The Best Golf Shoes of 2023
While golf may seem like an easy-on-the-body sport, for walkers like me, golf shoes might just be the most important piece of golf gear out there. According to my tracker watch, I burned 1,900 calories walking a flat, relatively short 18-hole course the other day, and believe me, my feet felt it. In the past, golf shoes prioritized grip (and maybe looking like church shoes) above all else, and I still remember how uncomfortable I thought they were as a kid. No longer: As the sport has evolved, so have the shoes. Shoe brands are leaning into better-looking profiles, more comfortable materials, and increased performance.
What to Look For in Golf Shoes
A quality pair of golf shoes should last you quite a while if you take care of them. Over the years, shoes have become far more comfortable and stylish, so finding a pair that fits your wardrobe and needs is easier than ever. Here’s what to consider when shopping for golf shoes.
Golf shoes will be on your feet for a good chunk of the day, so comfort should be priority number one. Many modern golf shoes feature cushioned midsoles similar to trainers or running shoes. However, the sole geometry of a golf shoe is typically flatter and the midsole is usually dense and firm; together, these features create a stable platform for your swing (flatter soles allow for more ground contact as you swing, so you feel less wobbly on your feet). Most golfers will appreciate options that feature a balanced amount of cushioning: Foam that’s firm enough to maintain swing stability but soft enough to keep your feet comfortable while walking around the course.
Waterproofing is another important consideration. Unless you live in the desert, most golfers will encounter dew-covered ground or rainy conditions at some point. The last thing you want is to play a round in wet shoes. Like with hiking and running shoes, the challenge is to wick moisture from inside the shoe (so your feet don’t get overly sweaty) while keeping exterior moisture at bay.
Some golf shoes feature Gore-Tex liners, which offer maximum water resistance but aren’t as breathable. Others use a waterproofing treatment (like NeverWet) that’s applied or sprayed onto the upper of the shoe. These treatments cause water to bead up and roll off the shoe instead of penetrating the upper. Because these treatments can degrade over time, they aren’t quite as water-resistant as Gore-Tex, but because they don’t require adding an extra layer or membrane to the upper, they’re more breathable. If you deal with wet course conditions often, opt for Gore-Tex. If you just need to protect your feet from occasional morning dew, shoes with a water-resistant treatment should be fine.
Spiked Golf Shoes vs. Spikeless Golf Shoes
The other major decision you’ll need to make is whether to opt for spiked or spikeless shoes (sometimes called hybrid golf shoes). While the right shoe for you comes down to your personal preference, there are distinct advantages to both spiked and spikeless golf shoes. For frequent golfers or those who play a variety of courses, having a pair of each is ideal: That way you have shoes for all conditions. Casual golfers can get away with one good pair.
Spiked Golf Shoes
These are the more traditional option. As the name indicates, they feature small, typically replaceable spikes in high-torque areas around the outsole (usually at the heel and forefoot). Spiked shoes are advantageous in wet conditions or on softer ground, as they more effectively grip the soil when planting your feet to hit a golf shot. That grip leads to better stability and balance, which in theory should create more consistent swings. They’re also a good pick for players with big, powerful swings, as the added grip will keep you more planted and in control as you move the club.
However, spiked golf shoes have a reputation for being somewhat uncomfortable. On firm ground, you can sometimes feel the spikes pressing backward up into the sole of the shoe. After a while, that spike feedback can cause discomfort and irritation on the bottom of your foot. Although today’s spiked shoes are more comfortable than in the past, I still prefer spikeless shoes when walking courses because they’re less likely to irritate my feet.
Spikeless Golf Shoes
Over the past couple decades, spikeless golf shoes have become increasingly popular. Spikeless models feature small rubber nubs across the majority of the outsole (the design is similar to the outsoles on trail running shoes). While the tread may not dig into the ground as deeply as true spikes, modern spikeless golf shoes have excellent traction, especially on drier or firmer courses.
Best of all, this type of shoe is far more comfortable to walk in. The outsole lugs are more evenly dispersed and less prominent than spikes, so they’re less likely to create pressure points on your feet. They can even be worn around the clubhouse or after a round at the bar. In my opinion, most golfers will be best served by a good pair of spikeless shoes—they’re just more versatile and easier to wear.
In the past, I wore comfortable running shoes while golfing because I was so averse to the look of golf shoes. While some folks like a traditional aesthetic, the whole white-toed/brown upper appearance just isn't for me. But things are changing, and I’m thrilled to see the variety of golf shoe styles and silhouettes that brands are coming up with. Recent tour winner Tony Finau rocks a variety of retro Nike Air Max and Jordan spikeless kicks that perfectly complete his look, whereas 2023 Masters champ Jon Rahm wears sporty but restrained TravisMathew spikes. Go with the look that fits your style; after all, you’ll be looking down at your feet all round.
In this guide, I’ve put together my favorite golf shoes, both spiked and spikeless, for every type of golfer, and the list includes pairs from top brands like Ecco, Nike, and more. These are the best golf shoes to try this season.
Related: The Best New Golf Courses to Play in 2023
The Best Spikeless Golf Shoes of 2023
I’ve rocked Adidas golf shoes for a few years now. While I’m excited to try the new Ultraboost golf shoes, the Codechaos is by far my favorite and my current top pick for most golfers. It’s incredibly comfortable (thanks to the cushy Boost foam midsole), and with its wide, flat outsole, it also creates a surprisingly planted feel, especially for a spikeless shoe. The tacky outsole tread nubs wrap around the edges of the forefoot and heel for extra grip, even when the shoe isn’t flat on the ground (helpful if you have a Scottie Sheffler shuffle). I also really love the looks: The Codechaos Boost has an athletic silhouette that works on the course and in the clubhouse. While I haven’t tested them in really wet conditions, the waterproof microfiber-leather upper has held up great during morning rounds on dewy courses.
