Golf Sandals and Why You Shouldn't Wear Golf Sandals and That They Are Bad According to Golf Experts

Golf sandals have become a fairly contentious topic in some golf circles and country clubs.

I am the head golf instructor here at Tell Me More Golf with over 50 years of golf experience.

I’ve heard some golfers claim that golf sandals provide “the best of both worlds” when it comes to comfort and traction, while the majority of others believe they are unsafe. 

There is a good reason that the golf shoe has remained largely unchanged over the years, as a sturdy closed toed shoe with added spikes for traction has proven itself to be the best design in terms of grip, sun protection, and player safety. 

Are Golf Sandals Allowed On Courses?

The vast majority of golf courses around the world do not consider golf sandals or any open toed sandals to be “proper golf attire,” and are therefore not allowed. While some low cost public golf courses do not enforce a dress code, it is never recommended to turn up to your local golf course in anything besides proper golf shoes. 

In most instances, the only place that a pair of sandals has on a golf course is in the locker room.

Some golfers choose to wear a comfortable and loose pair of sandals or athletic slides to the golf course, before changing into their much tighter and stiffer spiked golf shoes. 

Even with more casual and “laid back” public golf courses where dress codes either do not exist or are not strictly enforced, golf sandals may not be allowed for safety reasons. An open toed shoe can easily lead to major injury, as the tops of the feet are exposed and little to no ankle support or stability is provided by their design. 

With so many different golf shoe options on the market today to choose from, there is little reason to settle for the inferior design of the golf sandal. In fact, many of the most affordable golf shoes on the market are priced lower than the most popular golf sandal models, while also providing better ankle and foot support. 


Why Golf Sandals Are a Bad Idea

There are many reasons why it is not a great idea to wear golf sandals out for a round at your local golf course, and the majority of them are related to golfer health and safety. There are plenty of dangerous hazards and uneven walking surfaces around golf courses, and the best way to stay safe is with a sturdy closed toed shoe. 

For starters, golfers are out in direct sunlight for three to five hours at a time on average during a round of golf.

Golf hats and sunscreen are commonplace on the golf course, as nearly every golfer is concerned with sun exposure over a prolonged period of time. 

An often overlooked and potentially dangerous side effect associated with wearing golf sandals is the fact that the golfer’s feet are not covered or protected from the sun in any way. The tops of the feet rarely see direct sunlight for most people, and therefore they are likely to quickly burn and incur sun damage. 

Anyone who has had a nasty sunburn on the tops of their feet can attest that it is both extremely painful and inconvenient during the healing process. Putting on a regular pair of socks and work shoes can be a painful chore each morning, and the friction caused by walking adds to the discomfort throughout the day. 


During the golf swing, massive amounts of force and pressure are pushed through the body, and nearly all of that pressure is pushed through the legs and feet. This is the reason that golf shoes are traditionally spiked, as better traction leads to a more sturdy base for a quality golf swing.

While the specially designed golf sandals that are available for purchase today come equipped with golf spikes, the major design flaw when it comes to supporting a golfer while swinging is the lack of ankle support. 

There are two primary designs to choose from on the market today when it comes to golf sandals. The first is a traditional “flip flop” style sandal with a thong strap, with the other being a more intricate “wrap around” design equipped with velcro straps.

While these “wrap around” style sandals technically surround the golfer’s ankles, the lack of a sturdy outer frame present on traditional shoes make them nearly as dangerous as the “flip flop” design, and neither option will provide nearly enough support to confidently prevent injury during a round of golf. 


Footjoy Golf Sandals Review  

The Footjoy company is largely responsible for boosting the prevalence of golf sandals over the past few years, as their “Men’s Golf Sandals Shoes” have been popping up at pro shops and golf equipment retailers all over the United States and abroad. 

While there are currently no Footjoy women’s golf sandals available for purchase just yet, there has been plenty of buzz within the industry about a possible release of a women’s line of either traditionally spiked, or spikeless golf sandals.

There is a good reason that other popular brands like Nike, Puma, or even Skechers have not ventured into the production of open toed golf sandals. While this particular model of golf sandal has become fairly popular in recent years, the team here at Tell Me More Golf always recommends a traditional, closed toed golf shoe for a proper round of golf. 

The best, and perhaps only, practical use for a golf sandal of this style is for casual practice sessions.

Working on your short game requires far less effort and force during the golf swing, as pitch shots and chips demand touch and feel as opposed to power. 

The Footjoy golf sandal is best used for casual short game practice lasting one hour or less. Grabbing a bucket of balls to chip and putt for one hour is a good use for golf sandals, as many golfers work on their short game in a more comfortable pair of shoes. 

It should be noted that longer practice sessions still require a closed toed shoe, as the tops of the feet can easily become sunburned while wearing golf sandals. Traditional golf shoes with better ankle support are also recommended for taking full swings, regardless of club selection. 

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Are golf sandals allowed?

In general, golf sandals are rarely allowed on the golf course. You may be able to wear them out to your local driving range, or for an hour or so of short game practice, but it is unlikely that your local golf course will allow them. Most golf courses enforce dress codes, and closed toed shoes are required at even some of the more lenient courses. 

Do golf sandals really work?

Golf sandals do not provide the adequate ankle and foot support to be considered a functioning pair of golf shoes. While they do come equipped with spikes on the bottom for traction, there is nowhere near enough strength to support a golfer during a full speed golf swing. 

Can I use golf sandals for walking?

When it comes to walking and hiking, golf sandals are a much better option compared to actually playing a round of golf. The added traction spikes make them superior to other sandals in terms of grip, though ankle high closed toed hiking boots are recommended for more serious journeys. 

Are sandals good for golf?

Sandals are not a great option when it comes to golfing, and should not be considered a substitute for golf shoes. The current golf sandals available on the market today are only suitable for short chipping and putting sessions, and a proper pair of closed toed golf shoes should always be used on the golf course to help prevent injuries. 



While the idea of specially designed sandals for use on the golf course may seem like a good idea at first for some golfers, they are not very practical for a number of different reasons. 

First, there is a good chance that your local golf course will not allow you to play in golf sandals, as closed toed shoes are featured on even the most lenient of dress codes. Sandals also do not provide adequate support for the foot and ankle, which is very important considering the amount of force that is generated during each golf swing. 

Finally, the fact that the tops of a golfer’s feet are exposed to the sun is a major design flaw when it comes to golf sandals. 

Many rounds of golf can last four hours or longer, and stopping during a round to apply sunscreen to the feet is not many golfer’s idea of a good time. 

For these reasons, the team here at Tell Me More Golf always recommends using a traditional pair of closed toed golf shoes when playing 18, and the only practical use we see for golf sandals is for a quick short game practice session.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

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