4 Best Substitutes for Golf Shoes

If you’re thinking about what you can wear on the course besides a traditional pair of golf shoes, the good news is that you have some great options.

Golf footwear has come a long way from the original metal spiked shoes, and these are typically only seen on the pros these days. Many options have evolved that meet the needs of the modern golfer while maintaining the condition of the greens and the course.  

The best substitutes for golf shoes will offer you sufficient grip without doing damage to the greens. This includes trail running shoes, golf sandals, spikeless shoes, or even playing barefoot. These options will give you stability and comfort while maintaining the condition of the course. 

In the rest of this article, we will explore each of these options in more detail. We will see which options will give you great support and grip without doing damage to the course.

We will also see some popular options for each category to choose a golf shoe alternative best suited for you, so keep on reading.

Trail Running Shoes

Trail Running shoes are a nice option for the golf course because they offer the comfort and support of a traditional running shoe with a sole that is better suited for the golf course.

The soles are created with patterns that offer maximum stability and keep you stable on the course, even with damp conditions. If you are looking for the most cushioning and support option for your feet, you will be very happy with a trail running shoe.

These are still gentle enough that they won’t do noticeable damage to the course either. They are a great choice to keep your feet as well as the greenskeeper happy. 

Top Pick: Asics Men’s Gel Venture 7 Trail Running Shoe

There are plenty of options to choose from in the world of trail running shoes.

Here is a recommendation from Asics that has a casual, stylish appearance with exceptional orthopedic support.

These shoes will even adjust to your feet over time, meaning they will continue to be more comfortable, maintaining their ability to grip all kinds of terrains. 

Golf Sandals

Although sandals, at one time, were frowned upon as an option on the golf course, times are changing, and now it is possible to purchase athletic sandals specifically created for golf.

Especially for summer golfers and those golfing in hot climates, these open-toed shoes can be a great, well-ventilated option. 

These might also be a good temporary option if you are healing from a foot condition and need to give your feet a little more space. These are available in both soft spiked and spikeless options.

If you choose soft spiked shoes, you will be limited to wearing these only on the course. However, with the spikeless option, you will be able to wear these off the course and in the clubhouse after your game.

Top Pick: FootJoy Men’s Golf Sandal

Footjoy makes a nice soft-spiked option for men that will offer both comfortable and lasting durability.

These shoes come with a good grip, and that will give stability to the golfer.

The design is quite similar to a traditional athletic sandal and will offer plenty of breathability on golf’s hot sunny days. These also feature the additional gripping benefits of a regular soft spiked shoe. 

Top Pick: Sketcher’s Woman 600 Spikeless Golf Sandal 

This spikeless option from Sketchers is designed for women and offers another comfortable, breathable option for summer golf.

These are well-cushioned in the sole and utilize Sketcher’s Ultra Go technology to give lightweight support that will respond to each foot. Since they are spike free, they will look and feel much like a regular athletic sandal. 

Spikeless Golf Shoes

Although this is technically still a golf shoe, the spikeless style of golf shoe is a new innovation that gives the comfort and appearance of a sneaker while still technically being a shoe designed for golf.

If you found traditional golf shoes with soft spikes still too stiff and uncomfortable to support a full day on the course, especially if walking, a spikeless model may be a better fit for you.  

Top Pick: New Balance Men’s Breeze Breathable Spikeless Golf Shoe

Many popular footwear companies make a spikeless golf shoe, and New Balance is no exception.

This model appears much like a regular sneaker but gives a spikeless rubber outsole that is well designed to provide the golfer a good grip.

This sneaker offers cushioning and comfort, as well as a mesh upper designed for optimal ventilation. 

Playing Barefoot

While this might not be a widely practiced option, you can spot a few barefoot golfers out there enjoying the game every once and awhile. Rocco Mediate is a great example of a pro golfer known for kicking off his shoes on the course on occasion. 

Golfing, in this way, is a beneficial style for many reasons. First, as you walk throughout the day, you can move in the most natural way that your body was designed for, without any additional materials obstructing this movement.

This is quite good for your joints and other areas where you can experience fatigue if your shoes interfere with your natural movement. 

This is no difference when it comes to your golf stance as well. Without your shoes, you can position yourself in a way it is entirely natural, allowing your alignment to be unobstructed.

You will also get a better feel for the conditions of the course, with your feet gathering information about the hardness of the ground, the condition of the sand, and any other area you are walking on. 

However, the permissibility of this style will vary from club to club. Perhaps it will not be a big deal at your local club, but it is possible that they will not allow you to proceed onto the course in this style.

Just in case, it is best if you have another option in mind in case you are not allowed to complete your round of golf in this way. 

What Is Important in Footwear for Golf?

Golf shoes have been designed to meet a few key needs of golfers. It is important to get your footing stance right when you are preparing to hit the ball and anchor your feet properly through all aspects of the swing.

Golf shoes were designed with this in mind, using some sort of grip (this may be with spikes or spikeless) that help the back foot stay grounded through the swing. 

The back foot is prone to slipping, especially if conditions are a bit wet. Additionally, if the course is a bit damp and you have to walk up and down hills, it is important to have shoes that are equipped to make this possible.

It is also important that the shoe offers protection from these damp conditions and most traditional golfing shoes are waterproof exactly for this reason.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to what you will put on your feet for a day of golf, what is accepted and preferred on the golf course has changed a lot over time.

Nowadays, you have more flexibility and options if you do not want to purchase a pair of traditional golf shoes. A spikeless pair of shoes, a pair of trail runners, or golf sandals all make great options.

As long as your choice meets your needs and doesn’t damage the greens, you are free to make your own footwear choice.

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