Do Golf Shoes Help You Play Better Golf?

By David W. Berner
Golf shoes help you keep stable, flexible and balanced while you swing and on the putting green.
Golf shoes help you keep stable, flexible and balanced while you swing and on the putting green.

Many golf newbies wonder why they should buy shoes made specifically for the game. The answer is simple: Golf shoes are specifically designed to give players stability, balance and flexibility during the unique motion of a golf swing. If the player is slipping or sliding during the swing movement, it is hard to make good contact with the golf ball and consequently difficult to produce good shots.

Balance

Unlike other athletic shoes, golf shoes have a larger sole and a broader shoe base. Because the golf swing is performed while standing still, it's necessary to have a larger shoe base so the player can maintain good balance. Running shoes, tennis shoes or shoes made for team sports do not have such a broad base because quick or sustained foot motion is more a part of these sports than golf.

Stability

If you swing a club in your bare feet, you'll notice that there is far more foot action that you might have thought. Because of this, the more stability a shoe can give a player the better. Most golf shoes have built-in stabilizers along the side of the arches to help keep the feet from shifting or sliding right and left. Spikes are also part of the golf shoe, which help keep the feet from sliding on wet or uneven turf.

Flexibility

Many times golfers play on irregular, hilly ground, requiring shoes that that are supple. Because golfers must sometimes swing a club on an awkward slope, the golf shoe is designed to be flexible. Other types of athletic footwear, such as shoes worn for football, basketball or baseball, are made to hold a player's foot and ankle in place. But golf requires a bit of elasticity in its footwear.

Comfort

If a golfer plays 18 holes and walks the course, he can cover between four and six miles. With this in mind, finding golf shoes that are comfortable for walking long distances, allow your foot to breathe a bit and are waterproof will help your performance. Look for shoes with padded inside soles for the most comfort.

History

Golf shoes have come a long way from the stiff, metal-spiked shoes of the 1940s and 1950s. Nearly all now come with plastic or rubber spikes These not only help preserve the conditions of the greens, but they also are more comfortable for the player. Advances in technology have allowed shoes with better support and stability and have helped produce lighter and more supple materials to be used in the manufacturing of golf shoes.

About the Author

David W. Berner is an award-winning journalist, writer and broadcaster. HIs memoir, "Accidental Lessons," was released in February 2009. His audio documentary, "Pebble Beach Stories," celebrates the ties between golfers and famed California golf links. Berner has covered stories as diverse as the 2008 presidential election to coyote sightings in Chicago's Lincoln Park.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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