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Style Matters: Do I need to buy ‘golf shoes’ ?

written by Team Bunker 25/01/2019

Like many of you, I’m sure you didn’t get everything that you wanted from Santa. I did ok, but didn’t get the main prize…new golf shoes. Apparently it was “far too confusing” as I didn’t nominate a favourite brand, but did stipulate that I didn’t want something that looked like a pair of football boots.

I have spent some time this week looking at new golf shoes and seeing some of the latest styles on show at the PGA show in Orlando.  

We have all been told for years by the big footwear brands that we must have shoes that give a solid connection to the ground, achieved through having heavy leather soled shoes.  These have proper metal spokes to ensure the foot gripped the ground all the way through the swing. The main body of the shoe was generally a brogue made in a heavy thick leather making sure your feet are held in position while you smash that drive…straight down the fairway… occasionally.   Some shoes even had additional rows of spikes on the edges that were angled to retain the grip. It was all about a solid connection to the ground to allow you to propel the ball. Then along came the ‘soft spike’ and the upset that caused. It took about 10 years for these to be properly accepted.

How the golf shoe industry has changed. All it took was a legend like Freddie Couples to wear a ‘tennis shoes’ at the 2010 Masters shooting 66 in the first round.  He was spotted by the tv commentators who sent someone to as why he was wearing what looked like tennis shoes. His answer…”because they are comfortable”…what! Seriously!! From that moment, the world changed for golf shoes.

Now golf shoes (from sports brands anyway) are made to look like football boots or trainers. They are lightweight, great news as those old brogues were heavy, with various support mechanisms and more ‘technology’ that an F1 car. These new shoes are cool and colourful and provide an exciting alternative to the still popular classics golf shoes.

However, my issue is the sole.  The soles are now wearable on and off the course so does that mean we don’t need to have a solid connection to the ground when swinging the club?  There are a large variety of shapes and details on these soles but nothing that really looks like it will make them connect to the turf when driving off the tee.

Does that mean that the manufactures of the old brogue styles were “spinning a story” that suited there marketing, or are the new shoes just ignoring the need for a golfer to have a solid connection to the ground.  Frankly I’m not so sure. I’ve always thought the spikes were an important part of the functionality required in a golf shoe just like studs on football boots. They also made you feel like you were going out or dressing up to take part in your sport, but the new ones are just like trainers. I wonder if I actually need the new look golf shoes, or should I just wear my trainers?  I never have any issue off the course with what I wear on my feet in terms of comfort, so if I really don’t need to have a solid connection to the ground why don’t I just wear said trainers to play golf?

I used to really like golf shoes but now it seems I really don’t need them.

 

Jack

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