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What Are Golf Shoes?

By Bryan Pedersen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Golf shoes are used to prevent a golfer's feet from sliding on the course while making the next stroke. Though most golf courses do not require special shoes to play, they make a good purchase for people who want to improve theirplay and take the game to another level.

Traditionally, shoes designed for the golf course have metal spikes on the soles designed to dig into the surface of the course. Many modern shoes now have softer rubber spikes that do less damage to the playing surface, and they still provide far more traction than a pair of sneakers. It's important for players to remove their shoes when not on the course, since walking across pavement is a sure way to damage spikes and reduce the life of shoes.

Another important feature of golf shoes is their rigidity. A firm base is important due to the very intricate nature of a golf stroke. These shoes tend to be more rigid so there is less room for the ankle to move around and inhibit a smooth transfer of energy from body to swing to ball. Another common feature is their weight, as extra ounces (grams) provide further stability and leave the user feeling planted firmly in place.

golf shoes

When a person chooses a pair of golf shoes, the same rules about purchasing any athletic shoe apply. They should fit snugly with room to wiggle the toes, but not enough that the wearer winds up banging his or her toes against the front of the shoes. The spikes should be of high quality, and some models even have replaceable ones that can be screwed in if one breaks. This can be beneficial for those who spend a lot of money on shoes. Good shoes may also allow the transfer between rubber and metal spikes where needed, further maximizing their value and versatility. Players who happen to play in a very humid or wet climate or early in the morning when they encounter a lot of dewy grass may find that it's worthwhile to purchase a waterproof pair.

If the classic, rigid look does not appeal to a player, there are many more stylish options available today. Many companies pride themselves not only on their functionality, but also their trend-setting designs. It's possible to find many different styles and choices that resemble actual sneakers more than golf shoes. A general sporting goods store usually packs both types, but shoppers should be prepared to pay for a good set. Golf is an expensive sport, and the shoes are no exception.

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Discussion Comments

By Illych — On May 25, 2011

@Engelbert - I recently bought a new pair of golf shoes myself so I’ll try to offer you some advice. Like the article says, golf is an expensive sport and the general rule of thumb is the more expensive the shoes you can afford the better. I know this sounds daunting, but if you want to consider it from a practical point of view, think of it this way: how long did your old golf shoes last? If you’re constantly replacing old shoes because they don’t stand the test of time then you’re spending just as much or more money in the long run anyway.

As far as shoes improving your game, well it’s obviously not a guarantee but I noticed a significant improvement when I upgraded. The feeling of comfort and stability helped me more than I can say and if I can be vain for a second, they look better as well! Always helps if you’re golfing with a client or business partner, or even if you just want to look better than your friends.

I think a better pair of shoes could help you to play better, but it’s all a matter of opinion of course. If you can afford it, then why not? If not, well as they say, practice makes perfect!

By Engelbert — On May 22, 2011

I’m looking at buying a pair of new golf shoes but I’m still unsure of how much of an investment I should make. I’m a casual player, I play maybe once or twice a month, but now I’m starting to think maybe it’s time to upgrade from my old pair with worn out cleats but I just can’t decide whether it’s worth paying more than what I paid for my old cheap golf shoes. I’d certainly consider it if it improved my game!

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