5 Signs You Need New Golf Shoes

Even the best golf shoes wear over time. Here's the five signs it's time you invested in a new pair

5 Signs You Need New Golf Shoes
(Image credit: Future)

The best golf shoes should be lasting a minimum of three seasons of good wear. As someone who has been testing golf shoes for just over three years now, I've got a handful of shoes that are teetering on the edge of usability. But, like many people, I get emotionally attached to my golf shoes and struggle to know when to come to terms that the relationship is over. 

So, what are the objective signs you should be looking out for to that confirm a pair of shoes are past their best?  Well, whether you're using the best spiked or best spikeless golf shoes right now, here are the five key signs that show it's time to invest in a fresh pair. 

Worn out heel

A worn out heel of a golf shoe

A wearing heel is often the first sign it's time for a new pair of shoes 

(Image credit: Future)

For me, this is the most clear sign it's time for a new pair of shoes, mostly because its the hardest thing to fix yourself. While you can replace spikes and laces (more on that later) fixing a worn heel on a golf shoe is near impossible. It's often the softer materials like the one pictured above that go first, with leather heel areas not far behind when it comes to wearing away. Unless you're something of a master with a sewing machine or a qualified cobbler, good luck getting your old golf shoe back into shape. 

The feeling of incessant heel rubbing while you're trying to play golf is one of the worst feelings on the course and can often stop you playing your best as you battle through the pain. Life is too short to have bleeding heels, so if the heel in your shoe is starting wear it's time to cut your losses and get yourself a new pair. 

Torn uppers

A worn and dirty upper of a golf shoe

(Image credit: Future)

Another blatant sign you need a new pair of shoes. Whether its a synthetic shoe or a full-grain leather one, any tears or clear marking to the upper mean a shoe has past its sell by date. If the knitted materials that are used in shoes like the adidas Ultraboost or Under Armour Hovr Tour SL has torn, that's another red flag. 

Think about it. You wouldn't wear a pair of shoes to dinner that are visibly scuffed or broken on the top and the same applies to golf shoes. Not only does it look incredibly scruffy, but it also compromises the functionality of the shoe. Water will likely leak through and dirt will embed its way into the top of the shoe. As you can see from the old shoe in the picture, mud has got so deeply engrained into the faded area that it won't come out. Any attempts to rub it out will only make the condition of the shoe worse - time for a fresh pair! 

If your shoes do look like this, and you want to give them the best clean possible to get one more season out of them, I'd highly recommend getting yourself the Boot Buddy shoe cleaner. This is by far an away the best shoe cleaner in the business and has taken some shoes I thought were dead in the water back to life again. 

Broken spikes

Broken spikes on the outsole of a golf shoe

(Image credit: Future)

This is certainly a less terminal issue than the first two, but is still an equally clear sign a new pair of shoes might be in order. While most soft spikes in the best spiked shoes often last well beyond the life of the shoe they're on, some can break or wear as illustrated on the image above. Once this happens, you'll be losing a significant amount of grip and support through the golf swing. 

A cheaper option, or an option if you're not ready to part with your favorite shoes just yet, is replacing the whole outsole with some of the best new golf spikes. You can replace one at a time as they break, but I'd recommend covering the whole shoe with fresh spikes once one has broken - it'll give both of your shoes a real and noticeable new lease of life at a fraction of the cost of investing in a whole new pair. 

While this wear and tear primarily applies to spiked golf shoes, it can also applies to spikeless outsoles, unfortunately without the ability to replace them. Most spikeless golf shoes have soles made up of plastic or TPU nubs offer a mixture of ground penetration for grip and lateral grip as you work through the golf swing. If these have started to fade or become blunt. Unlike spikes, these aren't repairable so it's time to dip back into the golf shoe market if your spikeless shoes are looking flat and blunt. 

Loss of shape and poor fit

An old golf shoe with lots of signs of wear and tear

(Image credit: Future)

Even the best, most well-loved golf shoes will start to fall out of shape eventually. As they stretch and mould to the shape of your feet, the material will start to shape with it. The materials of a golf shoe go through a lot in its lifespan. Consider the amount of force you're putting through your feet as you swing, plus the amount of miles walked. Ultimately, whether a synthetic leather of full-grain leather, the shoe will lose its shape over time and the fit won't be as supportive or comfortable. If your shoes are starting to sag rather than stand to attention, it's time for a new pair. 

To help prolong the life of your shoes, and stop them falling out of shape too quickly, investing in some shoe trees for when you're not using the shoes can help them maintain the proper shape for longer. 

Frayed and dirty laces 

A frayed shoe lace on a golf shoe

(Image credit: Future)

A much less terminal issue than the others I've already spoken about, but nonetheless a clear sign that your shoes have seen better days. Whether they're frayed around the edges, covered in dried mud or looking like they're close to splitting it's a sign your shoes are as past their best as the laces are. 

The weaker the shoelace, the harder it'll be to properly tighten your shoes which will affect performance in the long run. This is easily fixed without having to get a new pair of shoes, of course, so there's no excuses to be walking around the golf course with frayed, weak laces any more. 

Dan Parker
Staff Writer

Dan has been with Golf Monthly team since 2021. He graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and looks after equipment reviews and buying guides, specializing in golf shoe, golf bag, golf cart and apparel reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 6.5 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands. 

Dan's current clubs: 

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 

Fairway: TaylorMade Stealth 2 15°

Hybrid: Ping G425 

Irons: Cobra King Tec Utility, Ping i230 (5-PW) 

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X

Ball: Titleist AVX