Best Overall: Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe
“Featuring a flexible outsole and the traditional spike setup, the adidas Tech Response Golf Shoes is very comfortable and lightweight to wear – an excellent buy for beginners looking for quality and affordable footwear to use on the course.”
Best Spikeless: Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe
“With the patented Versa-Trax outsole and breathable mesh outer layer, the Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe provides comfortability that helps bring high performance on the course – a classy, spikeless golf shoe best for mid-handicappers.”
Best Premium Pick: Puma Ignite NXT Golf Shoe
“Having a waterproof mesh outer layer and a durable foam sole, the Puma Ignite NXT is a first-rate golf shoe that provides the comfort and stability to the foot for maximum swing speed – best for low-handicappers with flexible budgets.”
When talking about golf equipment, we often focus on clubs, balls or even clothes while forgetting the importance of golf shoes.
Yet, golf involves a lot of walking, and we can encounter different terrains and even climate conditions in a single round of golf.
Our 2021 men’s shoe guide contains a lot of options to improve how comfortable you feel on the golf course, and could even help you improve your golf swing.
Last updated on 2021-01-20. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- 8 Best Golf Shoes In 2021
- Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
- Questions & Answers
- What are the main qualities the best golf shoes should have?
- What are the advantages of spiked shoes VS spikeless shoes?
- Should I choose spikeless shoes?
- Should I worry about walking a long distance with these golf shoes?
- Are shoelaces necessary?
- Should I own multiple pairs of golf shoes depending on weather conditions or the golf course I am playing on?
- How often should I change my golf shoes?
- What materials are best for golf shoes?
- Are golf shoes essential when playing golf?
- Do golf shoes need to be waterproof?
- What are the main qualities the best golf shoes should have?
8 Best Golf Shoes In 2021
Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe
Best For Most Golfers & Very Affordable
The adidas Tech Response Golf Shoes are lightweight budget golfing footwear that responds well to the pounding of walking 18 holes.
These shoes are ideal for the beginning golfer who needs quality footwear. The shoes aren’t waterproof and while that is a significant drawback, at this price point, the Tech Response delivers high performance with little risk.
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Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe
Best Spikeless: Lightweight Shoe for Mid Handicappers
The Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe has the profile of a running footwear but provides solid traction in a lightweight package. The shoe is highlighted by a breathable mesh outer layer that is soft and comfortable, while keeping the foot dry during your round.
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Puma Ignite NXT Golf Shoe
Best Premium Pick: Waterproof Shoe Ideal for Low Handicappers
The Puma Ignite Golf Shoe is advanced spikeless footwear that utilizes a sturdy outsole to provide solid traction along with exception durability. It also promotes an ergonomic feel with a cushioned insole that creates a nice layer of support for the feet.
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FootJoy Originals Golf Shoe
Best Traditional Golf Shoe for Low Handicappers
For the weekend warrior who still likes the traditional leather golf shoe with some modern updating, the FootJoy Originals Golf Shoe delivers a spiked sole with exceptional cushioning for the foot. Other features include a one-year waterproofing, breathable outer layer and a durability that only leather can provide for golfers.
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Skechers Torque Golf Shoe
Excellent Waterproof Golf Shoe for Mid Handicappers
The Skechers Torque Golf Shoe is one of the best waterproof shoes we’ve seen in quite some time. The shoe might not have the flair or style of low profile modern golfing footwear, but it delivers excellent performance.
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New Balance Minimus SL Golf Shoe
Outstanding Waterproof Golf Shoe for High Handicappers
The New Balance Minimus SL Golf Shoe is another tremendous waterproof golf shoe that mixes an athletic profile with superb performance. This spikeless shoe has an outer layer that is well crafted while the sole is made from a solid rubber that holds admirably as you swing.
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Adidas Adipower 4orged S Golf Shoe
Best Athletic Golf Shoe for Mid Handicappers
The adidas Adipower 4orged S Golf Shoe is a racehorse, aggressively styled with a multi-colored design that gives flair to the product. The company has given the 4orged S a host of features that provide remarkable performance on the course from the spikeless traction system that grounds the golfer no matter how hard the swing to the breathable, waterproof exterior that protects the foot with muscle.
