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Are golf shoes a waste of money for most?


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Golf shoes can be expensive, particularly if they are waterproof.  A few years ago, I started wearing waterproof trail shoes instead and have had no problems golfing in them.  Pricing was in the $70 and under range, and they are also more versatile than golf shoes in that I can also wear them while doing other activities like hiking, mowing, and shoveling light snow (not that you can't with a golf shoe, but I would think most don't).  My primary motivator in switching was that golf shoes would often seem to fit fine in the store but then start hurting my feet during a round.  I'm pretty sure I heard during one tournament that Tony Finau wears regular sneakers to play in, so if he doesn't need golf shoes, I would think most ams don't either.

 

So I ask, is there really a benefit to wearing a golf shoe for most golfers regardless of level of ability?  Has anyone here actually tried playing in a regular shoe vs golf shoe and found the golf shoe helps their game?

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I think it comes down as to what you do with your feet/lower body and how much slip you like or want. I flip flop between golfshoes and trail runners a lot. Both are water resistant/proof and fit me really well. I carry+walk 100% of the time so footwear is pretty important for me.

 

Trail runners have ample amounts of grip when dry, but when it's wet, I prefer the grip the golf shoes have. Also, I've found trailrunners have a lot of cushioning and are not as stiff across the sole which does affect me as I feel a little unstable at times - especially on uneven lies.

 

If I'm playing 18, I'll always take my golf shoes, but when I just go out to practice nine on a short course and it's not raining, I'll take the trail runners as inevitably I'll have other chores to do after and thus don't have to change footwear.

 

My current stable of golf shoes are - Nike Jordan ADG3, Adidas EQT spikeless (not really waterproof), and Footjoy Fuel.

Trailrunners are - Dynafits (non waterproof), and Nike Pegasus Trail (Goretex).

 

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For most of my golfing life I wore golf shoes because they are supportive and waterproof. I real quickly figured out I didn't need spikes so mostly I've used spikeless but as you point out they are typically VERY expensive for what they are. The Eccos, Footjoys and Adidas golf shoes I've bought over the past 20 years have probably averaged well over $150 a pair even though I try to buy previous year models after they are marked down a bit. 

 

A couple years ago I gave in and just started playing in the same running shoes I wear everywhere else. Or to be more specific, a pair of running shoes the same model and size of my everyday shoes except I save one pair just for golf because they get pretty dirty.


I do still have a couple of my ancient pairs of spikeless golf shoes to use on the frequent occasions where the grass is wet or the ground is muddy. My mesh running shoes aren't just not-waterproof, they are like the opposite of waterproof. 

 

My problem is, the running shoes I like still cost over $100 a pair. So I don't end up saving that much money but man are they more comfortable and far lighter. 

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What are some waterproof trail runners that you all like?

 

As long as I have the moisture protection, golf-specific shoes are no longer necessary for me. 

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I admit I had not considered (and haven't tried) trail specific running shoes. I could see them being a viable option maybe.

 

However, wearing normal running shoes does not work for me for the following reasons:

 

-They don't last. The midsole material gets compressed rapidly by wearing running shoes for long periods of time.  Golf shoes (I wear Ecco generally) are firmer and don't compress as much or degrade. I got years and hundreds of rounds walking out of my last pair.

 

-The squishiness becomes uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I feel like i get pressure points too instead of uniform distribution. 

 

-My feet slide around on the footbed when swinging, especially in hot weather but anytime really. Even at the range if I get lazy and don't change shoes, its gets aggravating quickly.

 

-They aren't waterproof and don't grip if its wet.

 

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These Salomon Outbound Prism GTXs are quite nice and less than $100. They are waterproof (gore-tex), have what looks very similar to a spikeless sole, have ortholite insoles that are supportive and aren't aggressively styled like some trail shoes can be. 

 

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I purchased a pair of Saucony Grid Excursion trail running shoes and have walked 4 rounds in them so far.  The shoes are breathable water-proof Gore-Tex, but my socks were damp one morning I played in wet conditions.  The Grid Excursion are very comfortable to walk in and I have had no issues with traction.  The price was $64.90 with free shipping through eBay.  

