10 Best Golf Shoes in 2021

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10 Best Golf Shoes in 2021

Adidas, Footjoy, Nike, Callaway, Ecco and over a dozen more sports brands are currently competing in the golf shoe arena. To the consumer’s benefit, this translates to a few hundreds of golf trainers that cater to every taste and style.

We aim to cut through all the marketing fuzzbuzz to find out which models truly shine on the golf course. Having reviewed over 80 models, we offer our top picks of golf shoes in five different categories.

Spiked or spikeless, premium or budget-friendly, you can choose what fits your needs the most.

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 1 to 100, which indicates its overall performance. Ten golf shoes with the highest CoreScore make it to this ranking.

Best overall

The Adidas ZG21 doesn’t come out on top of our list for no good reason. As a matter of fact, it comes out on top for all the great reasons! 

Easily a highlight to this shoe is its sheer focus on comfort. Upon step-in, our feet were welcomed by the nice, cushy Boost foam. It’s very plush, we can stand in it all day long. 

Although it’s got a very soft cushioning, it doesn’t lose its eye on stability. In fact, what we felt the entire time we were wearing this golf shoe was a terrific balance between comfort and support. Apart from long-time wear, it’s also a feature we greatly laud during swings! 

Conquering the course in wet conditions? That should be the least of your worries. It’s a waterproof shoe, and we can attest to its AMAZING protection from water splashes. No water seeped into the shoe at all.

It only gets better with the shoe’s outstanding grip. As in, it bites into everything - be it wet or dry grass. 

At 13 oz, it’s 20% lighter than its predecessor, and we felt this. The shoe didn’t drag us down, making us more efficient while allowing us to save energy. 

Speaking of efficiency, the midsole doesn’t only make each step comfortable. It also ups the energy return! 

Another unique feature of the Adidas ZG21 is that it comes in two lockdown systems. Meaning, golfers can choose if they want the more traditional lace-up closure or the more convenient BOA Fit System. 

Regardless, this shoe didn’t let us down with its lockdown. It’s secure and supportive, it keeps our feet tucked in place. 

See our full review and facts

It can’t get more comfortable than the Footjoy Pro SL. It’s a shoe we’d pick any day if we feel like walking on the golf course. Its comfort is just a champ! 

Taking everything up a notch, it’s also very stable. This is owed to its very supportive cushioning system. During swings, we were confident and steady in position.

And good news for those who wear custom orthotics, this shoe is wide enough to accommodate them. 

It’s a spikeless golf shoe, but it didn’t hold back with its traction. It latched to the ground, keeping our strides and swings surefooted. Even on wet courses, we didn’t experience any slips at all! 

And who wouldn’t love a good ol’ pair of waterproof shoes? Hands down, it’s a rockstar in keeping moisture out. 

The leather upper is not only impermeable, it’s also very secure and comfortable. It kept our feet locked in place, but it’s NOT the snug type that’s constricting. If anything, it’s a supportive wrap that ramped up stability. 

And ooh la la! It’s a sexy golf shoe, alright. It’s sleek and it’s sharp-looking. You can’t go wrong with it in the style department.

If there’s one thing that held this shoe back as our top pick, it’s the outsole’s durability (or lack thereof). The center row of spikes just wears out too quickly. 

See our full review and facts

Best waterproof

The Ecco BIOM Hybrid 3 BOA is not only a standout among the waterproof golf shoes we’ve tested. It’s also a showstopper when it comes to performance! 

First off, it’s one hell of a comfortable shoe. It’s almost like our feet were cushioned with fluff, it’s almost like walking on air. 

And of course, it wouldn’t make it to this list without its waterproof design. Another aspect of this shoe that we just can’t get enough of. We tried it out under wet conditions, and it aced our tests! No moisture or water leaked into the platform. 

It’s also a spikeless shoe. But we were awestruck with the grip we got. It’s just as good as the spiked golf shoes in our arsenal.

