The right golf shoe is an important decision for every player, after all, we spend the entire round on our feet. In order to carry our entire body for several hours and kilometres and to transfer the maximum energy into the ground with every shot, golf shoes have been developed for quite some time that are perfectly designed for this task based on their sole, fit and material. But what should you always look for when buying a golf shoe? What really influences one’s game in the end and what characteristics must a good golf shoe absolutely have?
Golf shoe: material, spikes and laces – many models, many options
As in every category, you will find a variety of different models and types of golf shoes. The biggest difference in golf shoes is the material on the one hand, and the spikes under the sole on the other. It is worth trying on different models and trying out different types of golf shoes to find your own favourite. In the end, however, the wearing comfort should primarily influence the purchase decision so that the feet also survive 18 holes or more well.
The golf shoe has evolved over many years. In the past, it was etiquette to wear leather shoes on the golf course. Although this image has changed somewhat today, the majority of golfers still go for the classic leather shoe, which is available from almost every brand in the range. The advantage is the long durability, provided they are properly cared for, and the weather resistance. Only in warmer temperatures does the leather shoe reveal a small disadvantage: breathability.
Fortunately, there is a good alternative here. In the meantime, almost all brands also offer a golf shoe in a sporty design. These almost resemble a normal sneaker, are light, comfortable and made of breathable material to ensure a pleasant feeling even on hot golf days.
The golf shoe: soft spikes or knobs
Puma, Adidas and Nike ushered in a whole new era with the first ankle-high golf shoes, with which Rickie Fowler, for example, caused a sensation a few years ago. In terms of shape, the new models are more like basketball shoes. However, the raised ankles are intended to provide even more stability and integrate the entire foot.
You will also quickly notice a decisive difference when looking under the golf shoe. A distinction is mainly made between two variants, metal spikes are generally no longer used. On the one hand, there are the soft spikes, on the other hand, many players also rely on the plastic studs. Soft spikes generally dig into the ground a little better and offer more grip, but also less flexibility in the foot. With plastic studs, it’s the other way around. While they initially lacked the necessary traction, the materials and shape are now so sophisticated that golfers no longer have to do without the necessary grip, even without spikes.
Never tie your golf shoes again – the BOA system
As with the material, a lot has changed when it comes to lacing golf shoes. The latest innovation is the so-called BOA system, which can now be found in all popular brands. The practical model has now made it into golf via the industry and for good reason: with the BOA system, a few turns of the fastener are enough and the laces tighten as if by themselves. After the round of golf, a quick tug is all it takes to release the shoe from the foot.
Spikeless with maximum grip. FootJoy can do it. The FootJoy Pro SL shoes once revolutionised the spikeless golf shoe segment. In 2022, the 4th generation tees off and presents its stable and grippy Infinity sole with further improvements.
FootJoy Pro SL shoes – what’s inside
The innovative, particularly light and flexible StratoFoam midsole, which was originally developed for the FJ Stratos and has since proven itself in the HyperFlex models, is now integreated in the entire Pro|SL series.
This patented midsole material is particularly lightweight, provides optimum support and cushioning in all golf conditions, and not only absorbs shock but also returns energy to help golfers perform to the letter time and time again.
Who is this product suitable for?
Featuring a new, sleek Pittards chromoskin leather upper, the Pro|SL Carbon is FJ’s most technologically advanced spikeless performance golf shoe. The outstanding properties of the StratoFoam midsole are complemented in this model by special carbon inserts in the outsole, which combine greater lateral stability in the heel area with outstanding flexibility in the forefoot area.
The Pro|SL Carbon uses the flexibility of the carbon inserts to elastically regain its natural position. This leads to a higher energy return when walking and counteracts foot fatigue – leaving more energy for the game.
“The use of our successful StratoFoam technology together with the improvements to our carbon insert take the shoe to a new level of performance, we are very excited about this,” said Guy Smith, Product Manager FootJoy Footwear.
Features and benefits at a glance
ChromoSkin™ leather from Pittards®.
3D foam collar for a perfect upper fit
StratoFoam midsole for fatigue-free walking comfort
Infinity outsole for tourer-proven grip and premium stability during the swing
Carbon inserts in the outsole for maximum stability and comfort (Pro|SL Carbon)
Ortholite Impressions FitBed® for more stability and comfort
When looking for new golf shoes I had a hard time finding the right ones. The big names like Nike, Adidas, Puma, FootJoy and so on were mostly disappointing. They bored me. It seems like there’s just three types of golf shoes out there: 1. unstylish, dull and uninspired shoes for the masses, 2. super technical shoes that try to look like they’re from outer space (and sometimes are close to what the hipsters call “dad shoes”), shoes that might get you easier into Berghain Club than into a club house 3. the super traditional ones that have had basically the same look for over fifty years now. Some even in the “kiltie” style. I mean, to each his own, it’s ok to have any of them, like them, wear them, but it’s just not for me. So I was checking for the underdogs again and well there is more than you might think, definitely more than most of us know of. There’s Tomo Shoes, Goatlane, True Linkswear, Cuater, Jack Grace, Canoos, Back9, Payntr, Straight Down and in the far east there’s Admiral, Beams and Daily Grass. And then there’s Golfkicks. Never heard of any of them? Now you did. I couldn’t go through all of them, but tested a few of these promising brands’ models on various courses and in different conditions and I have to say: next time you’re looking for a good pair of golf shoes you definitely don’t need to make the big names bigger, they already have enough money. Check out these smaller brands, give back to the scene, check the ones run by golfers for golfers. They’re all worth it!
