This post all started with a couple of pairs of Adidas golf shoes I wear. One day a couple of years ago I noticed that after 18 holes in one style, my whole body ached. A week earlier, I had played the same 18 holes in the other model and could have played another 18.
Both pairs of golf shoes felt great when I tried them on and bought them. In fact, pair No. 1 probably felt even better than pair No. 2, the pair that ultimately works best for me. So, how’s a girl supposed to shop for golf shoes that do more than look good with her outfit? I asked Brendan Sweeney, then a member of the product marketing team for footwear at Adidas.
“It’s difficult to find that perfect pair, and when you do, you should buy 10,” Sweeney said at the beginning of our interview. By the end, though, he pointed out that as we age our feet change and so do our foot preferences, so maybe, although Adidas would like you to buy their shoes, it’s better to think ahead no more than a year or two.
In the meantime, here are some tips you can apply when shopping for golf shoes:
- Think of your shoes as equipment, not apparel. “Our DNA is to build the best golf shoes for the highest-performing athletes in the world,” Sweeney said. “We don’t just see it as fashion. We think there are a lot of performance benefits in wearing the right shoe.”
- Know that everyone is different. My ideal shoe is not yours, which is why I am not even naming the two styles that started this conversation.
- Figure out whether you prefer a minimalist style or a built-up style. I had never categorized golf shoes this way, but it turns out my ideal pair has a “built-up TPU,” Sweeney said, “which is the material the outsole is made of,” and a soft “EVA midsole.” Sweeney said the firm-or-soft question on the midsole resembles the personal nature of mattress-shopping; soft tends to improve shock absorption, which is why maybe my body feels better, while firm is favored for people with plantar fascitis and Achilles issues.
- If comfort is an issue, try some of the newer spikeless shoes (also referred to as “street” shoes). “A lot of people talk about these in terms of versatility, but I think the reason there’s such a huge trend is the comfort of them,” Sweeney said. “Walking 18 holes is amazing because you don’t have the receptacles.” Jessica Korda is one LPGA player who has taken to the minimalist spikeless shoe. Adidas also has a new technology, which Sweeney describes as a sort of “mini-cleat,” it is using in the Gripmore shoes it is making for men.
- Go shopping before your round; afterward, any cushy shoe is likely to feel good when you put it on.
- See if you can try on a lot of shoes one morning at a big golf store with many brands. Most pro shops carry only one or two brands for women, and there are size variations from Adidas to Ecco to Footjoy to Nike (yes, still making shoes!) and so on. What are those size variations? C’mon Brendan, give it up. “We’ve done our internal tests, but I cannot comment on that.”
Bottom line, ladies: Go shopping and figure out why you like the shoes you like. What are you already wearing that gives you the best support through 18 holes? Then buy a pair or two. “There’s a lot of innovation each year and I personally would not buy 10,” Sweeney said. Then he self-corrected. “But if they’re Adidas, you can buy 20 pairs and we would love that.”
Which golf shoes are your favorites? Please share – other women would like to know!