Let’s call 2016 the year of golf shoe flexibility. First, the use of new materials has led to the most supple uppers, midsoles and outsoles ever. Not only do they conform to the shape of your foot, but they help keep you grounded (literally). Second, today’s golf shoes have a casual coolness that can seamlessly transition from course to clubhouse to office – we won’t judge. But good looks haven’t come at the cost of athletic performance. The soles of the newest shoes are covered in traction elements that give as they grab. Even better: All this flexibility means your shoes might even enhance the natural rhythm of your swing. That’s right, one less excuse. Or in this case, two.
Puma Ignite Spikeless Sport
Mesh makes an upper light and breathable, but maybe not stable. Puma addresses this – stylishly, we might add – with a leather saddle over its performance mesh.
New Balance NBG1005
Spikeless shoes have you spooked about slipping? The three shapes of traction elements here are arranged in patterns across the sole for extra grip and lateral stability.
FootJoy looked to the red-eyed tree frog’s flexible grip as inspiration for this wraparound outsole, which uses a softer rubber and plenty of traction points.
Instead of using multiple pieces to keep your foot in place, this shoe uses one: The web pattern at the heel and toe is a continuation from the midsole.
G/Fore Gallivanter IV.O
Relative newbie G/Fore reworked the sole to include nubs of various sizes to improve traction. Another useful feature: The shoe is waterproof.
Adidas Tour360 Boost
See that gap between the arch and the bottom of the shoe? It’s designed to let your foot move naturally, while keeping the shoe’s base in full contact with the ground.
Royal Albartross Club Royale
Its classic style and use of Italian leather are noteworthy, but don’t overlook the sole made by Vibram (the “five-finger” running shoes folks). Lightweight with plenty of lugs, the sole offers natural, flexible traction.
Nike Lunar Control 4
Rory McIlroy’s latest model stresses stability with a sturdy external heel counter. The cushy midsole helps you sense the ground, and seven slim cleats help with traction.
Callaway Xfer Nitro
The flexible channels along the sides might get your attention, but don’t overlook the genius of that subtle folding heel tab that makes putting shoes on easier.
Skechers Go Golf Bionic 2
The minimal drop from heel to toe keeps your foot in a neutral position to help promote a more natural, athletic movement.
True Linkswear Elements Hybrid
Hybrid shoes are about transitions: office to course, course to clubhouse. These also offer waterproofing and breathability to keep your feet comfortable whether it’s wet or warm.
OGIO Sport Spiked
Mostly all-leather in the past, OGIO’s newest shoes get an athletic upgrade thanks to lightweight mesh in the upper. It’s breathable but still sturdy because of the internal wrap-around feature at the laces.
High-Tops High Jinks
Thanks to Rickie Fowler and his Puma TitanTour Ignites, high-tops have become a thing. Everyone wants them, whether or not they can pull off the look. Rickie’s Pumas will be out soon and other companies are close behind. Nike (Michelle Wie has been seen sporting a version), Adidas and G/Fore all have high-top models out or in the works. But before you go high, the style lowdown: High-tops are better suited with a trimmed pant leg, shorts or jogging pants – not your dad’s khakis.