The golf swing features a lot of moving parts and requires a great deal of balance during backswing, impact, and follow-through. Golf shoes are designed with stability features that will keep you on point and accurate when playing. Designed with the athletic motion in mind, they also take into account how much walking is required when playing a round of golf, as well as the various surfaces and elements you may encounter out on the course. You wouldn’t play basketball in loafers, and you certainly shouldn’t play golf without properly designed footwear. Read on to learn about proper sizing, materials, waterproofing, and how to select a pair of shoes that will keep you comfortable and secure while playing.
Fit and Width
For the most part, golf shoes are sized just like any other shoe. This is great news, since you probably already know your shoe size. But, do you know your foot width? What about your arch length? Have you given much thought to foot volume lately? Here is everything you need to know to make sure your next pair of golf shoes are a perfect fit.
Measuring Your Feet
The easiest and most accurate way to measure your feet is with a Brannock device. Whether you have heard the name before, you have definitely seen one of these devices in your lifetime. It is the metal contraption you adjust around your bare foot to find your shoe size. Its sliding rulers measure heel-to-toe length, arch length, and foot width. Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy one to get an amazing fit. Go into a golf supply shop or any shoe store and use one for free. While you are there, ask a store associate to help you measure your feet for extra accuracy.
The numbers on the side of the Brannock device refer to shoe size. These numbers will appear on the heel-to-toe ruler and on the arch ruler. Most likely, both numbers will be the same or close together. If there is not much difference, go with the heel-to-toe size. If the difference is dramatic (more than one full size), take the average of the two sizes to start. This will help you make sure your shoe flexes in the correct spot.
The letters on the side-to-side axis measure the widest part of your foot. These shoe widths will give you an idea of whether narrow, medium, or wide golf shoes will be the best fit for you. Depending on where you purchase shoes or what brand you favor, sizes may be displayed in different units.
- Measure your feet while standing, so they are bearing weight and are at their full width.
- Measure both of your feet. One will be slightly longer or wider than the other. If there is a distinct sizing difference between left and right, you will usually go with the bigger size and width. (The exception to this rule is when there is a large difference between your heel-to-toe and arch length measurements.)
- Record your observations for later use, including US and UK measurements if both are available.
- Periodically measure your feet to see if they have changed. It is not uncommon for feet to change throughout adulthood.
Once you know your foot size and width and have a pair of shoes in hand, there are some simple tests that will help you determine whether your golf shoes will give you the comfort, support, balance, and range of motion you want.
- Bend them. While a stiff sole can mean added support and protection for your feet, there should still be some bend to your golf shoes. More about that in the “Get on your toes” test.
- Twist them. When we walk, our feet naturally rotate slightly. This is called pronation. Some of us rotate our feet only slightly, others more dramatically to the inside or the outside of their feet. Gently twist your shoe to see if it accommodates your unique range of movement.
- Put your golf shoes on with appropriate socks. How do the shoes feel? A key difference between everyday shoes and golf shoes is that golf shoes should have a snug fit in the middle.
- How does the heel height feel? If you tend to wear flat or raised shoes for casual use, you will probably find that a similarly designed golf shoe will be the most comfortable for you.
- Get on your toes. This tests arch length compatibility. You want your golf shoes to move in the same place that your foot naturally bends when you walk—i.e., where your toes meet the ball of your foot.
- Wiggle your toes. There should be about a half an inch between the tip of your longest toe and the front wall of the shoe.
- Try to move your heel around. A millimeter or two of space between your heel and the back of your golf shoe is good. A heel that fits too snugly or allows too much movement can mean blisters when you are on the golf course.
- Look at the tongue of the golf shoe. Can you see about a half inch of it between the upper eyelets? That’s about what it should be. If that space is larger, you may need a wider shoe. If very little of the golf shoe’s tongue is visible, try on a pair of shoes that is narrower.
Getting the right pair of golf shoes doesn’t have to be a mysterious process. There are some amazing deals on GolfDiscount.com, making it a great place to get quality golf shoes without breaking the bank. You might not be able to test your shoes immediately, but there are some tricks for making sure your buying experience is as easy and successful as possible.
- When you are browsing for shoes, look for product reviews. You can also do an Internet search for golf shoe model(s) you are interested in, which will usually give you product reviews and forum discussions that will help you make quality decisions.
- Check out the manufacturer’s sizing charts before your purchase.
- If you have questions, call our customer support number (1.800.394.GOLF).
- Once you receive your golf shoes, try them on and check for quality fit. If you need to exchange them, there’s no hassle to do so. Check out our return and exchange policy here
Breathability and Waterproofing
When you are purchasing a new pair of golf shoes, make sure you consider how they will hold up under the specific conditions where you usually golf. What is the weather like? What are the courses like? In many cases, waterproofing will be key. If you golf in hotter climates, breathability will be an especially important factor. If you golf in cooler climates, thick Gore-Tex can help keep your feet warm and dry. While there are plenty of options for quality golf shoe materials, there are three major categories we will look at: leather, Gore-Tex, and synthetics.
- Leather: Leather is king in the world of golf shoes. It is no surprise that most classic golf shoe designs use it, and even after more than a hundred years it is still fashionable. The reason that leather has stood the test of time is that it provides weatherproofing, breathability, foot support, and style. Looking for other perks of leather golf shoes? Once they are broken in, they feel wonderful. And, they can keep their form well and outlast many non-leather options if you clean them regularly and use a cedar shoe tree.
- Gore-Tex: Golf shoes made with Gore-Tex or any other breathable performance fabric succeed in keeping your feet dry in two ways. First, they keep water out. Second, they are designed specifically to let perspiration escape. Gore-Tex golf shoes are generally heavier than leather golf shoes and hold in more heat, making them preferable for golfing in cold, wet weather. For areas with extremely cold conditions, you could also go with a golf boot made with Gore-Tex or similar materials.
- Synthetics: Generally speaking, golf shoes made with synthetic materials (aka plastic), such as synthetic leather, polyester, or nylon, are more affordable than leather or Gore-Tex shoes. If you choose golf shoes made using synthetic materials, it is helpful to understand what you are actually getting. For instance, synthetic leather has a tendency to not be as water resistant nor as breathable as other options. And, golf shoes covered with polyester or nylon—while water resistant—have limited breathability and can leave your feet feeling like they are immersed in a swamp. So, while they can be easy on the wallet in the short term, they end up needing to be replaced sooner than leather or performance-material golf shoes.