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1 hour ago, bcjim said:

I admit I had not considered (and haven't tried) trail specific running shoes. I could see them being a viable option maybe.

 

However, wearing normal running shoes does not work for me for the following reasons:

 

-They don't last. The midsole material gets compressed rapidly by wearing running shoes for long periods of time.  Golf shoes (I wear Ecco generally) are firmer and don't compress as much or degrade. I got years and hundreds of rounds walking out of my last pair.

 

-The squishiness becomes uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I feel like i get pressure points too instead of uniform distribution. 

 

-My feet slide around on the footbed when swinging, especially in hot weather but anytime really. Even at the range if I get lazy and don't change shoes, its gets aggravating quickly.

 

-They aren't waterproof and don't grip if its wet.

 

For many years the running/walking shoes I wore were always New Balance. I believed nothing else fitted like them. But I could not for the life of me swing a golf swing without my foot sliding around inside the shoe.

 

Then I discovered Brooks, which apparently fit my feet 100% better than any New Balance ever did. I've worn them for lots of golf and my feet don't move around during the swing or when walking up and down steep slopes or sideslopes. 

 

So I suspect there are a style/brand of shoe out there which would not have the problem but heck it took me 20+ years to find the ones that fit properly for me. I think running shoes are so light, soft and comfy that it's not as easy to tell when the fit isn't quite perfect. 

 

But the thing you mention about pressure points has been exactly opposite for me. That's why leather golf shoes have always been so miserable for me. I have pretty severe bunions and a super, super deep "high volume" middle of my foot. Also my left and right feet aren't quite the same size or even the same shape. So after nine holes or so, especially on a hot day, any securely fitting golf shoe is just giving my bunions and top of my inner metatarsals hell. The extra give of soft running shoes really minimizes that. 

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50 minutes ago, jordan2240 said:

Just for some clarification, I walk exclusively and the shoes I wear are trail shoes but not trail running shoes.  The two pair I have now are from Columbia and sketchers.

I tried this for a bit, but my experience is that trail shoes are a lot heavier than golf or trail-runners and that to me made a pretty big difference for me in terms of fatigue. The golf shoes I have are really light, and I'll second a previous comment about Adidas' Boost technology - that stuff is ace.

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In 1998 golf was transitioning from metal to soft spikes. I was getting a golf lesson in my new nubby (think minimalist) spikes when my left foot slipped on the downswing. I tore my left groin muscle, and couldn't exercise at all for six weeks. Since then, I've been partial to shoes with grabby spikes.

 

11 minutes ago, North Butte said:

For many years the running/walking shoes I wore were always New Balance.

 

That said, I have used service shoes with the soft cylinder nubs for golf practice and play on level courses. Later, I switched to the New Balance crosstraining shoes. Good grip for fairly level, and solid lateral support. I don't like running shoes because of poor lateral support. Some golf instructors say this can let lateral sway creep into swing, leading to inconsistent ball striking.

 

And, light running shoes are made for... straight-ahead running! I tore up a pair of running shoes when caddying in a 2017 Symetra Tour* (LPGA developmental) event in Decatur, IL. To avoid the crowds, my player and I had taken a shortcut across a creek bed. My foot landed on a rock coming up from the creek, and I could feel the sole area ripping.  Inner liner was ripped, and outer sole was damaged. Into the trash can post-round. Fortunately, I had NB cross-trainers to wear for Round 2.

 

And, cross-trainers don't work on steep inclines. Was playing a casual (fortunately) round when ball ended up on steep 45-degree bank of bunker. In CTs I couldn't maintain a stance, so I had to take an unplayable lie penalty.

 

So, solid cross-trainers are good for practice and maybe par-3 courses, but I want real golf shoes out on the full 18. StL area is along the river valley, so lots of the courses have steep rise and fall in the terrain.

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* The Symetra women's operation has a new sponsor, and was renamed the Epson Tour in January. 

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i purchased the 40$ nike "golf" shoes that were bashed by reviewers.

I honestly see no difference between them and my 2 pairs of Nike TW golf shoes.

 

In fact, I took a cutter to the soft spikes on my TWs and removed the spikes.

