Ian Poulter of England plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 24, 2022.Getty Images
Of all the items you wear when stepping out on the course to play a round of golf, your footwear is probably one of the most important. Whether you're playing a round on foot or by cart, it’s critical that your feet are comfortable. On average, you may traverse as many as 5 miles during an 18-hole round. In addition, there is more and more research coming out by leading coaches, as well as trainers and physical movement specialists that show how big a role your feet play in making good swings while you play.
Technology such as BodiTrak looks at how your feet move during your golf swing, and more specifically, the pressure that you impart into the ground as you load up into your trail foot on the backswing, and unload into your lead foot on through to your finish. The finite details of this and the importance that your feet play during the golf swing is a topic that you could write a book about, but the most important thing to take from this brief mention of it is this: your feet play a big part in playing good golf.
And golf legends agree...
“Foot action determines so many things within the golf swing that it’s almost indescribable. Balance, timing, tempo, rhythm, all these things are necessary to be able to do all the other things you need to do in the golf swing.”
- Jack Nicklaus
Whether you are new to the game or have been playing for years, there’s a few crucial factors you should be aware of when you are in the market for purchasing golf shoes.
Getting properly fitting shoes on your feet is essential. The following are a few things to consider when you’re trying to find the right fitting shoes…
Make sure you are wearing the kind of socks you will wear when you tee it up. While it may not seem like it would make too much of a difference, it indeed does.
Before you just instinctively buy a pair of golf shoes based off your “normal size” requirements, make sure you measure both feet first. If you are like most people, you have slight differences in size from one foot to the other. With that said, make sure you request a size that fits both of your feet, individually.
Beyond the fit, which should be of the upmost importance in your selection of one shoe over another, style will play a close second in helping you make your final decision. There are countless choices regarding style…lets look at a few.
This choice has more of a focus on comfort over a more traditional style golf shoe. Flexible, breathable, lightweight, may all be some of the buzz words that go along with this style of shoe. In addition, having some function of support for the foot is important with this style. Being an outdoor sport that is played in a variety of terrains and often, in wet conditions too, means you need to make sure you have a waterproof guarantee with the shoe you choose.
If you are looking for more of a classic look, then a more traditional style may be your shoe of choice. While creating comfortable shoes is still a goal of manufacturers of this style shoe, sturdiness and longevity are at top of mind here. A more traditional style shoe is usually constructed in leather, so it is important to make sure the pair you choose has a waterproof guarantee.
To Spike or Not to Spike: That is the Question
Regardless of the style you choose, you can find either a spiked or spikeless variety in each. Spikeless shoes still indeed have gripping capabilities but tend to have less of a defined “spike” characteristic on the sole. They are generally found in shoes where comfort, breathability and being lightweight are the priority. Spiked shoes will have a more defined spike and are looking to help create maximum grip to the turf.
Whatever you chose, being aware of the impact that footwear can have on your golf game is imperative to making the right decision when choosing what to put in before heading to the course.