Golf shoes are designed with the game’s rotational forces in mind, allowing the golfer to have a better, more stable connection with the ground they are standing on. This helps golfers with their stability, transitions, and torque.
Golf shoes are designed with one thing in mind: to help a golfer’s game.
The rest of this article will explain the history of golf shoes, why they’re necessary, and whether they truly make a difference in gameplay.
- The Evolution of the Golf Shoe Throughout the History of Golf
- Types of Golf Shoes
- Do Spiked Golf Shoes Help More?
- Advantages of Golf Shoes – Do Golf Shoes Make A Difference?
- Disadvantages of Golf Shoes
- Do Golf Shoes Make a Difference?
- What Are Some Alternatives to Golf Shoes?
- Final Thoughts
The Evolution of the Golf Shoe Throughout the History of Golf
Before we get into whether golf shoes make a difference, it’s first important to understand the history behind them, why they were invented in the first place, and how they have changed throughout the years as new technologies have come about.
The First Golf Shoes
The very first golf shoes can be traced back to about 150 years ago. These were typical shoes people would wear every day with small nails pushed through the sole!
Although this sounds super uncomfortable, it would undeniably help the golfer’s traction while golfing. (Although some golfers even play golf barefoot.)
This helped golfers so much that many would risk the extreme discomfort of wearing them, even when the risk of injury was quite high, as the nail could get pushed back into their foot.
Additionally, these shoes would rip apart amazing golf courses!
In 1891, the first-ever real golf shoe was introduced to golfers. These were special shoes designed with spikes golfers could screw in.
Unfortunately, these wouldn’t be much better when it came to how much damage they did to golf courses!
Many greenskeepers would complain about the spikes and how much they tore up their greens.
Eventually, these new golf shoes would be banned by courses and clubs everywhere.
The first saddle shoe, which would become the traditional golf shoe for golfers around the world for many years, was introduced by Spalding in 1906. At first, they were super stiff but did their job without tearing up courses!
These would be popular for many, many years and change in fashion, even having tassels covering their laces at one point!
Many of these, or versions of them, can still be seen today.
When Golf Shoes Changed
Golf shoes would advance with other footwear and became much more comfortable and flexible in the 1980s as shoe manufacturers began using new materials and technology when creating their shoes.
This resulted in a more comfortable and supportive shoe!
Despite this, golf shoes still used metal spikes, and in the 1990s, the first plastic cleat was finally introduced.
Although it took quite a bit of time, more and more golfers would switch to them. It only helped the transition when most golf courses worldwide banned the metal spikes!
Thankfully, the soft spikes now prove to be much better than metal spikes, allowing for more traction!
Things changed for golf shoes once again when Nike introduced the Air Zoom TW in 1997, kicking off a period of time where golfers would be willing to pay a lot of money for a branded shoe.
The Spikeless Shoe
The spikeless golf shoe would become popular in 2010 and would quickly become extremely popular due to some of the biggest names in golf endorsing them during the Master’s Tournament.
Today, many golfers prefer spikeless shoes! They often offer the same amount of traction and are more lightweight.
Modern Golfing Shoes
The last ten years have been some of the best when talking about the advancement of the golf shoe.
Due to new technology, many companies have taken advancements made to running shoes and have applied them to the golf shoe. This led to even more brands making them.
Now, golf shoes are extremely comfortable, come in so many shapes and sizes, and are worn and loved by everyone.
Types of Golf Shoes
There are two main types of golf shoes- spiked and spikeless. Generally, the type players use is entirely up to them, as different players have different needs.
That being said, the two are categorized based on the grip they have on the bottom of the shoe, so they both have their pros and cons.
Spiked Golf Shoes
Spiked golf shoes are designed to provide golfers with a superior grip on the terrain and are great on damp or wet grass.
They have the ability to dig into the ground, providing a great, solid base for the player while they swing.
These shoes are generally water-resistant, great for early morning players as dew won’t cause discomfort, and the spikes are designed to be replaced.
Unfortunately, spiked golf shoes are also heavier than spikeless shoes and not as comfortable. Additionally, the spikes cause for regular cleaning as grass, dirt, and more get caught in them.
Spiked golf shoes are the best for people who play in wet conditions regularly, want a trusty pair of shoes that will last a long time, and will only wear their shoes on the golf course.
Spikeless Golf Shoes
Spikeless golf shoes come with many benefits, including the fact that they’re simply incredibly comfortable.
