Shopping for the best golf shoes is not what is used to be a decade or so ago, because today you have a myriad of different options to choose from, making it a bit tricky to decide on the right type. One of the questions that seems to crop up often among consumers is what are soft spike golf shoes, owing to their widespread popularity. In this article, we aim to answer that question and let you know how they compare to spike-less golf shoes to ease your buying decision.
What are Soft Spike Golf Shoes?
Soft spikes are a replacement for traditional metal spikes, which have been the norm for most of the time since the game was conceived. Before soft spikes came to existence, golfers generally played with shoes fitted with metal spikes. Metal spike golf shoes were a hit at that time because they offered unmatched traction, but on the downside caused serious damage to the green when the player took a misstep.
Golf courses around the world are in a much better condition than what they used to be 20 years ago thanks to this welcome change from metal to soft spikes. Similar to metal spike golf shoes, soft spike shoes are fitted with several spikes at the bottom of each shoe, and in several different areas for excellent traction for the golfer as he moves around the green.
Although this range of golf shoes provides top notch traction on the course, the spikes do wear out over time – a process that could be accelerated if you frequently walk on hard surfaces such as cart paths and parking lots. To increase the service life of soft spike golf shoes, it is important to replace the spikes periodically, which is an inexpensive task that can be done yourself or by a professional at your local golf shop.
Spike vs. Spike-less Golf Shoes – Which one is Better?
Now that you know what are soft spike golf shoes, it is a good idea to know how they stack up to their immediate competition – spike-less golf shoes. Spikeless golf shoes, just as the name would suggest, do not include the use of spikes anywhere in their design. As an alternative to spikes, this range of golf shoes feature key traction elements on each sole to help the player maintain their footing.
From first glance, these bumps and nubs may not seem as though they perform well in the traction department, but when engineered properly can provide the player with an aggressive swing just as they would expect from a pair of soft spike golf shoes. One of the obvious benefits of spikeless golf shoes is that you never have to worry about the spikes wearing out or any replacements, so there’s really no maintenance costs to deal with.
Adding to this, some golfers claim that this range of spike free shoes is more comfortable than soft spike golf shoes, which is an important factor to consider given that you spend three or more hours on your feet during most rounds of golf. A drawback of spikeless golf shoes worth mentioning is that having no spikes to replace also means that you have little or no control of the traction in the event the soles smooth out over time.
With soft spike shoes, you can simply replace the spikes with new ones and regain some of that lost traction, but you will probably have to buy a new pair of shoes with spikeless models. One of the other possible pitfalls of soft spike golf shoes is that you may not get the traction you desire out of the box such as allowing your feet to grip the turf completely throughout your swing.
Determining the weather conditions you will be playing in can help you choose between soft spikes and spikeless golf shoes, and here’s why. If you’re going to be playing frequently in wet weather, you’re going to need a pair of golf shoes that provide better traction. And if you’re going to be playing on golf courses with significant elevation changes, you should ideally be looking at shoes that can maintain your footing as effectively as possible.
There are several golf courses that have certain areas that are left in their natural state yet not usually marked as hazardous, and these are known as waste areas. These areas in most cases are sandy, making it challenging to gain footing when playing from this position. If you frequently visit golf courses with many waste areas, soft spike golf shoes are an ideal choice due to the high level of traction they offer.
Lots of Hard Surfaces
If your preferred golf course requires you to walk on many hard surfaces or you tend to walk the cart paths while you play, investing in soft spike golf shoes is a wise choice. The spikes will wear out gradually when you walk on hard surfaces, but can be replaced when they eventually do. With spikeless golf shoes, you will have to buy a new pair when the bottom tread wears off, which is a little costlier than just replacing the spikes.
Soft spike golf shoes have garnered a surge of appeal owing mostly to the superior grip and traction they offer on the course. Both soft spikes and spikeless golf shoes can be an expensive investment, which is why it is important that you consider the weather you frequently play in, the number of hard surfaces you will be walking on, and even your playing style given that one of the two types may be a better option for the type of swing you make.
Both soft spikes and spikeless golf shoes cause no damage to the grass on the course, but soft spikes can be replaced easily without breaking the bank, whereas spikeless golf shoes will have to be replaced entirely if the traction wears out at the bottom of the soles. All in all, soft spike golf shoes are fitted with soft nodes at the bottom, and provide a similar level of grip and traction as metal spike shoes, and are a great choice for both novice and seasoned golfers.