Strolling around town in running shoes can be comfortable, but when you play golf, you don’t always walk on smooth sidewalks and paths. You also create significant torque when you swing and have to deal with water, sand and dirt. For all these reasons, golf shoes are among the most complicated pieces of footwear made.
Further complicating any choice in footwear is the huge range of options. Golf shoes are available in a multitude of styles, from classic leather to modern options built to feel and look like running shoes. And there is a whole world of modern sole options: plastic spikes, repeating nubs or elaborate patterns of ridges to help keep a player’s feet firmly on the ground. So many decisions.
Here are three tips to help find the perfect pair, followed by several current offerings that might be just what you’re looking for.
1. Fit is critical
The most crucial factor in how a shoe fits is the last. The last is the form around which the shoe is designed, and it determines how wide or narrow it is, how much room is in the toe, the curvature and the shoe’s height.
Companies often use a different last for different types of shoes, so if you are changing style, or opting to buy a shoe from an unfamiliar brand, the last in the new shoes likely will be different. That could make them fit differently.
Even in this age of online shopping, the best way to find a good-fitting pair of shoes is to go to your local pro shop or golf specialty store and try on a few pairs. If that’s not possible, check out an updated model that fit well in the past.
2. Spiked or spikeless
Many experts agree that when new, there is little difference between the traction created by today’s spikeless shoes and golf footwear that has replaceable plastic cleats.
While many golfers believe spikeless shoes are more comfortable, others think cleats help them maintain a better connection with the turf and provide more stability during the swing.
The significant advantage spiked shoes have is the cleats can be replaced after they wear down. When the traction elements in spikeless shoes degrade, you need new shoes.
3. Waterproof vs. water-resistant
Even if it’s not raining, walking over dew-soaked fairways or in mud can make your feet wet, and wet feet can blister more easily. So if you are only going to have one pair of golf shoes, they should be waterproof. Look for shoes that offer a one-year or two-year waterproof warranty.
If you have the means and desire to purchase a second pair, they could be water-resistant instead of waterproof. Typically, water-resistant shoes can keep your feet dry under many conditions and tend to be more breathable.