As golfers, we often focus on clubs, balls, or even clothes while forgetting the crucial importance of what impacts every shot: golf shoes.
Xavier Schauffele famously said: “If I hit a few shots with a club that I don’t like, I toss it out. Same thing with my shoes”.
If the pros choose their shoes with such care, maybe you should too.
The good news?
Our 2021‘s best golf shoes guide contains many options to improve how comfortable you feel on the golf course and will help you improve your golf swing.
Best Golf Shoes Overall: Adidas ZG 21
“An excellent fit, high-quality materials & an innovative lacing system make this model the reference – designed in partnership with Tour Pros; it is the lightest shoe Adidas has ever made.”
Most Reliable & Affordable: Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe
“The Tech Response has been the gold standard of golf shoes for many years – an excellent buy if you’re looking for quality & affordable footwear.”
Best Spikeless Golf Shoes: Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe
“With a breathable mesh outer layer, the Footjoy Flex provides comfort & stability on the course – a classy, spikeless golf shoe best for mid-handicappers.”
Last updated on 2021-12-05. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Best Golf Shoes In 2021
- How To Find The Best Men’s Golf Shoes For The Golf Course
- Questions & Answers
- What are the advantages of spiked shoes VS spikeless shoes?
- Do pros wear 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?
- Do you need need golf shoes?
- Do golf shoes need to be waterproof?
- What are the advantages of spiked shoes VS spikeless shoes?
Best Golf Shoes In 2021
Here are the best golf shoes:
- Adidas ZG 21
- Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe
- Footjoy Flex Golf Shoe
- FootJoy Originals Golf Shoe
- Skechers Torque Golf Shoe
- New Balance Minimus SL Golf Shoe
- Adidas Adipower 4orged S Golf Shoe
- Adidas ZG21 Golf Shoe
- Adidas Tour360 XT Golf Shoe
Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe
Most Affordable & Tried-and-Tested Best Golf Shoes
The Adidas Tech Response Golf Shoe are lightweight budget golfing footwear that responds well to the pounding of walking 18 holes.
These best golf shoes are ideal for the beginning golfer who needs quality footwear. The golf 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 Golf Shoes: 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 NXT 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 golf 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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Adidas ZG21 Golf Shoe
Best Luxury High-Traction Golf Shoe for Low Handicappers
Easily one of the most stylish golf shoes on the market, the Adidas ZG21 offers professional quality with an affordable price point. Made from recycled materials, the ZG21 offers a lightweight feel with a strong base that provides stability and reliability to frequent golfers.
Offering a regular fit, the Adidas shoe provides a lace closure for a snug fit. The interior of the shoe features an INSITE sockliner with the company’s Lightstrike cushioning that molds to the feet.
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Adidas Tour360 XT Golf Shoe
Best Lightweight Golf Shoe for Low Handicappers
A favorite of PGA Tour professionals, the Adidas Tour XT Golf Shoe offers a spikeless alternative for golfers. With several first-rate features, the XT delivers a stylish appearance that melds well with the product’s incredible performance.
The XT begins with a regular fit that uses a lace closure to get the feel just right. Along the top of the shoe, golfers will discover a high-grade leather outer layer that repels water but stays flexible during each stride.
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How To Find The Best Men’s Golf Shoes For The Golf Course
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breathability is another crucial feature of the best golf shoes 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 men’s 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.
Spiked vs Spikeless
While each type of sole offers their own advantages, if you are looking to maximize power, you should consider a spiked shoe. The wide-reaching spike allows for more anchor points into the turf, helping stabilize the foot during the twists and turns of the golf swing.
The best spikeless golf shoes provide more comfort and flexibility for golfers that like to walk the course, and may not be completely occupied with swinging from their heels with their driver. Instead, golf shoes without spikes are tailored to provide comfort without the rigidity of the classic leather spiked model of footwear.
Athletic vs Traditional Style
If you typically play your rounds in an upscale golf club, there may be pressure or even a dress code requiring you to wear traditional style golf shoes. These golf shoes commonly feature a leather outer layer that offers waterproof protection, but might have a lengthier break-in period before feeling completely comfortable.
Athletic shoes significantly reduce break-in time due to the emphasis placed by manufacturers on creating a lightweight experience that supports the foot but also offers breathability and comfort. Synthetic materials built to reduce weight and increase flexibility are highlighted in most athletic-style golf shoes.
Laces or No Lace
One of the benefits of laces for a golfer who likes customization is that the fit is perfect. Some golfers like a tight feel along the sides and top of their feet and laces provide that ideal fit. For traditional golf shoes, laces are required to complete the appearance commonly associated with the classic style.
No-lace shoes typically offer a single disc that sits where the golfer commonly knots the shoes. The disc allows the wearer to tighten the laces with a quick turn of the circle, allowing golfers to get the fit they desire from their footwear.
Regardless of your budget, you can find golf shoes that offer first-rate features. For less than $100, you should be able to locate comfortable shoes that provide waterproofing, excellent traction, and a flexible mid-sole.
If you prefer spiked or spikeless golf footwear, either type of sole will be available at this price point. For a comfortable fit that mimics an athletic shoe, a spikeless model will provide the closest fit and feel.
For golfers worried about traction, a spiked shoe keeps the feet grounded throughout the swing. Manufacturers such as Adidas and Skechers offer shoes fitting the bill and price point for all levels of golfers.
When considering the material of the golf shoe, you should look at it through the window of flexibility. Also by finding a shoe that provides maximum comfort, along with waterproof protection, you can assure that the shoe will offer a long life and high-grade durability.
Where flexibility really shines is through the mid-sole. This point of the shoe is where the foot flexes the most and if the shoe pushes back or resists the stride, then foot pain can develop.
While traditional golf shoes, made from leather, provide a firmer outer layer and longer break-in period, shoes featuring synthetic materials offer the best combination of support and freedom of movement with the foot.
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.
Questions & Answers
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:
- 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).
- Spiked shoes offer classic sole design with the best traction on any surfaces.
- Spiked shoes usually provide more waterproofing, because the sole won’t need to be molded.
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 men’s golf shoes in 2021 have plastic spikes over metal ones.
Do pros wear spikeless shoes?
Yes, 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 men’s 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 men’s 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 men’s 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 that the best golf shoes 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, then it is time for a new pair of golf shoes.
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.
Do you need need golf shoes?
Yes, you do need golf shoes because they provide a connection to the ground during the swing that athletic shoes cannot provide.
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.
Key Takeaway: the best golf shoes should be waterproof.