Today we’ll continue our look at the golf shoe. We focused on fashion and stability yesterday so let’s have a look at the most important aspect of all… comfort.
It’s common sense… a comfortable golf shoe makes your round a lot more enjoyable. I get a lot of customers coming into my shop with horror stories of their old shoes. “They were too stiff”, “they didn’t have any padding”, “they gave me blisters”, “they were too hot”, “they leaked all the time”… and so on and so on. Well my friends… today’s golf shoes are a lot better than those of only a few years ago. Gone are the days of “working a pair in”. Leathers are so soft that they’ll feel good the second you put them on your feet. Companies have done their homework and have found ways to combat the blister… and now a lot of shoes feature running shoe comforts with tradition styling. If the shoe doesn’t fit… don’t wear it.
The first step in finding a comfortable shoe is understanding your foot and your needs. Get to know your feet… are they wide or narrow? Do you have a high arch? What size do you typically wear? What brands feel the best? These are vital bits of information that you should have before choosing a shoe. Also have a look at your needs. What types of conditions do you play in? Do you need to put additional insoles into your golf shoes? What types of shoes do you wear on a daily basis? Spend a few minutes to figure out what you’re after before starting your search.
Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re after we need to look at a last that will work for you. A last is like the foundation of the shoe. The fit of a shoe is the direct result of the last’s width, shape and volume. Most golf companies build their shoe line around a few different lasts. This is why not all shoes of a certain brand fit the same. If you’ve got a wide foot… make sure you look for a last that has a bit more room in the toes.
Have a look at the toe box and opening. People with a more narrow foot should look at shoes that offer a more rounded toe and small opening. Golfers that have wide feet may want to look at shoes with a square toe box and/or a blucher top. A blucher top doesn’t come to a “V” at the bottom of the laces. This allows for more room throughout the middle of the shoe. These openings are great for higher insteps and golfers that need to add a thicker insole.
Also have a look at the heel height and padding. Many shoes now feature extra heel padding that helps grab the heel and keep it in place. The less the heel can move, the less the chance of developing a blister. Pay special attention to the top of the shoe and your ankle bone. You don’t want these two touching!
Many companies offer different technologies to make a shoe more comfortable. Make sure you have a general idea of the technology in the shoe you like… from heel inserts to additional insoles … these are all things that allow you to customize the shoe’s fit.
The majority of golf shoes offer some sort of waterproof warranty. We obviously all want to play on sunny days but you never know when a storm might creep in. There are lots of different waterproofing technologies and most work really well. Cheaper shoes often feature waterproof treatments. These are great for the immediate future but can wear away over time. More expensive shoes will usually feature some sort of waterproof membrane. These membranes are built right into the shoe and are designed to keep water out while allowing air to move back and forth (a.k.a. breathability). If you live in a pretty dry climate then you may choose to focus a bit less on the waterproof aspect of a shoe… but remember that a breathable shoe can be a blessing on a hot day!
There are lots of other things I could bore you with… types of leathers, lacing systems and venting technologies but I think this look at golf shoes should give you a better understanding of what a good pair of shoes can offer. Can a good pair of shoes make you a better golfer? That’s debatable if you ask me but they can definitely make a long round a lot more enjoyable! We’ll talk to you tomorrow!