While you could certainly play a round of golf in any pair of athletic shoes, if you’re serious about the sport, it’s worth investing in a pair of golf shoes. Swinging a golf club involves pivoting and twisting, very different motions than simply running or walking in a straight line. Golf shoes are designed for this movement — and making it easier to do on grass. Like most sneakers, golf shoes are breathable and moisture-wicking, but several features differentiate them from standard athletic shoes, and make them suited for the unique needs of golfers.
According to Michael Salem, golf brand manager at Decathlon Sports, “The sole of the shoe is the main difference between golf shoes and regular athletic shoes. Since golfers need to use the ground to push off with their feet to create power, it is essential to have a gripping mechanism on the bottom of the shoes to prevent slipping.” Wide rubber soles are typically used to prevent slipping on the grass, as well as rubber nodes or plastic spikes that help with traction. (The metal spikes on older models of golf shoes are no longer permitted on most courses.) Below, golf pros, instructors, and gearheads recommend their favorite shoes for hitting the links