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Ecco Biom Hybrid 3 Golf Shoe
All-Around Golf Shoe for Low Handicappers
Hard to find a better golf shoe than the ones that Ecco makes and the reputation certainly extends to one of the best golf shoes on the market, the Biom Hybrid 3. Made from 100% leather, the shoe utilizes an upper layer made from yak leather that is strong and lightweight.
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Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
Criteria #1: Waterproofing
Not all golf shoes are waterproofed, but golfers should wonder if buying shoes without this protection is worth it in the long run. Yes, the waterproofing only lasts for a year or two, but to have that barrier to keep water out and your socks dry is a welcome bonus when you hit the course early in the morning.
Waterproofing comes together when the manufacturer sprays an even layer of a chemical coating that repels water and keeps the insole area completely dry. In warmer and drier climates, the need for waterproof shoes may not be as vital as in other areas but rarely does it add more to the cost of the footwear.
Criteria #2: Insole
The insole is the inner area of the shoe where the foot comes into contact with the footwear. All golfers are looking for an insole that offers cushion and comfort while reducing friction against the skin to prevent blisters. The first initial feel of the shoe on the foot is crucial for the golfer’s confidence and the overall playability of the footwear.
When looking at the insole, we are making a judgment on how quickly the insole molds to the foot and whether it provides ultimate comfort if you are walking the course or riding in the cart.
Criteria #3: Outsole
The outsole covers a lot of ground as it encompasses not only the contact point of the shoe to the ground but also the outer layer that covers the top of the foot. When we are looking at the sole of the shoe, we want to note how the bottom binds itself to the turf for maximum stability.
As we grade the top layer of the shoe, we are looking for flexibility and how well the foot works with the shoe as the golfer moves about the course. The outer layer must also breathe well to keep the foot dry.
Criteria #4: Comfort
The last thing that a golfer wants on the golf course is a shoe that fights against the body’s movement. Friction is a killer to the heel and toes of an improperly fitted golf shoe and creates blisters that are painful and prevent a quick return to the links.
Finding a golf shoe that is not only comfortable but provides a reliable fit is a worthwhile endeavor to pursue for the weekend warrior as it maximizes performance while taking care of the lower body to reduce soreness and possible injury.
Comfort is an essential criteria because it is the first response that a golfer has to a golf shoe.
Criteria #5: Breathability
Breathability is another crucial feature of the golf shoe because no one wants footwear that traps the heat from the foot and creates a warm and sweaty hot box that builds odor. Instead, golfers need a shoe that has a mesh interior that allows moisture to dry and the foot to breathe throughout an 18-hole round.
As we grade the breathability factor of a golf shoe, we attempt to spend as many hours in the footwear as possible. Our process includes walking a round to see how the feet react, especially during the summer, when the shoe needs to be at its best.
Questions & Answers
What are the main qualities the best golf shoes should have?
Given the advancement in technology, there are several key factors you should consider when purchasing a pair of golf shoes. We will discuss them one by one, so you can get a better picture. They are:
Quality #1: Stability/Traction
Good stability or traction is essential because the shoe will be the foundation of your swing.
So, a good pair of golf shoes should be able to anchor to the ground throughout the whole motion of your swing. To achieve this stability, most golf shoes used spikes.
However, nowadays there are spikeless golf shoes that do the job just as well. We will discuss the importance of spikes and their common materials further below, as well as spikeless shoes.
Quality #2: Comfort while walking
A round of golf will involve a lot of walking.
Well, even when you ride the cart all the time, you will need to walk at some point. As with any shoes, the most important factor for walking comfort is proper sizing.
Weight and the hardness of the material will also play their part, as well as breathability. Not enough ventilation will cause dampness while wearing, which can be uncomfortable during a long game.
Quality #3: Comfort during swing
The movement you make during a swing is different compared to walking. Your feet and ankle will rotate in a quite fast manner and rub the inner part of the shoe. Thus, the inner part of the shoe, especially around the ankle area should be soft and flexible enough to withstand heavy friction.
When this factor is not considered, at best you will feel uncomfortable during swings. At worst, it can cause minor calluses and injuries.
