Spikes vs spikeless golf shoes

The changing of seasons is sure to have golfing newbies pondering footwear. ‘Do golf shoes need spikes?’, ‘Are spikeless golf shoes good in winter?’, and ‘where can I buy spikes to put on my shoes?’ are all questions we get asked.

To help you find the best footwear for the fairway, we explain what spiked golf shoes are, what their purpose is, and how they differ from spikeless golf shoes. 

Why do golf shoes have spikes? 

Spiked golf shoes have been the standard for many years. They feature removable cleats or spikes on the outsole of the shoe. These spikes provide traction by digging into the grass, helping golfers maintain stability during their swings. There are a range of different spike types and traction technology, including:

  • Fast Twists. These can easily be screwed in and out of golf shoes to customise traction based on course conditions. 
  • PINS. For golfers who want to feel closer to the ground, stable and balanced, these cleats can be inserted to golf shoes with PINS systems for superior traction.
  • 6mm. Some spiked golf shoes are designed to be fitted with 6mm spikes only. These are typically shorter than other options and are considered more course-friendly, while still providing solid traction.
  • Q-Lok. The Q-Lok thread system also allows golfers to twist and lock spikes into place on their golf shoes, making it simpler to switch them for different course conditions.

Are golf shoes with spikes better? 

The primary advantage of spiked golf shoes is their superior traction, especially in wet or muddy conditions. Traction is important, since power is created from the ground up. Having fantastic traction enables you to use that stability to create more power in your golf swing, going further distances. The spikes penetrate the ground, preventing slipping and helping golfers maintain their stance throughout the swing. What’s more, spiked golf shoes often provide more support and stability due to their construction. They typically have a structured design with a firm midsole to assist in maintaining a stable stance during the golf swing.

What’s the difference between spiked and spikeless golf shoes?

Spiked and spikeless golf shoes are two different types of footwear designed specifically for playing golf. They have distinct features that cater to different preferences and playing conditions. Compared with spiked golf shoes, the spikeless counterparts differ in a few key ways:

  1. Modern design: Spikeless golf shoes are a more recent innovation in the golf shoe market. They lack traditional removable spikes and instead have a flat, rubberised outsole with a series of small nubs, lugs, or patterns designed to provide traction.

  2. Versatility: Spikeless golf shoes are more versatile and can be worn on and off the golf course. They resemble casual athletic shoes, making them suitable for both golfing and everyday activities.

  3. Comfort: Spikeless golf shoes tend to be more comfortable right out of the box due to their softer and more flexible construction. They often feel more like regular sneakers, which can be appealing for golfers who prioritise comfort.

  4. Greens-friendly: Spikeless shoes are usually gentler on putting greens, as they don't dig into the grass like traditional spikes. This makes them a preferred option for courses that emphasise maintaining pristine green conditions.

  5. Traction trade-off: While spikeless shoes offer adequate traction for most golfers in dry conditions, they may not provide the same level of grip as spiked shoes in wet or muddy conditions. The traction pattern on spikeless shoes can get clogged with debris, affecting their performance. So for anyone wondering ‘can you wear spikeless golf shoes in winter?’, the answer is yes - but you may not be quite as sturdy. 

Are spiked golf shoes allowed all year round?

This will depend on the specific rules and regulations of the golf course you're playing on. Some courses might have restrictions or recommendations regarding footwear, including the type of golf shoes allowed. A few factors to consider include course policy, environmental concerns, seasonal considerations, tournament rules, course conditions, and local regulations. 

To ensure you're adhering to the rules and etiquette of the golf course, it's best to contact course management directly or review their official website for information on footwear policies.

How should golf shoes be maintained?

Knowing how to clean spike shoes is an essential skill when it comes to proper care and maintenance. Simply clean them by hand in warm, soapy water and to dry them, stuff newspaper inside and leave them under a radiator or another warm spot. Avoid placing them on top of a radiator or in any direct heat, as this can distort the shoe.

Two commonly asked questions around care and maintenance include ‘can you remove spikes from golf shoes?’ and ‘can you replace spikes on golf shoes?’. The answer is yes, many spiked golf shoes have removable spikes that can be easily replaced. These removable spikes are often screwed or fastened onto the outsole of the shoe. Being able to remove and replace spikes offers several advantages, including customisation, extended lifespan, adaptability to conditions, and improved traction. 

Are golf shoe spikes universal?

No, golf shoe spikes are not universally interchangeable across all brands and models of golf shoes. While there are some common standards for golf shoe spikes, there can be variations in design, size, and attachment mechanisms from one brand to another. This means that spikes from one brand may not always fit properly or securely in shoes from a different brand.

In summary, the choice between spiked and spikeless golf shoes largely depends on your playing style, preferences, and the conditions you typically encounter on the golf course. If you often play in wet or challenging terrain, spiked shoes might be more suitable for their superior traction. On the other hand, if you prioritise comfort, versatility, and the ability to wear your golf shoes off the course, spikeless shoes could be the better choice.

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