If you’re an experienced golfer, you know shoes are just as important as clubs, gloves, bags, markers, and so on.
Everything must gel together so that your experience while golfing is a smooth one.
What happens if you wear shoes that are too tight? What if you play in the rain with permeable shoes? If you’re not fully prepared, bad equipment can affect your performance. Since you’re standing 95% of the time, you want to make sure that you’re getting the support you need for a 4-5 hour walk with a bag, whether it’s on a pull cart or not.
This being said, you don’t have to necessarily buy golf shoes. There are golfers wearing hiking shoes that are just as practical. At the end of the day, you want to feel comfortable and light on your feet.
What Should You Look For?
Many may think it’s simple, but there’s science behind choosing your next pair of golf shoes.
Ever wondered how great golfers manage to generate so much force behind their swing? By using the ground for leverage. The force you push into the ground is the same force you pull back up from the ground to help you swing. For that reason, you see a lot of golfers squatting at the start of their downswing.
This technique is called “ground reaction force” and it results in a very powerful swing.
To do this, you must have your feet firm on the ground so that you can keep your balance throughout the movement. Doing that successfully requires having shoes with great traction because they allow you to swing freely without losing stability.
Look For Comfortable Shoes, Too
As I’ve mentioned, if we’re looking at the time spent standing, comfort becomes a priority. You don’t want your feet to be aching every time you play, so you ought to choose comfortable shoes.
The good news is that pretty much every modern shoe is comfortable. In fact, some of the spikeless shoes are akin to running shoes in terms of comfort, so you can get the best of both worlds: comfort and stability for a powerful swing.
However, if the goal is to maximize performance, the ideal shoes are not walking or running shoes. If you’re going to perform rotations, and transfer your weight from one end of your body to the other, you want shoes that take full advantage.
Your shoes will have to be soft, but also stable enough to keep your ankles solid. Otherwise, you might get injured, or end with a lot of blisters and calluses. The more time you spend on the course, the more you evolve. If you have to take time off every time you play because your feet can’t handle the pressure, then that’s a bummer.
Is Aesthetics Important?
Who cares about looks? Well, deep down, probably everyone. All humans have a degree of vanity, which means everyone cares (a little bit) about how others perceive them.
This being said, why go with the ugliest pair, when you can have the most stylish pair? Modern shoes account for comfort, stability, and aesthetics in one package. Don’t be afraid to wear a pair of blue shoes to go with your white shirt.
Diversify, and be the most stylish golfer on the court.
Looking Out For The Rain
Depending on where you live, you may want to consider shoes with a waterproof feature. If you’re in the UK (for example), you should brace for the bad weather, because you are most certainly going to encounter rain.
As you probably know, playing with soggy feet is one of the worst feelings ever. If you have shoes with waterproofing and you still get soggy feet, then you probably chose the wrong pair.
That usually happens when you buy cheap shoes, unfortunately.
Let’s say you live in a place where it rains occasionally. In this case, you can consider shoes that are water-resistant and not fully waterproof because you won’t be dealing with the rain as much. However, I’d recommend you get waterproofed shoes if you live in places like Ireland, or Scotland where it rains very frequently.
Technology VS Price
Millions are spent developing high-end golf shoes. Brands compete with each other to create the best shoes, and at the same time, most people aren’t aware of that technology.
Most people think about technology in a very visual way, like a computer, an iPhone, and a Tesla. But technology is pretty much in everything we put our hands on. Shoes are no different.
The technology in golf shoes can have a tremendous effect on your performance since it can enhance your grip, and provide you with things like waterproofing, breathability, stability, and comfort. Naturally, the more expensive the shoes, the more high-end technology it has — although it might not necessarily be the best.
Adaptability and Fit
How does the shoe fit? That alongside softness will determine how comfortable the shoe is.
Let’s be honest, pro players get custom made shoes, that adapt to their feet like gloves. Depending on the type of feet you have (wide or thin) feet, it will affect your choice.
