Do Golf Shoes Really Make A Difference – Everything You Need To Know?

I had played golf for six years before I donned my first pair of golf shoes. At the time, I was ten, and I had bought into Footjoy’s marketing that the DryJoys would enhance my game. Looking back two decades on, I wondered, do golf shoes really make a difference?

As a result, I decided to compile my experience with golf shoes to see what difference they make.

Golf Shoes In My Personal Experience

After playing with and without golf shoes for extended periods, I have found golf shoes to offer superior grip, water resistance, and durability.

While they are heavy and can take their toll on your ankles after 18-holes, their pros far outweigh the cons.

Golf Shoes History To The Modern Day

According to the independent research outfit SATRA, the first mention of golf shoes was in an 1857 Golfers Manual article. The publication suggested that amateur golfers wear stout shoes to play golf.

The design featured small nails to help you traverse wet ground safely. Nail spikes would remain the standard until 1891 when metal spikes hit the scene.

Since then, we have seen leather and canvas designs and Spalding’s Saddle-Oxford shoes. And since most golf courses have now outlawed metal spikes, Skechers started producing golf shoes that look like sneakers but offer exceptional grip.

Golf shoes have never been more comfortable and effective as they are right now.

Do You Really Need Golf Shoes?

If you don’t have golf shoes, will it stop you from playing the game? The answer is no.

However, playing with golf shoes does optimize your performance and comfort. For starters, it provides more grip than sneakers. Plus, they repel water away from the interior of the shoe, better than standard kicks.

If you play in sneakers, you risk losing your footing on the downswing, which lowers leg drive, and reduces power, leading to a loss of distance and accuracy, especially in wet conditions.

If can be compared to wearing the boxing shoes as opposed to running shoes but not as advantageous as say soccer boots for soccer.

How Much Of A Difference Do They Actually Make

In my experience, golf shoes make the world of difference. I often tee-off at the crack of dawn which means the turf is wet.

When I wear golf shoes, it helps in these conditions for two reasons, my socks aren’t soaked before I reach the first green, and I enjoy superior grip.

Furthermore, Golfweek’s David Berner explains that the wide base of golf shoes provides increased balance compared to a standard sneaker.

Berner also mentions that golf shoes keep your feet stable through the swing. Whereas sneakers can cause movement, leading to blisters.

As a result, golf shoes protect your feet while swinging and walking 18-holes, which is why they make a big difference to your game.

What Are The Advantages Of Golf Shoes?

Swing Fluidity

Golfweek’s Cicely Richard explains that the technology used to create modern spikes helps rotate your hips to keep them ahead of the ball.

That results in optimal power generation and consistency in your swing, leading to cleaner contact between clubface and ball.

More Stability

Unless your name is John Daly, swinging a club barefoot or with reduced grip leads to excessive foot movement and a loss of distance and accuracy.

David Berner mentions that modern golf shoes contain stabilizers that resist foot movement during your swing for optimal stability.


Cicely Richard points out that golf shoe manufacturers fit additional padding to their products for optimal comfort and shock absorption.

The padding typically covers the midfoot area to protect your feet while walking and through your swing.

Essential in Wet Conditions

Besides the grip offered by golf shoes, their performance in the wet is why I prefer them over a standard sneaker.

Most golf shoes are water-resistant and will keep your feet dry throughout the round.

Take it from someone who has played in wet conditions using sneakers. There is nothing more uncomfortable than wet, cold feet.

Improve Your Distance

While golf shoes don’t give you more distance, the stability and flex help you generate optimal power and strike the ball cleanly.

That combination results in optimal ball speed and maximum distance.

Looking The Part Of A Golfer

The traditionalists do not appreciate sneakers on the course and feel that everyone should follow a strict uniform.

Golf shoes help you fit in with the crowd by looking the part.

What’s The Downside?

They Can Be Expensive

Golf shoes do vary in price.

However, a technological design that delivers optimal comfort, stability, and performance will set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

That is why some casual golfers prefer to stick with their trusty sneakers.

Wearing Them In

The biggest downside of golf shoes is wearing them in.

I cannot tell you how many ankle blisters I have gained over the years while wearing new golf shoes in.

Once your feet are used to the fit, they are fantastic, but you need a box of blister bands to get you to that point.

Golf Shoes Vs Running Shoes For Golf?

As an experienced hand playing in golf and running shoes, I believe that golf shoes are the way to go.

If you play frequently, I suggest using golf shoes, as you will destroy the soles of your trainers with the frequent twisting motion during your swing.

Running shoes are inefficient at repelling water away from the interior, leaving them exposed to wet conditions.

Furthermore, the material on running shoes is not as strong as the leather on golf shoes, which means running shoes rip apart after a few rounds on the links.

Any Other Substitutes To Golf Shoes? Trail Shoes?

Trail shoes are an alternative option to golf shoes as a temporary fix. However, like running shoes, the material will rip if you frequently use them on the course.

I have found that trail shoes are more water-resistant than running shoes. Plus, they offer superior padding, which restricts foot movement during your swing.

Spiked Vs Spikeless Golf Shoes – Which Type To Get?

The type of golf shoe that you should get depends on the conditions that you play in. You should also factor in the club’s dress code and your personal preference. suggests that you also factor undulation of the course and how active your feet are during your swing.

