What Are Golf Shoes? (Do I Even Need Them?)

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Golf shoes are an essential piece of kit for all golfers. They come in various designs, styles, and colors and are created by a whole host of brands. In other words, you’re truly spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting the perfect golf shoes for you.

But are golf shoes really necessary? Can you not just play in your everyday sneakers? And what should you look for in a pair of golf shoes?

We answer all these questions and more below as we take a deep dive into the world of golf shoes. By the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to invest in a pair of comfortable golf shoes that look the part.

What is the Point of Golf Shoes?

Golf shoes are specifically designed to provide players with stability, balance, and comfort when playing the sport. The motion of a golf swing is unique and requires flexibility, which is why golf shoes have been designed in such a way.

If you don’t wear appropriate shoes, you may slip when making contact with the golf ball. Consequently, it’s much more difficult to make consistently good shots if you’re not wearing the right footwear.

Nike Men's Roshe G Tour Golf Shoes (10.5 M US, Summit White/Black)

Another thing to note is that most golf courses have rules relating to etiquette and dress code. Even if you wanted to, you might not be permitted to wear standard sneakers or non-specific golf shoes out on the course.

So, if you’ve recently started playing golf, it’s important to invest in the right footwear to help you out. We explain in the following sections why golf shoes are important and provide you with the necessary information to help you find the ideal shoes for you.

How are Golf Shoes Different?

Golf shoes are different from standard sneakers in 4 crucial ways that set them apart. These are increased toughness, support, breathability, and finally the attachment of cleats or spikes that proper golf shoes always feature.

If you are thinking of buying real golf shoes, then look for the following must-have features:

  • Sturdiness: Golf shoes are made with wide-track rubber soles that make them particularly sturdy. This is essentially an anti-slip feature and allows you to grip the turf when you’re executing your golf swing.
  • Support and comfort: Another unique feature of golf shoes is that they come with extra padding that supports the midsection of your feet and provides additional shock absorption. Most golf shoes are made from leather, which further adds to their comfort and support.
  • Breathability: Gore-Tex technology is used in many golf shoes to provide additional breathability. It absorbs moisture and prevents your feet from sweating, which is ideal no matter the conditions in that you’re playing golf.
  • Cleats: Most golf shoes come with cleats or spikes that further aid grip and sturdiness out on the course. There are so many designs that you can choose from, but they all contribute to your balance when you’re swinging a golf club.
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Although you might be put off by the price tag, it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of golf shoes if you’ve recently taken up the sport, as they will help you balance and improve your chances of executing more consistent shots out on the course.

FootJoy Men's Premiere Series-Tarlow Golf Shoe, White/White, 13

What Should I Look for in a Particular Golf Shoe?

Buying golf shoes is just like buying any other type of sports shoe, you need to find something that is comfortable, durable, and good-looking.

That being said, some specific things you should look out for when buying a golf shoe include:

  • Spikes or cleats: Most golf shoes come with spikes or cleats attached as standard. Spikes are hard and metal, whereas cleats are softer and best suited for hard ground. Some brands have also recently introduced spikeless shoes, presenting you with another choice to consider.
  • Material: The best material for golf shoes is leather, as it’s durable and waterproof. You should also look for a waterproof lining like Gore-Tex or something similar to ensure your feet are protected when you’re playing in bad weather.
  • Aesthetics: Don’t forget about the design of your chosen golf shoes. You might favor a shoe that is jet black or one that is multicolored. After all, your golf shoe says a lot about your personality as a golfer!
  • Brand: Arguably, the most trusted golf shoe manufacturer is FootJoy. But brands including Ecco and Skechers are also widely trusted on tour.

Remember, when buying golf shoes, you get what you pay for. It’s best to invest that little bit more in a sturdy pair of shoes that are comfortable than opting for a cheap pair that won’t last very long.

Can You Golf in Regular Shoes?

In most instances, you’re allowed to play golf in any shoes that you like, provided they don’t damage the course and are permitted by the golf club in question. The key thing to remember is that every course is different, and you need to check the local rules before playing.

Some golf courses stipulate that you need to wear shoes with cleats or spikes, while others will say that flat-soled shoes are okay. Frustratingly for recreational players, the rules change from course to course.

With this in mind, if you regularly play at different courses, it’s better to invest in a pair of golf shoes that you can wear out on the course. This way, you don’t need to worry about whether or not you can wear standard shoes.

As you would expect, every golf course allows you to play in standard golf shoes, so you don’t need to plan ahead before arriving at the course in question.

Are Golf Shoes Really Necessary?

For regular golfers, yes, golf shoes are necessary. If you play golf in your everyday sneakers or running shoes, you might struggle to maintain your balance, and you may even slip over when you’re taking some of your shots.

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Equally, golf shoes are designed to offer more stability and breathability than standard shoes, meaning they’re a better option than standard shoes for more reasons than one.

FootJoy Men's Premiere Series-Packard Boa Golf Shoe, White/Grey, 7.5 X-Wide

While you can certainly get away with playing golf in standard sneakers or running shoes, they won’t give you the best platform from which to play. It’s for this reason above all others that investing in a pair of golf shoes is worth it.

Can I Wear Running Shoes for Golf?

You can wear most types of shoes out on the golf course, and running shoes are no exception. However, if you’re planning to wear your running shoes, we would recommend checking out Golfkicks as these are spikes that attach to your sneakers.

You can attach Golfkicks to your current running shoes or sneakers, which saves you from having to buy a separate pair of golf shoes. Just be mindful that Golfkicks are designed to be permanent, so you shouldn’t take them out after finishing a round.

If your running shoes have spikes, you can certainly wear them on the golf course, but you should check with the rules and regulations of your local course. Some have specific rules regarding metal spikes, so it’s important to check before turning up.

This is perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to footwear in golf, as every venue is different. Provided you check with the course in advance, you shouldn’t have any issues on the day of your round.

Do Pro Golfers Wear Spikeless Shoes?

Some pro golfers wear spikeless shoes on tour, but they’re still in the minority. For instance, current world number one John Rahm wears spikeless shoes from Cuater. Known as The Wildcard, they look a little like gym pumps and are a super comfortable option.

Tour players wear so many different types and styles of golf shoes, making it hard to speculate about the popularity of spikeless shoes.

Still, the fact that the current world number one wears spikeless shoes indicates just how appealing they are to players at the top of the game.

Instead of basing your decision about which shoes to buy on who wears what, we’d recommend trying out different designs and fits at a golf retail store before settling on the perfect shoe for you.

After all, everyone is different, and you need to find a shoe that is comfortable while offering you the stability and performance that you would expect from a sports shoe.

Conclusion

There are so many different golf shoes that you can wear out on the course. From traditional metal spikes to new and innovative spike-less designs, you need to settle on a shoe that feels good for you.

That being said, if you only play golf once in a while, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a pair of golf shoes, as many courses allow you to play in standard sneakers.

It’s best to call ahead and check with the local rules before rocking up in any footwear that isn’t golf shoes, as you don’t want to be told that you can’t play!