The designs of golf shoes range from the casual to the formal. Some of these designs include moccasins, contemporary-looking golf sandals, to the more conventional-
looking leather shoes with tassels –
Professional golfers play their game with such shoes on. However, beginners might ask if these kinds of shoes are important in playing golf. For beginners and amateurs, it is not necessarily a requirement to wear golf shoes while on the course. Experienced golfers, on the other hand, do need to wear them as the golf shoe serves an important function for them.
One does not necessarily have to wear these shoes to play golf as most golf courses do not call for the player to wear them. Besides, there are not many golf courses that require the shoes. Professional players do see a good reason to wear them though. Golf shoes are engineered and constructed to keep one’s feet from sliding during the swing.
Over the past few decades, the styles of these shoes have evolved-
One can still find and purchase ‘old school’ shoes, like the ones with tassels and leather and those with white and black wingtips. Nowadays, these shoes come in various colors and styles. Some do not look that different from athletic shoes, while others are in sandal-style or moccasin-style.
Contemporary golf shoe styles are now more comfortable than they were a few years back. The prices for these shoes vary. A professional player would do well with an expensive but durable pair of shoes. Amateurs and beginners are not pressured to purchase the expensive styles. They can start with the relatively cheaper ones.
As mentioned earlier, these kinds of shoes are not a necessity on the golf course. If one is reluctant to splurge on a pair, the next best thing is to wear shoes with ‘gripping’ soles. This can be a pair of athletic shoes with bumps and ridges to provide traction on the golf course.
It is also fun to know about the earlier designs of shoes used for playing golf.
During the 1800s, amateur golfers – to safely walk over slippery ground – got to wear stout shoes that were ‘roughed with small sprigs or nails.’ During the late 1800s, golf shoes that had separate screw-in spikes emerged. While they were comfortable and provided golfers with better footing, the spikes did not sit well with groundskeepers who blamed spiked shoes for damaging the greens.
The next designs were the saddle oxfords, which emerged during the early 1900s. These shoes had an extra piece of saddle-shaped leather around the laces. These saddle oxfords had been originally conceptualized for racket sports, but players of such sport did not warm up to the saddle oxford designs. In golf, the saddle oxfords were a different story. They became the template for golf shoe designs and were still being followed even into the 21st century.
During the 1980s, golf shoe makers mainly aimed to improve player comfort on the greens as these kinds of shoes have been somewhat stiff. Comfortable shoes for golf were in tune with athletic shoes and running shoes during the decade. As the 1990s began, golf shoe makers started to do away with sole spikes. Non-metal cleats were introduced to make the golf shoes less damaging on clubhouse floors and greens. These shoes also became very comfortable to wear.
There is no doubt that advances would be made on such kinds of shoes in the next few years. While not necessarily a requirement, shoes for golf do give a sense of pride to the wearer. Wearing the shoes makes one more serious about playing the game.