Modern golf shoes: no chance of getting blisters these days

2012-05-18 00:00

IT’S not so long ago that standard golf shoes were made of leather with steel cleats which we know as spikes screwed into the soles. No self-respecting golfer would venture onto a course without a pair of solid, sturdy spiked golf shoes.

If a golfer walked a full 18 holes in his new footwear, he was guaranteed to suffer with severe blisters. This rarely happened because golfers knew that new shoes had to be broken in gradually. One would wear them for just a few holes at a time so another broken-in pair had to be taken onto the course so that a change could be made during the round.

Steel-spiked golf shoes were used for close on 100 years and nobody ever thought that this would change. They lasted for a long time but this was according to how often a golfer played.

The steel cleats became worn and needed replacing. These shoes were destructive to floors of locker rooms and club houses, and rubber mats were needed for protection. Concrete and brick pathways also needed to be covered to protect the steel spikes and the pathways.

Then in the eighties, there was an introduction of golf shoes with rubber pimpled soles. One famous brand introduced these shoes along with a Velcro strip to replace shoe-laces. Younger golfers tended to wear these but the professionals stayed with steel spikes. The rubber pimpled shoes faded in popularity and many golfers reverted to steel spiked shoes, but not for long.

How things have changed. No chance of blisters today. You can comfortably walk 18 holes with the modern shoes. The steel spiked shoes have virtually been replaced with soft plastic spikes. Professional Fred Couples appeared on television last year wearing footwear that looked like the old-fashioned tennis shoes/sneakers. Other pros such as Justin Rose, Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar (who won the Players Championship last week) are now wearing the same type of comfortable light-weight shoes that have no spikes.

If you are looking for a new pair of golf shoes, the decision of what to buy isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Firstly, you must make a category choice: spikeless, classic or athletic. Most of the usual brands have these available: Adidas, Nike, Etonic and the market leaders, Footjoy.

The May issue of Golf Digest explains that ankle flexibility will determine what type will suit you best. Briefly, this means the more flexible you are, the more rigid your shoes should be. It, therefore, appears that the comfortable spikeless type are more suited to old toppies with stiff ankle joints, but the shoes are fashionable and old guys making a fashion statement on a golf course somehow doesn’t sound right.

From the 19th hole

Did you hear about the thoughtful Scotsman who was going out to the pub?

He turned to his wee wife before leaving and said: “Maggie, put your hat and coat on.”

She replied: “Awe Jock that’s nice. Are you taking me to the pub with you?”

“Nay,” Jock replied, “I’m switching the heater off while I’m out.”

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