Fred Couples started a run on spikeless golf shoes when he turned up at his 26th Masters in Augusta. He was wearing spikeless golf shoes when he scored a 66, six under par on the first day. Sales of spikeless golf shoes have never looked back.
Looking to improve your scores? You may want to start with your shoes. Here's everything you need to know about spikeless vs spiked golf shoes.
Spikeless vs Spiked Golf Shoes
Your golf shoes are a vital connection between you and the ground. They provide the traction you need to swing and hit a golf ball with confidence. They help you play better golf.
This is not an easy task. The forces generated by your swing, the weight of the club and the movement of your body are intended to send the ball hundreds of yards. This means you need to have a firm base to work from.
The unique challenge of golf is the variety of terrains you have to work with. At one moment you can be driving from a manicured tee. The next moment you are negotiating wet rough or unstable sand.
Spikeless golf shoes have a sole covered with rubber dimples or grooves. These provide the traction needed when swinging your club. The sole is designed to meet the challenge of providing grip and support on the course.
There might be a misconception that a spikeless golf shoe is little more than an adapted sneaker, as at home on the tennis court as the golf course. The truth is the spikeless golf shoe is purpose-designed to perform effectively on the golf course.
Spiked golf shoes may be more familiar than spikeless shoes on the golf course. They have soles that have cleats that provide traction on unstable surfaces. The cleats may be removable and can then be replaced as they wear out.
The Spikeless Story
The origins of golf are clouded with myth and mystery. The early Scottish golfers who are often cited as the original developers of the game certainly had to deal with an inhospitable climate. The wet and wild conditions were a challenge for their footwear as well as their golfing skills.
The nails in their leather-soled shoes provided a grip but were easily dislodged and needed frequent repair. By the end of the 19th-century golfers were using spikes that were screwed in. Fifty years later the replaceable cleated golf shoe was born.
The disadvantages of the metal spikes were that they tended to damage the greens and any wooden floors in the clubhouse. Only when modern materials came along was it possible to make a soft cleated golf shoe that was durable and kind to vulnerable surfaces.
The next step was to develop spikeless shoes. The cleats gave way to nubs and ridges that provide a firm grip, comfort and do virtually no damage to greens or the floor of the bar. As professionals and more weekend golfers have adopted them, they are seen as a matter of preference.
Grip or traction was the reason golfers first fitted cleats to their leather-soled golf shoes. It's essential for an effective swing. As metal spikes are outlawed almost everywhere, modern softer materials are the standard, but how do they compare with spikeless golf shoes?
The more pronounced removable spikes give more stability, especially when lateral forces are applied. This is not to say that spikeless golf shoes don't provide adequate traction. This is especially true in less adverse conditions.
Some spikeless golf shoes have rubber nubs along the outerside of the sole to help with this lateral stability. They are certainly suitable for fair weather play, when their other strengths can come into play more.
Comfort in a golf shoe is a function of weight and cushioning. Spiked golf shoes are generally heavier, so they are more tiring to wear than spikeless golf shoes.
The added cushioning that the spiked golf shoe has to build into the sole to protect your feet from the pressure of the cleats also adds weight.
Although spiked golf shoes have excellent padding in the sole, they cannot compete with the comfort of the spikeless shoes. There are no pressure points above the cleats and the spikeless golf shoe feels like a soft sneaker rather than a stiff shoe.
Research into how far golfers walk while playing a round of golf has revealed that golfers exceed 10,000 steps during a round of golf. The impact on your golf shoes is therefore considerable. It's an endurance test for your golf shoes.
Replaceable golf cleats wear out over time. They can be replaced at a fraction of the cost of a new pair of golf shoes. This means that spiked golf shoes have a longer life, especially if you care for the shoe uppers.
Despite hard-wearing materials, the soles of spikeless shoes will wear out. They cannot be replaced as easily as replaceable spikes. Once you detect a loss of traction, it's time to replace the shoes before a slip results in a dropped shot or an injury.
An advantage of spikeless golf shoes is that once their golfing days are done, they can be used as ordinary off course shoes. That is not true of spiked golf shoes.
Spiked golf shoes are designed for golf. They may be less damaging to surfaces than the old metal spiked golf shoes, but they're still one-trick ponies. They don't have any other role.
If you like the idea of putting on a pair of shoes at home, driving to the course wearing them, and then walking out on to the course in the same shoes, the spikeless golf shoe is for you. You can even wear them on the airplane when you go on holiday, and then out onto the golf course. A quick brush and wipe down and they are very presentable anywhere.
Take Your Choice
The jury is out. The decision between spikeless vs spiked golf shoes is pretty much down to personal preference. If you haven't tried spikeless golf shoes yet, give them a go.
Call us about your next pair of golf shoes.