Golf shoes today give you a choice between spiked or spikeless golf shoes. Originally, the differences were fairly large. Over time, the gap has closed as each type grew similar in regards to traction and comfort. While the choice is primarily a personal preference, it is good to look at some of the differences when deciding for yourself.
Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoes: The Differences
Spiked shoes offer the most traction, as the spikes are larger than the “nubs” typically found on the bottom of spikeless shoes. This allows spiked shoes to perform more consistently in a wider range of conditions. The UA Rotational Resistance spikes (above with the red) on the Spieth One golf shoe are particularly good. The spike’s design helps keep your feet from slipping throughout your swing.
Spikeless shoe soles and tread patterns have evolved, though. The soles on newer shoes have more pronounced, strategically placed, and more durable “spikes.” The ECCO Cage Pro, above, is a great example of this.
If you typically play hilly courses or in wet conditions, spiked shoes may be the better bet. The spikes give you better traction and more stability in those conditions.
Traditionally, spikeless shoes offer more comfort, with their casual design and the lack of large spikes on the soles. Spikeless shoes also tended to be lighter, aiding in their comfort. However, the evolution of golf shoe and spike design has allowed many spiked versions of shoes to achieve the same comfort. Boost technology in the soles of the latest adidas shoes offer tons of comfort in both their spiked and spikeless shoes (above). Newer spiked shoes also drop some weight thanks to re-designs and new materials. In regards to comfort, I would say it is a draw.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to spikeless golf shoes is their versatility. Thanks to the lack of spikes, you can put them on at the house, get to the course and walk to the first tee or range and start your round. After you finish, you don’t need to change before visiting the 19th hole or heading home. I even know many people who will wear their spikeless shoes to work or out for a night on the town. The advantage on this one is clearly for spikeless shoes.
A sometimes overlooked advantage to spiked shoes is that when the spikes wear down, you can replace them. Provided the rest of the shoe is properly cared for, this can lead to the spiked shoes lasting longer. On the other hand, once the sole of spikeless shoes wears down, it is time to get a new pair.
When picking between spiked or spikeless golf shoes, the best case involves having a pair of each and rotating depending on conditions and course you’re playing. More and more players are going in this direction. Along with increasing the longevity of both pair, this allows some versatility for you. However, if you have to choose, take these factors as well as your personal preference into account.