Are golf shoes important? We ask an expert


If you’re just starting to play golf, you might be wondering, “Should I buy golf shoes?”

The short answer to this question is no, of course not. But you also can’t play in your dress shoes on most courses. Most require at least some sort of flat-bottomed athletic shoe, but those probably won’t help you play better. You might be comfortable running the course with some cross trainers, but there are downsides to going this route. The best golf shoes really make a difference.

“Professional golfers refer to their shoes as ‘equipment,'” says Patrick Trubiano, senior product line manager of FootJoy Footwear, which has held the lion’s share of the golf shoe market for half a century. “Golf is no different from other sports. There are features of the golf shoe that work with the golfer’s game, swings and foot movement.”

Most golf shoes these days are also quite comfortable, even the cheapest ones. But there is no golf shoe that is right for everyone. Here, we explore the different types of shoes and some of the technologies that go into them.

The benefits of golf shoes

Although you can no longer find golf shoes with metal spikes sold in stores (most courses ban them because they tear up the greens), modern golf shoes still offer plenty of traction, with or without plastic spikes. . Luckily, the traction of these shoes is just as good (or better) than those metal-spiked shoes of yesteryear.

Most golf shoes are waterproof, while most sneakers are not. So there’s a good reason to wear golf shoes – nothing like getting your feet wet on the first hole and playing the next four hours with waterlogged feet.

Golf shoes are also designed to help walkers through 18 holes. Some companies even engineer energy return into their insole foam technology. Plus, even if you’re not walking, golf shoes provide the stability you need to swing. In reality SQAIRZ, a newer shoemaker that six-time major champion Nick Faldo has invested in, says his shoe will lead to increased distance due to its incredible stability and “connection to the ground.” According to Faldo, when he tested a pair of SQAIRZs on a range, he reached discs “on average seven meters further” than another brand he tested. While we don’t doubt Faldo’s claim, the fact is golf shoes can definitely make a difference.

a photo of a man or woman playing golf wearing golf shoes

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Do beginners need golf shoes?

Some instructors really like the idea of ​​players practicing in sneakers so as not to try to swing too hard. Without much traction – which is the case when a golfer plays in sneakers – good tempo, good balance and an inside swing are all needed to hit a decent shot. But overall, all golfers, including beginners, should invest in a pair of specialty shoes.

Indeed, even beginners handicap themselves by not playing in golf shoes. (Here’s how to calculate your golf handicap). Granted, if you only play once a year, you probably won’t want to invest in a pair, but if you’re just getting into the game, it’s necessary gear. Additionally, modern golf shoe technology has come a long way. Now you can find mesh uppers and outsoles that move with your foot, supple leathers and incredible style that’s sure to please any golfer.

a photo of someone playing golf wearing spiked golf shoes

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

What are the differences between spiked shoes and spikeless shoes?

If you think you absolutely have to have shoes with seven or more sets of spikes in each sole to have traction, you’re wrong. Thanks to today’s technology and modern TPU (thermoplastic urethane) materials, it is possible to choose studless outsoles with designs that nevertheless still grip the ground a lot.

One of the benefits of playing in spikeless shoes is that they are easy to wear on and off the course. A golfer can play 18 holes, then just make sure the shoes are clean and wear them in the clubhouse for dinner at many clubs.

However, most serious golfers have more than one pair of shoes and can have both spikeless and spiked golf shoes depending on the conditions. Studded shoes may be a better choice for a hilly or wet course, while studless shoes may be more comfortable if you’re walking in dry conditions.

Because the technology is so good, sales of spikeless shoes have skyrocketed in recent years. While less than a quarter of players on tour wear spikeless shoes, consumers are split between the two according to Trubiano. Interestingly, for female golfers, the market is nearly 80% spikeless. A bestseller of recent years has been FootJoy’s Pro SL models, a range of spikeless shoes worn by avid golfers and circuit players that perform as well as almost anything on the market.

How often should you buy golf shoes?

Today’s golf shoes are so well constructed that they last remarkably long. If you play once a week, you can probably get through a few seasons or more with just one pair of golf shoes. But if you have more than one pair, it’s a good idea to rotate them to give them more life.

In general, though, it depends on how bad of a gamer you are. Many golfers buy a new pair every year, not just for performance, but also for fashion. That’s right, let’s not forget that in addition to golf shoes, they are equipment, they are also clothing, an important part of your overall look. So even if you’re not a big player, golf shoes will help you look the part! In fact, some golfers like to have lots of different colors to go with different outfits, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Check out the best golf shoes worth investing in here. We’ve also found the best golf gloves to help you improve your game.

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