Golf Shoes : A Beginners Latest Guide To Improved Performance
A golfer who walks all 18 holes of a course will have walked, on average, 5 miles by the completion of the game. It is only logical to assume that golf shoes play an important role in how the golfer will feel at the end of the day. Like most other shoe purchases, comfort and style will be the main selling points. What other factors go into the perfect shoe? More importantly, how will the right shoe improve your game?
Spikes or No Spikes?
Traditional leather golf shoes with metal spikes were the industry standard for decades. For some, it is hard to break with tradition and accept that new options exist, and that they have found the same success. When choosing a shoe, your first choice should be spikes or spikeless. This immediately narrows your search by half and helps focus your choice on other variables.
Modern spiked shoes use a soft-plastic cleat attached to the outsole of the golf shoe. Cleats can be replaced as they wear down to ensure the proper balance in your footing.
-Traditional spiked shoes allow for the best traction on all surfaces, especially wet grass.
-The added stability of cleats helps the buildup of energy during the backswing.
-Grass and mud can build up in the spikes requiring more cleaning.
-Shoes with spikes are less comfortable than spikeless shoes.
Spikeless shoes are inherently misleading as they are not completely smooth or flat. These shoes replace traditional cleats with protruding lugs that are part of the shoe itself, making it impossible to change them out. In dry conditions, they provide the same level of traction as a shoe with spikes.
-Spikeless shoes have a low profile, making them ideal to wear to and from the golf course.
-They are lighter and more flexible than shoes with spikes.
-Without the stability of spikes, you will have less traction in tall grass or rough ground.
Classic or Athletic
Similar to the choice between spikes or no spikes, this is personal preference. Classic leather saddle shoes are still worn by most professionals. Athletic golf shoes are designed to be casual and look like most popular sneakers. They are often waterproof so your only focus is on the game, making them ideal for beginners.
Midsole, Outsole, and Upper
As new technology is created for golf equipment as a whole, golf shoes are no exception. The best shoe is the one using the newest technology that provides the best outcome. The construction of golf shoes today have three main components of concern: the midsole, outsole, and upper. Polyurethane is commonly found in multiple components of golf shoes because it is robust yet flexible, allowing enough flex but always returning to its original form.
Polyurethane midsoles provide spring and comfort in the shoe. Another popular material for midsoles is a rubber-like polymer called ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).
Outsole compartments are now designed to support flexibility and stability when it is needed during swings. The small lugs seen on spikeless shoes are also found on soft spike shoes allowing strategic placement of spikes.
Leather uppers used be standard on all golf shoes with your only choices involved being black, brown, or white leather. Now, you can find uppers made of mesh that are very breathable, and still waterproof.
Balance, Stability and Flexibility
It may sound counterintuitive to have a shoe that both flexes and stabilizes, but the perfect golf shoe will do just that. The large base on golf shoes is designed to provide the balance needed for creating power in a swing while standing still. Without a balanced swing, you have less control of the club making it harder to deliver it squarely to the ball and ensure accuracy.
If you were to swing a golf club while barefoot, you would become aware of the amount of motion that takes place in your feet during a swing. Golf shoes are designed with support in the arches to limit the side-to-side movement that happens throughout a powerful swing. The placement of lugs and spikes is nearly as important to stability as whether or not spikes are present.
Beginners often make the mistake of overlooking flexibility as a factor that will impact their grip on the course. Terrain on a golf course will range from wet to hilly and uneven. Supple shoes are needed for ankle flexibility to assist a swing on an awkward slope.
When you are on your feet for 4-5 hours, you do not want to wear shoes that feel like cinder blocks. It is important to have lightweight shoes to keep you feeling comfortable and energized for the full game. Regardless of your choice in shoe, most companies have the goal of creating a shoe that is comfortable and lightweight. Spikeless shoes tend to be lighter, but spiked shoes now use plastic spikes and rubber soles to help reduce weight.
Weather conditions will vary on the course, and wet grass is a possibility at any time of day. Be conscious of the waterproofing description of your shoes, as not all products are treated the same way. Shoes that are water resistant will be able to keep some water out, but not entirely. Water repellent shoes will keep you slightly drier, but still have the possibility of water entering your shoe. Waterproof shoes will keep out all water. Look for shoes that are fully waterproofed and provide waterproof warranties.
The most basic need for waterproof shoes is dry feet. In regards to your golf game, dry feet make for a better swing because soggy socks increase the risk of your feet slipping inside your shoes. Sliding feet with throw off your balance and decrease the amount of power you are able to create.
