10 Best Golf Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

The sport may implement strict rules, but wearing golf shoes is not one of them. Beginners, especially those who are still exploring, tend to wear tennis shoes or sneakers.

However, it is essential to note that the construction of golf shoes equips the player to overcome the challenges of different course types. Having a shoe that is designed for the roughs and hazards will not only protect the foot but will prevent accidents as well.

 

How we select the top picks in golf footwear

Before giving the final verdict, we consider all available golf shoe models on the market. Our experts treat both coveted and less known brands equally to offer an unbiased overview.

Spending 7 hours per shoe on average, our team studies all the nooks and crannies to understand what real benefits each trainer gives to the wearer. We also summarize thousands of user reviews to understand the shoes’ strong and weak points.

Once all the work is done, each model is given a CoreScore, a number from 0 to 100, which indicates how it performs in real-life conditions. That’s where the top 10 get selected.

Popular golf shoes aren't the better rated ones

82 85 88 91 94 97 100
High Popularity Low
10 best shoes
24 most popular shoes

Choosing the right pair of golf shoes

Spiked or spikeless?

The first type that was created for golf is spiked shoes. It is only reasonable given that grip cannot be compromised in the game of golf. In the past, golf shoe spikes were prevalently made of metal. But because of the damage it causes on the course, most ban its use. Currently, ceramic and plastic cleats dominate the market.

Advantages of spikes

Disadvantages of spikes

A spiked shoe provides more lateral stability, which is useful on uneven and wet surfaces. 

Most of the spikes are replaceable, which adds on to the shoe’s longevity, given that the upper is well-taken care of. 

When the terrain gets wet, spiked pairs can help avoid slip, especially when performing a swing. 

Golfers need to change footwear when off the course.

 

The spikes bring in additional weight, which may not be ideal for those who prefer walking through the 18 holes.

 

Spikeless golf shoes were only introduced in 2010. Because it is a relatively new kind, different golf shoe companies are still experimenting with the ideal design to produce the most traction without compromising stability and comfort. This type of golf shoe exhibits a flat outsole with nubs or dimples to achieve grip.

Advantages of spikeless shoes

Disadvantages of spikeless shoes

It provides better ground feel because the outsole is closer to the ground. 

The absence of spikes adds to the advantage of being lightweight. 

Between the two, spikeless options give more comfort because of their flexible outsole. 

Spikeless pairs are versatile enough to be worn off the course. 

It depends on the technology used, but some do not deliver reliable traction on wet and upland conditions. 

Since the nubs can't be changed, the shoe needs immediate replacement once it gets damaged.

 

Golf shoe styles

One of the reasons why many are hooked into golf is that people from different age ranges can play. Inevitably, it sparks joy for many. But, it is also a challenge for brands to come up with styles that the different ends of the spectrum could appreciate.

Trends are being adopted to keep up with modern times. Traditions, on the other hand, are being kept to live up to the sport's legacy. Currently, there are two styles that players can choose from. Read on to know more about them:

Traditional

Athletic

Traditionally-styled pairs have a similar look to dress shoes, only with spikes. Those familiar with fashion terms can identify them as oxfords and saddles.

Usually, they come in natural leather, which means that they may require additional care and maintenance. Looking like always dressed to the nines, and its durability are things that it guarantees. 

Athletic golf shoes come in both spiked and spikeless forms. As suggested by their name, the shoes classified under this category look like a sneaker or a performance shoe.

This style also explores all kinds of materials- natural, synthetic, and knits. Trends are most welcomed in this category. So those on the hunt for casual and street-ready pieces can appreciate this style.

 

Upper materials

The upper makes up a massive chunk of a shoe. Because of that, different benefits can be brought simply through the materials used on it. Below are some of the most common ones for golf shoes:

 

Leather

Since the invention of golf-specific footwear, leather has been the primary material that has been used. In fact, for a long time, this was the only material used. In a way, the positives that it brings are ideal for the sport. It is naturally breathable, durable, and water-resistant. Leather shoes also mold to the contours of the feet, so, as they age, they become more comfortable to wear. 

They may require additional care compared to the others, but it is only a minor tradeoff as it gives an elevated look and an excellent piece to wear during the warm months.

 

Synthetics

Synthetic covers all the human-made materials. Included in this group are faux leather, microfiber, nylon, neoprene, polyester, etc. Natural leather poses plenty of benefits, but it doesn't mean that synthetics are inferior. They are an excellent option for those going the eco-friendly route. No animals are involved in the material or the production process itself. More so, compared to leather, it doesn't include harsh chemicals for the treatment. 

Golf shoes clad in synthetic uppers are less expensive. They are also lightweight, thinner, and lighter. However, they are less durable and porous. Companies may put some water protection treatment, but if not, coating it with a protectant spray is recommended to prolong its life and keep the foot from soaking.

 

Knit fabric

The demands of the outdoor sport pull in this material. More than its functionality, it cannot be denied that knits are also trendy. Though it can lack moisture protection, it brings the most in breathability. Golf shoes with knitted uppers are ideally worn during summer and dry conditions.

