Do Golf Shoes Make a Difference? (or gimmick?)
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We’ve all had that moment when we first start golfing and we wonder if the specialty shoes are really needed? With all the other costs a new golfer is faced with, many wonder “do golf shoes make a difference?”. Why can’t you just wear your regular gym shoes, or shoes you’d wear on a hike?
So, do golf shoes make a difference? Yes, golf shoes make a difference and here’s why:
- They help golfers improve grip and maintain connection with the ground
- They absorb shock to prevent injury
- They provide stability and flexibility
- They help regulate sweat and are water resistant
Still not convinced? It’s ok, but keep in mind: most sports have shoes that are custom made to their specific game. It’s not uncommon to find basketball, football, or soccer specific shoes so it makes sense golf would as well!
4 Reasons Why Golf Shoes do Make a Difference
In order to understand the importance of golf shoes, we need to make a point of what distinguishes golf shoes from your average tennis shoe. Golf shoes typically have a wider base and a lower cut that shows the ankles.
Historically, all golf shoes had metal spikes attached at the bottom, which made the shoe heavier and more expensive. Technology has advanced, and now golfers are able to get spike-less shoes that still provide the stability needed to play effectively, or smaller spiked shoes that are lighter weight and less expensive.
You may be thinking, can I just wear the soccer cleats that I already have? They have spikes and they seem to work for me? No, we wouldn’t advise that because believe it or not the spikes on golf shoes are quite a bit different. These spikes are shorter and made of a plastic or rubber.
The reason they are so different is they are intended to provide more grip to anchor you to the ground, rather than to give you traction for running. Also, many courses would probably not be pleased if you showed up with soccer cleats as they may drastically damage their greens.
1. Improve Grip and Maintain Connection with the Ground
Golf is an extremely precise sport, so being precise with your footing is important as well. Top rated golf shoes are designed with spikes that allow you to dig in and keep your feet firmly planted in the ground, helping you maintain balance and stability throughout your swing.
If you have opted for a non-spiked golf shoe, they most likely have stabilizers that are in the edges of the arches. This paired with the larger sole, is intended to assist in preventing slippage of any kind. If you’re taking the time to work on your game, the last thing you want is to slip mid swing.
It has also been widely discussed, that spiked shoes can also positively affect the distance and consistency of your swing. But, some courses are not allowing them now due to damage that they can cause to the course. If this is the case for you, but you don’t want your swing to suffer, there are even some golf shoes that have detachable twist spikes that you can use in especially difficult terrain.
2. Shock Absorption
Golf shoes are notorious for having extra padding in them than a regular tennis shoe would. This was a purposeful part of the design due to the fact that most golfers end their swing in the ball of their foot. It’s crucial that this extra padding is in there for shock absorption so as not to injure oneself after years of playing.
3. Stability and Flexibility
Golf shoes are especially helpful with stability and flexibility. Golf is one of the only games out there that often has their players on awkward, sometimes uneven ground. Golf shoes are made to be flexible to accommodate to any terrain one may come across on the course. The wide base allows for a proper distribution of body weight, which can allow you to be more stable and can potentially prevent a fall or misstep as well.
4. Water/Sweat Regulation
On a hot day there’s nothing worse than wearing shoes that are not breathable at all. That can lead to blisters and ultimately just plain discomfort. Most golf shoes are made with this in mind, and are made of breathable and absorbent fabric. Due, to the fact that this game is played outside and in various types of climate, it’s essential that they are water resistant as well. Stepping in a puddle is bad enough, without having it ruin your new pair of shoes.
You may be reading this thinking, “Hey! I have golf shoes, and I don’t feel this difference you are talking about.” If you aren’t seeing a difference or improvement in your golf game with the addition of these shoes, then you may have the wrong size.
A lot of new golfers are not used to the snug fit that is typical of a golf shoe and opt for a bigger size. This can not only lead to painful blisters, but it also reduces the effectiveness of the shoes ability to keep your grip. We suggest having a golf store professional assist when picking out your first pair in order to ensure you are selecting the correct size and fit.
Conclusion: Do Golf Shoes Make a Difference?
At the end of the day, it seems that golf shoes definitely do make a difference by assisting in improving the golfers’ grip and maintaining connection to the ground, providing stability and flexibility, assisting in shock absorption, and the water resistant features.
If you are questioning whether or not to purchase golf shoes, this is your sign to go ahead and bite the bullet, it’ll be worth it!