To spike or not to spike?

That is the question– And no, we’re not talking about your seltzer on the 19th hole after a game! Spiked and spikeless golf shoes are both designed to help you play your best, but it can be tricky to navigate exactly which shoe is better for you. They offer different pros and cons, to be certain, but the ultimate “better”  shoe will really come down to which ones work best for you.

As technology advances, the differences between spiked and spiked golf shoes become more and more blurred, but they are still worth considering. 

Comfort 

Spikeless golf shoes are typically more comfortable to wear, due to increased sole flexibility and softness. Without any cleat-like grips on the bottom, there’s more room for your foot to conform as you walk. Making sure that you’re comfortable walking in your gift shoes is pivotal, especially if you’re going to be walking all 18 holes without a cart. 

With new advances in design constantly evolving, however, the differences in comfort are becoming minimal. Traditional metal spikes are becoming rarer every day, and newer, sleeker technologies that take a holistic approach to foot care are becoming the norm. Shoes like the Puma Ignite PWRadapt, for example, offer incredible comfort and grip with very little compromise. 

Ultimately, the difference between spiked and spikeless is narrow but does still favor spineless shoes by a slight margin. 

Versatility 

When you set out to golf, are you dedicating your day to the craft? Or are you a golfer on the go? 

While spiked golf shoes are often preferred by the pros, they suffer a major drawback when it comes to versatility. Meanwhile, spikeless golf shoes offer the benefit of being able to go from your home straight to the course with no need to stop and change. On top of this, they’re perfect for anyone looking to run errands, go shopping, or just kick back for a night on the town after a game.

Ultra stylish shoes, like the Women’s Footjoy Sports Retro, are a fabulous option for taking work clients out on the course: You can enjoy fairly responsive grip, even without spikes, and still not look a hair out of place when you wear these beauties back to the office. 

If you’re a casual golfer, especially one with a busy day ahead, spikeless golf shoes are an easy pick. 

Traction

This is another area where the difference between spiked and spikeless golf shoes is steadily narrowing. Having solid footing and impeccable traction are indispensable when it comes to your swing, the answer as to whether or not spikes are necessary to help you achieve this is another matter. 

Spiked golf shoes still provide the best traction, overall, and are indispensable when playing on hilly terrain or wet turf. If it’s rained the day before a game, opting for a pair of shoes like the FootJoy Contour with heavy spikes and waterproofed uppers will help you keep a firm grip and dry feet– Both are crucial for making sure your game is up-to-par! When facing unfamiliar or hill-heavy courses, again, taking the time to slip into your spiked shoes is a no-brainer. 

Spiked golf shoes also have the advantage when it comes to younger, or maybe just newer, golfers. Younger golfers need specialized equipment, not just when it comes to clubs and gloves, but also regarding shoes. While little feet may be more hesitant and slower to acclimate to the raised, less-flexible feel of spiked shoes, they’re worth taking the time to break in. The added traction and stability will allow golfers just starting out to have firmer footing, in turn leading to a healthier, more well-developed swing going forward. 

Despite these factors, though, new advances have allowed players who prefer a spikeless shoe to excel regardless. Increased grip and traction technology have given these shoes the ability to perform as well as their spiked counterparts in many cases, and even some pros have taken notice. Pros like Lee Westwood and Adam Scott have been spotted taking on tours in the FootJoy Pro SL, a shoe that makes no compromises. Flexible soles paired with advanced gripping technology allow you to go from a pro on the course to a pro at the club without missing a step. 

Are Spiked or Spikeless Golf Shoes Better? 

The bottom line is that the best golf shoe is the one that you feel your best in. If having a hard, spiked grip on the ground allows you to get the most out of your swing, follow your gut and go for spiked. If you prefer flexibility and improved ground-feel, opt for spikeless golf shoes. 

Whichever you choose, make sure that they fit comfortably and are suitable for the terrain you’re playing on. New advances have provided for excellence in both spiked and spineless golf shoes so, go ahead! Take a swing at both and find out what works best for your game.