(Just in case you’ll wonder about the „Putting POV“ in my ratings – it actually means that the look straight down on my shoes while putting does [believe it or not] affect my putting ability. What might sound like a rare disease to some of you is really a thing to me and I’m probably not the only visually sensitive person on this planet „suffering“ from this.)
True Linkswear – True Knit II
Appearance and material:
It’s a nice, clean, lightweight and spikeless sock fit sneaker for the summer in a modern look without trying to be futuristic, more like a clean running shoe. As the name implies it’s knitted – 90% Polyester and 10% Spandex, means they’re very flexible. When the package reached me in the office (including a shoe bag, nice!), I immediately put them on, walked around a while and, honestly, I totally forgot to take them off again for the rest of the day. They don’t even feel like a golf shoe. Actually they’re so comfty and light, flexible yet with a proper support that I’m even thinking about taking them on my summer vacation to the greek islands for hiking. Not kidding!
On the course:
Nice: once you get on the club’s parking lot, you don’t have to squat in the car seat or open trunk to put on your shoes as you just slip into them – even unlaced as they’re sock fit. Extra nice: you actually don’t even HAVE to change shoes – they’re suitable for driving (as a good bunch of spikeless golf shoes are). And as I just said, they’re super comfy, flexible, extremely lightweight (coming in at less than 300 g) with a soft walking sole and a proper grip. I didn’t test them in a rainy situation on wet grass, but that’s probably not the conditions you’d wear them anyway – the True Knit II is a summer shoe for the dry and warm rounds of golf from (northern hemisphere’s) April to October. The material actually IS water repelling, but the tiny holes of its knitted fabrics don’t really call for being a rainy day pick. What I really liked is its flexibility of its one-piece shell that makes it comfortable no matter what your feet are shaped, hence with its flex it probably won’t even matter if you’ve bought them slightly too small. You basically don’t feel anything, nothing squeezes, presses, pokes or scratches. I wore them on an 18 hole round on Wilkendorf’s Sandy Lyle course which is an uneven walk with lots of up- and downhill (compared to other Berlin area courses) and after finish I absolutely didn’t have the urge to take them off. While I’m generally cautious with new shoes, usually just take them on a 9-holer or carry a worn-in pair in my bag to change whenever my feet call for it, without a doubt I’d take these directly on 18 holes or more. Note: I can imagine that its flex might be too much for some people that need a really firm stand. They twist and flex and do whatever your feet are up to. Some people don’t like that. I do. We instantly became friends. Me, my feet and the true Knit II. Recommend!
Looks – 7.5/10
Comfort – 10/10
Traction – 8.5/10
Waterproof – 5/10
Innovation – 8/10
Putting POV – 8/10
Colors – 4 (black, grey, dark blue, off white)
Price – 140,- $
Jack Grace – Innovator
Appearance and material:
They have a very classic golf shoe look yet not being „traditional“ or even outdated. In a sleek and dressy aesthetic that resembles a bit of the Callaway Swami 2.0 – except for the saddle -, a spikeless, stylish traction sole in white and rubber and well crafted leather upper material, they’re light and feel durable and quality made, coming in a slick box with extra laces and a shoe bag. Actually you can wear these shoes on a wedding and nobody would recognize (just in case you have to hurry from the course to your best friend’s wedding). The absolute killer feature: interchangeable saddles. There’s dozens of extra saddles (+ laces) in various colors you can buy and simply change and fine tune your dress.
