Golf is one of the oldest sports existing. Its popularity not only transcends time, but it has become a widespread phenomenon globally. Unlike other sports that get their hype through aggression, golf is otherwise known as a gentleman's game. It is not only because of the pristine environment that looks straight out of a postcard, but it's also because of the nature of the contact-less game.
Ironically, despite getting called out as boring, it can get intimidating for many. The golf playground comprises 18 holes and has a distance of 6,200 to 7000 yards. Walking, planting a perfect stance, and following through the swing are all movements that cover the sport. Because of this, clubs are not the only essential item that would greatly help one's performance.
Footwear, even though it is not given much regard with the club's strict rules, is something that should be given some gravity. Choosing the right one from the myriad of golf shoes is not an easy feat. Read further as we tackle the different aspects that should be considered when selecting the most suitable pair of golf shoes.
Things to consider when buying men's and women's golf shoes
Golf shoes may be viewed as a niche in the performance footwear market. It works more than just a fashion statement. But, purchasing a pair can be overwhelming. It comprises of varying brands, models, and technologies. RunRepeat dives into the nitty-gritty of each shoe. However, for this article, we discuss what golfers look for in a shoe. Hopefully, these will come in mind when purchasing. Because let's be honest, not all golf shoes are created equally.
No matter what kind of footwear it is, comfort is a must for everyone. In golf, it is needed because walking is almost a second nature to the sport. It may not include running, but the long distances take a toll on the foot. Moreover, each course entails different terrain challenges. A cushioned and flexible outsole works best for most.
Comfort and fit somehow go hand in hand. Trainers that are not correctly fitted can immediately overthrow all the technologies that would enhance comfort.
Aside from the length and width, the fasening system should also be considered. It keeps the foot secure and prevents it from sliding as energy is transferred from one foot to the other.
Relatively, golf is a relaxing sport, but when it comes to outsoles, the more aggressive, the better. It is not a piece of cake to deal with different types of terrain, perform a strong swing, and stand firm throughout 18 holes. Having a maximum grip on the ground is simply essential.
It is almost impossible to play golf and not deal with grass. It is part of the fantastic experience that comes with the sport. However, dealing with moisture is another part. Many golf shoes are equipped with different levels of moisture protection. Additionally, shoe brands also include a waterproofing warranty to ensure the owner that water is completely taken care of.
The price is not necessarily a factor when durability is taken into account. At the end of the day, It is essential because no one would want something ripping or separating. When purchasing, look into the craftsmanship, material, and technologies. These all go together to ensure that the shoe will be in it for the long haul.
Different types of golf shoes
When buying a pair, it is vital to know the needs of the player. From there, the kind of footwear can be determined. Each poses different characteristics and possesses strengths and weaknesses.
Most golf shoes in the market come in low-top profiles. It is because the freedom on the ankles is essential during a swing. From this silhouette, golfers can choose two routes- spiked or spikeless. Below discusses the specifics:
The first type that was created for golf is spiked shoes. It is only reasonable given that grip should not be compromised for every movement. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Most golf shoes come in a low-top profile, but other silhouettes are created to cater to different needs. Below are some of them:
- Golf sandals
When the heat is on, golf sandals are the best option. Because they are basically open-toed, they are the most breathable out of all kinds of golf shoes. They may compromise a bit in lateral movements because of its construction, but it certainly keeps the foot fresh.
- Golf boots
Golf boots are quite the opposite of the sandals as they perform best when used during winter. They may weigh the heaviest among all, but the extra warmth and protection are the gains. This type of shoe is crafted for the most rigorous conditions, so it is only explainable why most are infused with technologies that battle moisture completely. Those looking for a pair can look at brands like Adidas and Under Armour.
Styles of golf shoes
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:
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 used in golf shoes
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:
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.
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 upper 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.
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.
Did you know?
- The first golf shoe that was ever invented was in the 1800s. Scottish golfers placed nails on the outsole to trigger traction. Obviously, it posed some drawbacks.
- The popular two-tone saddle oxford style was first introduced in badminton and tennis. However, it found a better home in golf. It became widely popular during the 1950s.
- The damage on the greens has been a serious concern as metal spikes create a toll on them. It was only in the 1990s that plastic cleats were introduced. Greenskeepers were certainly delighted because it causes less abrasion without sacrificing comfort.
- In 2010, Fred Couples started a trend and wore a spikeless version during the 2010 Masters. He debuted an Ecco shoe, and since then, different brands have formulated their version.
- The hype of Nike sneaker collaborations cannot be dismissed. They are using a unique format on golf shoes. Quite recently, an Off White version was released in partnership with Brooks Koepka.
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.
Is it necessary to wear golf shoes when playing?
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 way that golf shoes are constructed equips the 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.
What is the difference between golf and football cleats?