Whether walking or swinging on dry or wet terrain, this shoe just latched into the ground. Even better, it doesn’t retain grass or dirt! 

If it’s a solid support you’re after, this shoe won’t disappoint. Working hand in hand with the midsole is the form-fitting upper. It wraps around the feet superbly, it prevents excess movements! 

And if you want a convenient lockdown, you’re in for a treat. Apparent through its name, the Ecco BIOM Hybrid 3 BOA is configured with the BOA Fit System. In a few knob turns, the foot is locked securely in place. It’s convenient, and it adds to the sleek appearance of the shoe! 

Overall, it’s a premium shoe, but it’s the kind of premium that is justified with the quality it offers.

See our full review and facts

A shoe for all seasons, the Adidas Tour360 XT is truly a step-up from the previous versions we’ve tested. Not only is it waterproof, it also doesn’t lag behind in responsiveness. 

It’s a shoe that screams performance from top to bottom! The upper keeps the foot securely in place, preventing slippage and any feeling of instability. It’s got a glove-like wrap that inspires confidence throughout the 18 holes. 

And it also doesn’t shy away from comfort. We swear we can wear it all day long with no complaints! 

The Boost midsole plays a huge role in the comfort it delivers. It’s plush, creating the sensation of walking on air. Even better, it also doesn’t have reservations on energy return. If anything, it made us efficient.

It’s plenty durable and having hammered it, we can attest to how much strength it has. It’s built to last long. 

And if you want to catch some eyes when you’re out in the course, this is THE shoe. The leather upper is very stylish and polished. And good news for the clean freaks, it’s an easy-to-clean golf shoe, thanks to the softness of the leather upper. 

The only caveat that we can’t write off from the Adidas Tour360 XT is that it doesn’t come in women’s sizes. 

See our full review and facts

Best comfort

Hands down, the MOST comfortable golf shoes on our roster. The Footjoy Hyperflex BOA is supremely cushy, it’s almost like we were walking with slippers on, not shoes. 

Although it’s immensely comfy, it doesn’t skimp on stability at all - a hand-in-hand effort between the shoe’s midsole and outsole. Swing after swing, we felt planted on the ground. 

The outsole just digs into the surface, keeping everything nice and steady. 

Add in the very supportive upper. It locked our feet in position, eliminating worries of slippage and instability. Even better, the upper is complemented with the BOA Fit System, allowing us to really crank down the laces in just a few turns of the knob. It’s that convenient! 

The upper of this shoe is a bag of goods. But the real scene-stealer is its waterproofness. Even when we took some swings on wet grass, we had ZERO issues with water permeating the upper. It’s a solid 10/10. 

And if you’re looking for a smasher, the Footjoy Hyperflex BOA is a certified stunner! It’s on fleek and it’s got major style. 

This shoe is almost a complete package - ALMOST. But we just had some issues putting it on and off. The opening is just too narrow to make foot entry easy. 

Otherwise, it’s a golf shoe we’d choose any day!

See our full review and facts

Footjoy just can’t stop giving us the most comfortable shoes, can they? Blowing our minds yet again, the Footjoy Stratos gave us the spa-day treat our feet were looking for. 

It’s luxuriously plush and cushy, we can last the entire 18 holes in it. It doesn’t only steal the spotlight in the comfort arena, it’s also a superstar in stability. 

While doing our downswings and backswings, the consistent feeling we had in the shoe was support. From the midsole to the outsole, we had all the stability we desired. 

The outsole just bit into the turf. As in, we were anchored in position, regardless of our movements. 

It wouldn’t be as impressive if it weren’t for its waterproofness. This shoe is, hands down, impermeable. After a couple of uses on wet terrain and conditions, it remained dry. 

And for those who want their golf shoes to be spick and span, it’s an easy feat with this one. The upper is very soft, it’s VERY easy to clean. 

Because of its spikeless design, this shoe is also very versatile. Meaning, you can wear it off-course. And because it’s so stylish we won’t have second thoughts about wearing it to meetings or just any other laidback occasions. 