A common problem faced with waterproof shoes is a lack of breathability. Golf shoes that do not breathe will cause sweat and moisture to build up, leaving you with the same soggy socks that shoes without full waterproofing will cause.
The key here is balance. Waterproof shoes with breathability will allow you to focus entirely on the game, while keeping your feet cool and dry. Mesh uppers are usually the best choice for striking this balance.
Style and Fit
Your performance needs should dictate your style, not the other way around. Comfort is paramount, but you still want a shoe that looks good. The style of your shoe will mostly come down to your choice of traditional leather or more casual athletic shoes.
The best way to find the shoe that fits your needs is to try them on. While wearing the socks that you would normally wear to golf, try on options with a look that you prefer. You want a comfortable, snug fit, so that there is no movement in your heel as you walk. Also look for enough toe space in the outsole to avoid pinching and blisters.
Why is a Good Golf Shoe Important?
A good swing is key to lower scores. It may seem like the right club is the most important factor, but your golf shoe is actually the piece of equipment that matters the most. Whether a professional golfer or a novice, your power comes from the ground. Your speed and balance are impacted by the stability you have with the ground beneath your feet.
A pair of great-fitting shoes will provide the necessary traction needed during your swing. Tremendous amounts of angular pressure is placed on golf shoes by the force generated during the swing. It is important that shoes withstand the pressure and provide the required grip.
For a golfer new to the game, it is easy to wonder if the shoes you wear truly matters to your performance. Much research goes into developing the perfect shoe for the needs of each sport to improve speed, agility and movement. Golf shoes are uniquely designed to give you the flexibility, stability and balance you need for a powerful swing.
Not all golfers require the same balance of needs, so find the combination that will to your benefit. A poor fitting shoe will cause slipping during the movement of your swing, making it hard to make good contact with the ball, resulting in a difficulty to produce quality shots. Test out a variety of options to ensure you are receiving the right amounts of flexibility and stability for your swing.
Best Shoe Recommendations
Nearly every golf shoe on the market claims to be the best option. One size does not fit all when it comes to the shoe that will provide you the exact combination needed to improve your game. An avid golfer may own multiple pairs of shoes to match a variety of needs and course conditions. Below are some of the top rated golf shoes for beginners by some of the most respected designers on the market.
Designed for on-course performance and easy style, made with a synthetic upper with climaproof weather protection, Cloudfoam sockliner for comfort and cushioning, and 6 spike thintech outsole with adiwear for traction and abrasion resistance.
-The look is stylish
-They provide medium support and are great for walking long distances
-Narrow toe compartment
-Inside lining is not sewn in
Featuring PINS Spike System by Softspikes, Ortholite Comfort insert with 3D cushioning, rubber heel grips and Force Flex control channels for a cool, comfortable and lightweight golf shoe.
-Arch support is excellent
-Soles provide traction without collecting grass
-Toe compartment is spacious and doesn’t pinch
-Offers exceptional physical resistance
-Sole is solid and strong
-Shoe is narrow
Featuring a durable leather upper treated with HydroMax water-repellent, outsole provides excellent grip with 800 traction angles, and the ECCO-Dynamic Traction System Hybrid Technology.
-Easy to wear all day
Featuring a TPU outsole that moves naturally with your foot, waterproof microfiber leather upper with FantomFit, a Revlite midsole for outstanding cushioning and Champ Slim-Lok Zarma Tour cleat system.
-Fully waterproof with 2-year waterproof guarantee
-Not enough traction on firmer grounds
Made with a phylon and rubber outsole, Lunarlon midsole and mesh upper, these light weight shoes will keep you well ventilated and supported. A 1-year limited waterproof warranty comes included.
-Casual enough for daily wear
-Less bulky than a traditional golf shoe, which makes it ideal for beginners
-Provide enough cushion to be comfortable for long wears
-They do not offer enough foot space
-Lacks stability during the swing
-Sizes are not true to size and run small
These lightweight synthetic shoes are designed for comfort on and off the course. Waterproof uppers use stormCELL technology, featuring FaasFroam+ comfort midsole, EverTrack high-abrasion outsole and SmartQuill spikeless traction with directional grip.
-Sizing is accurate
-Grip and traction is great
-Easy to clean
-Not ideal on wet grass
These breathable leather shoes are treated with Skechers® H2GO Shield seam-sealed waterproof protection and come with a 2 year warranty. They offer 5gen cushioning and a heel lock design for a secure and stable fit.
-Great traction on wet surfaces, thick grass and mud
-Spikes are uncomfortable on firm ground, not ideal for wear off the course
-The heel area is thick and will take time to break in