Different Types of Golf Shoes Explained (Golf Coach’s Tips)

Types of Golf Shoes Described by Golf Instructors at Tell Me More Golf with Lacing Systems and Styles

Golf is a game that demands precision, balance, and focus, and your choice of footwear can significantly impact your performance. Golf shoes are not just a fashion statement; they are a crucial tool that provides stability, traction, and comfort.

With a large range of options available, it is important to understand the different types of golf shoes available. As the leader of the Golf Instructor Team here at Tell Me More Golf, I will be analyzing the world of golf footwear, exploring materials, lacing systems, and styles to help you choose your next pair.

Types Of Golf Shoes

Golf shoes come in a variety of different types suited to different golfers and conditions.

The typical types of golf shoes are as follows:

  1. Traditional Golf Shoes (Cleats)
    These classic golf shoes are a staple on the golf course and are most likely what you think of when you hear “golf shoes.” Featuring plastic spikes on the outsole for traction, traditional golf shoes are often crafted from leather, combining comfort, support, and versatility.
  2. Spikeless Golf Shoes
    Spikeless golf shoes have gained popularity in recent years for their adaptability. Utilizing rubber nub-like patterns on the outsole, they offer grip without damaging the turf. These shoes tend to be lighter and can transition effortlessly from course to clubhouse.
  3. Golf Boots
    Golf boots are designed to tackle inclement weather. Offering protection against rain, mud, and general wet conditions, these shoes come with extra ankle support and water-resistant features, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable in a variety of course conditions. They are typically designed with durability and functionality in mind.
  4. Athletic Golf Shoes
    Athletic golf shoes, often referred to as sporty or hybrid golf shoes, have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional golf footwear. These models prioritize both comfort and functionality, and provide a casual look while offering the performance attributes needed on the course. Athletic golf shoes function as a hybrid between typical golf shoes and sneakers.


Golf Shoe Materials

While there is increasingly a variety of materials used in golf shoe manufacturing in recent years, most golf shoes still use the following selection of materials in their construction.

  1. Leather
    Leather exudes a timeless appeal and offers exceptional durability. It molds to your feet over time, providing a comfortable fit while retaining its shape and structure. Full-grain leather is a popular choice for golf shoes due to its natural texture and strength. It molds to your feet over time, providing a personalized fit that enhances comfort during every round. Synthetic leather is also a popular option due to its cheaper production cost.
  2. Waterproof Membranes
    Waterproof golf shoes are essential for maintaining comfort and focus on the course, even in wet conditions. Many modern golf shoes are equipped with waterproof membranes, such as GORE-TEX, which provide a barrier against moisture. These membranes also enhance breathability compared to shoes made with more traditional materials.
  3. Mesh
    Mesh panels and inserts are integrated into golf shoes to enhance breathability and airflow. These materials, preventing discomfort caused by sweaty feet. Mesh is commonly used in areas like the tongue and collar, where ventilation is essential. Shoes with mesh materials are perfect for golfers who play in hot climates year round and want to keep their feet as cool as possible.

Lacing Systems

Lacing systems may seem like a minor detail, and often get overlooked by golfers who are shopping for new cleats. However, lacing systems can have a major impact on the performance, fit, and comfort of a golf shoe.

There are a few common lacing systems that you will encounter when shopping for a pair of golf shoes.

Traditional Laces

Traditional laces are the lacing system most commonly found in golf shoes. As you might expect, they work like most other shoe laces you might encounter. By tightening or loosening the laces, you can fine-tune the fit to ensure your foot is secure within the shoe. Traditional laces also offer simplicity and familiarity, making them a popular choice for many golfers.

Boa Closure Lacing System

The Boa Closure System is a modern lacing technology that provides precision and convenience. Instead of traditional laces, Boa systems use a dial mechanism connected to steel or nylon wires that run through the shoe’s eyelets.

Turning the dial tightens the wires, securing the shoe around your foot.

This system offers micro-adjustments, allowing you to achieve an exact fit with a quick twist of the dial. Golf shoes with the Boa system are becoming increasingly popular due to their adjustability and convenience.

