Golf shoes are an essential part of a golfer’s gear. They provide stability, traction and comfort. The choice between spiked vs spikeless golf shoes is one that many people struggle with – so let’s take a look at the benefits of spiked golf shoes and spiked vs spikeless golf shoe disadvantages to help you make your decision!
Are Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoes Better?
To decide if spiked or spikeless golf shoes are better, it’s important to consider your personal preference and what conditions you’ll be playing in. In this next section, we’ll break down the benefits and disadvantages of each in the following categories: performance, comfort, durability, style, breathability and cost.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Performance
Hitting the golf ball requires you to apply large forces against the ground, which in turn push back into your body and generate movement (Newton’s 3rd law – biomechanics lesson anyone?).
What most golfers don’t realise is these forces aren’t directly down into the ground, there is a large amount of force applied side-to-side and forward-back during your golf swing. See the video below and check out the arrows recorded from a force plate.
The size of the arrows tells you the magnitude of force, where they point tells you the net direction of the forces being applied.
If you have poor traction between your golf shoes and the ground, you will most likely suffer from your back foot slipping early on in your downswing. This video clearly shows why that is.
Modern spiked golf shoes are great and providing traction in all directions (hence we have studs like the one below, rather than a deep singular spike like in the olden days.
Spiked golf shoes will always provide more traction than spikeless golf shoes, however most of the time both will be sufficient to keep you stuck to the ground. When playing in wet conditions you may find spikeless golf shoes cause you to slip now and again.
If you’re playing in wet conditions, spiked golf shoes will provide more traction and should be your top choice. However, in dry conditions both spiked and spikeless golf shoes are sufficient and it’s really down to personal preference.
From our testing, a top spikeless golf shoe that offers great traction and performance even in damp conditions is the Skecher Max Rover.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Comfort
It’s important to have a comfortable pair of golf shoes that fit well and support your feet properly. A good pair of golf shoes should not interfere with how you move on the course.
Spiked golf shoes tend to have stiffer and firmer bases compared to spikeless golf shoes. Spikeless golf shoes commonly feature a softer foam base, feeling more like a trainer.
Both can be super comfy and both offer great support (when they fit well), but many golfers feel spikeless golf shoes are more comfortable. Spikeless golf shoes are also lighter meaning you’ll feel fresher at the end of your round.
With this in mind opt for well-fitting golf shoes that are either spiked or spikeless and you’re sure to have a great day out on the course.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Durability
Durability is one of the major benefits of spiked golf shoes. The studs on a pair will last anywhere between 12- 24 months, or even longer if you look after them correctly. The studs can then be replaced for $10-20.
Spikeless golf shoes offer great durability too but it’s important to note they’re not as long-lasting as their spikey counterparts and are more likely wear out quicker. Once your spikeless (studded) cleats are gone you need to buy a new pair of shoes.
You should still get 18 months to 3 years of wear out of spikeless golf shoes, with a large factor being how much you walk on hard/tarmac surfaces.
The top fabric on some spikeless golf shoes can wear quicker than others if they’re not made from high-quality materials. To keep your shoes in good condition, it’s important to look after them correctly and clean off any debris or dirt with a damp cloth before you put them away!
Also, if possible avoid heading into spikey bushes, as these can pull away at knitted fabrics. We realise this isn’t something you can control, but it’s worth mentioning.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Style
When choosing between spiked and spikeless golf shoes, the style is largely down to personal preference. Do you like traditional looking golf shoes or do you prefer a more alternative look?
The spikeless golf shoes are often more modern and have a trainer-like vibe, whereas spiky ones certainly look out of place when you’re not on the golf course.
As such, spikeless shoes are great for wearing on social occasions post-round without looking too golf mad.
A lot of golfers enjoy wearing spikeless shoes because they’re often viewed as being cooler option. I personally have a pair of each so I can wear the best ones for the current course/conditions.
If you’re buying a new set of spiked or spikeless golf shoes it’s important to try on the shoe and walk in them before making your purchase decision. If they don’t feel right then there’s no point in purchasing them no matter how cool they look!
Spiked vs Spikeless: Breathability
If you’re playing most of your golf in dry, hot conditions then spikeless golf shoes are going to be best for breathability. Spikeless golf shoes commonly have lighter, thinner more breathable fabrics which wick away sweat from your feet.
This is particularly important if you’re playing on a hot day and will be wearing the same pair of shoes for 18 holes or more, as they need to keep you cool.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Waterproofness
Both spiked and spikeless golf shoes are waterproof to an extent. Spikeless, however, offer a more water-resistant fabric. Whereas, most spiked golf shoes are normally fully waterproof and often come with a one or two year warranty.
If you’re looking for a fully waterproof pair of spikeless golf shoes then the Puma Ignites are a pair you should check out. They come with a waterproof membrane and have a 1 year waterproof warranty.
Spiked vs Spikeless: Cost
Due to the fabrics used in each type of shoe, you’ll generally find spikeless golf shoes are cheaper than spiked golf shoes.
The leather uppers and more structured soles in spiked golf shoes result in higher costs. However, you’ll be able to find both types of shoes starting from under $80. Spikeless shoes can cost you up to over $200 for premium models, and you can spend up to $300 on spiked shoes if you really want to!
Please note, neither will guarantee you play like the pros.
Do pros wear spikeless golf shoes?
More and more pros are opting for spikeless golf shoes, the majority still wear spiked shoes for the marginal performance benefits. Obviously, it’s down to personal preference but most pros will be sponsored by a brand and so are likely to be restricted by the shoes offered by their sponsors.
What are the best spikeless golf shoes?
There is a wide range of spikeless golf shoes available from different brands. We’ve put together a list below with some of the best ones. But check out this article for a full rundown of the best spikeless golf shoes.
Final Thoughts: Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes
I hope this has helped you weigh up the differences between spiked and spikeless golf shoes. I’m delighted I fitted in some biomechanics to such an article. In summary:
- Wet conditions most of the year – go spiked
- Very hot, dry weather – spikeless will be more breathable
- Spiked will likely cost more, but will last longer
- For all-out performance and grip go for spiked
You can check out our review of the best golf shoes here.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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