On the course:
Had some little rain on my test turf, the Arnold Palmer course in Bad Saarow, but my feet stayed dry and the sole still had a firm grip. It took me a while to break into them, as my wide foot needs lots of room but after some 9 holers they were worn-in. Looking down at these while putting gave me confidence, leaving me with a putting score below two (which is good for my mediocre level). I’d love to say that the red saddle I got with them (and which I put on for a round) made me feel like Tiger on those black shoes, but, well, it didn’t. I am not Tiger. Not the shoe’s fault, but I put back on the black saddles. Looks cleaner anyway. But I really, really like the idea of the interchangeable extra saddles you can get for this shoe. What a simple but great innovation! There’s three dozen colors and pattern variations for the saddles and with the three basic models and colored laces there’s so many options that it sometimes might be hard to decide. Hmm, the green saddles matching to the belt, the yellow ones to the polo’s embroidery, the grey ones to the cap, the blue ones to the bag and the black ones to the car… darling, would you help me? I’m deeply stuck in decision…
Looks – 7/10
Comfort – 7/10
Traction – 8/10
Waterproof – 8.5/10
Innovation – 9/10
Putting POV – 8/10
Colors – 3 basic models (black, grey, white) and a truckload of saddle colors and designs, too many to count
Price – shoes 129,- $/ saddles 20,- to 35,- $ depending on color, design, material
Oh boy, what a stylish piece of work these are! It can’t get more classier than this one and style wise they’re exactly what I was looking for. In the clean and timeless look of the simplistic sports shoes era of the 70s like Adidas Stan Smith, Puma Suede, Cons Pro Leather or Nike Classic Tennis this Swedish newcomer shoe brand is delivering superior leather craftsmanship. All shoes are made in Portugal with Italian leather. And if someone knows a thing or two about leatherwork then it’s the Italians and the Iberians, thus its first impression was matchless: high quality genuine leather, nicely crafted and sewn, the spikeless traction sole doesn’t even look like a traction sole from the side as its hidden by the outsole that closes with the ground, making the shoe look even more like a casual everyday sports shoe – lovely. Love at first sight. Its super clean look is all I want from a golf shoe. A clean and stylish packaging with an included shoe bag and extra laces completes the whole thing and as an add on you’ll get a small bag with a bunch of Goatlane-green tees. Nice.
On the course:
I took them on a round at Bad Saarow’s Arnold Palmer and some rounds at my home club, Semlin Golf Resort, and as it usually does with handmade leather shoes it also took a little to break into them, but once they’re worn-in they’re comfortable friends. They’re waterproof, so a little rain won’t shock you and the traction sole still grips on wet turf. Looking down on them while putting: I felt like a Tour Pro, it helped my putting. Didn’t even wanted to follow my ball’s line as can’t get enough of looking at those shoes. Felt a bit like Sergio Garcia’s closed eyes putting, but just looking at the shoes.
By the way: my friends also couldn’t. Whenever any of my friends saw them (all kids of the 70s/ early 80s era), they were like “Whoa, nice ones! But they’re not golf shoes, right?”. Indeed, they are! They were blown by their clean Stan Smith-look and were asking for the name (nobody knew – that has to change!) and price tag (not the cheapest, but worth it!). Now they know, now you know. Go, get some Goatlanes!
Actually I like them so much now that I’m even wearing them off the course every now and then.
Looks – 10/10
Comfort – 7.5/10
Traction – 8/10
Waterproof – 8.5/10
Innovation – 5/10 (which is not to be meant as a mediocre rating here – they’re just classy and clean and as these attributes are missing with a lot of golf shoes this could also mean a 10 tbh)
Price – 2.000,- SKR (ca. 195,- €) (free shipping in the EU)
Back9 – Rydergrip Pro
Appearance and material:
Don’t let the aroma of Chinese kids toys’ plastic distract you – these shoes are great (and the smell is gone soon). They look a bit bulky at first sight and aesthetically they probably won’t win a Red Dot Award, but from just even looking at them you know you can take them basically anywhere – dry fairways, moist roughs, dusty waste areas, rainy bunkers, November mud, winter rounds. No visible seams holding its pieces together, it’s either all glued or it’s a one-piece shoe, so there’s no chance for any water, mud or dust to creep inside them on your round of golf. They look absolutely waterproof. It’s the only shoe of this test series with a real spiked sole which gives an impression of a stable base. And yes, even though it doesn’t look lightweight at first, they absolutely are! Another big bonus is their reasonable price tag.
On the course:
When I talked to Peter, the Irish founder of Back9, he told me he started the company as he had some bad foot pain and couldn’t find a shoe comfortable enough to walk 18 holes, so Back9 was born. Easy, right? That’s how you start a company! And yes, I think he solved the problem. Walking 18 on a rainy day was pure delight! No wet feet, a super firm and stable grip even on wet downhill lies and the breathable mesh upper kept my feet dry and cool as if I just took a short walk around the block on a sunny day. Even standing in soaking wet rough or stepping into puddles they kept my feet dry. Easy to clean, all mud and sand was easy to get off. Even though they’re breathable they will probably not be my first choice on hot summer days, but whenever the forecast might show some shower for the day, these will be my option and I know by now this will be my number one pair of shoes for the off season, which, living in the middle of Europe, can be cold and wet, so you definitely need a shoe you can rely on. These are my choice from mid October to March.
