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What to Look for in Golf Shoes

A mash-up of three different golf shoes

Golf shoes are an essential part of a golfer’s attire. Not only are they part of most course regulations, but they also play a significant role in ensuring comfort and performance throughout a round of golf. They do more than just about any other piece of golf gear to make long days on the course less strenuous, so finding the right pair (or pairs) of golf shoes is important.

Few new golfers know what to look for in golf shoes, and this is also the case for golfers who have experience but have only played in one or two different shoes over their entire golf career. There is no perfect golf shoe for every golfer or every situation. Several things will impact what golf shoe will work best for you in a given use case, including:

Weather and Terrain The weather and terrain at your home course will affect your need for grip, waterproofing, and extra cushion/arch support.
Walking vs. Taking a Cart The more you walk during a round of golf, the more comfort-focused your shoes will need to be, and the more you may benefit from replaceable spikes.
Personal Priorities and Preferences Depending on what you care about most (style, comfort, extra grip, etc.), you’ll want to look out for specific industry vernacular to find the shoes you want.

Let’s discuss each and how they should influence your golf shoe purchase.

Weather and Terrain

Depending on where you live, the terrain that the shoes will interact with will differ widely. If you are in a wetter climate like Florida, one of your primary goals might be to get soft-spiked golf shoes for a more secure grip or spikeless shoes with much deeper and more aggressive spikes. You’ll also likely want fully waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry and ensure that the shoes last longer. 

If you’re in a drier climate, your focus may want to be on a shoe with more cushioning or support since the ground you’ll be walking on will be more dense. You’ll have an easier time getting away with less grippy shoes and won’t need them to be waterproof, but you will probably experience more discomfort if your shoes don’t have enough cushion or arch support.

If you’re in a more mixed climate or have pretty defined wet and dry seasons that you’ll want to golf in, it may be best to buy a second pair of golf shoes so that you have a pair for both types of weather.

Wet Climate
  • Spiked golf shoes with more grip
  • If spikeless shoes are preferred, pick those with a better grip or deeper/longer spike pattern
  • Waterproofing is a must
  • Consider buying a pair for wet days and another pair for dryer days
Dry Climate
  • More cushioning and arch support for the firm terrain
  • You can get away with spikeless shoes more easily
  • Easier to get by with only one pair of golf shoes

Walking vs. Taking a Cart

If you’re walking a course, focusing on a shoe that provides the highest level of comfort and support is necessary. This means looking out for shoes with the following qualities:

  • Firmer material around the ankle/heel that extends higher up the ankle
  • Thicker soles with more cushioning
  • Natural arch support (unless you have flat feet)
  • Breathable material with airflow into the shoe to keep feet dry

Most of these features are available in style-forward golf shoes, but to get the most comfortable shoe possible, you may want to look for shoes with a more athletic look as a starting point to find those with more comfort technology. The “classic” leather shoes tend to focus less on this since things like thicker soles, ankle support, and airflow channels can take away from the classic styling.

If you’re taking a golf cart when you golf, you can focus less on these aspects of a shoe and more on the styles you like. However, it is good to get a shoe that boasts at least one or two of the above features, as you’ll still be spending plenty of time on your feet throughout a round of golf, even if you’re taking a cart.

Personal Priorities and Preferences

Every golfer is different, and everybody has different preferences. So, in this section, we’ll cover some of the most common priorities and preferences for golf shoes and what to look for in golf shoes to meet these needs.

Style-Focused Golfers

Many golfers do more than just play a round at their home course. They may spend a lot of time grabbing a bite to eat, socializing with friends, or even networking professionally. These golfers lean toward classic-looking golf shoes or a lifestyle shoe that can just as easily be worn indoors. 

For these golfers, leather spikeless golf shoes are usually a great fit. They provide plenty of grip for the course but don’t look out of place at a restaurant. They often come in similar colorways to casual leather non-athletic shoes, so they’ll go with most professional or golf attire that someone may want to wear at a golf club.

Other style-focused golfers may just want a golf shoe that looks like a shoe they’d wear out and about, sometimes even a direct clone of an existing shoe they already own. There are plenty of great options like these that even tour pros use, and all these golfers need to do is search their favorite shoe brands on a golf shop website and see what models are offered in golf shoe form.

Comfort-Focused Golfers

Many golfers want their golf gear to serve the ultimate goal of making golfing as comfortable and pain-free as possible. This is especially true for those struggling with knee, foot, or back pain. For these golfers, focusing on the comfort features we covered in the section above (ankle support, extra cushioning, arch support, and breathability) is likely the best goal.

The easiest way to narrow the field regarding comfort is to target shoes that look more functional or “athletic.” These tend to have more freedom to apply comfort features since they don’t need to maintain a dressy look.

Performance-Focused Golfers

We have good news for those just looking for solid performance out of a golf shoe: Every archetype has golf shoes that provide excellent performance. Tour pros use all types of golf shoes– spiked, spikeless, athletic, traditional, etc. Most golf shoes have the grip and reliability needed to play good golf, even budget models that cost under $100

Bottom Line

When determining the right pair of golf shoes for your situation, you need to consider a number of aspects of your golf experience, and think about how your shoes can help alleviate some of the obstacles between you and a good golf round. If the weather hinders you, get shoes built for your climate. If you develop pain over the course of a round in your knees or back, lean into comfort technology to help improve your experience.

Everybody has different needs, and finding the right shoes means identifying the things that are most important to you about the shoes you golf in, and starting your shopping journey from there.

Find What to Look for In Golf Shoes at Worldwide Golf Shops

Worldwide Golf Shops provides next-level service to customers of all experience levels, with the best-trained staff in the industry. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide guidance to beginners and to share pro tips with even our most experienced clientele, making us one of the best places to buy golf gear. Now that you know what to look for in golf shoes, you can trust WWGS to provide the best footwear for you and your needs.

Check out our online store to see our industry-standard variety of the best kids’ golf gear and all of the following:

At Worldwide Golf Shops, we take pride in offering brands that we guarantee will provide the highest level of value to our diverse range of golfers. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in finding the perfect golf gear. Find a store near you today!

Trevor Cigich

Trevor Cigich | Director of Retail Marketing |  Worldwide Golf Shops

I’ve been at Worldwide Golf Shops for 6 years, and I’ve been playing golf for 23 years. I have played a few mini tour events but now compete occasionally at the amateur level– currently a +2.1 handicap. I am a bit of a tinkerer when it comes to golf and golf clubs. I enjoy testing all aspects of different products, utilizing various fitting systems and learning about all the different club shafts, club lengths, golf balls, and putter styles. Not just for my game, but to help customers of all calibers.

For more content from me and our team, as well as our vast online store, go to www.worldwidegolfshops.com.