New Research Suggests Wearing The Wrong Type Of Golf Shoes Can Cause Injury

According to a leading podiatrist, golf shoes that are too soft and flexible can cause chronic foot pain

New Research Suggests Wearing The Wrong Type Of Golf Shoes Can Cause Injury
(Image credit: Sports Impact)

New Research Suggests Wearing The Wrong Type Of Golf Shoes Can Cause Injury

We've already seen that for the majority of golfers, a more rigid and supportive shoes allows us to swing the club faster. But new research suggests another reason to invest in them is to prevent injury.

A leading podiatrist has confirmed that an ergonomically designed and structured golf shoe is the best way to go if you're looking to prevent or ease any chronic pain you have in your feet. Paul McMullan is a highly experienced podiatrist whose clinic in Belfast has helped around 25,000 patients overcome painful foot injuries since it opened just over a decade ago. As Director of the acclaimed Lower Limb Clinic, he’s witnessed first-hand a recent surge in the number of golfers needing his help with chronic foot problems - and it’s convinced him that many are due to their making poor choices when it comes to buying new golf shoes.

“A lot of golfers are suffering chronic pain in their feet and many of these issues are entirely preventable if only they had selected golf shoes that offer more support during the golf swing,” McMullan told GM. "Golfers don’t realise that they average around 15,000 steps during a round of golf and choosing  flexible, ultra-comfortable golf shoes that allow the foot to turn during the swing is likely to result in creating some serious foot issues. Softer ground on the fairways and greens only compounds the problem. Some chronic injuries between the heel and toes sustained while playing golf may result in long-term pain from morning till night, or even require surgery."

Leading podiatrist Paul McMullan

Leading podiatrist Paul McMullan recommends a structured, supportive shoe for golfers

(Image credit: Sports Impact)

"We always ask patients to bring their various pairs of shoes with them when they make an appointment. And from my experience, if you take hold of the heel and toes of a golf shoe and can twist it, then those shoes are far too flexible to play golf in."

“Slightly heavier golf shoes that are ergonomically designed to support the foot during the golf swing will prevent these kinds of injuries occurring. Having looked at the current golf shoe offering on the market, I would recommend Duca del Cosma shoes like the Churchill men’s style and the Siren women’s model that are clearly better designed for golf and avoiding longer-term foot injuries,” he added.

The twist test seems to be a great way to confirm whether a golf shoe you are wearing has the right amount of support. The Duca Del Cosma Churchill that McMullan recommends is not only heavier and more rigid than many golf shoes, but it also has a cleverly designed raised heel to help reduce foot fatigue. 

If you're more inclined to want to wear a spiked shoe for even more support, the Skechers Go Golf Pro 5 Hyper is fitted with a podiatrist-certified Arch Fit insole which helps distribute foot weight to reduce foot fatigue across the distance of 18 holes. The FootJoy Tour Alpha also stands out in this category, with plenty of perimeter stability that doesn't allow the foot to turn or roll over excessively during the swing.  

Finding the balance between comfort and support is vital when picking out your next golf shoe - especially if you want avoid or reduce any chronic foot pain you may already suffer from. Before buying your next pair of golf shoes, carry out the twist test to see if they will give you the right amount of support.

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