If there’s a downside to the Footjoy Stratos' spikeless outsole, it’s that it accumulates grass!

See our full review and facts

Best style

Having tested out hundreds of running shoes, nothing comes close to the Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour’s runner-like comfort. It’s plush and soft, it’s a dream to the feet! 

But before we dive down to the nitty-gritties, let’s take some time to appreciate its very fashion-forward aesthetics. This is what made it top 1 on our list anyway. And that’s telling of how well-styled it is. Simply, it’s the sexiest shoe we’ve ever put on! 

Whether it’s on grass, dry, wet, and hard-packed surfaces, and even on pavement, this shoe’s traction is top-notch. It literally sticks into all types of terrain without any issues. 

And for a shoe packed with so many performance-oriented features, it keeps its weight at a minimum! And more importantly, this translated on the golf course. We never felt like it was dragging us down. 

The perks don’t stop there. It’s also a waterproof shoe, and after several tests, it’s proven itself a winner in impermeability. It’s very effective in keeping water out, even under wet conditions, our feet were dry. 

Apart from giving the shoe its sleek facade, the upper also gave us less headache, especially in cleaning. The materials this shoe uses are very soft, it’s easy to clean out dirt. 

Everything is great about the Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour, except the rubbing we experienced in the heel area. That aside, it's one solid shoe that will make heads turn!

See our full review and facts

It’s got a hell of a look! But after taking it out for a couple of spins on the golf course, the Nike Roshe G is more than what meets the eye. 

Yes, it’s attractive, and it’s a surefire eye-candy. That, we cannot deny. But what makes the Roshe G an even more attractive golf shoe is that it is loaded with performance-ready features. 

First off, it’s more than what we expected from a spikeless shoe. To be honest, we were just waiting for it to fail in terms of traction. But boy did this shoe prove us wrong. Even better, amazed us! 

One big swing after another, we were fastened into place. As in, the whole time we were just feeling surefootedness. NO slips at all! 

Because it's jam-packed with comfort, we were focused on our swings and nothing else. The midsole is soft and flexible, while the upper is light and breathable. 

Our feet were kept sweat-free. What’s also good about it is that it gives a foot-molding wrap, amping stability up even more. 

And because it’s a highly fashionable golf shoe, we wouldn’t mind having it double as our lifestyle sneaker. It’s that striking! 

If there’s one thing we wanted the Roshe G to be, it’s a waterproof golf shoe. Other than that, it smashed it in the looks department. 

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

Cheap doesn’t mean low quality, and that’s what the Footjoy Flex proved to us! At $90, you can’t get more pocket-friendly than this. 

While golf may be a sport attributed to rich men, it’s not always true that you have to pay a premium price to get quality shoes. Nope, and that’s where this shoe comes in. 

A standout feature that we just can’t move past is its comfort. It’s luxuriously cozy, we didn’t want to take it off our feet! 

Having tested out a lot of golf shoes in the past (the expensive ones included), we can say that this shoe has got what it takes to go head to head with the higher-tier versions. 

And it’s not only because of its comfort. It’s also because of the grippy traction it delivered. Whether it’s on turf or off-turf, we had ZERO issues with slipping. It bit into everything and anything underneath it. 

While traction positively affects the shoe’s stability, the midsole also plays a huge part. It’s not overly cushy that it renders the platform mushy, it’s a balanced cushion. Meaning, there’s none of that sink-in sensation, rather it’s a combination of softness and support. 

It’s very supportive that we felt steady in all our swings! 

And if you’re concerned with having breathability issues, take it from us, don’t. This shoe is anything but warm. 

The upper provides ventilation to the feet, and even after long days on the course, we didn’t have sweaty feet. 

For an expensive price, there are also some sacrifices. And one that we cannot write off is the Flex’s poor durability. After only a couple of uses, the sole already detached! 

