Are golf shoes worth wearing?

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Are golf shoes worth it?

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Welcome to another edition of Mailbag fully equippedsponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series where we answer your hard-hitting equipment questions.

With golf shoes closely resembling everyday sneakers, should I even bother wearing a pair? – Richard N., Washington

Some of you are old enough to remember when the best part of wearing golf shoes was the moment you took them off and slipped them into a comfortable pair of sneakers. It felt a lot like the feeling you get after hours of skiing, ice skating or even bowling – getting back to your daily kicks after 18 holes was downright euphoric.

This is because golf shoes were once very uncomfortable. They looked good, but with leather soles, metal spikes and little to no cushioning, golf shoes of yore looked like fancy dress shoes and not the kind you’d choose to run five miles . But we wore them anyway and persevered through the pain because unlike dress shoes, or even some athletic shoes, golf shoes offered stability and traction that we couldn’t get anywhere else. Say what you will about the metal spikes, they worked exceptionally well to anchor the feet in place.

Today’s golf shoes are not like they used to be. They are made with technology to make the insoles more comfortable and the outsoles more grippy with extra traction. And over the past few years, we’ve seen a major shift towards golf shoes that feel like they belong somewhere else. Some profiles mimic running shoes, basketball shoes, casual/street shoes – we’ve even seen sandals and high top golf shoes.

But back to your question: is it really worth wearing golf shoes when they look so much like the shoes you already have in the closet?

We think so. Golf shoes are designed to provide not only forward and backward support while walking, but also lateral support and side-to-side stability while swinging. It’s not something that most dress shoes have. Additionally, many golf shoes have traction patterns on the sole that are firmer than those provided by running or trail running shoes. It not only helps you stay stable while walking, but also while swinging. Again speaking of stability, most golf shoes are designed to be stiff in the middle, often with a firmer midsole and arch cradle to help resist twisting as you swing. This design feature can actually help you build more torque into your swing and increase your swing speed. Golf shoes also make sense because they hold up better in wet conditions than regular shoes, with most offering some sort of water resistance to keep your feet dry.

Here’s the kicker, though. Not all golf shoes are the same, and it’s important that you not only choose a shoe that fits you well, but also one that works the way you need it to. Let’s look at a few categories of golf shoes you can find at your local golf store and why you should consider them.

Athletic inspired shoes

This category is the largest, with many shoe manufacturers making golf shoes that look like running shoes or, at the very least, walking shoes. For example, ASICS and Srixon have teamed up to make shoes that incorporate the elements that make ASICS running shoes great with the elements that golfers need (grip and stability). They look, feel and fit like a running shoe, but come with added elements like traction patterns, GEL cushioning in the heel and BOA lacing systems designed specifically for golf. Shoes in this category tend to favor golfers who regularly wear athletic shoes as daily drivers, and/or golfers who run most rounds and want the most cushioning.

If there’s a reason not to wear a shoe of this style, it’s because 1) you don’t want to wear a shoe that looks like a running shoe and 2) certain styles of running shoes may having too many droopy toes. This means that the shoe is higher in the heel than in the toe – a design feature that adds more cushioning under the heel, but it may require you to shift your weight too much towards the front of your feet when stepping. swing.

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Additionally, basketball-inspired golf shoes have also become popular. Just make sure the ones you choose are comfortable and don’t hinder your ability to swing. Lots of cushioning makes sense in basketball, but having a soft golf shoe can make your swing less stable.

Street/Casual Shoes

The second most popular category is shoes that look like you would wear to the office on casual Fridays. Most shoes in this style have spikeless outsoles which, while less sturdy than running-style golf shoes, still do a pretty good job of keeping you grounded as you swing. This style of shoe is good if you want to wear the same shoe all day (we do this all the time) and you don’t need the extra dose of cushioning that you would get from a more athletic shoe profile. The only downside to this style is that they are not as supportive as other styles.

Modern Style Golf Shoes

Despite the proliferation of athletic shoe-inspired designs, you can still find a shoe that looks like a golf shoe. These shoes are often referred to as “high performance” and feature rugged traction patterns with removable spikes, leather uppers and sometimes double lug soles that shift ground contact from the midfoot to the heel and heel. forefoot. This design can help golfers improve their weight transfer not only from one foot to the other, but also from the back to the front of each foot during the swing.

Traditional Golf Shoes

Yes, they still exist. Tiger Woods wore a pair at this year’s Masters, ditching his usual athletic style shoe in favor of a more traditionally shaped golf shoe with a wider base and little to no toe drop. We’re not sure why he made the switch, but our best guess is that his regular shoes were either too narrow to hoist a custom orthotic, or his shoes had a bit too much drop toes, which added more stress to his knees from walking and swinging. . Ironically, a less athletic pair of shoes might have been what Tiger needed to swing more athletically.

Whichever style you choose, here are some additional tips that can help you decide:

  • Today’s golf shoes really don’t require much breaking in. Find a pair that feels comfortable as soon as you put them on.
  • If you buy a pair with removable cleats, change them every season. You’ll be glad you did and the extra traction can only help.
  • Consider the toe drop, which is the angle of the footpegs in the shoe. For some of you, toe drop is not an issue and may even be preferred. For others, it can cause problems while swinging and while walking or standing.
  • Buy the right size. When you play golf, especially when you walk, your feet will swell. It’s understandable that you want the perfect fit, but let your laces and BOA system do it. If necessary, consider going a half size larger to account for the swelling that will occur.
  • Finally, treat your shoes with care. If they get wet, let them air dry. Clean them with shoe cleaner as needed. Use leather polish. Take care of your shoes and they will take care of you.

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