The Best Golf Shoes for Every Type of GolferPublished on 09/05/2023 · 9 min readFind your perfect golf shoe fit. This guide breaks down top choices for traditionalists, modernists, and minimalists, ensuring on-course style and comfort!
Photo by Jacob Lund
It’s been a strong year for the release of new golf footwear, and the options are seemingly endless. Golf shoes have to hold up in demanding conditions with durability in mind, all while providing comfort and style. Let's break down the best offerings from the leaders in the industry and shed light on a few brands new to the scene, to give you a comprehensive overview on selecting your newest on-course shoes.
I am a golf industry professional, clubfitter, and currently work in product development for a major sports retailer. I love the apparel side of sports as much as the equipment, and have been collecting sneakers, jerseys, and other athletic wear for over 10 years.
Golf shoes tend to fit into three silos: traditional leather spikes inspired by formal wear, modern athletic/performance-leaning designs or adaptations of sneakers retooled for performance on turf, and minimal, more understated styles. Below I deep dive into each category with recommendations on golf shoes for each corresponding persona: the “Traditionalist,” “Modernist,” and “Minimalist.”
For the Traditionalist
Refined style is nothing new to golf. Whether you like to spend your 5-9 after your 9-5 out on the course and need a quick change from dress shoes to spikes, or just prefer to dress like the pros, there are a number of great options for golf shoes that fit the more traditional, classic approach to golf attire. Historically, this type of golf footwear lacked the comfort for a full day outdoors, built on a chassis meant for formalwear. However, this category has been developed immensely in recent years, and golfers now have options available that offer cushioning, support, and modern technology while maintaining the premium materials and styling.
Writers Choice: FootJoy Premier Series - Packard
The definitive leader for golf shoes in this category is the FootJoy Premier series. Footjoy has been a mainstay in the golf footwear market for nearly 100 years, and their shoes are a reflection of the heritage of the company as a whole. Tiger Woods made headlines earlier this year at the 2023 Masters Tournament by playing in the FootJoy Premier, a big shock to golfers (and sneakerheads). Tiger has been sponsored by Nike since 1996, and has his own line of golf apparel and shoes within Nike, so seeing him in a competitor brand was completely unexpected.
Classic styling, premium leather uppers, and durable waterproof construction make these a pair of spikes that golfers can use season after season. The Versatrax+ traction has been updated from prior generations of their premium lineup, with a combination of a molded traction pad and screw-in spikes, giving golfers stability in any course conditions. Aesthetically as classic as can be, but packed with performance and comfort updates, the Premiere Series - Packard are one of the best FootJoy golf shoes yet.
- Pair best with Classic attire, golf pants, tucked in polo, etc
- Lighter weight and more breathable than previous generations of leather FJ Golf Shoes
- Top-of-the-line materials, craftsmanship, and comfort
The Original Grand line from Cole Haan started in their dress shoes, and the company has made its way into the golf shoe marketplace with the same design features of quality craftsmanship and comfort, a traditional oxford with pops of bright color. This is a spiked golf shoe, and offers plenty of stability.
Slightly avant-garde in their approach, G/Fore collaborated with golf club manufacturer TaylorMade to release a Gallivanter with their Skull and Crossbone debossed pattern and TaylorMade branded translucent soles. It has a classic silhouette with unique features and is spikeless.
This newly launched model from adidas blends all of the newest technology from adidas running shoes and other performance departments with a classic design. It features a BOOST midsole, spikeless traction with a Torsion bar for added stability, as well as durable leather uppers. It is available in multiple colorways and is one of the few options in this category without cleats.
For the Modernist
Golf has become a far more inclusive space in recent years, and style on the golf course is more lenient than ever before (in my opinion, in the best way possible). With sportswear giants like Nike, adidas, Puma producing a huge lineup of golf-specific performance clothing and shoes, as well as newer companies like True Linkswear, Goatlane, Cuater, and G/FORE gaining traction in the marketplace, we are seeing competitive diversity in golf footwear like never before.
Writers Choice: Nike Air Jordan 1 Low G
The Jordan 1 is arguably the most recognizable sneaker in sports. When Nike decided to relaunch the Jordan 1 low and high tailored for golf, people were understandably very excited. Tony Finau, Nelly Korda, and many other professional players have been seen wearing them during PGA and LPGA Tournament play, adding to the credibility and buzz surrounding this silhouette. The first few releases in this new variant of the Jordan 1 sold out quickly in stores and online, namely the ‘Chicago’ and ‘UNC’ colorways.
