Spiked vs. spikeless golf shoes: What are the differences in performance?

Golf Equipment

Do spiked offer better grip? Are spikeless more comfortable? Equipment editor James Savage takes a look in this week’s Tech Talk

Spiked 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.

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

Take the FootJoy Pro SL (one of the most popular spikeless models on the market and on tour) and FJ’s latest spiked model, Tour-S.

From my testing, the Tour-S are more comfortable. They have a Polyurethane fit-bed which keeps the foot nicely cushioned and have soft premium leather.

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

Similarly with the Adidas Tour 360 Boost spiked shoes – they use the same foam cushioning as in their spikeless counterpart which makes them just as comfortable.

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

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

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

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 percent of tour players wearing spikeless.

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

One of the reasons for this is that they no longer believe their 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.

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

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…

Spiked vs spikeless golf shoes

However, from my experience with models like the FootJoy Tour-S, Under Armour Spieth 2, Ecco Cool, Adidas Tour 360 Boost, and Puma Ignite Pwradapt I believe these have all given me better traction than any spikeless model I have worn this year.

The FJ Tour-S have ‘traction pods’ on the outsole to keep you rooted to the ground, allowing you to swing more powerfully.

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.

Testing continues on the next page, where James comes to a final conclusion in one of golf’s hottest debates…

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