Should I Wear Spiked Or Spikeless Golf Shoes?
The best golf shoes of the modern day come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it's a classic brogue or bold, colorful sneaker, there is a style of golf shoe for every type of golfer. However, regardless of what style of shoe you are looking for, there is often one question you'll be asking yourself before your purchase - spiked or spikeless?
Research has shown you take about 13,000 steps per round of golf, so being sure to get the correct pair of golf shoes for your game is vital to success on course and a comfortable, hassle-free walk. Here, I'm going to take a look at some of the key differences between spiked and spikeless golf shoes to help you get a better understanding of which is right for you. What would I do? Well, you can find out at the end of this piece how I'd go about the spiked vs spikeless debate. But first, what are the key differences between spiked and spikeless golf shoes?
This is the biggest reason why you would choose one or the other. While spikeless shoes still offer a phenomenal amount of support and grip in all conditions, it's just a fact that spiked golf shoes will offer more grip. One of the best example of a spiked golf shoe is the FootJoy Tour Alpha, which is the quintessential spiked golf shoe that provides maximum grip and plenty of medial support too. Spiked shoes are often slightly bulkier than their spikeless counterparts, but this means they can be worn all year round and are especially adept in the winter months. The only drawback to a spiked golf shoe when it comes to traction is that they can often feel too bulky and intrusive when the ground is especially dry. So, if you play solely in dry conditions, a spiked golf shoe isn't really necessary.
Don't think that spikeless golf shoes offer no grip in the wet, however. In fact, in damp or even fully wet conditions some of the best spikeless golf shoes really they hold their own on course. Some of the best examples of spikeless outsoles that offer great grip when compred to spiked shoes come on the Under Armour HOVR Tour SL, G/FORE MG4x2 and FootJoy Pro SL and Pro SL Sport. Overall, if traction is your number one factor when it comes to buying a golf shoe, going with a spiked option will be the best bet.
As briefly alluded to above, spiked and spikeless shoes offer you different types of versatility when it comes to different weather and ground conditions. However, one area of versatility where spikeless golf shoes excel is their ability to be worn on and off the golf course. This kind of golf shoe has spiked in popularity over recent years and are often referred to as hybrid golf shoes. With some of the sneaker-style designs that have been popping up over the last few years, it can often be difficult to differentiate between a golf shoe and a standard street sneaker. The outsoles on these types of shoes have been perfectly designed to offer great grip on course, but a low-profile look and feel to not be intrusive when you're off course. This has allowed some of the great fashion sneakers of modern times to be converted into great golf shoes - the adidas Samba Special Edition golf shoe and Nike Air Max 90 being perfect examples.
The likes of the Ecco Biom C4 Hybrid, FootJoy Flex XP 22, G/FORE MG4x2 and adidas Codechaos 22 are great examples of the new style of 'hybrid' shoe that can be worn on and off course. These shoes excel in dry, warm conditions and are perfect for a casual summer round on course and will blend in perfectly on the 19th hole too. Of course not all spikeless golf shoes are designed to look like sneakers. If you want a more classic looking spikeless shoe that can still be worn on and off course, the Duca Del Cosma Churchill, FootJoy Premiere Series Flint or Under Armour HOVR Drive 2 SL boast a more golf-like silhoutte. Without a doubt, spikeless shoes are the most versatile type of shoe so, if this is your number one consideration, go spikeless.
Here, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other - there's nothing between them and you can find as comfortable a spiked shoe as you can spikeless. The insoles and midsoles used on spiked and spikeless shoes are very similar and comfort and support can be found in any type of golf shoe. For example the spiked Skechers Pro 5 Hyper and the spikeless adidas Adicross Rebelcross golf shoes are equally comfortable golf shoes with very different outsoles.
The only real difference in comfort between spiked and spikeless comes when you are playing on dry, firm ground where spikeless shoes will have the edge. As mentioned above, you can often feels the large spikes of a spiked shoe when playing on dry ground and the low profile, softer nature of a spikeless shoe will give you a more comfortable ride underfoot in dry conditions. So, if you're playing in all year round sun, a spikeless shoe will give you the the comfort edge under foot.
How Many Pairs Should You Have?
In an ideal world, I would recommend having two pairs of golf shoes - one for summer and one for winter. The summer shoe would ideally be spikeless and then you'd have a spiked one for the winter. Although a more expensive investment upfront, wearing two different pairs of shoes across the year will mean both pairs last longer and you can ultilise the best that spiked shoes and spikeless shoes have to offer when the conditions or mood strikes. This can be done with the best budget golf shoes or best golf shoes under $100 as well as some of the more premium options featured above.
If you don't want to have two pairs, then rank the three categories (traction, versatility and comfort) in order from most important to least and go from there. If traction is vital to you, go for spiked. If versatility is the most important, go for spikeless. Whichever style of golf shoe you go for, make sure they fit properly. A shoe that fits just right will not only last longer than one that is too short or too long, but it will allow you to get the full enjoyment of everything a good golf shoe can offer you on course.
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Dan is a Staff Writer and has been with the Golf Monthly team since 2021. Dan graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and primarily looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes since he joined Golf Monthly and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 7.8 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands.
Dan is currently playing:
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2
Hybrid: Ping G425
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro
Putter: Wilson Staff Infinite Buckingham
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x Pix
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