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Questions around golf shoes get asked a lot. But like all other sports, what you put on your feet is just as important as the equipment you use. Companies like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok make millions designing, producing, and selling shoes for every conceivable sport. Sport-specific shoes absolutely serve a purpose. (Golf Shoes, Yea or Nay)

Motivational Golf Quotes

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Marilyn Monroe

“These are my shoes. They’re good shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me. That’s it.”

-Charles Barkley

Shoes? What Shoes?

I spent a ton of money on golf clubs, a bag, golf shirts and pants, and now I ask myself if I really need golf shoes. My wallet (and my wife) ask, where does the madness end?

If you want the straight, simple answer, it depends. Is this not what you wanted to hear? I thought so. The quick answer is often not the whole story.

What we typically call tennis shoes are basically sneakers, but that doesn’t mean all sneakers are tennis shoes. These names generally get lumped together in one category, but they are quite different. If you’re a tennis player, you already know this. Because of the swift movement in all directions involved in tennis, lateral support is key. The real tennis shoes, like those designed by K-Swiss, are made for traction and stability, made of shock-absorbing materials, and have scuff-resistant soles.

Should I Wear Sneakers?

Sneakers are what most of us have in the closet for casual, daily wear. They are not designed for any type of sport, nor are they made of shock-absorbing materials. The uppers are made of synthetic materials and the soles, rubber. If you’re anything like me, you choose your sneakers for style, not functionality, and you probably own more than one pair. Don’t even ask me how many pairs of sneakers I own. It’s a sickness.

Basketball shoes, bowling shoes, baseball cleats, track shoes, soccer shoes, like tennis shoes, are all designed to help you perform better when participating in a particular sport. Do you see where I’m going?

Golf is considered a sport (though some may see it as an irritating addiction), hence, it too has its own shoe. This is not to say that you can’t golf in sneakers, tennis shoes, or even bowling shoes for that matter, but there’s a reason companies produce golf shoes instead of simply manufacturing sneakers. Golf shoes are designed specifically to help the player.

I Want Good Golf Shoes. Doesn’t Everybody?

Okay, you’re convinced. So now you ask: What are the best golf shoes?

I know you hate getting a question in response to a question, but there’s so much more to finding the right golf shoe for you. Do you want a lightweight pair? Soft or metal spikes? Spikeless? Waterproof?

Ah, Divot-hopper… you have much to learn.

Spiked or Cleats?

For the beginner, spiked shoes have advantages. A good golf swing requires a solid foundation, which spiked shoes provide. Any unwanted movement of the feet during your stroke, such as slipping or shifting, is not going to help your game improve.

Although many are switching to spikeless, the majority of pros prefer spikes. But if you’re still new to the sport and finding your sea legs, spikes might be the best way to go.

But spikes do more than just prevent slips and slides. We all know that your hands on the club and feet on the ground are the two points of bodily contact when swinging a club. A solid grip on the turf during your backswing and follow through is no less important than your initial grip on the club. The benefit of spikes is keeping your feet firmly planted on the fairways under wet and slippery conditions, such as after rains or from morning dew.

The three main types of spikes are metal, synthetic rubber (soft spikes), and ceramic.

What About Metal Golf Cleats?

Metal-spiked shoes require routine maintenance and have been known to damage manicured fairways, which in my opinion outweighs the fact they are more durable. Because of the damage the spikes cause, many courses have banned them. The weight of the spiked shoes can also impact your swing.

Rubber Or Not?

Because of their lighter weight, their comfort, and the fact they don’t tear up the fairways, these are the most popular and also the least-expensive golf shoes. The tradeoff is in traction. The rubber spikes do not have the same grip as the metal ones and typically don’t last as long.

There Are Ceramic Cleats

If you have deep pockets and won’t use anything that’s not the top-o-the-line, ceramic spikes combine the best of both worlds. The pros love them for their durability, long lifespan, and scuff and scratch resistance. But everything comes with a price. They will require constant maintenance, and corrosion is always an issue. Frequency of play is a determining factor in how long they will last. If you are a golf-aholic, the ceramics, though more expensive, are a great value. If you’re a weekend warrior, rubber is the way to go.

Maybe if spikes aren’t for you, the “spikeless” or street shoe might be a better option.

Spikes or Spikeless?

Intended for the player who desires style and comfort in his golf shoes, these might fit your aesthetic. Low-profile and light, these flat-soled shoes use rubber studs or dimpled soles instead of spikes. If you’re thinking these are cool, but not what the pros use, I beg to differ. Quite a few pros have gone over to the dark side of comfort and style.

What you give up is stability and grip on wet ground, and many aren’t waterproof. If you’re concerned about wear life, don’t be. Manufacturers have developed new technology they claim will make the spikeless bottom outlast the lifetime of the shoe.

Advantages. Disadvantages

The advantages of spikeless shoes are versatility and convenience. No need to worry about fairway damage, no changing before going into the clubhouse, they may help you feel more balanced, and don’t have the slightly elevated feel of spiked shoes.

So, is there a good, better, best, or can I just wear my Nikes?

Ah, Clod-hopper… it seems mouth teed off before mind finished backswing.

The answer is, wear whatever you wish. There is no written rule. However, I do suggest you honestly evaluate your needs versus your wants. Do you mostly play in the summer when conditions are dry? Or do you play all year round, even in the rain? Like lightweight? Need more stability? Too lazy to change your shoes?

Take a deep breath and let’s start all over.

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