There are two main type of golf shoes, each of which provide different pros and cons. In the spiked vs spikeless shoes debate among occasional golfers, there are sure to be differing opinions. When you talk to more dedicated golfers, you’ll find out most people have at least one pair of each style.
Until you decide it’s worth buying a bunch of different pairs, you’ll need to have a preference. In order to help you along the way, we break down what we like and don’t like about each type and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Spiked golf shoes
The more traditional of our two modern options, spiked golf shoes have been around for a while. They are no longer the natural aerators they were when spikes were metal, but they still provide premium traction.
Spiked golf shoes can be identified by looking at the bottom. If they have a half dozen circular spikes that can be removed and replaced, they are spiked. While spikeless shoes have a pattern designed to produced traction, spiked shoes will dig right into the Earth.
At one time, spiked golf shoes were the most prominent type of golf shoe on the market. This was the case mostly because it was the only type of golf shoe. Nowadays, it shares the market with its spikeless counterpart. This type is harder on the feet, but provides more support and helps keep your footing stable.
Spikeless golf shoes
Spikeless golf shoes are the new kids in town. Tired of having their feet hurt after playing golf, people wanted something else. The compromise, a combination of sneakers and golf shoes—the spikeless golf shoe.
You can tell that a golf shoe is spikeless by looking on the bottom sole. If there is a consistent pattern underneath made of all one material, they are probably spikeless. In general, these look more like sneakers. As the entire world of golf shoes shift towards this style, they are becoming more difficult to identify, but the spikes always tell the story.
Spikeless golf shoes do not dig into the ground to provide grip. Instead, they rely on the interaction between their tread and the turf. This provides stability under ideal conditions, but struggles when there is anything between the two. If it’s the middle of summer, you’re in good shape. If there’s rain or leaves on the ground, you might have a bit more trouble keeping your footing.
Unlike spiked shoes where the individual spikes can be replaced, once a spikeless shoe wears out, that’s about it. Fortunately, the life span of the “spikes” is considerably longer than replaceable plastic spikes. Since they are made of a highly durable rubber, it takes a lot more rounds played to wear out.
Spiked vs Spikeless golf shoes: What’s more comfortable?
I hate to say it, but comfort generally coincides with price for golf shoes. Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes doesn’t matter if one person’s budget is $50 and the others is $300. The more expensive shoe almost always wins out.
With price equal, spikeless golf shoes are more comfortable. Without physical spikes, you are lower to the ground and it’s hardly noticeable you’re wearing shoes designated specifically for golf. They also give the appearance of any other shoe. It is not uncommon to wear these places besides the golf course without being noticed.
Another major bonus, you can comfortably drive while wearing spikeless golf shoes. Everyone knows that changing your shoes in the parking lot of a golf course can be aggravating. When it comes to spiked vs spikeless golf shoes, one type stands out as easier to wear casually. With how similarly spikeless golf shoes compare to normal shoes, it’s practically the same. Wear them while you drive or hang around for a drink after the round. After all, isn’t convenience a major part of comfort?
When do I like to wear each type?
I own a handful of pairs of golf shoes. Some have spikes, some are spikeless. Now do I need five pairs of golf shoes? Not at all, but I like having choices (and buying new pairs). It also serves a valuable purpose because I won’t ruin wear mesh shoes by wearing them in the rain or need to wear a heavier leather pair when I want to walk 36.
For golfing in rainy weather or on a hilly course, spiked golf shoes are the best option. When playing on uneven or inconsistent surfaces, you need a pair of shoes with some extra grip. Because of their design, spiked golf shoes have an easier time digging into the turf below your feet, adding much needed traction.
When it is hot and dry, spikeless golf shoes are a better option. Due to their lightweight design, it makes life a bit easier when it feels like you’re wearing sneakers than any other pair of golf shoes. If the conditions are ideal, you want to maximize comfort, which is done best with spikeless golf shoes.
Spikeless golf shoes are also better when you are walking. Since the design of these is closer to sneakers (most of the time), they are easier on your feet. Depending on the course you’re playing, walking 18 means travelling 5-7 miles on foot. Over time those miles start to add up on your body and shoes, and a spikeless pair will hold up better on the comfort and durability front.
Why would I need more than one pair of golf shoes?
I find that by having multiple pairs, it extends the life of each shoe. Rather than buying a new set each year and wearing them every time I play, I rotate a pair out after five years. Say a pair of golf shoes are good for 100 rounds and that’s how many times I get out during the year. With a few different choices, I can pick out a pair for the day that matches the weather and overall course conditions.
If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about amassing a large collection of golf shoes. As time wears on, you’ll start accumulating them naturally. Once you’ve been playing a few seasons, your shoes will start to last longer since you won’t have to wear the same pair each time out.
Spiked vs Spikeless golf shoes: What’s really better?
Here’s the thing about an argument of spiked vs spikeless golf shoes, much like the game of golf, there are no easy answers. If I could only have one pair of golf shoes, they would be spikeless.
While spiked golf shoes are better for wet conditions, they do not have enough redeeming qualities to make up for the innovation of spikeless shoes. I can wear spikeless golf shoes whether I’m walking or riding while and it still takes the same toll on the shoes. When walking in spiked shoes, the spikes wear down quicker. Even if you can avoid cart paths (which causes the spikes to wear down quicker), the plastic material blend does not last as long as a rubber sole.
When you have spikeless shoes on your feet, you can occasionally slip if it’s wet out. The thing about common golfers, they usually only play when it’s nice out. If you’re a person willing to brave the elements during a rain storm, you’re probably dedicated enough to golf to buy a second pair of shoes. If that’s you, just make sure one pair is spiked and the other spikeless. Don’t buy multiple pairs of the same style until you’ve built your closet up enough.