Shoes v socks v bare feet

The lat­est pairs claim to boost dis­tance and con­sis­tency. But do they?


What dif­fer­ence do shoes re­ally make? We took them off to find out.

We’ve seen some wild claims about golf equip­ment over the years, but one of the most dif­fi­cult to get your head around is how your golf shoes help you hit it fur­ther. It’s a dif­fi­cult one to prove, so we thought we’d come at it from a dif­fer­ent an­gle. To see how much dif­fer­ence golf shoes can make across a wide spec­trum of swing speeds, TG test pro Chris Ryan and Equip­ment Ed Si­mon Dad­dow hit balls at the range bare­foot, in socks and wear­ing spiked and spike­less shoes. A launch mon­i­tor recorded data. To en­sure a fair test both testers used a new pair of spiked and spike­less shoes and a clean pair of socks!

Test #1 Bare feet

It’s not par­tic­u­larly com­fort­able hit­ting balls bare­foot from a range mat. We also got a few strange looks! The data also told us we’d be much less con­sis­tent. With drop-offs in ball speed of 7mph and 20 yards of carry, the torque that’s gen­er­ated by load­ing and un­leash­ing the power your swing gen­er­ates, play­ing con­sis­tent golf cer­tainly wouldn’t be on the cards (even if John Daly does it) n Av­er­age ball speed: 151mph Av­er­age carry: 253 yards

Test #2 Just socks

This is where it gets in­ter­est­ing, be­cause putting a sock layer (that’s re­ally not very sta­ble) between the foot and ground robs you of grip, and speed. Si­mon lost 14 yards of carry on av­er­age against his long­est com­bi­na­tion, whilst Chris was reigned in by nine yards, with a 28-yard drop between his long­est and short­est drives in socks. n Av­er­age ball speed: 149mph

Av­er­age carry: 247 yards

Test #3 Spike­less shoes

You wouldn’t ex­pect to see too much dif­fer­ence between spike­less and spiked shoes from a range matt (but we will be con­duct­ing a fu­ture test com­par­ing them from wet grass) and to be fair we didn’t. The tiny grips on the sole dig in just as well as a spiked al­ter­na­tive. n Av­er­age ball speed: 150mph

Av­er­age carry: 257 yards

Test #4 Spiked shoes

It’s no sur­prise spiked shoes came out of our test smelling of roses; they are the golf­ing equiv­a­lent of the For­mula One car tyre. Our testers gained (over socks) on av­er­age 12 yards of carry from the tee which is sub­stan­tial. But it’s the con­sis­tency we saw which tells us the right shoes play a huge part in cre­at­ing the grip and trac­tion you need. n Av­er­age ball speed: 151mph

Av­er­age carry: 259 yards

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