This is the year you’re going to shatter your goals. New set of irons custom fit to your swing, new wedges to stop the ball on a dime, and of course that $350 putter your spouse doesn’t know about. There won’t be any stopping you. You can already see yourself on the tee for your first round of the year, filled to the brim with anticipation. All of a sudden, you look down at your feet and notice your shoe laces don’t match and the grime on that pair of Footjoy Contours from 2002 really shows. Yep, you’re that guy, fancy new equipment with golf shoes that Bobby Jones remembers.
Why Do You Need Golf Shoes?
What good is having all the latest and greatest equipment if you can’t keep your feet on the ground? Golf shoes are what make your entire game possible. No matter your ability, having the proper footwear provides stability and allows you to swing at full capacity without having to worry about slipping and coming out of the shot.
Finding the Right Shoes for Your Game
Whether you’re looking for the ultimate in performance and stability or the best in comfort and fashion, there is a golf shoe out there for you. With so many options to choose from, doing some research ahead of time is well worth it. The internet is a great place to start, but once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s essential you try on a shoe in person before going back online to find the best deal.
Golf is an expensive endeavor. Ranging in price from less than $50 to a few hundred, there is a golf shoe out there to fit every budget. Having an idea of what you’re willing to spend will help you focus your search on a shoe that you can not only afford but that suits your every need.
Types of Golf Shoes
There is a golf shoe to fit every foot, swing style, and playing condition. Knowing the type of golf shoe that provides you the most comfort and maximizes performance will make your choice easier.
Spiked or Cleated Shoes
Spiked or cleated golf shoes have the most aggressive traction. On the bottom of the shoe, plastic or metal spikes provide players a stable base and prevent slippage during the swing. While some shoes still have metal spikes, they are increasingly rare. Most modern shoes have soft spikes that are made of plastic or rubber. One major benefit of soft spikes is that they can be easily replaced. If your spikes need to be replaced, they are cheap to buy and the process takes little time. If you’re a player with a fast swing speed, spiked or cleated shoes are a great option as they provide maximum stability.
Spikeless golf shoes have become increasingly popular and are preferred by players that like to walk or find spiked or cleated shoes uncomfortable. These shoes usually have a casual look but an aggressive tread that affords stability. The advantages of spikeless shoes are that they are low profile, stylish, and are arguably the most comfortable style of shoe. They may not be the best option for players that play in wet conditions, though, as most models are not waterproof.
Designed for the golfer that plays in the most extreme elements, golf boot designs mirror those of hiking boots as they are high-topped and most often come with spikes. The advantages of golf boots are waterproofing, support, and stability. If you find yourself playing in wet conditions or on undulating terrain, golf boots are a great option.
Golf sandals are at the opposite end of the spectrum from golf boots. Designed to provide the ultimate in comfort, golf sandals can be either cleated or spikeless. Though they lack the support of traditional golf shoes, golf sandals are lightweight and allow your feet to breathe. Some players even choose to go sockless. If you play in warm, dry conditions and you don’t often find yourself slipping during your swing, golf sandals might be the best choice.
Golf Shoe Materials
Golf shoes are made out of a variety of materials. Many modern designs incorporate multiple materials to marry performance, style, and comfort. Knowing the characteristics of each different material will aid you in making an educated decision on what shoe to buy.
It’s little wonder that leather is the most commonly used material in golf shoe design. Because of its waterproof and elastic qualities, leather is found on the exterior of golf shoes. When taken care of and treated properly, leather retains its sleek look and can last for years. Though leather shoes usually cost more than shoes made of other materials, they often come with a warranty of one or two years.
Golf boots and wintertime golf shoes often contain waterproof linings. Though Goretex leads the way in waterproof material, each manufacturer has their own version that is sure to keep your feet warm and dry even on the wettest of days. Waterproof material can be expensive but is definitely worth the investment if you’re often playing in wet or cold conditions.
Synthetic is a cheaper version of leather that protects the outside of the shoe. The material is nonporous and even though it is thinner and lighter than leather, it may not be as breathable. If you’re looking for value and a material that performs adequately, a synthetic shoe is the way to go.
Types of Golf Spikes
Most modern performance golf shoes come with either soft or metal spikes. Depending on the conditions you play in and how much stability you need, choosing between either soft or metal spikes can make a difference.
Soft or Plastic
Soft or plastic spikes are the most popular spikes on the market. Soft spikes distribute a player’s weight across a wide area and are considerably less prone to tearing up green surfaces and fairways. Most players also prefer the comfort of soft spikes because the material flexes as you walk and swing.
Though they are becoming less and less common, metal spikes are still preferred by many Tour pros. Because metal spikes are longer and sharper than soft spikes, they allow players with the fastest swing speeds to stay connected to the ground. Metal spikes lack the forgiveness and flexibility of soft spikes and players with tender backs or feet may not prefer them. If you’re going to play in metal spikes, it’s important to make sure they are allowed as many courses have adopted policies prohibiting them.
Types of Lacings
As the golf shoe has evolved over the years, so too has it lacings.
Traditional shoe laces are still preferred in golf shoes. The flexibility and ability to exact the fit of your shoe is hard to beat. Many shoes come with extra sets of laces that are different colors allowing you the option to choose the sharpest look.
Mechanical lacing systems are gaining popularity with golfers. With designs that mirror that of ski boots, mechanical lacings allow a golfer to adjust tightness with the simple turn of a nob or adjustment of a Velcro strap. The advantages of mechanical lacing systems are consistent stability throughout your round and never having to worry about re-tying your laces.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are countless options when it comes to choosing the right golf shoe. While one pair might look the part, you may find them uncomfortable or prohibitively expensive. Below are some questions to consider when finding the best golf shoe for your game.
Q: How do you put golf spikes on your golf shoes?
A: Though likely included with the purchase of new spikes, some players may prefer to install fresh spikes themselves. This simple process requires a spike wrench. Before you go purchase the first spike wrench you find, make sure it fits the spikes you’re trying to replace as different spikes and manufacturers require different wrenches. If you wait too long to replace your spikes, getting them out can become difficult since dirt can cause clogs making spikes nearly impossible to remove.
Q: How do you clean golf shoes?
A: If you want your golf shoes to last a long time, it’s important to clean them on a regular basis. Doing so requires only a bucket of hot water, soap, a bristle brush and a clean towel. To begin, wet the towel and thoroughly wipe down the exterior of your shoes. If there is still grime in the creases, dip your brush in water and gently scrub these areas clean. If you want to keep your leather shoes looking pristine, a small investment in the appropriately colored shoe polish goes a long way. To shine your shoes, apply a liberal amount of polish to the surface and gently rub it in with a clean brush. In order to ensure the integrity of the shoe’s shape and fit, putting a shoe a shoe horn on the inside is an excellent idea.
Q: How do you waterproof golf shoes?
A: Waterproofing your golf shoes is a necessity if you regularly play in wet conditions. First, make sure your shoes are clean and dry. Next, select a waterproof spray that is leather-friendly and apply a healthy coating to the entire exterior of the shoe. Wipe off any excess liquid and let your shoes sit overnight in a warm space to dry. Once dried, run water over the exterior of the shoe to make sure they are waterproofed to your liking.
It’s vitally important to make sure that your golf equipment is up-to-date and fits your game. If you’re going to play your best golf, you can’t afford to leave any stone unturned. While it’s easy to get caught up in clubs, range finders, and other necessities, you must realize that everything is irrelevant if you don’t have a stable base from which to swing. Take the time to do the appropriate research for the right pair of shoes and your golf game will thank you for it.