Wearing a spikeless golf shoe feels like wearing regular shoes. It is constructed out of a thinner material than spiked shoes, making them much more lightweight.
Spikeless golf shoes can be worn anywhere and are great for running, going out, and walking. In fact, they’re often incredibly stylish!
That being said, spikeless golf shoes must be replaced more frequently, as the grip on the bottom of the shoe wears out.
If conditions are slippery, they may not offer the best grip and can become damp, as they’re not as water-resistant as spiked golf shoes.
Spikeless golf shoes are best for people who want a shoe they can use for things other than golf, play in mostly dry conditions, and want a more stylish alternative.
Do Spiked Golf Shoes Help More?
When choosing which golf shoe you want to go with, you should take into consideration how you feel and where you’ll be golfing.
If you need stability and often golf in damp, hilly areas, the spiked golf shoe is going to help you way more than a spikeless golf shoe.
This is because the spikes on the spiked golf shoe will provide way more lateral stability than the other, which will be incredibly beneficial to golfers who regularly golf on hilly golf courses.
Advantages of Golf Shoes – Do Golf Shoes Make A Difference?
Golf shoes help golfers maintain a connection to the ground throughout their swing, as rotational forces can sometimes throw a golfer off.
Golf shoes come with so many benefits. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Golf is an incredibly precise sport, and any small slip-up can result in an error. Golf shoes provide grip, keeping your feet on the ground throughout your whole swing. This will help you stay consistent.
Torque, or turning force, is incredibly important in golf. Golf shoes provide a secure axis your body can rotate around.
Therefore you’ll be able to swing the club faster, which will therefore lead to more distance being achieved on your drives.
Slipping usually happens as a golfer transitions from their backswing to their downswing. This transition happens from the ground up, their lower body initiating the switch.
Because of this, wearing golf shoes and having a more stable connection to the ground provides a smooth transition that will help with accuracy.
Disadvantages of Golf Shoes
There aren’t many disadvantages to golf shoes, other than they can be quite expensive depending on the brand and type.
Some people find that golf shoes don’t help them much, and they end up being just another pricy golf accessory they must purchase and keep up with.
Other than that, as mentioned, spiked golf shoes must be kept up with as the spikes must be changed out as they become dull, which can take a long time and often require a special tool.
Additionally, spiked golf shoes can also cause damage to the green if they are not worn properly or if the golfer is not respectful with them.
Spikeless golf shoes must be replaced more often and cannot be worn in slippery or moist conditions, which may be hard for some.
Finally, some golf shoes may just not be comfortable.
Although many spikeless golf shoes may feel great on the feet, a lot of the best golf shoes give up a little bit of comfort to do their job.
Do Golf Shoes Make a Difference?
Golf shoes are one of the most important things a serious golfer can acquire, and many find that they significantly help their game.
Golf shoes help players stay rooted to the ground, increasing accuracy when swinging.
There are many different types of golf shoes with varying comfort levels, so there’s a golf shoe for everyone!
What Are Some Alternatives to Golf Shoes?
If you’re a new golfer or just don’t see the need to get golf shoes, there are several other alternatives for golf shoes.
Towards the top of the list of best substitutes for golf shoes is the average running shoe. If they have a good sole, it will likely keep you grounded enough, even on wet surfaces.
Additionally, they’re incredibly comfortable!
Golfers walk a couple of miles whenever they go out, so getting a comfortable shoes that they can walk in is important.
Other great shoes to wear if you don’t want to invest in golf shoes include casual sneakers that have good tread, tennis shoes, and loafers.
On the opposite end, shoes that are not recommended for the green are flip-flops, work boots, heels, and sandals.
It all comes down to the comfort of the shoe, the structure, and how the shoe holds out on uneven and wet terrain. This is because sneakers may have little structure, which can cause issues for golfers as they swing.
Additionally, some shoes have smoother soles, which can cause you to slip if the ground is wet or damp.
If you find yourself wondering if golf shoes really make a difference, the answer is yes. However, it truly depends on the golfer.
If you’re brand new to golf and you’re not sure if you want to continue with it, there is no need to run out and invest in a good pair of golf shoes. As you’re learning, it’s likely that golf shoes will not help you all that much.
However, if you’re a seasoned golfer who frequents golf courses regularly, you should consider getting a pair of good-quality golf shoes that will allow you to step up your game.