A bit outside of the rating in this test, as these aren’t shoes, but still they definitely need to be mentioned here. And tested. Golfkicks is a start-up that probably has the greatest but simplest idea in the golf shoe game ever: they’re not selling shoes, they just sell the grip. A traction kit consisting of 20 soft spikes that you can screw into your favorite non-golf shoe and make them a golf shoe. Easy as that. And what may sound like a makeshift idea from the DIY-store is actually a pretty well thought out and technically full working kit. (See full how-to and test in my blog section – sorry, it’s all in german: https://www.golfpost.de/blogposts/206/) The plastic spikes with a Metallic core screw come in a nice little package the size that resembles a pack of three golf balls. It includes a sharpie to mark the spots on your soles before mounting, a hex hand tool to install the cleats into the soles, a hex bit if you chose the machine to do the work and some shoe goo to dab on the threads before mounting so the cleats and sole get an even tighter connection. Also two ball markers included. So, how great is that? Just pick a shoe you always wished to be a golf shoe, just make sure its soles aren’t some fancy air cushioned ones (the cleats might ruin those) or are whose soles are too thin, watch a mounting video on the Golfkicks page and within about 20 minutes of work – voila! – there they are: your new golf shoes!
I did that on some Vans Eras, a shoe I really like and always wished to have these for golfing.
On the course:
No need to talk about the shoes itself as I know them. I probably had 50 pairs over the years and I definitely know their simple comfiness and with its light canvas outer material for me it’s the timeless perfect summer shoe. I mounted seven spikes in each sole and I was more than curious if it works, if the spikes stick in there, how the grip might be, how it feels. Even though Taylor, the guy running Golfkicks from Denver, states that Vans probably aren’t the perfect shoe for mounting these as its soles are comparatively thin, there’s absolutely no regrets from my side having done so. On the course my Vans have a super stable grip and I was walking 45 holes over three days in a row in them and didn’t feel a thing. Sure, walking on the cart path or on the club house terrace you feel the spikes, but that’s a usual thing with spiked golf shoes. But do they stick? Yes. I didn’t lose any of them or had to tighten them again and by now I’ve probably walked around fifty kilometers in those Golfkicks-Vans and I’m satisfied. Also, the plastic of these spikes is extremely durable. I used to have some spiked Nikes some years ago whose spikes wore out faster than these. So it’s definitely a big recommendation! If by any chance none of these above mentioned and tested sneakers aren’t for you, just get a pair of non-golf shoes you really like, get the Golfkicks kit and build your own! Love this idea, love my Golf-Vans!
Five time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler will be continuing his annual tradition of honoring the late Arnold Palmer at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational by sporting special edition Puma x Arnold Palmer apparel and equipment. Find out where to get your hands on the latest gear below.
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Fowler to pay tribute to Arnold Palmer again in 2020 via customized Puma/Cobra apparel and equipment
Rickie Fowler will continue to pay homage to Arnold Palmer this year by wearing a select run of special edition Puma Golf apparel including hats, shoes and a staff bag. Many of the products will be available hand-signed by Fowler himself with all proceeds going directly to Palmer’s foundation. At the 2019 edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Fowler raised north of $40,000 via the autographed apparel. Below is a more detailed look of the gear Fowler can be seen wearing this week and where to purchase for yourself.
This classic Puma “P” hat has been engineered to be a true head turner, featuring the Arnold Palmer signature umbrella on the Puma “P” and an Arnold Palmer themed camouflage pattern on the backside. The hat is available in a array of colors and is available for $35 direct from Puma’s website here.
This Puma x Arnold Palmer mashup features a nylon rope across the bill of the hat, similar to the rope found on the perimeter of courses. The numbers and letters scattered on the hat might not be recognizable to anyone, but die hard Arnie fans will notice that they are the tail number of his signature Cessna Aircraft. The hat is available in three colors and can be purchased for $35 here.
Pay tribute to the legendary Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Florida host of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational. The cap is additionally available in a “Latrobe City” format to pay homage to Palmer’s hometown. The hats can be purchased for $35 direct on Puma’s website here.
This Arnold Palmer special edition collaboration between Cobra Golf and Vessel stand bag embodies everything the king represents. The bag features Palmer’s signature colors in a camouflage pattern and a ultra comfortable carrying strap. The bag is available for purchase for $599 direct from Puma’s website here.
These limited edition Puma golf shoes pay tribute to Arnold Palmer in a unique way via his extreme passion for aviation. The classic silver, white and blue colors are a humble nod to his famous Cessna aircraft he would fly across the country. The N1AP represents the tail number from his signature Cessna. These one of a kind shoes can be purchased for $249 direct from Puma’s website here.
Pay your tribute to the king with these Arnold Palmer inspired Puma Ignite golf shoes, featuring the unique camouflage pattern in red, white, yellow and green meant to honor the late Palmer. The shoes can be purchased on Puma’s website for $150 here.