Investing in a pair of the best golf shoes isn’t just about which ones look the coolest or are most comfortable. It’s also about how they grip the grass when you’re hitting golf balls on the course. A stable base is very important for golf during your swing, as if your feet slip even just an inch, it will really affect the result of your shot – the difference between hitting your ball on the green or in the drink.
The best golf shoes are available as ‘spiked’ or spikeless. Although spiked golf shoes (as they’re still known) don’t actually have metal spikes – these were banned years ago from the vast majority of golf courses as the metal spikes would leave marks on greens on the course. These days they’ve been replaced by hi-tech non-metal, softer cleats or plastic pods as the norm for ‘spiked’ golf shoes, and they’re a vast improvement over the simple, single spike.
The advances in technology and R&D that goes into these new golf shoe’s outsoles has enabled manufacturers to create incredibly clever cleats or pods to grip the ground – all of which means much better stability, however fast you’re swinging your golf club. The downside is that these cleats wear over time so you’ll eventually need to replace the cleats. Or buy new golf shoes, of course.
Spikeless golf shoes: what you need to know
Even the best spikeless golf shoes are sometimes viewed as a compromise in performance, but that is far from being the truth. Instead of groups of cleats, spikeless shoes have far larger areas covering the entire base of the shoe for greater traction.
Stable, comfortable, and versatile, the best spikeless golf shoes are certainly not just for casual golfers – many professionals are also going the spikeless route.
Without spikes or cleats to wear down, the tread will last longer. The lower-key style makes them look less like specialist sportswear, and more like a fashionable trainer. Plus unlike with spikes, you don’t have to change when you get to the clubhouse. So you’re first in line at the bar to get that first pint in before anyone else shows up.
Of course, there is one clear downside – spikeless shoes suffer in wetter conditions as their tread isn’t as deep as spiked shoes.
The good news is that many manufacturers now offer their popular golf shoes in both spiked and spikeless, so you can buy your favourite golf shoes in both versions, and choose which to sport, depending on the weather.
Best golf shoes: do you need high-tech lacing systems?
Bored of old-fashioned laces or can’t be bothered to tie your golf shoes? Some golf-shoe brands offer a high-tech system that uses a dial you can twist to tighten thinner laces quicker and for ‘micro-adjustment’ – it’s called the Boa Fit System, and it's used by Adidas and Footjoy for some versions of their golf shoes. You twist the dial to tighten laces, and press the dial in to loosen them.
From our experience, however, we’ve found good old-fashioned laces are still the best way to get your shoes feeling snug, without the need so much to tighten them mid-round with the twist dial, as we found with previous Boa Fit Systems on golf shoes. Sometimes we wonder if golf shoe brands are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist with these funky new lace setups.
So we've established that golf shoes are essential, but can be good-looking too. Where do you go from here? As good luck would have it, we’ve rounded up the best golf shoes – both spiked and spikeless – right here in this handy guide…
The best golf shoes, in order
FootJoy is probably the Number 1 golf shoe brand. They've been leading the way for years – since way back in 1857, in fact – and have brought all their manufacturing experience to these carbon golf shoes– “the most stable spikeless golf shoe we’ve ever built.”
The hottest shoe on Tour just got better as the new Pro SL Carbon – often styled 'Pro|SL Carbon' – are built on the all-new Infinity Outsole. This boasts 30% more points of traction, with PowerHarness to wrap your foot in comfort, and a carbon-fibre inlay for added stability and to increase power into your golf swing. The Dual-Density (D2) midsole gives the perfect balance of stability and comfort.
All this marketing jargon means that, although spikeless, these shoes offer outstanding grip thanks to the 189 points (basically small spikes) of traction and 17% more surface area in the heel to provide the perfect grip and ground contact, in every sort of ground conditions. In addition, the Premium Chromoskin leather is super soft as well as waterproof – with a one-year guarantee.
As their name makes plain, these shoes were designed with PGA Tour pro golfer Jordan Spieth’s input. Jordan’s a Major champion so knows a thing or two about the importance of a good golf shoe.
The Under Armour Spieth 4 Gore-Tex golf shoes have breathable, Clarino micro-fibre upper and a lightweight waterproof membrane designed to keep your toes cool and dry – and after playing a round in monsoon-like rain we can confirm our socks remained impressively dry.
What Under Armour call its Dual durometer EVA footbed aims to provide lateral support and medial softness to harness power when you’re swinging hard. When testing the shoes on the course, we found they were comfortable – if a little stiff and not as soft as other shoes – and our playing partners admired their styling. The lacing system when doing them up was a bit finicky, which meant we couldn’t pull the laces tighter that easily.
They have a lightweight, durable TPU outsole with carbon insert for added support, and like other Under Armour golf shoes we’ve worn, grip was solid with lower profile UA Rotational Resistance (RST 2.0) ‘spikes’ for improved traction on the ground. Also available in E Sizing built for those with wider feet, and they come with a two-year waterproof warranty.
The snappily-titled Go Golf Elite V.4 are a great, affordable spikeless golf shoe, probably best suited to the more casual golfer. They might look like trainers, but they feature a waterproof leather upper, Ultra Flight technology in a cushioned midsole and Goga Mat comfort insole.
We found ours very comfortable to wear straight out of the box, without any rubbing or blisters, thanks to Skechers’ Relaxed Fit for roomy comfort at the toe. They’re very lightweight and were a pleasure to wear for 18 holes, while the new Grip Flex spikeless traction that covers the entire outsole ensured our feet remained planted when swinging.