Quality #4: Shoe resistance against golf course conditions
Waterproofing is another important factor for golf shoes, considering the game is played in an open area with various weather conditions, as well as the issues of mud and dirt.
Waterproofed materials usually have issues with breathability, so a balance between both factors, as well as the right fit for the course climate should all be considered. The best golf shoes must be at the very least water-resistant.
Quality #5: Shoe Style
Style, of course, is a matter of preference. The men’s golf shoes we are reviewing in this guide were originally picked for their style and their ability to be matched with most people’s clothing.
This being said, there is a wide variety of style offered by various golf shoe manufacturers. For those who prefers classic, sophisticated look, there are options for that. For those who prefers the sporty or modern look, there are also plenty of choices – particularly with men’s golf shoes. Yet, style should be balanced with the functionality of the golf shoes.
Quality #6 Use Of Latest Technology
Different manufacturers have different technological approaches in their shoes. Some will have special material to provide both waterproofing and breathability.
The most common technological advancements found on golf shoes are regarding the sole. Whether you opt for spiked or spikeless shoes, there are various technologies used to improve the traction to ensure stability.
There are also multiple technological advancements for waterproof lining, as well as ventilation to improve breathability.
Nevertheless, you should make sure your golf shoes use proprietary technology to improve the resistance of the sole. Most of the time, this will turn out to be extremely beneficial during the game. It’s safe to say the best golf shoes should use the latest technology.
Quality #7: Overall fit (length, width, ankle entry, toe box, midsection, and heel cup)
Finding a pair of golf shoes with the proper fit is important to ensure comfort. To ensure a right fit, trying before buying, if possible, is a good consideration.
Length and width, represented by shoe numbers should be common knowledge.
For golf shoes, there are additionally some more considerations you should have to ensure a proper fit.
The ankle entry, toe box, and midsection sizes should all be considered to ensure comfort during swing rotation, as well as the size of the heel cup to allow enough space for swing rotation.
Key Takeaway: In 2021, the best golf shoes should at least be comfortable to wear on and off the golf course, use the latest sole technology, and have great stability to maximize swings.
What are the advantages of spiked shoes VS spikeless shoes?
There are a lot of golf shoes, especially newer ones that offer spikeless sole. They have been quite successful, so now we have more options in choosing the sole types.
Both men’s and women golf shoes are usually available in spikeless and spiked shoes.
In general, here are several differences between spiked and spikeless sole:
PROS SPIKELESS SHOES
- The spikeless sole is more low-profile and generally lighter (no added weight from the spikes). As a result, they are generally more comfortable.
- Spikeless soles usually use rubber studs or dimpled sole, so they can provide enough traction on firm surfaces (driving range, 19th hole, etc).
CONS SPIKELESS SHOES
- They provide less grip and stability on rough surfaces and tall grass.
- Generally, the materials used for the molded soles do not provide waterproofing
While we discuss spike soles, we will discuss below several popular spike materials and their advantages.
Sole Spike Material #1: Plastic
Plastic spikes are arguably the most popular type of golf shoes and are generally a safe choice.
Plastic is lighter than other spike materials and is more ‘friendly’ to the green. Meaning, it’s less likely to tear up the grasses than wearing metal spikes.
Plastic spikes are also generally spread in a wider size, so the weight distribution is better.
In the past, the major downside for plastic spikes is that they provide less traction compared to metal spikes.
However, the technology of plastic spikes has advanced so that in some products, the traction is even better than metal spikes. If you are looking for comfortable golf shoes with decent traction, plastic spikes are generally a safe choice.
Sole Spike Material #2: Metal
Metal spikes are less common nowadays since plastic can provide similar or better traction with less weight. Metal spikes also often guilty of tearing up fairways and greens. Under the rules of golf, players cannot interfere with spike marks on greens, and that might hinder your address.
Although the traction is generally very good, metal spikes can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Also, many golf courses also ban metal spikes, so you might want to think twice before purchasing one.
Key Takeaway: The best golf shoes in 2021 have plastic spikes over metal ones.
Should I choose spikeless shoes?
