Types of Golf Shoes
Every sport has specific attire worn during play, and golf is no different. The shoes you wear when golfing can impact your game, whether that's positively or negatively.
It's important to consider how different footwear feels for you. Golf shoe variations range from the material of the shoe to the spikes found on the bottom. Everything about your footwear is worth consideration in terms of how comfortable you feel and how much grip you have.
What Are the Different Types of Golf Shoes?
If you're yet to shop around for golf shoes, you may be surprised at how wide the variety of shoes available is. The conditions you play in and personal requirements should be considerations when hunting for good quality footwear.
Spiked or Cleated Golf Shoes
If you imagine a retro golfing shoe, the traditional spikes come to mind. The classic spiked golf shoe features leather material, tassels, and black and white wingtips. Along with lots of traction, the classic style offers breathability, and to top it off, they're water-resistant thanks to the leather.
Spiked shoes have come a long way. Previously they could be heavy and uncomfortable, but now it's easy to find lightweight pairs.
A positive attribute of spiked footwear is how much stability it can offer to your swing. You're firmly rooted in place by the spikes as you move your body and momentum. The stability comes from the grip on the ground. They’re also a popular choice for playing on wet courses.
Spikeless Golf Shoes
The spikeless versions are a modern update of classic styles. They offer a look that's more like a sneaker, and they're becoming popular in tee boxes and clubhouses. The great thing about spikeless options is how versatile they are. You can wear them on and off the course because they're lightweight and comfortable.
It's not just the casual golfers wearing street-style footwear. Professional golfers are opting for spikeless shoes as well. As so many of us suffer from sore feet and back pain, spikeless shoes are gaining popularity because the softer shoe is kinder to your feet.
The downside of comfort is that they don't offer the same amount of grip and stability as their spiked counterparts. They might become slippery on wet course grounds. Also, some variations will not be water-resistant because of the softer alternate materials.
Just as you would wear a boot in day-to-day life, more commonly in colder weather, the same applies to golf boots. Aesthetically, they look similar to hiking boots, and most styles are waterproof, making them perfect for colder climes.
Boots offer traction and keep your feet warm, but they can be heavier than standard shoes. A downside is that the boots don't allow as much freedom as you swing due to their weight and sturdier ankle support.
Some models of boot use gaiters on the bottom for increased water protection. This thin material is proven to keep water and dirt out of your boots.
Just as you have options for winter, golf sandals provide footwear appropriate for warm climates. This shoe is breathable and perfect for hot summer days.
While being affordable and keeping your feet cool, they have some downsides.
Any sandal isn't ideal for walking long distances in, but if you have access to a golf cart, this won't be an issue. They also provide less ankle support and are not resistant to wet weather.
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Golf Shoes
There are four main types of golf shoes, but many brands offer variations on the standard types. To make your choice, see what factors are essential when deciding which best meets your needs.
The materials used in golf shoe manufacturing have significantly evolved over the years. Man-made materials offer improved stability, weather protection, and comfort.
Leather is a popular choice across all ranges of footwear. You may have seen variations of leather from animal-derived leather to synthetic.
Leather is processed and stitched onto the outside of the shoe, creating a tight-fitted water-resistant exterior. Typical leather golf shoes come in a saddle design. Leather is a great breathable material and can last years with the appropriate care.
Gore-Tex hasn't been around too long but is a top material in making footwear waterproof. It's thick and water-resistant, so it’s great for playing during winter. This material isn't necessarily a fabric but more of a porous material. It allows air to pass through, but the pores are too tiny for anything larger.
Gore-Tex keeps your footwear breathable while keeping out water molecules and keeping your feet dry.
They may make your feet warmer than leather shoes, so if you only play during summer, they might not be the best choice.
Synthetic leathers are typically cheaper than animal-derived leathers. The material consists of non-porous polyester that coats the shoe and protects your foot. This lining is thinner and, therefore, lighter. It’s cheaper, but the material can be less breathable than animal-derived leather.
Although there are alternatives, traditional shoelaces continue to be the most commonly found lacing system in golf footwear. Some golf shoemakers have started adding Velcro to some styles to make removing and putting on the shoe easier.
Some manufacturers are introducing proprietary lacing systems akin to ski boot fastenings. This mechanical lacing provides consistent stability by preventing loosening from continued wear.
If comfort is your top priority, you might be better off choosing spikeless shoes, even if advancements are starting to bridge the gap. These are generally lighter and require less effort to walk in, meaning they shouldn't hurt your feet as much after long periods. They also add less pressure to your foot in places where your weight is on the cleats.
The difference is only slight, but if sneakers are your favorite type of shoe, you might not find the spikes very comfortable.
Traction is the biggest debate between spiked and spikeless golf footwear. Spikes and cleats keep you anchored into the ground, offering improved stability and secure footing while you swing. When you swing, the force will push you forward, so without proper footing, it’s possible to have an accident and lose your balance.
Lots of spiked footwear nowadays features plastic spikes rather than metal to protect green areas and lawns from unnecessary damage. There are options for removable spikes, too, which combine spiked and spikeless choices.
Although spikeless footwear is constantly improving, you can still find options offering excellent traction. They generally use small rubber nubs on the outsole. The texture aids in foot grip on different terrains. For instance, some pairs feature TPU grips to create texture.
The difference will be more noticeable in wet weather when the ground is soggy with more movement. Spiked shoes will be better here.
Which Type of Golf Shoe Is Right for You?
The right choice for you ultimately depends on your priorities. If you value function over comfort, opt for a spiked golf shoe. If you'd rather have a pair that you can use in and out of the game, try spikeless.For more golf attire tips and quality golf apparel, check out STITCH.