See our full review and facts

True to how it’s billed, the Skechers GO GOLF Max is among the most comfortable golf shoes we’ve ever tried on! 

It’s not only feet-pampering, but it’s also a well-rounded shoe that bites into everything. The outsole crushes everything underfoot, whether it be on wet and dry terrain or inclines. Given its grippy traction, this shoe is everything confidence-inspiring! 

And we wouldn’t say this without its inherent stability. Even for a cushion that has so much give, the midsole didn’t let us feel like we were unsteady. It’s got sufficient lateral rigidity, keeping our strides and swings supported all throughout. 

Unlike other wide-width brand-touted shoes, this is a first for us. It really IS wide, and for us with large feet, it wasn’t hard to put on, and the fit was rather accommodating. 

Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a performance-oriented fit, meaning snug from the rear to the midfoot, and roomy in the forefoot. So you don’t have to worry about your feet sliding inside the shoe. 

And because it's a spikeless golf shoe, it was easy for us to transition from the golf course to the pavement. And the grip was just as solid! 

The Skechers GO GOLF Max not only skimps on price, it also skimps on weight. So much so that it felt like we had nothing on foot. It’s THAT light. 

To really seal the deal, the shoe is also made with breathability in mind. It’s not waterproof (one of the drawbacks we have), but if you’re searching for a shoe that will keep you sweat-free through the 18 holes, this is IT.

See our full review and facts

Choosing the right pair of golf shoes

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Signs of wearing the wrong golf shoe

You have the wrong golf shoe if you experience any of the following:

  • feeling unstable when making a swing or while walking on hilly terrain
  • getting soaked from wet grass or rain
  • having sore feet after walking through all 18 holes

To ensure your comfort and performance on the course next time, you need to consider the following features:

  • Traction: spiked or spikeless?
  • Upper material: leather, synthetic, knit
  • Moisture protection: water-resistant, water-repellent, waterproof
  • Fit regulation: laces vs. BOA
  • Style: traditional or athletic?

Spiked or spikeless ?

While spiked golf shoes come closest to the original metal cleats, they are not a must nowadays. The more contemporary spikeless alternatives have also earned a spot among the golfing community.

There is no straightforward answer to which one is better, each one comes with a set of pros and cons. The choice depends on what features you value the most:

Spiked golf shoes

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were originally made of metal but because of the damage they cause on the course, current spikes are made of ceramics or plastic

Spikeless golf shoes

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were introduced in 2010; have a flat outsole with rubber nubs or dimples; golf companies are still experimenting with this design

Advantages:

More grippy and stable

when the terrain gets wet, spiked pairs can help avoid slip, especially when performing a swing or walking up and down the hills

More lightweight and flexible

the absence of spikes keeps the foot closer to the ground; the ground can be felt better

Replaceable spikes

adds on to the shoe’s longevity

Can be worn off the course

the style and construction is closer to a regular sneaker

Disadvantages:

Heavier

which may not be ideal for those who prefer walking through the 18 holes

Less grippy

on wet and upland conditions

 Cannot be worn off the course

spikes can be damaged and also make it uncomfortable to walk on hard surfaces

No replaceable spikes

once the rubber tread gets damaged the entire shoe needs to be replaced

Because spikeless golf shoes are still a relatively new design, they tend to draw more attention and interest from the players. To find out more about this category, see our guide on spikeless golf shoes.

Choosing the right upper material

Once being the only material used on golf shoes, leather is still loved today for its exquisite appeal, natural waterproofing, and longevity. The use of synthetic materials added a slew of breathable and lighter options to the market. Finally, the knit trend has not passed by golf shoes either.

Leather golf shoes

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Synthetic golf shoes

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Knit golf shoes

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Breathability

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Flexibility

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Durability

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Moisture protection

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Dirt-resistance

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Go for synthetic golf shoes if you want a middle-ground of all listed features.

