Golf Shoe Buying Guide: Spiked vs. SpikelessPublished on 03/14/2023 · 9 min readToo many golf shoe options to choose from? Golf Expert Kyle Emery has you covered with this extensive guide on how to choose a spiked shoe versus a spikeless shoe.
Photo courtesy of Cobra Puma
Move over traditionally spiked golf shoes, you've got company. Spikeless golf shoes are on the rise and there are more options than ever. What's right for you? We have the answers.
My name is Kyle Emery, and I’ve been playing golf for over 26 years. I’m a PGA Associate and have over 7 years of experience in the golf industry. I’ve been golfing in both spiked and spikeless golf shoes for the past 10 years and have extensive first-hand experience with the proper situations to get the most out of each type of shoe. I’ve helped numerous golfers determine the right shoes for their playing conditions to add more consistency to their swing. I take the utmost pride in helping golfers find new and useful items to add to their game to have more fun on the course!
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of golf shoes, what to consider when buying golf shoes, key features of spiked and spikeless shoes, and how each can benefit your game. Let’s begin!
Answering the Basics
What’s the difference between spiked and spikeless golf shoes?
Spiked and spikeless golf shoes are shoes that have extra traction on the soles that help the maintain balance during the swing and overall comfort when walking around the golf course. These types of shoes are going to provide a golfer with more stability, comfort, consistency, and versatility on the course compared to regular tennis shoes.
Spiked golf shoes have metal, plastic, or rubber spikes that extend from the bottom of the shoe to give you more grip when swinging and walking. Spikeless golf shoes have thick rubber treads to emulate spikes but provide more versatility.
What type of course conditions do you play in?
Determining the course conditions you play in is a critical factor in picking the right set of golf shoes. Golfers who play in wet course conditions with a lot of rain and mud, or find themselves playing golf in the early morning dew would be better served to go with a spiked golf shoe. The spikes on the bottom of the sole will provide added stability and traction on slick wet surfaces.
Spikeless golf shoes are better served for dry conditions when the grass doesn’t become overly wet or slippery. While spikeless golf shoes provide more traction than tennis shoes, they won’t be as good for gripping the wetter ground compared to spiked shoes.
What style of courses do you typically play?
In addition to course conditions, it’s imperative to know what style of golf course you tend to play. If you play at a course that has a lot of slopes and hills, having a spiked golf shoe for added stability and traction will help out quite a bit. If you tend to play at courses with more flat terrain, a spikeless golf shoe would be able to provide plenty of traction to stabilize your swing.
How much walking do you typically do?
Comfort is a primary consideration point for any shoe and golf shoes are no different. Spikeless golf shoes provide an exceptional level of comfort with their styling and the structure closely resembling a tennis shoe. The added flexibility of the materials and design elements that gear more towards comfort make these a top style choice if comfort is your focus.
With that said, spiked golf shoes have become increasingly more comfortable in recent years. What was once a firm and rigid shoe is now made with softer materials and better sole construction to make walking the golf course not a chore.
How important is versatility?
If having a golf shoe that can be worn on and off the golf course is a key feature for you, then look no further than the spikeless shoe variety. The sole design of rubber nubs and dimples allows golfers the convenience and versatility of walking right from the 18th green and into lunch or a meeting. This is something a spiked golf shoe is unable to do and a key differentiating point between the styles.
Spiked Golf Shoes
Spiked golf shoes are the traditional style of golf shoe. These shoes have been around the longest, dating back to the 1800s. They originated as metal spikes and have transitioned into more modern plastic cleats. These types of shoes provided maximum stability and grip.
- Great for traction and grip, and are usually waterproof.
- Added stability.
- Replaceable cleats for shoe longevity.
- Can be a heavier feeling shoe compared to spikeless.
- Lack versatility to wear off the course.
- Aren’t offered in as many designs as spikeless.
Spikeless Golf Shoes
Spikeless golf shoes are a newer style of golf shoe. These shoes are more of a tennis shoe/golf shoe hybrid. While spikeless don’t have plastic cleats on the bottom, they will still provide more grip on the course than a tennis shoe will.
- Lightweight shoe.
- Highly comfortable.
- Able to wear on and off the course.
