What is the difference between traditional golf shoe spikes and modern golf shoe cleats?

What is the difference between traditional golf shoe spikes and modern golf shoe cleats?

Spiked golf shoes have long been the standard for amateur and professional golfers the world over, but they haven’t always looked or been built the same.

There was a time when golf shoe spikes were extremely different to the more advanced and green-friendly spikes we know today. But this does raise the question as to which style of shoe spikes are the more effective for players - the old or the new?

At Golfshoes.co.uk, we’re experts in all things golf shoes and have an amazing selection of both spiked and spikeless golf shoes for our customers to browse, from brands like FootJoy, Nike, adidas and more.

With this in mind, here are the differences between traditional spiked golf shoes and modern golf shoe spikes, and the advantages and disadvantages one may experience while playing in them. 

Traditional shoe spikes vs modern golf shoe cleats

Metal shoe spikes

The earliest version of golf shoe spikes were simply wooden or metal nails hammered into the base of a poorly constructed shoe. But as shoe design evolved, these graduated to become carefully forged metallic spikes that protruded several centimetres into the ground below, not dissimilar to the technology behind ice boots.

These spikes were made of metal (usually steel or similar) and were screwed into the shoe, either during manufacture - making them a fixed part of the shoe - or were built to be removable at the whim of the wearer.

While they provided excellent contact and traction on the course, the courses (and course keepers) suffered greatly because of them. The spikes left countless holes and raised turf on every hole and were especially horrendous for greens where smooth, consistent grass was an absolute must.

As golf shoe technology graduated from metal spikes to softer spikes in the 1990s, many courses opted to ban metal spikes entirely to protect their grass and reduce the need for constant upkeep and repairs. Today, you’ll rarely find a course that allows you to wear metal spikes, rendering an entire generation of golf shoes completely obsolete. Having said that, there are some professional tournaments and governing bodies that understand the benefits of metal spikes, which is why they allow professionals to wear limited versions of metal spikes during certain competitions, though this is reserved for a select few.

Soft golf shoe spikes

Compared to their older relatives, modern shoe spikes are far more forgiving to courses and can aptly support the golfer throughout their swing without causing endless punctures to the grass. 

While they’re still referred to as “spikes” or “cleats”, modern golf shoe spikes are more comparable to small wheels with jagged details that grip hold of the grass without damaging it to a great degree. Rather than being stiff and resistant, they’re much softer and more pliable, allowing them to sink slightly into the grass, still offering a good level of control for the golfer.

They’re also considerably lighter than traditional metal spikes, allowing golfers to stroll from hole to hole with more energy and bounce in their step. But better still, these rubber spikes don’t cause any serious damage to greens, meaning putts can roll to the pin without being pushed off-track by the indentations of a previous player’s spikes.

Because most of these spikes are removable, too, they’re also very easy to clean or replace when they get worn out, making them a popular choice for golfers who don’t always want to trade in their favourite pair of shoes when the spikes begin to betray them. With impressive improvements in removable spikes, like Fast Twist technology, players can interchange their spikes seamlessly.

Do spikeless golf shoes offer the same support as spiked golf shoes?

Metal golf shoe spikes may offer the most ground grip for obvious reasons, but rubber golf shoe spikes still offer plenty of support for millions of players. However, as golf equipment technology has improved, spikeless golf shoes have become a popular option for many.

Rather than using spikes, these shoes utilise intelligently designed soles that are built to generate traction between the shoe and the grass, offering golfers stability without the need for spikes. 

Grab a new pair of spikeless and spiked golf shoes at golfshoes.co.uk

Whether you’re a fan of spiked or spikeless golf shoes, at Golfshoes.co.uk, we have golf shoes to suit the tastes of any player, from the world’s biggest golf shoe brands.

Take a look at our amazing range of golf shoes, or get in touch if you need a hand making a decision.

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