieties. 

Trail running shoes have the right sole shape that provides your feet with enough stability to perform at their best while golfing. Moreover, they are incredibly gentle and won't damage the course. Most golfers opt for trail running shoes when they don't have traditional golf shoes available. 

2. Golf Sandals

You would never catch a golfer wearing sandals on the course back in the day. It was considered frowned upon and just overall tacky. However, sandals are quickly becoming more acceptable on some more laid back courses worldwide. John Daly is even seen barefoot on the course more times than not! 

This new way of thinking is likely due to players noticing how comfy and practical they are while golfing. Sandals are incredibly cool when playing during the hotter months. Since they are open-toed, they offer far more ventilation than some golf shoes and sneakers. 

They are pretty stable and won't drastically hinder your routine in terms of support. 

Furthermore, sandals are an excellent option if you're recovering from a foot injury but still want to get in a few rounds. Look for golf sandals to ensure your pair is up to dress code standards. 

3. Sneakers

Like running shoes, sneakers offer a solid amount of support and stability. As a result, they are one of the best substitutes for golf shoes you can get. That said, you'll need to make sure you get a pair that is gentle and won't damage the course. 

The good thing about sneakers is they tend to adjust to your foot shape the more you wear them. Once you find a pair that fits well, you can play virtually the same way as if you had your golf shoes. Try to find a pair with a lot of cushioning and rubber soles, as they tend to be the most stable. 

4. Spikeless Golf Shoes 

If you're looking for an option that performs like a golf shoe but feels like a sneaker, consider checking out spikeless golf shoes. They look and feel just like sneakers or running shoes but carry similar features you would find with conventional golf footwear. 

Some golfers find that golf footwear is too bulky or stiff, so they opt for a more comfortable, lightweight, spikeless shoe. If you're a golfer who enjoys walking the course overusing a cart, perhaps this is the best alternative shoe for your game. 

Furthermore, you can find styles from reputable brands like New Balance, Nike, and more. 

5. No Shoes

Out the gate, playing golf barefoot seems a bit odd. However, many golfers enjoy playing the course without shoes—even some pros! Rocco Mediate plays barefoot often and has kickstarted a slight trend for golfers worldwide. 

Surprisingly, playing golf without shoes can give you a more natural movement while swinging your clubs. You won't have any obstructions or heavy soles weighing you down as you play. Moreover, playing barefoot can be beneficial for your joints. If you feel discomfort when playing with golf shoes or other footwear, you may prefer this method. 

Doing a round barefoot can give you a more detailed feel of the course for the more meticulous players. You can feel how hard or soft the fairway is, where it's rocky, and other factors that could change your outcome. 

That said, you'll need to check with your course to see if they allow you to play barefoot. Some clubs have strict dress codes, so going shoeless may be against the rules

What Should You Consider Before Choosing a Golf Shoes Substitute?

Here are some factors to consider before choosing a golf shoe substitute.

Where You're Playing

If you're looking for an alternative to golf shoes, you'll need to think about where you're playing before you make a decision. 

For example, you'll only need shoes with good traction if you just plan on hitting the driving range. However, you'll need to know the layout and climate of the course if you plan on playing 9 or 18 holes.

If the course is damp, you're probably better off with sneakers or running shoes. These shoes offer enough grip and stability to ensure you don't slip and hurt yourself as you swing. Moreover, the treads won't damage the course and infuriate the faculty or other golfers. 

For dry, hot courses, consider checking out sandals or spikeless golf shoes. 

At the end of the day, it's always best to check with your playing partners or the course to see if your substitute shoes are acceptable on the course. Some clubs can be strict about dress codes, so calling ahead of time could save you a trip. 

Comfort and Grip Are Essential

Whether traditional golf shoes or alternatives, comfort and grip are vital if you want to play at your best. Having grip on your feet is just as important as having a good grip on your clubs. Without the proper grip, you won't land your shots as easily. You may even slip and fall, which can be painful and embarrassing.

Choosing the proper footwear is crucial as a result. You want to evaluate the grip and comfort the substitute golf shoe will offer to see if it's suitable. You'll want a shoe with good traction if you're playing on a wet course and one with proper ventilation when in hotter climates. 

Luckily, it's easy to find alternative golf footwear that offers proper grip and comfort as you play. If you want the best of both, consider going with trail running shoes or sneakers. You can find pairs that are stable and cozy and have ventilation in the toes to reduce sweating. 

Water Resistant or Waterproof Materials

It's not uncommon for golfers to play in the rain or on wet courses. Traditional golf shoes are usually either water-resistant or waterproof. While the two may sound the same, they are pretty different. 

  • Water Resistant. Water-resistant shoes are specially designed to resist moisture. In other words, they will be less affected by water if wet. Water-resistant footwear can help tremendously if you're playing in damp climates. 
  • Waterproof. Waterproof footwear isn't affected by water whatsoever. By definition, you should be able to submerge them in water without any moisture getting inside. 

Both water-resistant and waterproof shoes can be suitable for golfing. Make sure to check the product label to see the water repellant rating of your chosen footwear.


Price is important to consider when choosing a golf shoe substitute. If you already own a nice pair of sneakers or sandals, by all means, it would be worth it to use them as you play. However, brand new trainers can be expensive. It might be worth it to just invest in regular golfing footwear as a result. 

Think about the price of your shoe choice and whether it's cheaper than conventional golf footwear. You don't need high-end sneakers to master the basics if you're new to the game. It's usually better to start with something affordable, then invest in a more premium option once you begin taking golf more seriously. 

Are Golf Shoes Worth It?

Considering there are so many alternatives to golf shoes, is traditional golfing footwear worth it? 

In short, investing in golf shoes is worth it if you plan on playing often. Even with the best pair of running shoes or sneakers on the market, it's tough to match the grip conventional golfing shoes offer. That extra grip and stability are what you need to if you want to get better at the game. 

Moreover, golf footwear will reduce your chances of slipping on the course. They are also exceptionally comfortable and offer the support your feet need to avoid injuries. 

That said, you might not need to invest in expensive golf footwear if you're a beginner or just play on special occasions. You can start with sneakers or sandals until you get a feel for the game and then upgrade your shoe game later. 


It can be challenging to find the proper footwear to choose for golf. Luckily, various alternatives are available that will still ensure you can play comfortably and safely. 

Remember, think about the course conditions and the dress code before you commit to a golf shoe substitute. 

If you're looking for reliable golf gear designed with premium materials and for every playing style, check out some of our items here at Stitch Golf. Our apparel section is full of comfortable gear that will help enhance your performance.