- Won't grip wet conditions as well as spiked shoes.
- Most aren’t fully waterproof.
- When the traction dimples/nubs wear down, they can’t be replaced.
How to Choose the Right Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoe for You
With a seemingly endless amount of options available today, pinpointing the best golf shoe for you can be a chore. Now that you better understand the benefits and drawbacks of spiked and spikeless golf shoes, it’s time to consider what would fit your conditions best.
Personal preference is going to be a large driving factor for what shoe you ultimately decide to purchase, but it is good to understand your playing conditions and the uses you’d like to have in your golf shoe.
If you find yourself envisioning the benefits of both types of golf shoes for where you play and your lifestyle, there would be room for both in your rotation. Having a pair of spiked and spikeless golf shoes will allow you to pick the pair of footwear that will fit the course conditions of that day the best. If you’re playing a different style of course from what you normally do, this would give you some added versatility to match your footwear with the course.
Another way to fit both into your game would be to wear your spiked golf shoes for your rounds of golf that dedicate more of your time. On days when you are out practicing for a smaller time period and would like the additional convenience of getting out of your car and going straight to the driving range, then the spikeless shoe would come in perfectly.
You’ll tend to find most spiked and spikeless golf shoes will start around the $80 price range and run up to as high as $400 for a pair. The $80 to $100 range will be considered your entry-level price point where most shoes will offer the basic requirements of a golf shoe, but will lack some premium features such as waterproof and leather materials and advanced sole constructions. Most golf shoes will live in the $100 to $200 range. This level of shoe will provide better traction with better grip patterns and materials, higher levels of comfort, and longer-lasting materials. Golf shoes ranging over $200 in price will be a premium golf shoe that will be able to handle most elements, maximize traction, and last for numerous years.
What Others Have Picked
Below I’ve described two golfers who I’ve helped on Curated who represent two primary golf personas when it comes to shopping for golf shoes. I’ve highlighted what they look for based on their playing conditions and goals!
Paul is a once-per-month golfer and is looking to get a little more serious about his game, but still wants to maintain as much convenience as possible and isn’t willing to spend a lot on a golf shoe. He golfs in the Midwest with courses that don’t have a lot of hills to them. He is shopping for some shoes that will provide good value, versatility, and more traction than his tennis shoes. Paul’s Primary Considerations
- Looking for convenience and versatility.
- Plays on flat-style golf courses.
- Lives in a Midwest climate.
- Looking for a good value.
- Spikeless Golf Shoe
- Skechers Go Golf Arch Fit Mens Golf Shoe
- Adidas CodeChaos Golf Shoe
- Puma Ignite Fasten8 Golf Shoe
Carter is a seasoned golfer and is able to play golf year-round. The conditions he plays in are typically softer turf golf courses in southern Florida. Rain is a common occurrence, so having a golf shoe with added traction is paramount. He also likes to play most of his golf in the mornings, so morning dew will often be a factor in the fall and winter. Carter does travel to play in other states for golf and plays a wide variety of golf courses. Carter is looking for the best golf shoe regardless of price.
Carter’s Primary Considerations
- Golfs year-round and will use the shoes a lot.
- Needs added traction for his climate and course conditions.
- Looking for a top-end product.
- Spiked Golf Shoe
- Adidas Tour360 Golf Shoe
- FootJoy Tour Alpha Golf Shoe
- Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour 2 Golf Shoe
Closing Thoughts to Consider
Advantages of Spiked Golf Shoes
- Added stability and traction.
- Best in soft and wet course conditions, but universal for all conditions.
- Performs on courses with a lot of slopes and uneven lies.
- Maintains balance for faster swing speeds and quick-tempo players.
- Beginner-level players who would want added help with a solid base on their feet.
Advantages of Spikeless Golf Shoes
- Convenience and versatility on and off the course.
- Provides added comfort for golfers who walk a lot during their round.
- Best in dry course conditions and climates.
- Great option for slow swing speeds and smoother tempo players who don’t need as much traction.
Whether you’re considering adding in a spiked golf shoe for some added traction or a spikeless golf shoe for the extra comfort, me and my fellow Golf Experts at Curated are always here to help make the decision process as easy as possible for you!