Prediction:  those ubiquitous spikeless golf shoes (like the Ecco “Street Premiere”), the ones that look like old-fashioned Keds and have little bumps on the sole rather than spikes, are a fad whose time is about to run out.  The shoes are marketed as being super-convenient, as you can wear them to the course, play a round, and then keep them on for the rest of the day; you never have to change shoes in order to play golf. In other words, your are SUPPOSED to wear them off the course as well as on it. (They are also marketed as being lighter and more comfortable than conventional golf shoes, but that is a more subjective matter and involves a trade-off between the better traction and support you get with spikes, and the supposedly greater comfort and convenience with the spikeless shoes.)

The problem is, the spikeless shoes are indeed light and comfortable and suitable for casual wear as a substitute for sneakers or crossovers, but every time you wear them off the golf course, as it is suggested you should do, you grind-down the little bumps that provide whatever traction and grip you get on the course.  Even if you only wear them 2 or 3 times a week, it only takes about a year for them to lose their grip/traction function (especially tips and heels) and become useless as golf shoes.  When that happens, you might try the golf store or pro shop where you bought them, or the manufacturer, or a shoe repair shop, but you will get the same answer from each:  tough luck, sucker, the bottom layer of the shoe (the one where the spikes used to be) cannot be replaced.

There are probably people willing to lay out as much as they would pay for conventional golf shoes (these puppies are not cheap) in order to own a pair of stylish golf sneakers that will soon have to be trashed (or used as something other than golf shoes), but my bet is that the majority of golfers will view the whole proposition as a rip-off, just another version of the business-model formerly known as “planned obsolescence.” Unless you are like Sam Snead and are so good you don’t even need shoes (much less golf shoes) in order to play, the grip-&-traction function of spikes is pretty important.  I give the whole thing maybe one more year, but I will try to coordinate the rest of my outfits so as to look really nifty while they last.


  1. As long as we are going in on conspiracy theories, I think the golf courses are in on it, too. I remember seeing signs on certain golf courses when I was a kid forbidding “hard spikes” (yes, I am old enough to remember when people actually had metal spikes) because they ripped up the courses and made their repair and upkeep much more labor-intensive and expensive. Golf course management is probably rejoicing that players are dumb enough to buy shoes with less and less traction.

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