Golf might be 90% mental, but that other ten percent is more than enough to leave you stuck out in the woods where bears go to die or chopping away in the rough. The key to keeping your long and short game as tight as possible and get your handicap into the basement is to use the right equipment. That means the right balls, tees, clubs, bag, lucky polo shirt, gloves, and, of course, golf shoes. With the perfect cleats, you’ll have the right tread to grip it and rip it like a pro.
There’s a distinct combination of quality materials, unbeatable construction, and personal comfort when it comes to the golf shoes you take out onto the green. In 2010, Fred Couples wandered out onto the Augusta fairway wearing what looked like a pair of sneakers, and scandalized the golfing world. He proved that the old ideas behind shoes designed for golfing were wrong. Now, it is all about finding some footwear that is comfortable, suits your body, fits your play style, and is made to work. From the spikeless to the deep diggers, we have the 10 best golf shoes for men.
Pro: Integrated rubber sole works as regular shoes
Con: Run narrow and require breaking in
Off Course: If you’ve already spent a boatload on a set of clubs, a bag, a visor, a glove, and a pretty argyle sweater, you don’t need to spend a bunch on your shoes. Amateurs will find these work on and off the course, come in a variety of inauspicious colors, fit comfortably, and don’t cost much. Though inexpensive, they aren’t cheaply made, and will get your swing off to a great start
Callaway XFer Pro
Pro: Built-in wall stops foot slippage internally
Con: Outsole has a lot of flex
Steady On: When you move laterally during your swing, power drops exponentially, which alters how much force you need to accomplish the same goal. The XFer Pro golf shoe is made with X-shaped structures at the edges to arrest that motion and put the power back where it belongs: right behind your ball.
Pro: PowerVamp reduces stretch at the forefoot
Con: Too spiked for casual wear
Astronaut Certified: Puma literally uses the technology developed by NASA to maintain temperature in space suits to ensure that their TitanTour shoes are comfortable enough for your feet. But they’re more than that. An EVA midsole with TPU Heel Support makes them comfortable at any temperature while adding supplementary traction for more forceful swings. Topped off with premium grade leather, and these are an easy win.
True Linkswear Game Changer Hybrid
Pro: Bargain price because the company is largely unknown
Con: Unusual feel requires acclimation
Underdog: Though they’ve been lurking in the shadows since 2011, True Linkswear is still a largely unknown name in the golf shoe industry. The aptly-named Game Changer seeks to alter that. These shoes follow the ideology of the barefoot minimalist running shoe crowd in going back to basics for a more biomechanically adept design. They’re wide, thin, and have a strangely large toe box along with a 0 drop between heel and toe.
Ecco Biom Hybrid 2
Pro: 800 traction angles for grip no matter how you swing
Con: Hybrid shoe with no deep spikes
Unibody: The Biom Hybrid 2 is a marvel of the golf shoe world in many ways. First, the design came from scanning the feet of 2,500 athletes to learn more about their build and the structure they need. It is also created by chemically bonding the midsole to the upper for a more seamless construction that doesn’t shift as readily as standard bonding for a tighter, seamless makeup.
Pro: Outsole extends beyond shoe’s body for enhanced stability
Con: Large heel to toe drop
Big and Bouncy: Debuted by Hunter Mahan during the 2014 Ryder Cup, the new Hyperflex golf shoe from the fine folks at FJ is a comfortable juggernaut. The deep, huge Fine Tuned Foam footbed actually adds height where the competition seeks to drop it. The result is a more comfortable padding that also returns energy for less power bleed when swinging. A mesh net on the top keeps your foot in place while giving you a casual, running shoe look.
Pro: Flyweave upper drops weight significantly
Con: Heavy running shoe aesthetic
Pro Approved: Tiger Woods’ career may have seen better days, but the man still knows what it takes to make golf shoes that will help any amateur rise through the ranks. If your goal is to become one of the greats, or just rule the green of your local club, the TW’15’s will keep you on track. Using a one-two punch of spikes and integrated patterns, the traction roots you to the ground for less lateral motion and loss of power even if you’re a power hitter aiming for a 600 yard drive.
Pro: Outsoles made of lightweight blown rubber
Con: Comfortable, but do not do much to improve force transfer
Just Dandy: Simply because more golf shoes are styled like sneakers, it is no reason for a person of refinement to spend their time on the links looking like a commoner. In addtion to being one of the most strikingly original and classy shoes out there, the flagship Gallivanter is also comfortable for the true walking golfer who demands street comfort to go with his or her indomitable fashion sense.
Adidas Asym Energy Boost
Pro: Cushioned, adaptable Boost midsole
Con: Take time to adjust to
Unbalanced: Typically, golf shoe manufacturers make the right and left shoe mirror images of each other. Adidas realized that this wasn’t the best course since your left and right sides are affected differently by your swing. To that end, they made the first asymmetrical pair of shoes with different spike layouts on each foot for a more natural motion from wind-up to follow-through.
Steven Alexander Golf
Pro: Custom made in Italy
Timeless: Hand made to order in Italy from the finest leather, these are more than just regular old golf shoes. They are a walking statement. Choose your color and the cut from a few base models or pick off the rack from their wide assortment of pre-made designs. As classic as a black tuxedo, you’ll never fail to draw admiring looks out on the fairway, and thanks to their painstaking construction, your game will never be better than in a pair of Steven Alexander’s finest.