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Are Golf Shoes Necessary?

Are Golf Shoes Really Necessary?

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself – “Do I actually need golf shoes?”

It’s a good question because golf has a lot of expenses including clubs, bags, balls, lessons, green fees, and more. So it’s only natural to ask yourself this question and try to save some money. 

Today we’ll debate it, learn more about different types of golf shoes, and provide our best recommendations. 

Are Golf Shoes Necessary? 

Key Takeaways

  • Golf shoes can make the game a lot easier by providing more traction and stability in your swing. 
  • Some players opt for spikeless golf shoes as they’re more comfortable at times and provide more “fashionable” looks.
  • Older players might be used to wearing golf shoes with metal spikes but they’re no longer allowed at courses. 
  • Golf shoes aren’t “technically” necessary but do make the game a lot easier. 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of golf footwear and our best picks. 

Why You Should Wear Golf Shoes  

Golf is a wildly complex and challenging sport – even for the best golfers in the world. 

As Arnold Palmer said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” 

Wearing regular shoes will likely only make it harder. Here are the biggest benefits to investing in a pair of shoes that are made for golf. 

More Traction Equals a Better Golf Swing 

The number one reason we suggest wearing golf shoes is that it helps multiple parts of your swing. 

When your feet have traction to the ground, it makes it much easier to make a full backswing and not worry about your feet slipping. This allows you to make a powerful downswing without worrying about moving and mishitting the shot. This can happen still in wet conditions but shoes with spikes help out a lot.

The patterns of spikeless golf shoes and ones of the spiked variety allow you to utilize the ground force for more power too. This will make it easier to push off the ground and hit longer drives. 

A good pair of shoes made for golf can help proper knee flex, stay in posture, add swing speed, and stay balanced during your swing. 

How to use Ground Forces in the Golf Swing

Proper Flex 

Golf shoes also differ from a pair of athletic shoes or running shoes as they have more structure. This is good as a more sturdy shoe design can help you add more torque and power to your swing. 

There are even brands – like Athatlonz – that are built to add speed without swing changes. Read our full review to learn why they’re popular with long drivers around the world. 

Easier to Walk (Especially Spikeless Shoes)

Golf is a great form of exercise and a good way to enjoy a day outside. Walking 9 or 18 holes will make it easier to stay active and healthy but the wrong pair of shoes can ruin a good day quickly. 

More Lateral Support 

If you try to wear a pair of running shoes to the golf course you will get some support – just not in the right direction. Running shoes are great for your heels and toes as you’re moving forward with your stride. But the golf swing is more of a lateral motion – unless you have to sprint back to the tee in case you didn’t hit a provisional.

Otherwise, golf is not a game where you need much toe/heel support in your footwear. Golf shoes have wider shoes that make it easier to stay balanced throughout your swing. They’re also typically flatter for bilateral lateral movement. 

Keep Your Feet Dry 

Finally, a good pair of shoes will help keep your feet dry on the golf course. If you play a lot of winter golf chances are you know how frustrating it is to play with a puddle in your shoe. There’s nothing worse than hearing your fee squish around as you try to read a green.

This is why it’s a good idea to invest in waterproof golf shoes. They’ll help your feet stay dry so you can stay focused on the round. Or, buy waterproof spray as it can help too. 

Best Golf Shoes

Picking the Right Golf Shoe

Hopefully you can see all the benefits that golf shoes provide. 