 

Moisture protection

Since golf is an outdoor sport, there is a high chance of dealing with rainy weather. If you see yourself playing in wet conditions, consider getting a shoe with one of these protective features:

Condition: heavy rain, stepping into water

Condition: moderate rain

Condition: light rain and morning dew

Waterproof

Water-repellent

Water-resistant

  • Fully protects the shoe from water seeping inside

  • Some brands offer shoes with a waterproofing warranty

  • One of the high-performance technologies in this area is Gore-Tex. This lining provides full waterproof protection without sacrificing breathability.

  • The middle ground of waterproof and water-resistant

  • These shoes have a protective coating that minimizes the chance of water seeping through

  • Good for heavier rains but still might leak when pressure is applied

  • Offer the least amount of protection, but still effective in light rain and on wet grass

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When buying a pair, should I look into brands?

While it is always recommended to try all before landing into the perfect match, this strategy can be quite expensive and tedious. There are many brands to choose from, but those that currently dominate the market are Nike, Adidas, Footjoy, Puma, and Ecco. Each brand has something unique about them, so choose those that fit your needs. Brands are personal just like shoes. RunRepeat has a comprehensive rating system. This can supremely help when on the hunt for a new pair.

 

Do golf shoes have a break in time?

It depends on the model. Most of the materials these days are already soft enough not to require some break-in time. If the shoe is causing pain during the first wear, these suggestions can be followed to soften the material without going through the ordeal:

  • Wear an extra thick sock or an anti-blister sock to have additional cushion. 
  • Putting a shoe tree breaks in the shoe faster than usual. 
  • Athletes also attest to blister balms. They reduce friction and prevent excessive rubbing. 
  • A padding roll can also be wrapped in the areas that are prone to blisters. This item is thick enough to protect the skin and expand the material. 
  • Some golfers also use blister patches. They are designed like a band-aid, only thicker.

 

Can golf shoes be worn off the course?

Ages ago, golf shoes were meant to be worn only on the 18 holes, and proceeding towards the 19th hole then calls for another set of footwear. Spiked golf shoes were not ideal to be worn anywhere beyond the course. But, the introduction of the spikeless changed the game. 

Fit is probably one of the most important things to consider in golf shoes. An average golf game or the 18 holes last for three to five hours, which involves a great deal of walking. Here are some tips to help when choosing a pair. 

  • Take a look at the insides of your old shoe. Usually, the interiors can tell the pressure points. It displays excessive rubbing, bunions, and calluses. If there are marks inside, then an insole might be needed.  
  • The cleats are also an indicator if one's a supinator and or a pronator. Supinators would have excessive wear outside of the heel, which calls for more flexible footwear. Pronators, on the other hand, display excessive wear on the insides. Therefore, arch support works best for them. 
  • The foot naturally spread out, which is why it is necessary to buy a pair that doesn't constrict. Many brands offer a vast selection of wide pairs to cater to those with wide feet.
  • Women’s golf shoes should also take note that the width options are narrower for them than men. 
  • There should be about ½ inch of space from the longest toe and the end of the shoe. 
  • The part of the shoe where the shoe flexes and where the foot folds should align with each other.

 

When is it time to buy a new pair?

In general, golf shoes are meant to last for a long time. However, they are not intended to last forever. There's no exact timeline for each pair's life span. It depends on how often it is worn, the course conditions it is used on, and how it is maintained. Here are some of the indications that a new one is already needed:

  • Water that seeped on the insides of the shoe is quite hard to reverse. However, it depends on water damage. For minor ones, then the insoles can be substituted, but for extreme cases, a replacement is a better option.
  • When a previously grippy shoe is losing its spark, then looking into a new one should be a priority. Traction, as we know, is essential. And, frequenting slips are definitely a no-no. 
  • Comfortable footwear that suddenly causes foot pain should be taken a look at. 
  • Spikeless pairs that lose nubs might be hard to fix. Cleated golf shoes, on the other hand, can be replaced.

 

Is there a difference between rubber and ceramic cleats in terms of performance?

Rubber spikes are crafted from durable and flexible polyurethane. Users may notice that this is the most common material used on golf trainers and the cheaper option too. Wearers will definitely appreciate their comfort, weight (or lack thereof), and green friendliness. However, just be wary that compared to metal, they offer less traction and have a shorter life span.

Ceramics, compared to metal and rubber are the most expensive. While this is a red flag for most, it is also the most long-lasting material that doesn't need frequent replacements. They are also scuff-, scratch-, and cut-resistant. In summary, their features defend these cleats’ costly price tag. Just be wary of those with steel protuberances as they need to be maintained to avoid corroding.

The best golf shoes in every category

Which golf shoes brand has better reviews?

Which brand is cheaper?

Nike $112
Adidas $129
Footjoy $143
Ecco $210

Now, are you ready to buy golf shoes?