Do spiked offer better grip? Are spikeless more comfortable? And most importantly, which are the best ones you should you be buying?
“Should I be wearing spiked or spikeless golf shoes when I play golf?” It’s a question many golfers wrestle with when it comes to picking a new pair of shoes.
Some golfers will undoubtedly have a preference either way in the spiked vs spikeless golf shoes debate – but are there any tangible performance benefits from either?
When it comes to convenience, there’s no debate. It’s fantastic to be able to wear a pair of golf shoes comfortable enough to wear as trainers that you can drive in, and wear in the clubhouse.
But when I’m playing ‘properly’ I do prefer to wear a pair of spiked golf shoes?
I feel like a good pair of spiked shoes keeps me nicely rooted to the ground.
I actually think changing your golf shoes before playing golf helps put you in a better frame of mind.
You’re putting on some golf-specific shoes, preparing yourself for the round ahead and getting tuned in mentally as you tie up your laces.
It also allows you to make use of the locker rooms rather than going from the car to the first tee.
Anyway, regardless of what your bizarre personal preferences are, let’s take a look at the technology to see how they differ from each other and ultimately, what are the best golf shoes on the market?
Spiked golf shoes vs spikeless golf shoes: Comfort
Many people will say that spikeless shoes are more comfortable but that could just be due to the fact they are often lighter.
Some spikeless shoes out there are so light you can barely feel them.
Many brands will argue that once a shoe becomes too light, it ceases to have the ability to perform properly as a golf shoe.
But there’s no real technological grounds on why a spiked model can’t be as comfortable.
Take the FootJoy Pro SL, one of golf’s most popular shoes.
From our testing, the Tour Alpha’s are more comfortable. They have an Optimised Performance Stabiliser which is a three-piece underfoot technology to hold the foot in place for the best traction.
Sometimes a spiked shoe has a more rigid structure because they are trying to keep the foot more stable through the swing.
But there’s no reason why a spiked shoe can’t be just as comfortable as a spikeless golf shoe.
Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes: Traction
Spikeless golf shoes were pretty much unheard of until Fred Couples rocked up at the 2010 Masters in a pair of Ecco Street.
Now I’d say there’s at least 50 per cent of tour players wearing spikeless.
One of the reasons for this is that they no longer believe there is a trade off when it comes to traction.
To be fair it’s quite rare for golfers, especially on the PGA Tour to be playing in slippery conditions.
But even in the wet conditions we’ve seen at recent Open Championships or Irish and Scottish Opens – a large percentage of the field have still opted for spikeless models.
I had thought nothing other than spiked shoes could get the job done during the winter but I actually found in one winter round this year that a spiked model ended up with a load of grass and mud stuck on the outsole.
This then hampered the traction.
A spikeless model doesn’t seem to pick up as much of the golf course. And I know which type of shoe greenkeepers prefer…
However, from my experience with spiked models, I believe these have all given me better traction than any spikeless model I have worn.
Under Armour use something called rotational resistance technology which adds more traction to the areas of your feet which need it most during the swing.
Puma’s three dimensional traction pods add versatility and traction from any kind of lie when out on the golf course.
So do spiked shoes offer more traction? In my opinion, they do.
Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes: Style
There aren’t many spiked golf shoes which look overly stylish. They’re the more traditional golf shoes, that’s for sure.
FootJoy Fuels still set the benchmark for classic spiked shoes with their athletic styling but most other brands opt for a more trainer-like (or even football boot) style with their spiked models.
There are some really smart spikeless shoes out their this year which look great with a pair of jeans and can be worn down the pub.
So what are better, spiked or spikeless?
The answer to this is ultimately ultimately down to personal preference. Before jumping in to buy a pair of new golf shoes then consider the above factors and how important each one is for your needs. If you need more traction, then you will rate spiked golf shoes higher. If versatility is a key feature, then you want a spikeless shoe you can wear anywhere.
The best spiked golf shoes
FootJoy Tour Alpha Golf Shoe
Every once in a while a golf shoe is released that breaks the mould and changes the perception of what can be expected from a premium golf shoe. The stunning FootJoy Tour Alpha is such a shoe. Featuring their proprietary Optimised Performance Stabiliser system (OPS) the Tour Alpha shoes provide the most advanced stability ever seen in a golf shoe, allowing the golfer to swing for the fences safe in the knowledge that the traction is locked-down. This is further enhanced by the FTF+ Dual Durometer Midsole which varies in softness in order to provide superior comfort and performance
- Premium construction
- Exceptional swing support
- Next level comfort
- Likely to be too substantial for the casual golfer
Under Armour Hovr Drive 2 E Golf Shoe
HOVR technology placement supports natural movement of the foot during your swing & provides ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact step after step. A Compression Mesh Energy Web contains & moulds HOVR foam to give back the energy you put in along with exceptional comfort.
