The Technical History And Evolution of Performance Golf Shoe
Every aspect of golf has undergone much revolution. For instance, the traditional golf clubs were made from simple wood and had very little technical abilities. Today, the clubs are made of steel accompanied with high technical levels. In the exact same way, golf shoes have had massive transformation all through the different ages. If we go back to about a century ago, golf players wore basic loafers that had nails and pins surrounding them. The shoes were very uncomfortable and caused more harm than good in the end.
I take you through an in-depth look of the technical history of the performance golf shoes, just so you are informed.
Table of Contents
- 1 How it Started
- 1.1 Screw-in Spikes
- 1.2 The Introduction of Saddle Oxfords by Spalding
- 1.3 The Introduction of Plastic Shoes
- 1.4 The Tiger Wood Influence
- 1.5 The Introduction of Spikeless Golf Shoes
- 1.6 The Lightweight Race
- 1.7 Does the Revolution Stop there?
- 1.8 Traditional or Modern Golf Shoes
- 1.9 Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoes?
- 2 Conclusion
How it Started
Unlike most of the historic features, it is very hard to pinpoint the exact day when the performance golf shoe came into existence. However, we can estimate that the shoes have been around for about a century and a half, a time where they have undergone massive revolution. According to various trustable sources, the first golf shoes were seen in 1857. In a different publication, we learn that the beginners in the game were advised to wear shoes made from nails and pins. These shoes gave them proper traction and stability throughout their game time.
Even though this sounds like somewhat a good idea on paper, the shoes brought with them more harm than good. Many golfers got injuries from the small nails in their shoes not to mention the overall discomfort that they caused.
The year 1891 was the first time that golfers started to see a glimmer of hope through the discovery of the shoes that had separate screw-in spikes. While it is true that these screw-in spikes golf shoes were a tremendous of the previous ones made from nails and pins, they too had a massive disadvantage. They had a tendency of tearing up the golf courses therefore the costs of ground maintenance escalated. As a result, many golf clubs around the world banned these shoes from their grounds completely.
The Introduction of Saddle Oxfords by Spalding
It took about 15 years for the golf shoes to see another significant improvement. In 1906, Spalding brought their version of golf shoes known as the Saddle Oxford Shoe. This shoe featured more on enhancing the comfort of players when playing. It had a piece of leather running around the region the laces and acquired the shape of a saddle. Through its much-enhanced features, the saddle oxford shoe became an instant hit in the market. It had all the features that one could need in a standard classic golf shoes. Due to that reason, you can still acquire a pair of these from golf shoe stores.
The Introduction of Plastic Shoes
As time went by, somebody decided to do something about the destruction of greens. Slowly, plastic golf shoes that were less stiff and more flexible started to replace the still and destructive metal shoes. The shoes introduced in the 90s had cleats made from plastic. Apart from causing less damage, the shoes were more comfortable as opposed to their metal counterparts. Today, it is very hard to come across golf shoes with metal spikes.
The Tiger Wood Influence
Even though the first special golf shoes made for the veteran Tiger Woods did not bring a major influence on the market, it was a sign that finally golfers would have something to smile about. In the same way Nike had propelled a revolution in the game of basketball, the brand focused on using Tiger Woods to bring a revolution in golf as well. After the original, the golf shoes famously known as the TW have come a long way. Following the push by Nike to produce more advanced sports products and the will of people to foresee the necessary changes, the ultimate golf shoe performers were invented. The golf shoes mimicked the technology from running shoe soles and the design of soccer cleats uppers. On the other end, the market responded and here we had more sophisticated and comfortable cleats.
The Introduction of Spikeless Golf Shoes
While the 90s did a great job of coming up with golf shoes with soles that had plastic spikes, it was not until 2010 that another revolution came. During the year’s Masters, some couples played with spikeless shoes. Popularly known as the “Fred Couples Effect,” the couples made the shoes very popular. Back at the time, nobody thought the shoes would become so massive to the extent that they would overtake the then famous spiked golf shoes.
If anything, the couples had no idea that the shoes would become very popular. In an interview, they admit that they had no such plans in mind. All they were trying to do is remain comfortable and alleviate chronic back problems that had troubled the husband for a long time. Today, the spikeless golf shoes are a good example of modern golf shoes.
The Lightweight Race
Now that we have golf shoes that cause little to no damage to the golf grounds and are more comfortable, the battle that most golf shoe manufacturers have is to win the lightweight race. Golf is described as “the perfect walkman’s sport.” As a result, the shoes should be as light as possible for the players to walk without tiring or straining. Today, Adidas is leading the way in the race through its adiCross Tour Golf Spike. The shoe weighs around 10 oz and comes in different sizes. This is a massive invention especially because the shoes requires greater tooth underfoot.
Does the Revolution Stop there?
With the current trends and the growth of technology, it is very hard to rule out further innovations on the golf shoe. Additionally, with the abundant firepower available, manufacturers can now borrow different aspects and features from sports like soccer, running and basketball to come up with unique specifications for golf shoes. Today, brands such as Adidas, Nike and FootJoy are leading the race of improving golf shoes further. At the end of the day, golf players benefit from these competitions amongst brands and it is only a matter of time before we can witness another amazing product in the market.
Traditional or Modern Golf Shoes
As we await further revolutions in the golf shoe industry, we cannot help but wonder whether the modern shoes are indeed better than the traditional ones. To begin with, the traditional golf shoes have a sense of fashion and uniqueness. For a beginner, putting on a pair will help boost your confidence therefore putting you in a good position to produce a wonderful game. In addition to that, the traditional golf shoes are very durable because of the leather material used in their making. Once you purchase any of the products, you will be sure to play many games without having to worry about replacing them.
The modern golf shoes on the other hand dwell a lot in providing flexibility, leg support and comfort. Most brands focus on allowing the player to go the distance without feeling tired. In fact, the spikeless golf shoes have a history of relieving chronic back pains. It is only with utmost comfort that you will bring the best out of your game. However, the materials used in making the shoes are not that durable, especially if you do not have the time to clean them regularly.
The decision of whether to go for modern or traditional golf shoes totally rests with you. As seen above, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Pick one that suits your need best.
Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoes?
Most of my audiences ask me to tell them which innovation was better between those of the 90s and that of 2010. To tell you the truth, I do not have a definite answer for this. Both the spiked and the spikeless golf shoes have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the spiked shoes have better traction and are suitable for slanted and wet terrains. On the other hand, the spikeless golf shoes are very comfortable, flexible and provide more leg support. They are also suitable for dry and flat terrains.
In that case, whether you opt for spiked or spikeless golf shoes will depend solely on where you are going to play and your personal preferences. Remember, the more comfortable and confident you are in your golf shoes, the higher the chances that you will put in a good performance.
Golf is one of the world’s most popular sports. To play the game, you have to put on shoes that make you comfortable, provide more leg support and offers utmost flexibility. While we have the privilege of choosing the best golf shoes today, golfers of over a century ago did not have the privilege of doing so. In fact, the first golf shoe had small nails and pins that made the user very uncomfortable.
However, as time went by, more and more innovations came into place giving us what we have today. I do not feel like we have seen the best yet as various leading brands continue to compete to make the products better. It is my hope that this article has given you some meaningful information. Kindly like and leave a comment below.