There are a few things you need to know when learning how to choose golf shoes. A variety of elements make up a golf shoe, and what you choose should reflect your own personal tastes and needs. Some of the most important include style, outsole type, support, stability, flexibility, and versatility. Then there are all the other things you should think about when choosing any pair of shoes, such as comfort, material, weather resistance, and value. So before you go about looking for the best golf shoes, consider where you play, how you play, and what conditions you play in. These details will help you find the ideal pair to suit your needs. With that said, let’s find out how to choose golf shoes already. You ready?
How to Choose Golf Shoes Infographic
How to Choose Golf Shoes: In-Depth
Step 1: Spiked or Spikeless?
Golf shoes will either feature a spiked (cleated) or a spikeless design. What you’ll want will depend on terrain conditions and your own personal taste.
If you’re going to go with spiked shoes, make sure the spikes are plastic as many golf courses are slowly phasing out metal spikes since they ruin the greens. Spikes generally offer more traction and grip for terrain such as hills and wet courses. They also offer more stability and overall support.
Spikeless shoes, on the other hand, feature small rubber lugs on the bottom of the sole to give you traction and a lower profile to the ground, but work best on flat surfaces and dry conditions. They are often lightweight, more flexible, and more comfortable for walking. You can even wear them off the golf course if you really wanted to.
Step 2: Choose Your Style
You perform better when you’re feeling absolutely confident. Everyone knows this. And if you’re looking great on the field, chances are you’ll be playing great as well. So, when learning how to choose golf shoes, it’s important that your shoes match your style. Most golf shoes can be broken down into two categories: traditional dress-style shoes and modern sneaker-like shoes. And then there are golf sandals as well, which we’ll touch on briefly.
Traditional golf shoes – Often made of genuine leather which is naturally waterproof, traditional golf shoes look like dress shoes for that classic look all golfers with a sense of fashion admire. Looks darn good with a pair of golf pants, they are durable and almost always feature spikes. However, they do take more effort to care for, although there are some people out there that love giving their shoes a good shine.
Modern golf shoes – More modern golf shoes look a lot like the type of shoes you’d wear on a casual day. Modern spiked shoes have the appearance of running shoes while spikeless shoes look more like casual streetwear. Both types are lightweight and a bit more flexible than traditional golf shoes. Of course, while modern spikeless shoes are designed for performance, spikless shoes are made to be low-profile and very comfortable for walking.
Golf sandals – Golf sandals are great for warmer weather and more casual games, but lack the performance of actual shoes. They are light, breathable, and offer a lot more freedom. However, you can forget about them if there’s bad weather or rough terrain.
Step 3: Understanding Material
The material of your golf shoes shouldn’t go overlooked as it can play a big role on your level of comfort as well as durability and performance.
Natural leathers – Natural leather is a highly popular option as it offers a high level of comfort and performance. They are very durable, naturally waterproof, breathable, and molds to your feet as you break them in. However, you get what you pay for, and there are varying grades of leather that increase in cost the higher the quality. Of course, real leather requires more care the more they are used.
Synthetic leathers – Lighter, thinner, more flexible, and at a fraction of the cost of natural leathers, synthetic leathers are often used on modern golf shoes. They are easier to clean, but not as durable, water-resistant, or breathable as natural leathers.
Breathable fabrics – If you enjoy playing in warmer weather in dry conditions, you might want a shoe that is more breathable to keep your feet happy. Your best options are natural leather, mesh panels, thinner uppers, or shoes perforated for ventilation. Of course, you can always go with golf sandals for more casual play.
Step 4: All the Other Essentials
Water-resistant vs. Waterproof
Now, it’s important to talk about the difference between water-resistant and waterproof shoes. They do not mean the same thing as some might infer. While water-resistant means that the shoes will repel water to some degree (but not entirely), waterproof means that the shoes cannot be penetrated by water at all. So while most genuine leather shoes are waterproof by nature, shoes with synthetic leather are more water-resistant and can only keep water out for only so long. Fortunately, water-resistant coatings can be applied to shoes to improve their water-shedding capabilities. Gore-tex golf shoes are also available which offer the best waterproof performance.
Support & Stability
Golf shoes should fit tighter in the midfoot for better stability. Your feet should not be able to move while in golf shoes except for a little wiggle room for your toes. Your heel should also be locked down as well. There should also be a good amount of lateral and arch support. Look at the upper of a shoe to determine how much lateral support it will have. Uppers should be tough around the midfoot while flexible in the forefoot. Also look at the midsole to ensure that it’s comfortable and durable. You can also consider memory foam and orthotic insoles for additional support and comfort.
Golf shoes should be fairly flexible in the forefoot for when you’re pivoting during swings. It might actually surprise you to find out how much you’re on your toes when playing golf. Dynamic movements require bending the toes, but you might also notice that people tend to bend their toes slightly when walking. And since most games require you to walk a few miles, you certainly don’t want to have a shoe that’s too stiff. Ultimately, having stiff golf shoes will reduce comfort and enjoyment of the sport.
Do you want to know how to choose golf shoes that are great? We’ll clue you in. A great pair of golf shoes should be able to perform well on different types of terrain on the course. Whether on the fairway, rough, green, or bunker, a shoe should provide adequate traction on all these types of terrain. This is especially true for hilly courses where stability and grip are key. In addition, golf shoes should be able to perform well in different field conditions, including wet and dry fields. You can never really tell how versatile a pair of shoes are unless you test run them in person.
When it comes to the price of golf shoes, you’ll quickly notice their prices can vary significantly. Most golf shoes will run anywhere from $50 to over $200, with most in the $100-$200 range. A variety of factors will determine the price, including comfort, style, and materials used. There’s really no right answer to how much you should spend. A better way of looking at it would be to ask yourself what would bring you the most value? If you don’t golf as often, it doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of money on a very expensive pair. Of course, if you’re looking for top-tier performance, don’t skimp out on cost.
Step 5: Find the Right Fit
Signs of a Perfect Fit
- 1/4-1/2″ of room in the forefoot for comfort
- No pain or pressure points when walking
- About 5/8″ of space between the top eyelets when laced for adequate width
- Your feet should not be able to slide around
- Where the shoe bends in the forefoot should align with the flex of your foot
- A snug fitting heel and midfoot
An average round of golf (18 holes) can take anywhere from ~3-5 hours to finish. A good chunk of that time will be spent walking. So, make comfort a top priority when choosing golf shoes
How to Fit Golf Shoes
- Wear socks while shopping for shoes for a better fit
- Try on similar sizes of the same pair to determine the best fit
- Fit shoes in the evening as feet tend to swell up throughout the day
- Walk around in shoes to make sure they are comfortable
- Practice your golf swing to see how they feel in action
- Consider adding insoles for extra comfort and support
- Remember that newer shoes start off stiff and break-in over time
- Look at the last of the shoe to determine if it will fit the shape of your foot