Why is it important to wear the best golf shoes while you’re playing golf? Your feet and footwork play important roles in your golf game, and wearing any old shoes just won’t do. You should never try to wear your regular “street shoes” during a game or while you’re at the range practicing. Some people with exceptional balance and footwork can get away with wearing regular athletic shoes (Brits call them “trainers,” Americans call them “running shoes”) while they’re playing, but it’s never recommended.
What you really need are shoes specifically designed to be worn while you’re playing golf. And, because your feet and footwork are so important, you need the best you can find.
But how do you go about deciding which particular shoes are best for you? Multiple brands and dozens of styles are available at any one time – and that’s not counting color choices. And, if you’re okay with an older style, you can probably find hundreds online at discounted prices. You can also buy slightly blemished golf shoes at various brick-and-mortar and online shops. As long as the defect is strictly cosmetic, a pair of blemished shoes can be a great deal.
So, if you’re looking for golf shoes, you have an almost countless number of choices. FootJoy, Adidas, Callaway, Etonic, Ecco and Nike are brands that seem to be perennial favorites, but several other companies also make golf shoes. But, instead of using this page to discuss specific golf shoe brands, I’m going to give you some information about the different types of golf shoes.
Golf shoes come in three main categories: shoes with metal spikes; shoes with “soft spikes”; and “spikeless” shoes. They have different degrees of popularity.
Golf Shoes with Metal Spikes
The soles of this type of golf shoe have removable metal spikes. At one time they were the only kind of golf shoe you could buy, but now they’re passé. Metal spikes can be uncomfortable to walk in and they frequently leave spike marks and other damage on the greens. Although many professional golfers still wear them for tournament play, the potential for turf damage has caused virtually every American golf course to ban them for recreational golfers. They’re difficult to find in stores (although why anybody would want to is beyond me, as they’re no longer allowed on most golf courses) and I’m not sure they’re even being made anymore, except by special order for the pros. Many pros like metal spikes because of the stability and traction they provide, even on wet or irregular terrain. But unless you’re a Tour professional, the advantages of metal spikes don’t matter - you won’t be allowed to wear them. ‘Nuff said. Shoes with metal spikes are not the best golf shoes for amateurs.
Golf Shoes with “Soft Spikes”
Many golfers are convinced that shoes with soft spikes are the best golf shoes. That might be true for most of us, although for reasons I’ll mention shortly, I prefer “spikeless” golf shoes. Soft spikes are plastic, not metal, and they’re easily replaceable. That’s important, because eventually they wear down to these flat little round things that won’t give you any traction at all. If your soft spikes are worn down, you might as well be wearing regular athletic shoes.
Soft spikes provide more traction than street shoes or athletic shoes, but less than golf shoes with metal spikes. They do have the advantage of causing very little (if any) damage on the greens, and every golf course I’ve heard of encourages their use. Soft spikes aren’t as hard or long as metal spikes, and walking in this type of shoe is more comfortable.
By now, you might be thinking something along the lines of “Soft spikes sound pretty good, so why doesn’t she think they’re the best golf shoes for her?” Well, it’s a matter of simple economics. A set of soft spikes will wear out long before the shoes. At some point, you’ll need to replace the spikes – and that can cost around $15. If you do that a few times, you might as well buy a new pair of shoes. For reasons unknown, I can wear down a set of soft spikes within two or three weeks. That’s much quicker than anyone else I know. I’d go broke pretty quickly if I didn’t have an alternative. Fortunately, I do.
“Spikeless” Golf Shoes
“Spikeless golf shoes provide traction by integrating little rubber “nubs” in the soles. These nubs aren’t replaceable, but they’re much more durable than soft spikes. One brand’s nubs (Etonic) are made of seemingly-indestructible tire rubber. I’ve had a pair of Etonic spikeless shoes for about four years now, and the nubs are slightly worn but still give me plenty of traction. I’ve probably saved $100 or more by not needing to replace my soft spikes. That’s why spikeless shoes are the best golf shoes for me.