Ideally, you want shoes that snug your feet, but not too tightly, otherwise it will cause discomfort over time. Since you can’t (or don’t want to) have custom-made shoes, you need to look at the size and shape of your foot to choose shoes that fit perfectly and don’t strain your feet over time.
Spikeless VS Soft Spike
Should you get spiked or spikeless shoes? That is one of the big questions for people starting. At the end of the day, it’s a preferential issue that can also be situational.
What Are Spikeless Shoes?
These shoes have spikes but they are molded into the soles.
Visually, they are spikeless, but the spikes are there. Unlike soft spikes shoes, the spikes are typically shorter and non-removable. Spikeless shoes are perfect for dry, firm conditions.
Generally, they also offer you less of a grip but are also more comfortable than spiked shoes.
What Are Soft Spike Shoes?
Unlike the spikeless shoes, the soft spike shoes have removable cleats on the soles.
They used to be made from metal, but nowadays they’re made from soft plastic. It’s common knowledge that soft spike shoes give you more traction, and thus are perfect for powerful players. My suggestion is that you try both of them, and feel which one feels the best when you’re playing.
See which one adapts better to your golfing style.
More Importantly, They Ought to Be 100% Synthetic
That’s right, the most important aspect of vegan golf shoes is that they should be fully synthetic. While it’s not that difficult to find shoes that don’t have any leather in them — you should always check the label to make sure.
Either that or ask customer support.
Careful, The Glue Might Not Be Vegan
Finding whether or not shoes are made from leather (or wool) is quite straightforward. However, the real challenge is finding out whether the glue used on the shoes is vegan.
That information is not usually disclosed, so you might have to contact the manufacturer. PETA has showered us with some clarity on this topic. Here’s what they have to say:
Animal proteins like casein from milk or collagen from flesh, bones, skins, tendons, ligaments, and other body parts are used to make animal-based glues. To extract collagen from tissue, animal parts are cleaned, softened, and boiled in water to create a stock. The stock is concentrated and impurities are removed. Essentially the same process has been used for thousands of years to make glue.
The use of animal ingredients in industrial glues is increasingly uncommon since a large variety of synthetic adhesives now exist, each with different applications. These adhesives are often chosen over animal based glues because they can be produced at a constant rate and to meet specific manufacturing standards. Synthetic adhesives can be customized to perform well for a business’s specific application and manufacturers may be hesitant to reveal trade secrets about what exactly is in their adhesives.
We encourage you to contact shoe companies directly about the type of adhesives they use. In doing so, you will be showing these companies that there is a demand for more animal-friendly materials and, ultimately, helping to change the industry. You might also consider writing to vegan shoe companies to find out what specific synthetic glues are being used and why they were selected. Companies expect to hear from organizations like PETA, but when they hear from their customers, it sends an even stronger message—that cruelty to animals is bad for business and won’t be tolerated.
According to the message above, synthetic glue is overtaking traditional glue, which is made from animal protein. However, you will never know unless you contact the manufacturers.
List of 6 Vegan Golf Shoes
Now that we’ve gone over the different golf shoes (soft spike, spikeless), and we’ve talked about the major differences in each, I want to present you with a list of the top 3 for each. In this list, I’ve gathered a list of 6 vegan golf shoes. where three are spikeless and the remaining are spiked. If you’re interested, you can use this list as a testing pool to see which one fits you the best.
Top 3 Spikeless Shoes
#1 – Callaway Balboa Vent Golf Shoe
While there’s an upgraded version of the Balboa Vents available, people often stick to what works. The Original Balboa Vents are reliable, comfortable, and are known to have incredible traction — which is an impressive feat for spikeless shoes.
They’re not as stylish as their successor, but they have been around long enough to be proven and tested to work. For summer golf shoes, they’re an ideal choice, but I wouldn’t wear them in the rain since they’re not advertised to be waterproof.
If you’re looking for reliable shoes at an affordable price, the original Callaway Balboa Vent’s are more than worthy. In fact, they’re superior to a great number of shoes at a higher price point. Plus, you can count on the numerous positive reviews they have on Amazon, which proves how good they are.
