You put in so much thought when it comes to buying golf clubs and golf balls, as every dedicated golfer should. But then does the same level of thoughtfulness and consideration go into buying golf shoes? In that case, have you taken into account the differences between spikeless vs spiked golf shoes?
When comparing the two, it’s all about which type of golf footwear is a better choice in terms of comfort, fit, traction, and even looks and durability. Back in the days when spikeless golf shoes were nothing but just a “new kid on the block”, the difference between them and the spiked version was quite vast. But it’s not the same anymore!
So let’s get to know more about then and now, along with understanding completely the comparison between the two types of golf shoes.
From Spiked Golf Shoes to Spikeless Golf Shoes – How It All Changed
Scottish golfers in the 1800s used to hammer nails into boots equipped with leather soles. And these were their version of “spiked” golf shoes to get a handle on wet, damp ground conditions. Now let’s address the elephant in the room – weren’t the nails susceptible to coming loose and skewing the foot? Of course, that was a possibility!
And then came permanent, built-in metal spikes by the end of the 19the century. Half a century after that were introduced replaceable metal spikes for the first time. And these, hands down, offered the most amount of traction compared to their predecessors.
However, the problem with traditional metal-spiked golf shoes was obvious. The first is that they started to damage the expensive, immaculate surface of the greens. And the second concern consisted of golfers skating and slipping on hard floors. Enter soft plastic spikes at last!
The best part about plastic-spiked golf shoes is that you can wear them on the course and off it as well. Needless to say, some golfers used to metal spikes were a little skeptical about the rubber nubs as replacements. These are mostly pro-grade players who desire more than just reasonable stability of plastic spikes. But then, at the same time, lots of Tour-level golfers have taken a liking to them.
Spikeless Against Spiked Golf Shoes – Differences Based On 5 Important Factors
Talking about shoes, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The fit of course!
So is there a difference between spikeless and spiked golf shoes as far as the fit is concerned? To be honest, irrespective of the traction system, the fit of the shoes doesn’t change. Meaning both designs are built to fit your feet properly as long as you select the right size.
Does your foot rub in any particular area of the shoe? For example, if it’s rubbing against the toe box, then choose a wider width for extra room.
In terms of fit, the exclusive BOA Fit System is incredibly helpful in that its dial lets you make tiny adjustments in order to achieve and then lock in the ideal fit. Both spikeless and spiked golf shoes feature the BOA Fit.
The next on the list is comfort, and it’s kind of an important factor of consideration when talking about this particular comparison. This is where the spikeless version enjoys the upper hand, even though slightly, simply because it’s more lightweight as a result of light plastic cleats.
And with plastic spikes, there are also no additional pressure points poking into the sole of your foot. Something that you just HAVE to be okay with when wearing spiked shoes! But then not all spiked golf shoes are like that. For instance, Adidas uses Boost Foam for making their golf shoes with metal spikes much more comfortable to wear for long hours.
Traction – the most important factor, no doubt, that dictates the difference between spiked and spikeless. In the case of the former, the traditional cleat system keeps your foot literally grounded to the turf. And these cleats need not be made of metal you know. As already mentioned, there are softer plastic spikes now too.
In fact, many golf courses have banned metal spikes since they cause irreparable damage to the greens. But then replaceable spikes are great in that they give you increased lateral stability just from the manner in which they hold onto the ground at the time of your golf swing execution.
Spikeless golf shoes with rubber nubs integrated into their outsoles come in all kinds of variations. Some brands like ECCO design theirs with targeted zones in the outsole that deliver the much-needed rotation, stability, and even durability. Nike, on the other hand, uses a special fin-type pattern for all the ground-grabbing traction.
If you take a moment and think about it logically, even you would come to the conclusion that replaceable cleats of spiked golf shoes are a better choice in terms of durability. Because when they wear down, which they surely do at some point, you can easily replace them. It’ll be like getting a new pair of golf shoes entirely!
With the spikeless version, on the other hand, that’s not an option. No matter the superiority of the materials used by the brand!
But then spikeless golf shoes can be worn off the turf as well, which is what you can do after they’re no longer fit to be worn on the course (+1 for spikeless!). Although avoid wearing them on non-golf occasions if you want your spikeless pair to last for a longer time.
A subjective factor of consideration indeed, but an important one nevertheless. The appearance of golf shoes is important to more golfers than you think. Because, let’s all agree on this together, looking like a “professional” or “serious” golfer is a priority. Why else do we desire to purchase golf clubs that cost a fortune! For the advanced technology of course, but also because they make us look, thus feel like a Tour-level player.
Much in the same manner, an aesthetically pleasing pair of golf shoes is on our minds. In that case, which looks better?
Spiked golf shoes have a more traditional appearance whereas the spikeless kind looks more modern. But then there are so many choices available these days, you can choose between traditional and modern, irrespective of the inclusion or exclusion of spikes.
The general consensus, however, is that spikes appear to be more golf-like while spikeless are more trainer/sneaker-like. So it’s entirely up to you and your style!
Negatives About Spiked Golf Shoes:
- They’re more expensive.
- The hassle of replacing spikes once they wear out.
- Not the most comfortable.
- Cannot wear them off the course.
Negatives About Spikeless Golf Shoes:
- Traction is not the best quality.
- More likely to wear out sooner.
- Not suitable for hilly surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Comparing Spikeless and Spiked Golf Shoes
Do Spikes Offer Better Traction?
There’s no denying that spikes provide greater lateral stability than spikeless, even more so on hilly and damp surfaces. This means the former, no doubt, is more suitable for a diverse range of playing conditions.
Can Your Wear Spikeless Golf Shoes On All Courses?
Country clubs have a more upscale ground. So it’s only natural to wonder if you can go casually spikeless on a course like this.
Well, many top brands are now designing all sorts of modern as well as traditional spikeless golf shoes. And more and more golf courses are becoming more open and accepting to accommodate a wider spectrum of golfers in order to expand the game.
Which Type Is the Most Suitable for Beginner Golfers?
For newbies, spiked golf shoes seem more appropriate in that they help you form a solid base for the golf swing. With a secure, locked-in, stable foundation, it becomes easier to just focus on improving different swing mechanics to develop your game. Otherwise, you’ll be occupied with excess shifting and slipping during your swing.
Which Type Is the Most Preferred by Pro Golfers?
It’s just too obvious that pros like Tiger Woods prefer wearing metal spikes simply because they keep him anchored to the ground by providing added traction. But then there’s the downside of damaging greens, carpeted surfaces, wooden bridges, walkways, etc.
However, there are some top-class golfers who are not just wearing spikeless golf shoes but also loving them.
So What Is It – Spikeless or Spiked?
If you can’t decide, take into consideration the 5 most important factors – fit, comfort, traction, durability, and looks. Along with also thinking about versatility (can you wear them after your round of golf as well?), value for money (replaceable spikes?), etc.
Because, in the end, it’s all about how much you can get out of your golf shoes in terms of performance, monetary, and aesthetic worth. The great news is that NOW there are brands that offer lots and lots of options in both the spiked and spikeless categories.
But here’s the unbiased truth – spiked golf shoes work best for traction while their spikeless counterparts are much more comfortable to wear for the long rounds of golf.