- Superb breathability
- Toe guard for added durability
- One of the better looking spiked models
- Slightly firm out of the box
FootJoy Premier Series Packard Golf Shoes
Premium, hand-selected, soft full grain leather and luxurious calfskin details. Refinements only exceeded by the soft, supple sheepskin linings and lightweight performance materials. Introducing the revolutionary VersaTrax+ technology delivering unparalleled traction and stability in every playing condition and on every playing surface. Multiple durometers of TPU and Pulsar cleats by Softspikes® provide traction characteristics targeting different types of surfaces. Harder TPU elements and Pulsar cleats by Softspikes® for ultimate on course grip, and softer TPU for traction on harder surfaces.
- Grips well on any surface
- Exquisite detailing
- 100% waterproof
- Only two colours available
Puma Golf Men’s Ignite Articulate Golf Shoes
The Ignite Articulate is the most versatile performance shoe PUMA Golf has ever made. Designed with a mesh bootie construction replaces the traditional tongue for improved 360-degree fit, comfort, and support.
- Comprehensive grip from the new outsole
- 360° support
- Sharp, understated looks with plenty of colour options
- Very little difference to previous Puma spiked shoe
Adidas ZG21 Golf Shoes
The heavy, full spiked golf shoe that many of us grew up wearing have been dying a slow death over the past few seasons, with advancements in technology paving the way for much lighter spikeless designs to take over. Each year manufacturers develop ingenious spikeless soles that offer grip closer to that found with a spiked shoe without ever actually managing to match it.
- Supremely lightweight & comfortable
- Waterproof synthetic upper
- Six specifically placed spikes offer great levels of grip
- Some sections of the shoe are tricky to clean
FootJoy Hyperflex BOA Shoes
The innovative HYPERFLEX golf shoe has been designed to provide the ultimate athletic performance. Light, cushioning and waterproof to play at the highest level of golf.
- Modern, athletic styling
- 1 year waterproof guarantee
- Extremely comfortable, excellent fit and traction
- Absence of a traditional tongue makes it more tricky to slide your feet in
The best spikeless golf shoes
FootJoy Fuel Golf Shoe
The FootJoy Fuel Golf Shoes are another fantastic addition to the athletic category and will undoubtedly prove to be a hugely popular choice on the course this year. Featuring streamlined, waterproof, and synthetic uppers they deliver Tour-Proven performance and cutting edge styling. Sculptured design elements include a mid-foot bevel and an exaggerated platform.
- Enhanced grip
- Stylish and athletic looks
- Plenty of traction and waterproof protection
- Shoe upper could have more padding
Under Armour Hovr Tour SL Golf Shoes
Experience the comfort and traction of our spikeless golf shoes. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes on your swing, and with a wet traction sole for grip even in wet conditions, you’ll love them during any time of year. It’s time to switch your gears on the golf course.
- One of the best spikeless outsoles on the market
- Creates a ‘locked-in’ feeling
- Still offers plenty of comfort
- Slightly firm out of the box
Duca Del Cosma Men’s Churchill Golf Shoes
The Churchill shoe from Duca offers all the traditional style and sophistication, designed with a soft Italian leather upper for a supportive look and feel.
- Incredibly stylish
- Great detailing
- High quality materials used throughout
- Not ideal for 36 holes
Skechers Go Golf Drive 5 Golf Shoes
The Skechers GO GOLF Drive 5 Golf Shoes are another sleek and casual offering that delivers exceptional on-course performance in a relaxed fit. It is a lace-up golf design that features a leather and synthetic upper with a removable Arch Fit® insole and Goodyear® Performance Outsole. The shape of this superb shoe has been developed with twenty years of data from podiatrists and 120,000 unweighted foot scans and the result is a relaxed feet that provides plenty of room at the toe and forefoot and enhanced arch support. Weight dispersion is increased through a removeable insole and this technology helps the shoe mould to the shape of your foot and reduces shock impacts.
- Extremely comfortable
- Good waterproof properties
- Excellent cushioning around the heel
- Styling perhaps errs a little on the safe rather than eye-catching side
Ecco Biom C4 Golf Shoes
This hybrid golf shoe is crafted from durable leather with micro-perforated embossing and GORE-TEX Surround waterproof technology. So, even in the wettest of conditions, your feet will be kept dry.
- Supreme comfort
- Incredibly soft leather upper
- All-over breathability
- Toe area prone to staining
FootJoy Premiere Series Flint Golf Shoes
The FootJoy Premiere Series Flint Golf Shoe is FootJoy’s spikeless option from their new Premiere Series collection. It has a sleek leather upper featuring Pittards® premium full-grain leather which is completely waterproof and comes with a one-year waterproof warranty under normal use. FootJoy’s Premiere Series begins a new chapter for FootJoy. A modern reimagining of their traditional golf shoe style, developed with the world’s best players for excellent performance and uncompromising playing comfort.
- Ultra-soft sheepskin leather liner
- Waterproof, stable and comfortable
- Great aesthetics
- Premium price point may be a stumbling block