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If The Shoe Fits

The Golfing Machine - Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today’s golf shoe market is flooded with shoes based solely on comfort, the function and stability of the shoe has been forgotten. The golf shoe manufacturer wants you to believe that a golf swing places the same type of force on a shoe as does a basketball player, runner or tennis player, however, they are wrong. A golf shoe unlike any another athletic shoe has a function and that is to maintain the feet in a fixed position on the ground while you make your golf swing, it must be built differently with a golf stroke and its motion in mind, and leave the tennis like shoes for tennis.

Selling golf shoes is a multibillion dollar industry which is built on the basis that you should buy new golf shoes not because the old ones are worn out but because you would not want to be seen wearing last year’s fashion.

My contention here is that the buyer knows little about footwear and has invested in fashion, just what the manufacturers want. The less you know the more you will buy. 

Function over fashion - let’s say that you weigh 200 pounds, simple math equates that number to 100 pounds per foot. However, you weight shifts during the swing and the foot twists inside the shoe as well. This is different motion than say just walking where your shoes bends about your toe in the box of the shoe and you can tell if there is any slippage as you walk. However, a functional golf shoe must not only bend for walking it must support you while swinging, it must be able to withstand the stresses of the twisting foot inside the shoe. The shoe must be fit for length but for width as well. 

Now consider the fact that you are on your feet for about 4.5 hours while golfing. You either walk the course or you walk to and from your cart. No matter you are placing stress on your feet as well as your shoes. 

The twisting of the shoe begins as your weight is being moved by swinging the golf club. The shoe must resist the twist of your motion and not loose contact with the ground, if it does loose contact with the ground you will feel it in your swing. Mostly I hear people say they have lost their balance. But that is not always the case - the shoe may well be the culprit as it could not maintain its association to the ground because it was designed for fashion and not function. 

Next time you purchase golf shoes please remember that the function of the shoe is to maintain your association to the ground. Try on different styles and manufacturers and take practice swings and sense how much your feet are twisting inside the shoe. Try different sizes and widths. Once you have a shoe which you feel will allow you to swing properly and not twist over on the side of the shoe then take a walk around the store. Lastly, look at the style - always remembering that the function of the golf shoe is to keep you on the ground, attached to the ground and not allow you to twist over on the edge of the shoe.