Golf and football come from opposite paths. Their similarity, however, lies in the footwear, specifically the bottom. If that is the case, why can't we wear golf shoes on the field and football cleats on the course? While, technically, this is permitted in sports rules. However, they are designed for different purposes.
Football shoes are built for agility and speed. It explains why the cleats are elongated and come in varying lengths.
Golf shoes, on the other hand, are built so that the foot would be planted on the ground when making a swing. More so, the spikes need to prevent the foot from slipping on uphill surfaces. Because of this, their shape is circular, wider, and flatter.
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.
How do you replace golf cleats without a golf wrench?
A golf wrench is a must when owning a cleated shoes, but in case it's not present, these are the steps that can be followed:
- The bottom of the shoe should be clean and dry before doing the spike replacement.
- Strike around the outside edges of the sole with a hammer.
- There's no need to be aggressive with this step, soft and gentle taps should loosen the spikes from their sockets.
- With needle-nose pliers, insert it into the holes located in the body of the spike. Ensure that the pliers get a good hold so that it can be twisted.
- When pivoting the spike, make sure that you do not put force too much. Ruining the socket will make it less likely for the replacement to stay set in the future.
- It is fine to damage the old spike as they won't be used anymore.
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 proper way to clean golf shoes?
Cleaning golf shoes is probably one of the tasks that most owners slack. But it is a necessary and primary step to ensure that the footwear performs its best. Here are some easy steps to follow:
- Remove the laces and the insole to prep the trainer for cleaning.
- Make a solution of mild detergent and water. The use of harsh soap can damage the material and finish. Also, avoid using colored soap, especially when the upper is white to prevent staining.
- Grab a brush and wash each part. Concentrate on areas where it is stained or extra dirty.
- Also dip the shoe on the cleaning solution to have them a good wash too.
- Place a shoe tree on the interior and let it air dry. It will absorb the moisture on the inside and retain the form.
- Lace them when dried.
Are there steps that can be followed to prolong the life of golf shoes?
Part of making the most out of your money's worth is to maintain the longevity of the shoe. To make sure that it is performing its A-game, here are some of the steps that can be followed:
- After every round, wipe down the entire surface with a towel.
- Remove debris and dirt on the outsole by using a stiff-bristled brush or an old toothbrush. The cleats usually are notorious for this, so extra attention is needed for them.
- Check the cleats after every round. Though it generally depends on the wear, some tend to wear out after 10-15 rounds. Replace them as needed.
- Most golf shoes reside in the trunk of the car. But this is not the proper way to store it as its temperature can be extreme.
- To emit odor-causing bacteria, remove the insoles after the game and let dry overnight.
- Care and protect come next after cleaning. Care includes the application of a lotion to soften, moisturize, and bring out the elasticity of leather. Protect, on the other hand, acts like a sunscreen. Putting a waterproof spray keeps the shoe from wearing down.
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.
Which spike material is better?
Generally speaking, there is not one that trumps over the other. Assessing the pros and cons of both boils down to the needs of the golfer. Here are some of the questions that can be asked:
- What is the kind of traction do you need on the course?
- Do you have time to commit to maintaining ceramic spikes?
- What is the budget?
Practically speaking, rubber is excellent for entry-level players. It provides a decent amount of traction that doesn't require breaking the bank. Ceramic spike suits professionals more. Only because the price point is higher, and it needs more commitment to maintaining its pristine condition.
What is the difference between the terms waterproof, water repellent, and water resistant?
Because of the different technological terms, it can be quite confusing as to what kind of moisture protection it provides.
Technically speaking, there is an official waterproof rating that is used to measure fabric.
- Above 20,000mm: The maximum protection that can be given. It protects the foot from extremely wet environments, high winds, and rigorous rain and snow.
- 15,000 to 20,000mm: This amount is enough to shield against moderate rain, wind, and snow with intermittent heavy precipitation.
- 10,000 to 15,000mm: Medium protection is what this amount offers. Golf shoes clad in this fabric are ideal to be used on snow, wind, and rain.
- Below 10,000: It gives the least amount of protection. These can be used on intermittent light snow and rain.
If the shoe does not have a numerical standard, then referring to this term might also be helpful:
Waterproof: Waterproof golf shoes are built for all conditions.
Water resistant: Water-resistant golf shoes are best played on light moisture and morning dew.
No moisture protection: These should only be played on dry conditions only.
15 best golf shoes
- Adidas Adipure SP
- Skechers GO GOLF Drive 4
- Adidas Tour 360 Boost 2.0
- Ecco BIOM Hybrid 3 BOA
- Ecco BIOM Hybrid 2
- Puma Ignite Nxt
- Puma Ignite Proadapt
- Nike Roshe G
- Ecco BIOM Hybrid 3 GTX
- Nike React Vapor 2
- Skechers GO GOLF Pro v.4
- Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour
- Nike Explorer 2
- Skechers GO GOLF Elite v.3
- New Balance Minimus SL
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