Ecco revolutionized the golf shoe industry by helping pioneer the spikeless golf shoe. The Biom C4 takes that inventiveness to incredible heights, and it’s one of the most comfortable golf shoes you can get. I’ve only tried them on, but many golf buddies and other reviewers rave about these shoes. Its midsole is plush and forgiving for maximum comfort when walking, but it’s also rigid enough to propel you through your swing. With its Gore-Tex liner, the Biom C4 should be a good pick for wet conditions, too. It’s a perfect all-around golf shoe, especially for those into a sporty look. My only hesitation? At $250, this pair isn’t cheap.
Under Armour has a lot of great golf shoes at very competitive prices, and the new Charged Draw 2 is a great example. For $100, you can get a solid pair of golf shoes that look good, keep your feet dry, and are comfortable to wear for a full 18 holes. The NeverWet treatment gives the upper added water resistance while maintaining breathability, and the midsole is made from durable, responsive Charged foam for a comfortable ride that can last through many rounds and long days on the course.
Payntr snuck onto the scene as an affordable direct-to-consumer brand putting out good-looking, quality kicks. While it has gained a following, you likely won’t find many others rocking Payntr X 003 Fs. As far as spikeless golf shoes go, this model does everything you want: It has a single-density PMX foam midsole that promises excellent stability and comfort, the outsole is studded with lots of lugs for traction, and the upper has a modern, straightforward appearance. It's also treated with NeverWet to repel moisture and keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
A few shoe companies are starting to recognize that many golfers care almost as much about looking good as they do about playing well. That has led some brands to re-sole classic silhouettes with golf course-ready traction. Few sneakers are as beloved as the Air Jordan 1, and the Low G (denoting the golf sole), brings that same basketball-inspired style to the links. For some, the Air Jordans may not offer enough comfort or grip: These shoes don’t use Nike’s top-tier cushioning foams, and the outsole lugs are pretty minimal. But for the casual golfer and folks who prioritize style, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler golf shoe.
The Best Spiked Golf Shoes of 2023
We all want our golf game to be like Jon Rahm’s, so why not try his golf shoes? I’m a huge fan of the TravisMathew Ringer’s simple silhouette—it has a classic vibe but still maintains a touch of modern sportiness. The Ringer is a pair of golf spikes built for long-lasting comfort; I don’t usually rock spikes, but when I do, these are my go-to. The perimeter spike positioning helps me stick to the ground through big swings, but it doesn’t irritate my feet, even while walking late in the round. They have excellent waterproofing and comfy cushioning, and they also feel light and provide a good feel for the ground to help you hit shots from a variety of lies.
Your grandpa probably wore FootJoys on the golf course—maybe your great-grandpa did, too. FJ has been around forever, and the brand continues to be a tour favorite because it grows and adapts to the evolving needs of the game. While the company still sells “Classic” silhouettes, its best shoes are decidedly more modern. The HyperFlex Carbon is designed with comfort and performance as top priorities. It’s a walkable golf spike (thanks to the spongy StratoFoam midsole that cushions impact forces), and it features a carbon fiber plate under the heel to better transfer energy from the ground to your swing. The plate stiffens the shoe, ensuring the power generated in your foot isn't wasted by flexing an overly soft midsole. Its pliable coated knit upper also leads to faster break-in times than some of the more traditional (and stiff) leather golf shoes.
Another testament to the progress in golf spike technology, the Adidas ZG23 combines the modern flourishes and comfort of an athletic shoe with the stability of a traditional spiked golf shoe. It has perhaps the best combination of lightness and torsional rigidity on this list. The key stability feature is the shoe’s stability wing—a rigid plastic fin running along the outside of the upper that keeps your feet aligned in the shoe as you move. The shoe’s more rigid feel makes it a great pick for golfers with big swings—it should provide a stable base for all that power. They tend to run a tad narrow, but like many golf shoes, a wide option is available. Who knows, maybe they'll even help you strike your irons like Collin Morikawa—he wears these spikes.
Tend to swing right out of your shoes? Squairz will keep you planted with its Speed golf shoe. These beefy kicks aren’t for everyone, but they do offer excellent traction and stability. The outsole and toe box have a wide, square shape, which creates a stable platform for your feet, and the shoe is also torsionally stiff to prevent your feet from rolling during your swing turn. In addition, the Speed has precisely positioned spikes and a pliable, tacky tread pattern to help you stay planted and keep your balance. It’s a reliable, comfortable golf shoe and a great choice for older golfers (Jon Daly and Sir Nick Faldo endorse them) or anyone looking for more poise and balance in their swing.
Nike reintroduced one of golf’s favorite shoes on its 10-year anniversary: The Nike Tiger Woods ‘13 is back. The Nike Free was a popular minimalist running option for years, and this model came about when Tiger asked Nike to design a golf shoe with the same midsole technology. The Free golf shoe provides more flexibility and walking comfort than other golf spikes due to its segmented outsole, which is designed to easily flex with the motion of your feet. Reviewers claim the upper is pliable and breathable with excellent durability. Although they’re pricey, these shoes will be the envy of the whole course.