#2 – Callaway Balboa Vent 2.0 Golf Shoe
These bad boys are engineered to provide you with comfort and stability as you walk on the golf course. Being lightweight and spikeless adds to the comfort, but its Opti-soft EVA midsole is what gives you an edge in long golf sessions. Plus, they boast the patented Dura Rubber traction control lugs that give you extra traction for powerful swings.
This being said, this shoe snugs very tightly to your feet, so I’d take caution and try them in-store first, especially if you have wide feet.
Although they’re riddled in positive reviews (on Amazon), there are also reviews mentioning their lack of durability, which poses quite the problem for more hardcore players. Other than that, you can count on the comfort and breathability they provide on hot summer days, which is crucial if you play long sessions. Considering the amount of technology this shoe has, it’s priced affordably.
#3 – FootJoy Men’s Superlites XP Golf Shoes
Younger golfers might appreciate this shoe the most because it has a modern and sleek design. However, if you’re more of a traditional golfer, you’re probably more interested in whether or not the shoes are reliable.
Anyway, as the name suggests, these are very light. So light that you won’t feel them. They’re also equipped with a breathable mesh that keeps your feet fresh, which is quite useful for long golf sessions in a warm climate. The comfort level of these shoes is also quite high, since the foam and flexible nature of the mesh keep your feet stable, without them being snugged too tightly.
Additionally, you may also use these shoes in moderately rainy weather, since they have a durable, waterproof construction. All in all, they’re light, breathable, comfy, and have a decent grip.
Top 3 Spiked Shoes
#1 – New Balance Spiked Golf Shoes
Are you about to walk 18 holes on your next golf session? Then take these with you. They’re stocky but light and comfortable on your feet. Plus, they’re built with premium materials that are durable and waterproof, despite the affordable price.
If you want an all-weather golf shoe with great traction, these New Balance shoes will probably not disappoint you. The good news is that they’re 100% synthetic and are something a vegan can wear. Yes, they’re built with “microfiber leather uppers”, but microfiber leather is just another name for faux leather or PU leather.
Besides, they’re very stylish and could be used for a casual Starbucks visit if not for the cleats.
#2 – FootJoy Originals
Want traditional-looking shoes? Here you have them.
These were designed with the old-school golfer in mind, so they’re a more popular choice among older men. They’re also known as extremely durable shoes among the golf community.
The product itself is well designed, comfortable, and can withstand long walks. Part of what makes this product really good is the DuraMax construction. Its durable construction provides both stability and great traction for steady and powerful swings.
If you want reliable shoes that give you the classic golfer look, then you can’t better than the FootJoy Originals.
#3 – Nike Golf Durasport 4
Personally, I don’t like how these Nike look — but they’re very stable and comfortable. The midsole and outer sole are made from high-quality and durable materials which make the shoe a sturdy and long-lasting option.
Furthermore, the upper mesh is water-resistant, so they’re usable under moderate rain. They’re also very affordable, which is why most people lean towards these shoes. One thing you should keep in mind is that these shoes run very tight, so if you have wide feet you should look for more flexible shoes.
Additionally, they come with an easy lock system, so if you want to replace the cleats (depending on the weather and terrain), you can do so quite easily. All in all, they’re a good bang for your buck but are few notches below the other options.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the perfect vegan golf shoes don’t exist.
You must test different shoes to see which one is deserving of being bought more than once. For instance, the Callaway Balboa Vent Golf Shoe is very reliable, so people often make a second purchase once it wears down.
At the end of the day, the shoe must be comfortable and practical.
This mix is extremely important if you want to be at ease while swinging. If the shoes are comfortable but don’t help your swing because of poor stability, then you must find ones that can do both.
I’d say that the ‘visual’ is the least important aspect of golf, but nowadays you can find all the qualities packed in one pair. As I said, try different golf shoes and see which one fits your feet the best. You should feel GREAT while swinging.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
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