Golf shoes are an important piece of equipment for any golfer. But are they necessary? What are the benefits of wearing golf shoes? You may hear people talking about wearing golf-specific shoes on the course, but will these specialized shoes truly improve your game?
We're here to provide expert insight into the benefits and differences between spiked vs. non-spiked golf shoes so that you can decide for yourself.
Are Golf Shoes Necessary?
Golf shoes are not a requirement to play the game, but they can help improve your game. The only exception may be at luxury championship courses, where they may require formal golf shoes to play.
While not necessary, wearing the proper footwear can provide several benefits that help you play your best, like traction, sturdiness, and comfort. That said, if you're brand new to golf, spend much of your time hitting balls on the driving range, or only stick to amateur-level courses, the investment in golf-specific shoes may not make sense.
Before you decide one way or another, understand the many benefits golf shoes provide so you can learn what you may be missing out on without them.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing Golf Shoes?
Golf shoes look sharp on the course, but their benefits extend far beyond looks. Some players even claim that the right pair can improve their game. While they're not a guaranteed game-improver, here's how they're helpful:
One of the main benefits of golf shoes is their added sturdiness. While regular sneakers with flat bottoms might wear down quickly on the course, golf footwear is built to withstand the wear and tear of playing 18 holes. Their wide-track rubber bottoms and sharp spikes also help you get a better grip on the grass of the course, so your shots are more precise.
Comfort and Support
Golf shoes offer more support than your average pair of sneakers, especially on the arches. Arch support is crucial because it helps prevent injuries and provides stability when swinging. It also means you'll still be comfortable even if you're walking the course instead of taking the cart on any occasion.
Golf shoes also feature extra padding near the midfoot that helps absorb shocks. Since golfers end their swing on the balls of their feet, this flexibility and added support in the midfoot area make the movement more comfortable.
Most golf footwear has some mesh paneling or perforation to promote breathability. A special lining absorbs extra moisture, which can build up quickly on a hot day. Breathability is essential for keeping your feet cool and dry, even in the middle of the summer.
Golf shoe manufacturers also might include a combination of charcoal and polyurethane, which soak up moisture while keeping feet cool or hot, depending on the weather.
The spikes on the bottom of the soles also provide extra traction on the course so you won't slip when swinging or walking on wet grass, which can quickly become a safety hazard. They also help keep your feet planted firmly when hitting off an uneven lie, helping give you the stability you need to make unusual, off-balance shots.
If you live in an area with unpredictable weather, you know that a regular pair of sneakers can quickly become soaked and uncomfortable. Don't let that happen to you on the 9th hole with half of the course left to go. Golf shoes feature waterproof materials and special drain panels that help keep your feet dry regardless of the course conditions.
Spiked vs. Non-Spiked Golf Shoes
When most people think of golf footwear, they picture the traditional style with metal spikes on the bottom. While these are great for traction, they're not always ideal for everyone.
If you play primarily on driving ranges or artificial turf, non-spiked shoes might make more sense. These have a rubber outsole that provides traction without damaging the turf. They're also typically more comfortable and easier to walk in than spiked shoes.
But spiked shoes provide much more traction when the course terrain varies, or the grass is wet. They can also last longer since you can replace the spikes as needed while keeping the shoe's body intact.
Once the traction is gone on a spikeless shoe, the shoe is no longer useful and needs a replacement. If you play often, that could mean shelling out hundreds for shoes every couple of months if you opt for the spikeless version.
That said, spikeless shoes are more flexible, and you can wear them in more places than just the course. They’re a perfect item to wear when transitioning from the course to a restaurant or walking from the car to the clubhouse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Beginners Need Golf Shoes?
If you're just starting as a golfer, you don't need to go out and buy a pair of golf shoes immediately. Most driving ranges and beginner-level courses don't require them. You can get by just fine with a regular pair of sneakers.
As you start to take the game more seriously, investing in a quality pair of golf shoes is a good idea. They'll help improve your traction and provide stability when swinging, plus they'll be more comfortable than sneakers after walking 18 holes.
Will Golf Shoes Actually Make You a Better Golfer?
Golf shoes won't make you a better player overnight, but they can help improve your game in a few small ways by providing traction and stability, protecting your feet from the elements, and keeping you comfortable on the course.
Golf shoes are a vital part of any golfer's wardrobe, whether you're a beginner or a pro. They provide traction, support, and comfort while playing and can help improve your game. When choosing a pair, consider the type of terrain you'll be playing on, the weather conditions, and your budget. And don't forget to break them in before hitting the course!