Since 2022, the Jordan brand has expanded the collection and made the shoes more readily available to the masses, and for good reason. From a few feet away, it would be hard to distinguish the AJ1 Golf from a regular Air Jordan sneaker, making these incredibly versatile to wear for the range, on the course, and casually. The shoes look great with a casual sportswear aesthetic. The minimal, but functional traction pattern makes these a great choice on dry days, but be aware, they will have the same drawbacks as other spikeless golf shoes, particularly lack of grip and slipping in wet conditions. I own these and, as far as durability goes, after roughly 50 rounds, the triple white pair is beginning to show wear on the toe, but has held up remarkably well in the Florida heat. I also own the Grey/Black/White color variant, which has a slightly different treatment on the leather upper, and has been more durable overall.
- Low profile design, easy to wear. Fairly lightweight for a leather shoe
- Multiple colorways, both vibrant and muted tones to match a variety of apparel
- Comfort is exactly the same as the original sneaker. Minimal upgrades with main difference being the slightly lugged sole for traction
- Can be worn casually; the traction pattern is soft and unintrusive. Great for walking the course, but recommend swapping the EVA insole for something more responsive
This category of more streetwear and sports-oriented golf shoes is larger than ever. Narrowing down the options to a single pick was nearly impossible, but the Nike Air Jordan 1 Low G has been as strong of an offering from a style point of view as any. With that being said, there are a number of excellent options with arguably better performance that are worth giving a shot.
Full transparency — an argument could be made that these should be the number one pick. However, I am a huge fan of the Jordan 1, both the original version off the course and the golf specific model, so I prefer the aesthetic appearance of the Jordan over these. With that being said, the Puma ProAdapt Alphacat has incredibly clean styling, versatility, and the best traction for spikeless golf shoes I have personally used to date. With impressive specs, they are among the most comfortable golf shoes on the market, and are available in a number of colors and different lacing systems (traditional laces and Puma Disc, which is similar to BOA laces offered from other brands). They also feature a one year warranty on the waterproof feature of this sneaker, so these are ideal for rainy days on the course.
Although they have relatively minimalistic features, these shoes are functional and waterproof with the comfort of a running sneaker. I have fairly unconventional footwork (a bit of a "Scottie Scheffler Shuffle"), and the heel lockdown and lateral stability gives confidence to trust the golf swing without risking injury. This can be attributed to the Exo-shell, which provides lateral stability and aggressive traction. Something to note, the Puma Adapt Alphacat runs similar to most Puma footwear with a narrow footbed, so golfers with wider feet should consider the Wide option of this model.
For the Minimalist
Not everyone wants to make a statement with their footwear choices, and a casual sneaker with a simple scheme is the perfect option to dress up or down. Many brands make a minimally branded offering to keep a clean, understated look, typically spikeless shoes. This is a mass-appealing style, and exploring more niche brands in the footwear space shows just how in demand a well-crafted version can be. Smaller brands like GoatLane, True Linkswear, G/FORE, and OluKai have successfully utilized strategic partners in the golf content creation space to get their products in front of a wide audience and gain market share in this category.
Writers Choice: GOATLANE Tour Edition White Leather
Sometimes, internet marketing just works. Pairing up with Youtube Golfer Grant Horvat and Mac Boucher really put this brand on the map, and the product they offer is just as good as advertised. The company was founded just a few years ago in 2020, but this brand could be around for a long time. Utilizing Italian calf leather and a rubber cupsole with 4mm spikeless traction, the GoatLane Tour edition is built to last and simple enough in design to work with any outfit.
- Rubber Cupsole with 4mm traction nubs
- Italian calfskin leather and attention to detail with craftsmanship
- MSRP of $240 could be off-putting to some buyers for a startup brand
The Puma Fusion Classic Golf Shoe offers a clean look for a great price point. At only $100, this shoe comes with spikeless hidden traction, water resistance, and Fusionfoam cushioning for all day comfort. While it won't provide ultimate stability or traction in less than ideal conditions, for warm-up, the range, or sunny days, it's a great budget option in this category.
Adidas has a number of variants when it comes to this style of golf shoe, and the Go-To is a culmination of the lineage of the Superstar, Stan Smith, and other long standing heritage models. With muted tones, recycled, breathable materials used throughout, and a full length BOOST midsole, these are perfect for wearing on and off the course.
The golf footwear industry has grown immensely over the last few years, and finding that perfect fit for your environment, style, and comfort is essential. I have outlined some industry leaders here, and the aligning personalities that can go along with specific types of golf shoes. If you need help finding the right shoe for your golf game, reach out to me or one of my fellow Golf Experts here on Curated for free, personalized advice on the best golf shoe for you. Looking forward to helping you get the best gear for your game!