Waterproofing in golf shoes

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:

Water-resistant

for light rain, morning dew, and wet grass

Water-repellent

for moderate rain; might leak when pressure is applied

Waterproof*

for heavy rain, snow, and stepping into water

Protection

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Breathability

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*Some waterproof golf shoes employ a high-performance Gore-Tex lining that provides full waterproof protection without sacrificing breathability too much. Some brands also offer shoes with a waterproof warranty.

Laces vs. BOA

The good old laces didn’t seem to be enough for the shoe brands. Today we can see the cutting-edge BOA closure system slipping into the realm of golf. But with the heavier price tag of these BOA models, is it worth the upgrade?

Laced golf shoes

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BOA golf shoes

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Advantages:
  • cheaper
  • easier to replace
  • faster to tighten and loosen
  • keeps the hold permanently
  • doesn’t get in the way of movement
  • resistant to water, mud, ice
Disadvantages:
  • less durable
  • may lose hold, get untied, lead to tripping and stumbling
  • takes time to adjust the fit
  • harder to replace
  • more expensive

Bottom line: The BOA definitely offers a host of upgrades compared to a standard lasing system. But it also comes at a higher price point. Thus, it can be recommended to the more professional players or those who want to stay on top of the newest tech.

Otherwise, laces are still a solid option, especially if you are just starting out with golf.

Traditional or athletic: pick your style

To keep up with modern times, golf shoe manufacturers have been shifting away from the classic look towards the more athletic, sneaker-like designs. Traditions, on the other hand, are still being kept to live as the sport's legacy.

You have the option to choose what resonates best with your game and style:

Traditional golf shoes

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Athletic golf shoes

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  • only come with spikes
  • have a similar look to dress shoes, can be identified as oxfords or saddles
  • typically come in natural leather
  • come in both spiked and spikeless forms
  • have a casual and street-ready style, look more like sneakers or running shoes; trends are most welcomed in this category
  • feature all kinds of materials - natural, synthetic, and knits

Frequently Asked Questions

Are golf shoes necessary?

Yes, if you are going to play golf regularly.

It’s okay to wear your regular pair of shoes for a trial game or if you play the sport very rarely. But to illustrate the difference between a regular sneaker and a dedicated golf shoe, let’s compare a silhouette which comes in both casual and golf-ready options: the Nike Roshe.

Nike Roshe

(casual sneaker)

Nike Roshe G

(spikeless golf shoe)

Nike Roshe G Tour

(spiked golf shoe)

Protection

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Nike Roshe.png Nike Roshe G.png Nike Roshe G Tour.png
Regular mesh upper Gusseted tongue prevents debris from getting inside the shoe Synthetic leather with a waterproof quality keeps you dry in wet grass and rainy weather

Traction/Stability

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Nike Roshe sole.png Nike Roshe G sole.png Nike Roshe G tour sole.png
Flat outsole with thin treads is slippery on grass.

Sharper lugs get even more aggressive in the circular pods

These pods help to stabilize the player as they are placed at the pressure points of a golf swing

Strategically placed spikes grip all golf course surfaces, both even and hilly

Wider base with outriggers increases contact area and surefootedness during a swing

What shoes to wear golfing if you don't have golf shoes?

As some golf courses can be strict about their dresscode, it’s better to check with them beforehand. But in most cases, an athletic low-top shoe should suffice. You can wear any of the following:

It’s not recommended to use slip-on footwear or the one that easily loses hold when twisted. Before the game, mimic a golf swing in your pair to make sure the fit stays tight.

Heels and metal cleats are prohibited.

Do golf shoes need a break-in period?

The right-sized pair should not require any breaking in.

The best golf shoe models are designed to accommodate your foot shape from the start. If it doesn’t happen, try going a half-a-size or a size up, consider getting a different width is it is available, or simply go for another model.

In some individual cases, the shoe might cause discomfort during the first wear. Here are some firs-aid tips to soften the material without going through the ordeal:

  • Wear an extra thick sock or an anti-blister sock to have an 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.

When is it time to buy a new pair of golf shoes?

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.