If you play in wet conditions, I advise playing with spikes, as they increase your traction with the turf, reducing the risk of slipping on your downswing. The same applies to hilly courses where you require extra grip to balance.

Those who play in dry, hot conditions might appreciate no spikes for optimal comfort on firmer turf.

Best Golf Shoe Brands On The Market In 2021

Best Spiked Golf Shoes – FootJoy Hyperflex

The FootJoy Hyperflex is potentially the most comfortable golf shoe my feet have worn. Their appearance mimics that of a sneaker. But they deliver the traction, waterproofing, and fit of a golf shoe.

These shoes are constructed using lightweight material for maximum breathability and comfort while out on the course.

Furthermore, FootJoy’s proprietary StratoFoam increases the comfort under your feet and absorbs the impact while rotating on your downswing.

Hyperflex golf shoes stabilize your feet through the shot with their Laser Sport Fit, which features a toe spring and a narrow heel.

FootJoy also claims that the shoes should remain waterproof for two years if used frequently.

Finally, these plastic spiked shoes are available in three color variations and are easy to clean.


  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Stabilizes your feet at impact
  • Replaceable spikes
  • Optimal breathability


  • Replaceable spikes
  • Optimal breathability
  • Expensive

Overall Score: 96/100

Check Out More Reviews:


Best Spikeless Golf Shoes – Puma Ignite Nxt Lace

Puma refers to the Ignite Nxt Lace as the “Ultimate Spikeless Performance Shoe.” It offers superior comfort and breathability compared to the design of traditional golf shoes and provides optimal grip.

Puma used non-stretch waterproof mesh that is breathable and keeps your feet dry in any condition. Plus, Ignite Foam cushions your midsole to absorb impact while walking and swinging. It also mitigates blisters and discomfort.

Added to the comfort is exceptional grip. Over one hundred strategically placed hexagonal lugs fitted to the soles increase traction and perform to the level of spiked golf shoes.

Finally, a PWRCage saddle around the laces increases the support for the top of your foot to keep it stable at impact, limiting the risk of blisters. If you live in a hot, dry area where spikes are unnecessary, the Puma Ignite Nxt Lace golf shoes are worth looking into.


  • Non-stretch material increases the lifespan of these shoes
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable middle sole
  • Increased stability
  • Optimal traction


  • Expensive
  • The grip does not hold up well in wet or hilly conditions

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews:


Best Golf Shoe Substitutes – Adidas Terrex Agravic TR Trail Shoes

On a recent trip to South Africa, the airline lost my luggage, and I was without clubs or my shoes for the trip.

I decided to purchase some trail shoes, which were ideal for hiking the various mountains in Cape Town. But they also offered enough grip while playing a couple of rounds of golf.

Long story short, I picked up a pair of Adidas Terrex Agravic Trail shoes and am impressed with their performance as stand-in golf shoes.

The Traxion outsole provides excellent grip, while the EVA midsole delivers a comfortable midsole for protection against impact.

Finally, the mesh upper is breathable and keeps your feet cool, whether hiking a mountain or playing in 95-degree heat.

Even though I am a fan of these shoes, I do not recommend using them long-term. However, they act as a good substitute on the odd occasion that an airline loses your luggage and you have no golf shoes at your disposal.


  • Advanced traction
  • Breathable
  • Optimal midsole cushioning
  • They keep your feet stable
  • Comfortable to walk in over 18-holes


  • Not water-resistant
  • Unattractive design

Overall Score: 86/100

Check Out More Reviews:



Q: Do I Need Golf Shoes At The Driving Range?

No, you do not need golf shoes at the driving range. Depending on the establishment you can get away with wearing flip flops and board shorts at the driving range.

Q: Are Running Shoes Acceptable At Any Golf Course?

Let me know if your experience has been different, but I am yet to play at a golf course that does not accept running shoes.

These days, some courses are happier for you to play in running shoes than spikes since they are less likely to tear up the greens or the fairway.

Q: Should I Get Waterproof Golf Shoes?

If it were up to me, all golf shoes would be waterproof. You never know when the ground will be wet. Or the mother of all storms will roll in, which is why waterproof golf shoes are a smart buy.

However, if you live in Arizona desert, you might not see the value in paying extra for waterproof shoes.

Q: How Often To Change Your Golf Shoes

FootJoy explains that waterproofing wears away after two years, after which you may want to snap up a new pair. However, I have golf shoes that are still going strong after ten years, and I don’t see the need to change them.

My advice is to change your golf shoes whenever the material starts to tear. The grip has disappareared. Or it is no longer waterproof.

Conclusion On Do Golf Shoes Really Make A Difference

After reading about my personal experience using golf shoes and sneakers, my position on do golf shoes really makes a difference is clear. Golf shoes do make a difference to your game and comfort during a round.

The waterproof qualities keep your feet dry in wet conditions, while spikes enhance your grip and stability on the turf. More grip and stability allow you to rotate your hips and generate optimal energy on your downswing.

Without grip and stability, you will lose your footing, leading to a loss of power, distance, and accuracy.

If you play in warm, dry conditions, I recommend thinking about spineless golf shoes. However, if you play in all weather, and demand exceptional grip, take a closer look at the FootJoy HyperFlex here.