Should Golf Shoes Be Snug? Why You Don’t Want Them Too Tight

If you’re planning on buying golf shoes, one of the most important things is making sure they fit properly.

Too tight and your feet will ache before you even get through nine holes; too loose and your feet will slip around and move inside your golf shoes, defeating the purpose of wearing them altogether.

So, how snug should your golf shoes be?

Golf shoes should be tight enough that your feet feel secure, without being in pain. You should have roughly a thumb width of space in the toe end and your feet should not feel like they slide around inside the shoe when the laces are tied.

Golf shoes can be tricky as often the best designs are made from leather and won’t stretch as much as synthetic models might – meaning you need to get the sizing right from the start.

It even gets trickier if you have wide or narrow feet, as this may require you to have more room at the sides or in the ends of the shoe to compensate.

Trust me, as someone with wide feet, I know this feeling all too well and I always leave more than a thumb width of room in the toes.

This article will give you a good guide on what to look for when choosing golf shoe sizes.

How much space should you have in your golf shoes?

When it comes to golf shoes, your feet should have enough space that they feel secure and comfortable without exerting too much pressure onto your toes or the sides of your soles. Typically, a thumb width of space at the toe end of the shoe is a good guide for a nice fit.

Personally, I would always err on the side of ‘slightly too big’ rather than ‘slightly too small’ – which is the opposite of what many people do (which I think is a mistake).

Many people think if they buy a shoe that is a little too snug, then it will stretch over time to fit better – but what usually happens instead is that they start becoming painful nine holes into an 18-hole round.

Rather than continuing to persist with the discomfort and ‘stretch’ the shoes as planned, many players will just stop wearing them altogether.

While ‘slightly too big’ isn’t ideal either (but sometimes can’t be avoided if you’re in between sizes), you can compensate a lot easier by tying the laces tighter or wearing thicker socks.

So, in summary: if in doubt, always go slightly too big versus slightly too small.

Do golf shoes stretch?

Golf shoes stretch less than you might think. Golf shoes made from synthetics will stretch far more and far quicker than those made from leather, which will stretch significantly less and take longer to do so.

Essentially, you have a lot more room for error when buying synthetic golf shoes than you do when buying a leather pair because of how much they stretch.

I’ve owned a pair of leather golf shoes for a number of years and can say while they have stretched slightly following many, many rounds, they haven’t done so enough to increase even a half-size – let alone a full size.

So, if you are thinking you may get away with buying golf shoes that err on the tighter than looser side, be cautioned: while synthetic may stretch enough to bring comfort, it’s likely leather won’t.

The benefits of correct golf shoe fitting

Are golf shoes the same size as regular shoes?

Yes, golf shoes use the same sizing chart as regular shoes. Most golf shoes will come in UK or US sizes, with their fit very similar to runners. If you’re stuck in between sizes, it’s always best to err on the side of too big instead of too small when buying golf shoes.

As with regular shoes, while golf shoes come in universal sizing (UK and US), every shoe design is slightly different and the sizes may vary depending on the brand you buy.

For example, I have two pairs of golf shoes – the screw-in spiked model is a size 10 Puma brand, while the molded soul model is a size 9 FootJoy make.

My foot hasn’t changed sizes, however the way each shoe is manufactured is obviously different – the Pumas are slightly narrower, which means due to my wide feet I require an extra size up in order to feel comfortable.

This brings me to the next question…

Should I size up when buying golf shoes?

Yes, you should always size up and err on the side of slightly too big versus slightly too snug when considering which size golf shoes to buy. Golf shoes that are too tight will cause discomfort during an 18-hole round, which will detract from your performance and enjoyment.

As I mentioned earlier, while cheaper synthetic golf shoes may stretch a little over time, better quality leather golf shoes won’t change their shape much at all – even after extended use.

So, if you try on a pair of golf shoes and they feel tight, don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘oh well, they’ll stretch the more I wear them’ because there’s a good chance they won’t.

Obviously, you don’t want golf shoes that are falling off your feet, but if you have to go a half or full size higher than you normally would in order to be comfortable, then you should absolutely do so.

Comfort is the number one most important factor when buying new golf shoes and it’s important to select a size that feels nice on your feet from the moment you put them on.

If you’re buying online, don’t worry – if the shoes you buy are too tight when they arrive, most distributors will allow you to return and exchange them for a larger size at no extra cost.

So, in summary: yes, you should size up when buying golf shoes rather than trying to endure shoes that are slightly too tight.

Can you wear golf shoes for walking and running?

Yes, you can definitely wear golf shoes for walking and running provided they have spikeless rubber soles. If you buy golf shoes that have screw-in spikes – either rubber or metal – you won’t be able to use them anywhere but on the golf course.

As I’ve written in another article, if you want your golf shoes to double as running shoes then you want a design that is predominantly made from synthetic or cotton rather than leather as they will provide far more comfort and support – both of which are crucial for running long distances.

I’ve compiled a full list of the best golf shoes you can also use for running and walking here, which I definitely recommend you read.

Final message

When buying golf shoes, getting the fit correct is critical – while you want your footwear to be snug, you don’t want it to be tight.

Golf shoes that are constricting at the toes or sides will begin to cause you discomfort as you make your way around the course, which is exactly what you don’t want.

If you are stuck between sizes, I always recommend choosing a size up as you can always wear thicker socks or tie your laces tighter to compensate for a golf shoe that is slightly big.

If you can keep this in mind, you’ll have no problems finding a golf shoe that fits.

Lewis Carhart
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