These shoes have H2GO Shield waterproof protection and have a leather upper with embossed side panels, and we found them fine to wear in moderate wet conditions, even if the knit-fabric front panel did seem to collect cut grass throughout the round.
The colour schemes include navy/red, black/white and gray/lime, and we liked the style of our navy/red pair when looking down to take our stance for our shot.
We found the very contemporary looking Adidas Codechaos give you trainer-like, bouncy comfort thanks to Adidas' Boost sole. These shoes are also very breathable, keeping your feet cool, even when you’re on a hot streak on the course.
Although they’re super-lightweight – we barely noticed we’re wearing them – they’re sturdy and quite firm at the heel – which has a handy hoop to pull them on. In fact, our test pair needed a couple of rounds to loosen up to shape to our feet.
The technical spikeless outsole blends a durable rubber outsole with a first-of-its-kind TPU insert. The shoe’s Twistgrip proprietary traction system was developed by studying heat maps and how golfers shift their weight throughout the swing, enabling Adidas to determine where traction was needed most and what lug shapes would provide the best grip. We can confirm all this Chaos Traxion R&D has worked and the Codechaos shoes always gripped and never slipped when we were playing, even during horribly wet weather.
The new one-piece upper is made of multi-layer mesh, giving the shoe a radical texture while remaining durable and breathable, and still lightweight and waterproof. The sole might look like polystyrene-packaging yet we felt this offers good underfoot support with a Torsion X stability bar to produce a stable stance and responsive feel.
Adidas proudly says these spikeless Codechaos shoes are built with the modern golfer in mind, and it's true that they could easily pass as regular trainers inside the clubhouse. They’re also worn by some of the World’s best pro golfers, including John Rahm and Dustin Johnson.
Designed and worn by American PGA tour golfer Matt Kuchar, the Skechers Go Golf Pro V.4 shoes have a more classic-than-modern design, with replaceable Softspikes and Skechers H2GO Shield waterproof protection when rain doesn’t stop play. We tested the traditional white pair of the Skechers Go Golf Pro V.4 spiked shoes, although they are also available in grey with a blue sole.
They have a smooth ‘full-grain’ leather upper on top, and a dynamic diamond-design traction outsole for maximum grip whatever the surface underfoot, aided by a heel-lock feature for a stable and secure fit.
We found Go Golf Pro V.4 shoes offered all of the comfort we’d expect of the Skechers brand – their trainers are always ever so comfortable. That's thanks in part to the Resamax cushioned insole. After two rounds our feet felt fresh, and we didn’t need to break them in at all, unlike some other firmer golf shoes on test. They also stood up and stayed dry during wet weather testing.
Despite coming from style innovator Nike, the Air Zoom Victory Tour are golf shoes with a premium leather outer and classic look. Don't be fooled however; Nike has packed in plenty of the tech it uses in the best running shoes and street sneakers.
The lightweight Flyknit construction on the upper quarter has a thin, stretchy skin that helps keep out water, while Nike React technology creates a lightweight, durable foam for added comfort when you’re on the course. There’s also a cunning Zoom Air unit in the forefoot for extra spring and responsiveness.
What makes the Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour really stand out is that they have a hybrid outsole, with a mixture of spiked and spikeless grip. The design combines integrated traction under the ball of your foot, with removable spikes on the lateral sides and heel for ultimate gripping power.
If they’re good enough for the big-hitting, fast-swinging top golf pro Rory McIlroy, then you can be confident that they’ll be comfortable with great traction however hard you’re smashing your driver off the tee.
If you don’t like the Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour's classic/boring style, there's also Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour, with some decidedly less classic colour schemes, as well as golf shoes influenced by Nike Air Max and Air Jordan trainers
In a choice of smart-looking colourways, the older version of the FootJoy Pro/SL is a stylish shoe indeed, but its real star factor lies in its stability. It uses two types of special foam to give you all the support of a much higher-end shoe on all sorts of lies and slopes, but with superior comfort both underfoot and around the ankle.
This is not necessarily a golf shoe for beginners. However, for support, grip, and softness underfoot, it’s a real winner, for a reasonable investment especially now the Pro SL Carbon has come along, and this shoe can often be found at a reduced price as a result.
Following the rest of the sportswear world’s cues, these spikeless shoes from Puma are lean and light for sleek style on the course and effortlessly comfortable play. The slightly weird DISC closure system gives you a consistent fit, the leather saddle offers support in the midfoot, the foam midsole , and the upper features waterproof, four-way stretch mesh. Another great meeting of form and function, and slightly more performance-heavy alternative to the Nike shoe.
When it comes to a shoe that can take you through your next match day, to the pub, and out for walks on the weekend, the ECCO Golf Casual Hybrid is a winning choice. With all the casual good looks of a leather trainer and the performance of a golf shoe, it offers the best of both worlds: the TPU outsole gives great traction, the nubuck upper is comfortable and durable, and overall, it’s a great investment if you don’t want to shell out for one-use shoes for occasional play.
For lightweight golf shoes that won’t weigh you down over the course of a long match day, look to Mizuno and the Nexlite SL. If your feet tend to get tired soon into your practice, these are a great buy, with their breathable waterproof construction (the ‘Sofrina SK upper’ here is the secret to the shoes’ lack of heft) and impact grip system, ensuring stability throughout your swing and a solid, shock-absorbing base.