Spiked vs Spikeless Golf Shoes : Which Is Better For Your Game
If it’s time for a new pair of golf shoes, you’ve got some homework to do and decisions to make: Which is better for your game: traditional spiked golf shoes, or newer spikeless golf shoes? It’s an important decision, and there are several differences that may affect not only your performance on the links, but also your overall comfort and convenience while spending a day at the golf course. To help you make an informed decision when choosing your next pair of golf shoes, here is a rundown of the differences and advantages/disadvantages of spiked golf shoe versus spikeless golf shoes.
The Fundamentals: How Are They Different?
Put in the simplest terms, spiked golf shoes have actual metal or plastic cleats on the outsole to help players maintain traction and stability when playing on an incline or wet turf. Conversely, spikeless golf shoes have flatter outsoles with shorter rubber or TPU studs, dimples, or similar treading as opposed to extended spikes or cleats.
The Truth About Spikes And Traction
It is a fact that spiked shoes definitely provide more lateral stability compared to spikeless shoes, especially when playing on steeper inclines in wet weather or during dewy early morning tee times. This is not to say that spikeless shoes are by any means fundamentally less stable, but spikes definitely dig in and hold better due to their extended length and overall design.
If you are concerned about traction, it is better to evaluate your footgear needs based on the course conditions of the day as opposed to sticking to one type of golf shoe for all occasions and courses. Players who have a tee time on a wet cloudy day across golf courses with steeper inclines definitely want to consider using spikes over spikeless shoes. On the other hand, if it's a nice sunny afternoon and the course is dry, spikeless shoes may actually be preferable due to comfort and the ability to wear them inside the club and out on the course without the need to change footgear.
Benefits Of Spikeless Golf Shoes
The primary reason most pros and regular golf players choose spikeless over spikes is the versatility and convenience that spikeless golf shoes provide. You don’t need to take two pairs of shoes to the course if you don’t want to, as spikeless shoes are permitted inside the clubhouse and on off-course grounds at most public and private golf courses. Styles for spikeless shoes also tend to be more universally applicable, so you can wear them unselfconsciously anywhere without anyone being aware that they are intended primarily for golf.
Furthermore, many individuals find spikeless shoes allow for better “groundfeel” when playing, as they do not give players that slight feeling of elevation that comes with playing on a set of spikes. This is especially true when addressing the ball, and many players believe their game improves when wearing spikeless shoes due to the more grounded feeling they get in a spikeless pair versus a pair of spiked golf shoes.
Differences In Comfort
Historically speaking, spikeless golf shoes have been the more comfortable option over spikes for a long time. In more recent years, advances in design and technology have allowed spiked shoes to catch up in terms of comfort and style. Currently, the difference between the two in terms of comfort is negligible. Try on various pairs and get an expert to help you fit them, and either type of shoe should be a good fit.
What The Professionals Prefer And Beginner’s Choices
Most pros still wear spikes due to the slight lateral stability advantage, but each year you see more players on the pro circuit wearing spikeless shoes rather than spiked pairs. Does this mean beginners should try spikeless golf shoes? Many experts say no.
When learning the game and developing good habits of technique and play, it is important to provide yourself with the most stable foundation possible. Try a pair of spiked shoes to begin, and later on as you develop your skills you could consider going spikeless for the sake of comfort and convenience. Every player should have at least one pair of spikes for play in wetter weather on inclines though, just to be on the safe side.
Overall, the choice between spiked and spikeless golf shoes is a matter of personal preference and your experience level as a golfer. The differences between traction and stability are arguably significant enough that it’s a good idea to keep a pair of spiked shoes handy for wet days, and a pair of spikeless for dryer conditions or when you know you can adapt your play to the wet without spikes.
Buying two pairs of shoes and alternating rounds is also a good way to extend the life of your golf shoes. Regardless of what you decide, make sure that you have an ideal fit and that your golf shoes are comfortable all day long. Nothing spoils a round of like sore aching feet, even if you take a cart instead of walking.