The golf swing is a complicated combination of components that take a few seconds to execute from the initiation of the backswing until the completion of the release. You need all the help you can get and many people wonder, how do golf shoes help?
Why Golf Shoes Are Important?
The downswing component takes less than a second to complete and is executed at high speed creating loads of momentum. Also, golf is played on various surfaces that can be slippery at times.
This requires a solid base that does not move excessively.
Golf shoes provide this solid base adding stability, balance, and flexibility during the golf swing. Without this stable base, an already complex set of movements will be exacerbated by your feet slipping during the swing.
Furthermore, the stability can go a long way to create consistency in the swing.
The strong foundation is created through wider bases and lower cuts on the side of the shoe offering room for your ankles to move unrestricted during the weight shift phase. Arch support and built-in stabilizers along the edges of the arches are provided through raised soles adding to the stability.
Due to the rapid movement during the golf swing and the variety of surfaces that the golfer has to stand on, golf shoes have to be more flexible than most other athletic shoes.
Spikes evolved from stiff metal spikes to plastic or rubber spikes and later spikeless shoes that offer better protection to greens without sacrificing grip during the swing.
Spikeless shoes do not have removable spikes but several smaller studs or grooves that distribute your weight evenly and reduce indentations on the green.
A good shoe will absorb moisture without affecting your swing whether the moisture is generated from water on the course or sweat. Furthermore, you want your shoe to dilute any odors that may result from the sweat.
Comfort is extremely important especially if you walk rather than using a mechanical golf cart.
When Golf Shoes Are Not Ideal?
Although golf shoes offer many advantages they are not suitable for golfers suffering from arthritis or other joint- or muscle-related illnesses. These golfers will find that a pair of tennis or running shoes offer more comfortable. This will reduce the stresses placed on joints during the golf swing.
What To Look For In A Golf Shoe?
Balance is crucial throughout your golf swing and the larger sole and a broader shoe base will provide this. Non-golf shoes have a smaller base hence they cannot support you when swinging at a reasonable speed.
Built-in stabilizers combined with the slightly higher arches reduce the sideward slippage that you may experience. Any sideward movement can cause you to sway and have a severe impact on the impact.
In addition to the stabilizers, support on the sole whether it be cleats or rubber studs will aid in the prevention of slipping, especially on wet and uneven terrain.
The stresses placed on your feet during the swing and the uneven terrain could easily lead to injuries. A flexible golf shoe will protect your feet by bending and stretching in the places required while staying sturdy in areas that require extra support.
In addition to providing support, flexibility, and sturdiness you want your golf shoes to be comfortable while walking long distances on the golf course.
Additional padding that provides support to the midfoot and absorbs shock in the midfoot region is crucial as golfers tend to move their weight between the toe section to the heel section during the swing.
Breathability and moisture removal is important to keep your feet feeling fresh throughout the round of golf.
For increased comfort and reduced strain, lightweight materials are preferred in the manufacture of golf shoes.
Leather and synthetic materials are most frequently used.
Golf shoes constructed with a Gore-Tex lining absorb moisture while reducing the amount of sweat generated by your feet. Furthermore, it assists with the breathability of the shoes. A combination of polyurethane, charcoal, and other agents are excellent at soaking up foot moisture. Polyurethane is excellent for warming and cooling feet.
Benefits Of Wearing Golf Shoes
The sole design is aimed and providing stability and prevent slipping during the swing thus allowing you to swing consistently and have a predictable outcome.
This is achieved whether you have spiked or spikeless soles.
Golf shots are not always played from the fairway and sometimes require you to venture into areas that are uneven or slippery.
Furthermore, courses could be quite undulating and have steep bunkers that require support when entering or exiting.
Golf shoes allow you to express your personality on the course through a combination of colors and styles.
These styles are available in full leather and composite materials to suit every budget and personality.
The Uniqueness Of Golf Shoe Construction
Golf shoes require some unique features to provide optimum support that is not required by other sports shoes such as tennis and running shoes. This includes wider bases, lower cuts, and specially designed soles.
The momentum- generated during the golf swing requires a solid base to prevent slippage and this is provided by the wide base of a golf shoe.
All the movement in the swing requires your ankles to move freely yet be protected. The low cut of a golf shoe provides a bigger range of motion and protection.
The sole may include spikes or spikeless specialized design.
Spikes were originally added by placing short nails through the bottom of the shoe to prevent slippage. However, these spikes would come loose and hurt the golfers’ foot and it caused damage to greens which was not highly appreciated.
Replaceable screw-in spikes appeared on the scene towards the late 1800s. although this removed the damage to the golfer’s feet, it did not resolve the damage to the greens.
Metal spikes were replaced by removable plastic spikes which reduced the amount of damage to the greens. The benefit of spiked shoes is that you can replace lost and worn spikes without replacing the full shoe.
The change to spikeless shoes has all but eliminated damage to greens through the utilization of small studs or other designs that promote grip, increase comfort, and make it wearable inside buildings without causing damage to floors.
The downside is that once the sole of a spikeless shoe is worn out, you have to replace the complete shoe.
The use of spiked golf shoes has been outlawed on many courses due to the damage caused yet spikeless golf shoes are accepted by nearly all golf courses.
Which Is The Better Choice For Beginners?
Although spiked shoes may offer a little more traction and offer more stability, new golfers will be well advised to get spikeless shoes as this is the future of the game.
Which Style Do The Pros Prefer?
Professional golfers still tend to use spiked golf shoes and on odd occasions even metal spikes. The long-term trend is for more professional golfers to move to spikeless golf shoes.
Stability, comfort, durability, and weather resistance are key aspects of the golf shoe to keep in mind when selecting the right shoe.
It is not legally required by the golf governing bodies, but many golf courses regulate what type of shoe you may wear on the course. This is to protect both their greens as well as the standards of golf wear.
Feedback and your experience with golf shoes will be highly appreciated in the comments section below.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.