The Importance Of Sole
Because of the importance of balance and stability in the golf swing, the need for good golf shoes is a “no brainer.” Indeed, “golf shoes are specifically designed to give players stability, balance and flexibility during the unique motion of a golf swing”. As a result, the purpose of this post is not to convince you that you should play golf in golf shoes instead of your loafers. (As per above, that’s a “no brainer.”) Instead, the following discussion is designed for the golfer who understands the importance of finding a good golf shoe, but is struggling with sorting through the myriad options available on the market.
You should not be wearing golf shoes with metal spikes. All new golf shoes all have this covered, so the pair you see in the attic or at the second hand goods store with metal spikes should stay on the shelf. Metal spikes are hard on the golf course and provide no additional benefit to the more comfortable and easier-on-the-golf course plastic spikes of today’s golf shoe. The real question might be whether to try the golf shoes with replaceable plastic spikes versus the casual shoe with the molded cleats built in (also known as spike-less). The general consensus seems to be that the latter style gives away some amount of traction compared to golf shoes with replaceable spikes. This is particularly exacerbated when these shoes are worn at home, on the street, and at the golf course. However, just how much is lost appears to be minimal, and can be reduced by keeping the soles clean.
Another option to consider is whether or not the golf shoes are water proof. Some climates are dry enough that there is little risk of playing in wet golf shoes. But all can agree that if there is any risk at all, getting a waterproof golf shoe is a must. Even during the summer, the morning golfer often meets the nighttime dew for at least the first few holes. Further, add any sort of moist weather, and the awful prospect of playing in wet golf shoes only increases. Therefore, finding a waterproof golf shoe is generally recommended for most golfers. That said, waterproofing can reduce breathability, and may in turn reduce comfort levels. As a result, it is ultimately up to you to determine whether or not you need a material on your golf shoe that keeps the water out.
Special Spike Pattern
A relatively new phenomenon in the golf shoe world is the advent of golf shoes with spike patterns on the sole of the shoe that are specific to that foot and based off of whether the golfer is a left or right-handed golfer. In other words, there is a specific pattern on the right foot that is different from the pattern on the left foot. These differing designs are supposed to compensate for how each foot has a different role in the golf swing that necessitates a different type of support and relationship to the ground. These golf shoes have been reviewed by a number of golfers, and it sounds like they have been received positively. However, the impact on one’s golf game has not been well-articulated, at least to this point. Further, the asymmetric golf shoes are very expensive. Thus, the jury is still out on whether the new design is worth the money.
The common maxim, “you get what you pay for,” is true for golf shoes as it is for almost any other consumer good. There are inexpensive golf shoes, and there are golf shoes that cost $300. Further, while the basics of featuring golf spikes or cleats in some form or another is well-established across the spectrum, the comfort level of a golf shoe increases as the price goes up. Thus, for the golfer with foot problems, or who plays regularly, an increase in price is worth it in order to ensure comfort.
As stated above, golf shoes are an important aspect of a good golf swing. They provide comfort, stability, and flexibility. You will be well-served in taking some time to consider the above pointers before buying your next set of golf shoes.