Elastic Laces

Elastic laces are designed to be slipped on, rather than untied and retied. This is possibly the most convenient method of lacing available in a golf shoe. They are designed to stretch to accommodate the foot, which is very convenient, but not necessarily secure. For this reason, they are often combined with hook-and-loop straps or other systems to provide a tight fit.

Hook-and-Loop Straps

Hook-and-loop straps, commonly known as Velcro straps, offer a quick and simple way to secure your golf shoes. These straps adhere to a corresponding surface, creating a secure closure. While not as adjustable as traditional laces, hook-and-loop straps are easy to use and provide a consistent fit.


Golf Shoe Styles

Golf shoes come in many styles to fit the course conditions, comfort, and personal style of every golfer. As described above, the most common golf shoe styles are traditional, athletic, spikeless, and golf boots.

However, there are also other less common styles such as golf sandals.

Selecting the right golf shoe style for you depends on factors such as:

  • Personal Style: Choose a style that reflects your fashion preferences and complements your golf attire.
  • Course Conditions: Consider the typical weather and terrain conditions of the courses you play on. We don’t recommend golf sandals for warm weather, but you could wear boots for wet weather.
  • Playing Style: Think about your playing style and whether you prioritize comfort, performance, or a combination of both.

What Makes A Good Golf Shoe (What To Look For)

With great manufacturers such as Adidas, Footjoy, Nike, and Puma, there are several important aspects of a golf shoe to look for in order to differentiate the good from the bad.

  1. Fit and Cushioning
    A snug fit with ample cushioning is essential for comfort during long rounds. Proper arch support is crucial to prevent fatigue and discomfort.
  1. Traction and Stability
    An effective outsole provides traction on various terrains, allowing you to maintain balance during swings and putts.
  2. Waterproof Capability
    Waterproof golf shoes keep your feet dry in wet conditions, enhancing your comfort and preventing distractions caused by wet feet.
  3. Breathability
    Golf shoes with breathable materials prevent moisture buildup and help regulate temperature, ensuring your feet stay comfortable throughout your game.


Golf Shoe Bottoms

The outsole of a golf shoe directly affects grip and stability. While traditional spiked shoes offer excellent traction on grass, spikeless shoes provide versatility and can be worn beyond the course.

Some models even combine both options, featuring replaceable spikes for different conditions.

Your course conditions should be taken into account when choosing the right golf shoe bottoms. Soft spikes or spikeless shoes may be fine for normal conditions, but you may want more traction in wetter conditions. Be sure to choose wisely to ensure you are stable during your golf swing.

How To Buy Golf Shoes

When purchasing a pair of golf shoes you have plenty of options. You can buy online, from a big box retailer, or even from your local pro shop. Regardless of where you buy, we recommend taking the following steps:

1. Try Before You Buy

Visit a store to try on different brands and models. Wear the same socks you would use on the course to ensure an accurate fit.

2. Read Reviews

Research different brands and read reviews from fellow golfers to get insights into the comfort, durability, and performance of specific models.

3. Consider Your Playing Style

Choose a shoe that complements your playing style. If you prioritize walking the course, opt for comfort and lightweight designs.

4. Quality Matters

Invest in well-known brands that have a reputation for quality. While cost-effective options exist, a reliable golf shoe is an investment in your game.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are proper golf shoes?

Proper golf shoes are footwear specifically designed for the golf course. They typically feature traction elements (cleats or nubs) on the sole to provide stability and prevent slipping during the golf swing.

What shoes does Tiger Woods wear?

Tiger Woods has endorsed various golf shoe models throughout his career, often working closely with Nike Golf. However, his choice of golf shoes has evolved over time, and he has also used models from other brands.

What are golf cleats?

Golf cleats are protrusions or spikes on the sole of golf shoes designed to provide traction on the course. They help golfers maintain balance and stability during swings, especially in wet or hilly conditions.

What is a golf shoe?

A golf shoe is a specialized type of footwear designed for playing golf. It is engineered to offer stability, support, and comfort during a round of golf, while also adhering to golf course etiquette and dress codes.


Golf shoes are more than just a fashion statement; they are essential equipment that directly influences your performance on the course. By understanding the various types, materials, lacing systems, and styles available, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your playing style and personal preferences. This guide, curated by our team at Tell Me More Golf, should prove helpful in picking the right golf shoes for you.


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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