Spikeless shoes are quite popular nowadays. They are generally lighter, more comfortable to wear, and can provide very decent traction.
Many professionals and Tour players nowadays are also wearing spikeless shoes, some prefer them for the look, or the added comfort that can help with foot or back pain.
While they are generally more comfortable, spikeless shoes often have problems with waterproofing and traction. While they are decent in the firm and flat surfaces, they might have issues with wet surfaces or tall greens.
Many high-end spikeless shoes are quite good with traction though, as well as providing some form of waterproofing. Spikeless shoes will also be an excellent choice for driving range due to the mostly flat surfaces.
So, purchasing a pair of spikeless golf shoes is viable, especially for the driving range. However, if you want to wear it on course, you just have to make sure that it is well-built and have decent quality regarding traction and waterproofing.
Key Takeaway: Spikeless and spiked shoes are both viable for the golf course. Prefer spikeless if you like lighter shoes. Opt for spiked shoes if you need great stability and traction. This is true for men’s golf shoes and women’s golf shoes. To decide which golf shoe is best, this criteria doesn’t truly matter.
Should I worry about walking a long distance with these golf shoes?
Most high-quality pair of golf shoes are designed with long-distance comfort in mind, so this most likely won’t be an issue.
We’ve also picked shoes that are best for walking as well. Long golf games often mean many miles to walk so we’ve naturally included that criteria in our product choices.
There are several qualities you should look for to ensure comfort in a prolonged game. To summarize, they are:
The more flexible and soft the material is, the more comfortable the shoes will be for a long-distance walk and prolonged usage.
Most high-end golf shoes use genuine leather or synthetic material to achieve lightweight, breathability and overall comfort. Not to forget, there should be some form of a waterproof lining.
Although material choices might dictate breathability, that won’t always be the case.
Some manufacturers might opt to add extra technology to improve ventilation.
Breathability of the shoes is important for long-distance walking, to prevent your feet from sweating a lot.
Material choices for the shoe itself and for the spikes (for spiked shoes) will dictate the weight. Of course, heavy shoes can be tiresome for long-distance walking.
Most high-end golf shoes nowadays used plastic spikes or spikeless rubber soles to address this issue.
Once all those qualities are in check, you should not have to worry about long distance walking.
Remember, you also need to consider in-swing comfort. A good pair of golf shoes will be comfortable both for walking and swinging.
Key Takeaway: Don’t worry about feeling your feet hurt when walking long distance on the golf course. Most of the best golf shoes nowadays include extra comfort material that prevent you from feeling pain after walking a few miles. Advancement of shoe technology make this a worry of the past.
Are shoelaces necessary?
In our opinion, they are more akin to tradition than necessity.
The sophisticated and tidy look of shoelaces are preferred by many, however, regarding purpose, other fastening systems like velcro straps or even zipper (if any) can do the job just as well.
Velcro can indeed give more ease in securing or removal of the shoe, and prevent the biggest issue of laces: when they loosened in the middle of a round.
Many manufacturers also modified their lacing system to have both the classic style and modern ease. For example, there are mechanical lacing systems to prevent loosening and improve stability. If you are familiar with ski or ice skating boots, the lacing system used is similar.
Key Takeaway: So, to answer the question, the answer is no, shoe laces are not a necessity for the best golf shoes of 2021, but rather has more to do with style.
Should I own multiple pairs of golf shoes depending on weather conditions or the golf course I am playing on?
If your budget allows, the answer is yes. Different types of golf shoes can perform better in certain weather conditions, and even in different surfaces. You will then be sure to have the best golf shoes for whatever weather conditions the game will endure.
In dry and warm summer conditions, spikeless shoes that are lighter and more breathable will be a more comfortable choice. Since they rarely have good waterproofing technology, they won’t perform as well in wet and rainy conditions.
On the other hand, spiked shoes will perform better with mud and wet course conditions in rainy seasons, or even with snow. They are not as breathable and generally heavier, so they might not be comfortable in a hot summer.
Some high-quality golf shoes, including the ones we will discuss further below, can provide a relatively nice balance to perform in different weather conditions.
