Like many of the other items of equipment, golf shoes have been influenced by both technology and the pressures of style. The common place brogues in saddle styles or wing tips have given way to the lower profile less-structured look. A more casual shoe resulting from the popularity athletic shoes and sandals leads today’s preference.
The importance of good golf shoes is often a much-overlooked part of the complete equipment package. A good golf swing starts with a firm, stable foundation. The set up starts from your feet up. In selecting the proper
footwear for the golf links performance, walking comfort, style, breathability, waterproofing, traction, and price must all be considered.
Because golf is an athletic endeavor played over about 5 miles and usually taking 4-6 hours both performance and comfort are paramount. The correct fit ensures a more comfortable walk across the fairways. It is recommended when you find a “last” that works best for your foot that you stick with it. The last of a shoe is defined as a model of the human foot on which shoes are formed. It takes into consideration the width, shape, and volume of a foot. It stands to reason, since our feet vary from person to person, that shoe manufacturers make a variety of lasts in the different styles that they produce. With the recent popularity of the more casual golf shoes the slip-last construction is quite common. Taking the idea from running shoes, these styles are made without insole boards. This produces a more contoured underfoot platform and increases flexibility. Many of these styles have a visco-elastic gel molded collar on them. These pliable collars should closely match the shape of your ankle. The heel height and the padding should
comfortably hug your heel to prevent blisters. Be careful not to have the top of your shoe rubbing your ankle bone as this tends to result in a painful walk.
Selecting the type of materials from which your golf shoes are made depends to a large extent on the weather conditions in which you play. For hot or warm weather it is important to have shoes that breathe. Leather uppers such as calfskin, the finest shoe leather with leather linings give superior comfort and breathability therefore this is the best choice for the heat. Pittards of England produce a membrane free advanced waterproof leather. This material gives a pliable comfortable waterproof option. For conditions that are wetter Gortex™ lined shoes are fully waterproof, breathable and warmer. With today’s technology polyester that gives the look and feel of leather is being used for both uppers and linings. These shoes tend to be more affordable but do not allow the shoes to breathe. Particularly in hot weather they are not the best choice.
Golf shoes differ from street shoes by the use of spikes in their soles. For many years, metal spikes were used to give better traction under foot. Now with golfers looking for lighter weight shoes and greens keepers seeking to protect their greens there are few facilities that allow metal spikes. The sole of today’s shoes are made of a turf gripping rubber compound with a plastic or polymer spike. In choosing shoes be sure to check with your golf facility as to what their policy is about spikes. This is also a good thing to do if you plan to travel and golf at
different facilities. Although these spikes have improved every year, they have had a tendency to wear easily so it is important to know if they can be easily changed. Pulsar™ cleats by soft Softspikes® are the number one selling cleat and the Stinger™ cleats by Champ® are also readily available. If you travel the ability to have your spikes replaced anywhere is a real plus. Most of these shoes have a fast twist system which uses ¼ turn tightening system. When you buy a new pair of shoes give these spikes ¼ turn to tighten before wearing. It is a good idea to check periodically to make sure you have not dropped a spike. Metal spikes are still a good option for winter golf in wet climates. When the grass is wet and there are areas of mud on the course it is easy to slip and tear leg ligaments.
In deciding on the right golf shoes it is important to choose good outsole
traction and internal stabilization for a stable foundation. The shoes that you choose must give you the comfort to walk the fairways and to perform in the weather conditions of the day.