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In dry conditions, I can get away with playing in sneakers. When it is wet, I wear my Ecco Biom 3 Hybrid GTX's - waterproof and comfortable. But, during the wet season - November - March, when, the golf course is really sloppy, I wear golf boots (last year -Footjoy, this year Adidas S2G mid-cuts). 

 

For me, golf shoes are worth it, but, I usually buy them on sale. 

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Most including myself buy golf shoes more for style and looks. In terms of function, all you need is a decent amount of tread on the bottom to keep you from slipping. Add to that where I live in California, we never see snow and if it is a winter morning, you have some morning dew to deal with which isn’t a bad thing to deal with. Lots of shoe makers out there. Only thing about wearing shoes that look more like trail shoes or hiking shoes can be the bulky design of them. If you can get away with slightly sleaker designed shoes, you can ultimately use anything out there that looks good. I have many a friends who wear cross training shoes with no issues whatsoever. 

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I think if you can buy golf shoes at a good price its well worth it. I think the better the price the more value you get because i just got some footjoy premiers all white.. i clean my shoes ever round really good. They went from shocking white to somewhat dusty white. Now thats not shocking but when you just want bright white thats kinda sucks. 

That being said... i find the comfort of golf shoes better then any sneakers ive ever worn and i dont know why. My feet never hurt after any round and they allways feel very cushioned and supported. Cant say the same for alot of shoes/sneakers. 

 

Spikeless is very good but less good in wet conditions so i like both spiked and not.

 

Its also a style thing but buying for value when they get messed up so quick makes the most sense.

 

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I have been happy with the under armour Gore-tex trail running shoe. $100 is crazy cheap for Gore-Tex and they come in at 9oz. I just use them in the winter along side a pair of Ecco Gore-tex golf specific shoes.

 

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8 hours ago, jordan2240 said:

Just for some clarification, I walk exclusively and the shoes I wear are trail shoes but not trail running shoes.  The two pair I have now are from Columbia and sketchers.

I'm an avid backpacker and hiker. I have various trail runners and hiking boots from a number of brands. You suggest golf shoes are expensive but good hiking boots start at $150. So I'm unsure where you're going with this. Don't take this the wrong way, but this simply tells me you're a thrifty individual. Ain't nothing wrong with this. You can pay cheap dollars and get cheap trail or golf shoes. Or choose to spend a good amount of money for higher quality trail or golf shoes. 🤔

 

Anyway to answer your main inquiry -- I'll likely pack a pair of trail runners as back up for my Bandon trip. I would never consider wearing any of these as my main shoes. I've tried doing test swings, in prep for Bandon, and the side walls and soles are just wrong. Your feet need to constantly shift weight from heel to toe, and rotate from the inside out. I feel like I'm going to break my left ankle when I attack the ball.

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34 minutes ago, sleuth said:

Don't take this the wrong way, but this simply tells me you're a thrifty individual

"Thrifty", yeah, that's it.  Let's put it this way, I use balls that generally cost in the $17-$22 range per dozen, the last grips I bought were $44 for 13 grips, I won't pay more than $100 or so for a golf bag, and I hate paying more than $25 for a round of golf (walking).  So when it comes to golf, I'm a cheapskate ( but compared to some of my geezer playing partners, I'm a reckless spender).

 

Yes, I've seen very expensive trail shoes as well, but I think one can find a trail shoe that works fine for golf that is comparable to a much more expensive golf shoe.  Trail running shoes might not fit the bill.

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2 hours ago, jordan2240 said:

"Thrifty", yeah, that's it.  Let's put it this way, I use balls that generally cost in the $17-$22 range per dozen, the last grips I bought were $44 for 13 grips, I won't pay more than $100 or so for a golf bag, and I hate paying more than $25 for a round of golf (walking).  So when it comes to golf, I'm a cheapskate ( but compared to some of my geezer playing partners, I'm a reckless spender).

 

Yes, I've seen very expensive trail shoes as well, but I think one can find a trail shoe that works fine for golf that is comparable to a much more expensive golf shoe.  Trail running shoes might not fit the bill.

Lol I was trying to be nice. You're seeking sub $70 'golf' shoes that you can go hiking, biking, mow the lawn, shopping, and go to work in. 🤣

 

I hope you at least take them off when you go to bed 😉

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