Here are our biggest tips to find and maintain proper footwear:

  • Wear spiked golf shoes in winter/wet conditions. When it is rainy, wet, and playing winter rules (lift, clean, and place), wear spiked shoes. They’ll help you beat the weather and play better than ones without spikes.
  • Dry your shoes out. If you do play in wet conditions make sure to bring them inside so they can dry out. Otherwise, they might damage the sole and not be ready for use if you’re playing the next day. 
  • Test out spikeless shoes for summer. If you want a pair of shoes that are lighter (and sometimes more comfortable) try a pair of spikeless shoes. They’re often great for summer as they have more mesh and breathability. 
  • Buy the right size. Just like buying the right running shoes, it’s important to find the right pair for golf. A shoe that is too small and limits your swing and makes you uncomfortable all round. While a pair that is too big might lead to excess lateral motion and possibly blisters as well. 
  • Always wear golf socks. Otherwise, your feet will be killing you on the back nine and likely develop a painful blister (or two). Always keep a backup pair of socks in your car or locker so you don’t have to spend $10 on a pair in the pro shop (this is speaking from experience).
  • Re spike your shoes. To make your golf shoes last longer don’t forget to re spike your shoes regularly for better traction. 
  • Clean your golf shoes regularly. After each round make sure to clean out the spikes, wipe down the leather, and dry them out if needed. Not only will they look better but can help your golf swing by providing more traction.
  • Buy an extra pair of golf shoes. When you find golf shoes that fit well and feel good on the golf course buy an extra pair. Just in case your favorite golf shoes get discontinued or can’t find them in your size.

Check out our picks for the best golf shoes here. Or the best spikeless golf shoes here

FAQs About Golf Shoes

Do you have more questions about golf shoes? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

Are metal spikes allowed?

No, golf courses have banned them for everyday golfers as they destroy the course more so than soft spikes. Some professional golfers still use them but most wear a spiked or spikeless shoe instead.

Metal Golf Spikes

Can you wear sneakers instead of golf shoes?

You can wear sneakers/normal shoes but they likely won’t make the game of golf any easier. Golf shoes – even spikeless ones – provide more stability and traction than regular athletic shoes. 

Can you play golf barefoot?

If you’re a fancy country club I would say no – barefoot golf will likely break the dress code rules. But if you’re out on a local executive course or a casual round you might try it out. I’ve yet to see this clause pop up in the rules of golf so why not give it a try. 

Are golf socks necessary?

Golf socks are necessary even if you aren’t wearing spiked golf shoes. Otherwise, you risk getting blisters which are terrible to deal with if you play a lot of golf (or are on a golf trip).

Make sure to wear comfortable golf socks and change after nine holes if it’s wet or very hot conditions. Also, make sure they’re tall enough so they don’t slip and rub against your heel and turn into a blister. 

What can I wear instead of golf shoes?

If you don’t have shoes you can wear running shoes, golf sandals, or no shoes at all.

Ultimately golf shoes provide a lot of traction and other benefits so we suggest buying a pair sooner than later.

My Experience

As someone that’s been playing golf for 20+ years I’ve seen a lot of changes when it comes to footwear. When I first started playing this great game almost everyone wore metal spikes – soft spikes were just getting popular. Then metal spikes weren’t allowed at most courses so everyone had to wear soft spikes.

It made the round a lot quieter and obviously was much easier on the golf course itself. But more and more people have switched to spikeless golf shoes which is something I’ve struggled with. I have tested out spiked vs. spikeless shoes and personally only wear ones with spikes.

I feel like I have more balance and stability which gives me more confidence that I won’t slip. The only exception I’ll make is during a casual round of summer golf.

But if I’m playing in a competitive event or winter golf, I always prefer wearing spiked golf shoes. Try out what works best for you in practice and casual rounds so your shoes don’t disappoint under pressure. 

Final Thoughts on Benefits of Golf Shoes

To answer your question, yes golf specific shoes are necessary as they provide a ton of benefits vs. regular sneakers. Proper golf shoes can make a tough game a little bit easier – especially with wet grass.

The design and soles of golf shoes are built for golfers and the natural motion of the swing. They’re made to minimize lateral movement so you can stay balanced throughout your downswing and follow through. 

Golf shoe manufacturers study the movement of golfers and innovate each year to make them as functional and comfortable as possible. Most golf shoes will last awhile with regular cleaning after the round and re-spiking if necessary.