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Can Golf Shoes Be Used For Running?

In the modern age, we are most fortunate to have footwear specially designed for the sports we play. For golf, we have shoes that provide traction during the swing, and for running, we have shoes that support the feet, legs, and body.

Golf shoes are not suited for running, nor are they recommended, as the shoe’s design would not offer the necessary support to the feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Both spiked and spikeless golf shoes would result in significant discomfort and the risk of slipping or falling over, causing injury.

Unless you are running away from something dangerous on the golf course like an alligator or your wife or husband (when she or he finds out you’re not working) or sprinting for shelter because of a sudden thunderstorm, you should not use your golf shoes for running.

There are some very compelling reasons why not. Let’s find out why!

A group of runners. Can Golf Shoes Be Used For Running?

Golf vs. Running As Sports

Golf and running are about as different as sports can be, mainly how the legs and feet are used. Running is constant, with specific techniques required to execute each stride effectively.

It is also a high-impact sport with the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and upper body experiencing jarring and jolting with each step.

On the other hand, golf is a walking sport with minimal impact on the lower and upper body. The impact is mainly in the hands, while the golf swing forces are torsional twisting-type forces that affect the shoulders, back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet.

As such, the prescription of footwear to offset and support athletes in these two separate disciplines are vastly different as the body and feet require substantially different structures and designs in their respective shoes.

Golf Shoes vs. Running Shoes – Surface & Traction

One of the main differences between running and golf is the surfaces they are played on. Road running happens on asphalt and tar, while cross-country has similar ground to golf with a mixture of sand, grass, mud, and gravel.

Golf is played mainly on grass, with some sand and mud (depending on how straight you hit the ball), and unless you’re on the cart path, you are unlikely to encounter asphalt during your round.

Running shoes are designed to provide traction to the runner on the selected surface, while golf shoes do the same using spikes or spikeless soles that may have cleats attached.

Golf Shoes vs. Running Shoes

Running shoes do not have cleats! Can you imagine running a marathon with cleated shoes? Even walking a marathon or half marathon in golf shoes would become incredibly uncomfortable and even painful.

Just think about how your feet feel after walking 7000 yards which is just under 4 miles. This study showed that most people would take at least 10,000 steps to complete a round of golf. Now think about how your feet would feel after running 26 miles! This is why you should not wear golf shoes for running.

Golf Shoes vs. Running Shoes – Support & Protection

Although both sets of shoes are designed to support the body through the feet and protect against the elements, the type of support is vastly different as the impact forces in running and the torsional forces in golf require it.

Not only that, but the design of running and golf shoes – as opposed to where and how the support structures are placed in the shoes.

Golf shoes are designed to limit the lateral movement in the feet during the swing, while running shoes allow more lateral movement.

Also, the heel in a golf shoe rests lower to the ground than those in running shoes as the running technique usually requires a heel-toe type step, whereas golf shoes lay the feet flatter and more evenly to maintain balance and traction.

Running shoes have a smaller, narrower footprint which promotes and assists in an efficient forward motion. In comparison, golf shoes have a wider footprint for stability and balance during the swing motion.

The one element they do have in common is weather protection from water, rain, and mud. The materials used are water-resistant or even waterproof as both golfers and runners can experience wet conditions.

You should also remember that a lot of the cushioning and support technology from running shoes has been imported into golf shoe design but used differently to accommodate the golf swing motion against the running motion.

Spikeless Golf Shoes
My spikeless golf shoes

Can You Use Spikeless Golf Shoes For Running?

The answer is still no and for the same reasons. While the modern designs and styles of spikeless golf shoes resemble sneakers, the functionality remains the same, and even cross-trainers would not be suitable for golf.

These shoes are just not designed to deal with the body’s golf swing mechanics, and using running shoes for golf would be like using golf shoes for ice skating. Even the spikeless soles would have great difficulty in gripping the ice, while shoes designed for gripping ice would perform equally as poorly on a golf course!

Should you have ever played a round or been at the range in sneakers or running shoes, you will know after a few swings that you are not stable and that your feet will slide when you swing.

This alone will negatively affect both your swing and your mental game, as, before every swing, you will be wondering whether you are or aren’t going to slide and slip or even lose your balance and fall over.

The Wear And Tear Factor

While it is preferable, you don’t need golf shoes to play golf; you do need running shoes to run unless you want to have seriously sore feet and legs afterward. Imagine what your soft spikes would look like after running five miles on the road.

You’d ruin them or pretty close to it, and whatever set of spikes you had, you would need to replace. The abrasiveness of asphalt on golf shoes would be epic, and they’d look like you’d taken an angle grinder to them!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to footwear for any sport, this is a clear-cut case of ‘horses for courses.’ On the golf course, golf shoes are necessary, and on the road, running shoes rule. As the saying goes, “ne’er the twain should meet.”

If you have any doubts, put your running shoes on the next time you play a round or go to the range and take a few swings, just remember to pack your golf shoes as a backup because you will need them!

Do you want to know if you can wear golf shoes for walking? Check out this article, Can Golf Shoes Be Used For Walking?

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