Key Takeaway: We would recommend that you purchase the best golf shoes for you first and foremost. But if your budget does allow several pairs, it is a good choice to own two good pairs of spikeless and spiked shoes for dry and wet conditions, respectively.
How often should I change my golf shoes?
Golf shoes can begin to deteriorate in a variety of ways. From falling apart due to poor construction or through typical wear and tear from use, it is important to pay attention to the health of your shoes before and after each round.
Areas of vulnerability in golf shoes include a breakdown of waterproofing, the sole separating itself from the body, and the wearing down or difficulty replacing old spikes.
Let’s start with the waterproofing. It is vital to have golf shoes that can keep feet dry throughout a round. This is especially important if you like to play morning rounds when the dew is at its heaviest on the grass. I think we can all agree that playing a round with wet feet is not only uncomfortable but raises the possibility of blisters that tear the skin.
What most golfers don’t know about waterproofing is that it is a feature that doesn’t have a long shelf life. If your shoes are older than two years, then there’s a high probability that the shoes no longer are effective at keeping the water away from your feet. If that criterion fits your shoes, then it is time for a new pair.
Another way that golf shoes can let us down is by falling apart, whether it be from negligence, age or shoddy construction. Inspecting your shoes often will make sure you stay on top of any problems that may arise so that your feet can stay fresh over your next 18 holes.
What materials are best for golf shoes?
Technological advancements have pushed the boundaries for what golf shoes can do during a round of golf. From keeping your feet dry to provide a comfort that is typically associated with high-performance athletic shoes, manufacturers have created golf shoes that are a dream to wear. Here are three different materials that help create top-notch golf shoes.
Leather has played a considerable part in the manufacturing of golf shoes throughout the years. Early versions of leather-based golf shoes were very stiff and lacked flexibility. But today, leather golf shoes are soft and supple allowing the golfer to move and use their feet throughout the swing freely. Also with the creation of waterproofing, leather lasts longer and is more durable than in previous years.
An alternative to more expensive leather-based shoes is golf shoes made from synthetic materials. A downside to synthetic materials is the fact that they don’t breath as well as leather-based shoes. Another issue with synthetic materials is that despite a cheaper price over leather shoes, the synthetic shoe tends to have a short shelf life, showing wear and tear quicker than more expensive shoes.
Golf shoes made with Gore-Tex are guaranteed to be waterproof. If you play in the morning hours, then Gore-Tex lined shoes are crucial to keeping your feet dry and free from blisters. Gore-Tex also keeps feet warm and cozy in the wintertime so you’ll never have to worry about feeling the elements on cold days.
Are golf shoes essential when playing golf?
Golf shoes are not essential when playing golf, however, they do provide a connection to the ground during the swing that athletic shoes cannot provide the golfer.
The reason that golf shoes are essential for professional golfers, for example, is that their swing speed is incredibly high. These golfers need to be locked into the ground so that they can freely swing at maximum velocity to create the distance they need for their game.
The amateur’s ability to have golf shoes, while not essential, does provide an advantage over athletic shoes because of the spikes that help keep the golfer grounded while allowing them to become more balanced throughout the swing.
That said, some amateurs find golf shoes too restrictive to freely move throughout the swing, leaving them wanting a more pliable shoe, such as a running shoe. Golf shoes are more rigid than your typical running shoe because they are meant to be used as a solid foundation for the golf swing, whereas running shoes need to be softer and more easy to move because the intended purpose of the shoe is to run long distances.
Do golf shoes need to be waterproof?
Golf shoes do not need to be waterproof, although it is convenient to have waterproof shoes on the course in case you are caught in a rainstorm or have to step through puddled water on the course.
For golfers that have shoes that are not waterproof, there are several options available to correct that oversight. The first way is to choose one of several sprays that cover the shoe in a chemical coating that is water repellent and allows the golfer to essentially make their shoes waterproof without having to spend the extra money for waterproof technology.
That said, waterproof shoes are built with proprietary innovations that are better at repelling water from the foot, then by using spray alone. If you’re interested in buying spray to cover your shoes, it may be wise to simply go back and find a new pair of waterproof shoes to take advantage of the technology.