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It’s safe to say the fashion world is obsessed with sneakers. And we’re not just talking about simple leather low-profile street shoes, but shoes you once only wore to the gym for a workout. Today, it’s not unusual to see these styles at the office or out on the town thanks to their comfort and versatility.
Similarly, in golf, there has been a move away in recent years from dress-shoe knockoffs for golf shoes as brands develop sneaker-like offerings with as much traction and support as their cleated and saddled predecessors. As golf and fashion showcase a more casual style, it’s not uncommon for golfers to take their non-golf apparel and accessories onto the course. For apparel, as long as it has a decent amount of breathability and stretch, most pieces can make it through 18 holes. Shoes are a little more difficult to get away with. Without proper support, weather-proofing and energy return, shoes not optimized for golf can negatively impact your game—and leave you with sore feet.
So if you are a sneakerhead or are just looking to add a little fashion infusion to your on-course look, we picked out a few of the top sneaker trends in the fashion world and found golf shoes with similar style, so you don’t have to sacrifice the performance elements golf-specific footwear bring.
Above all, gum-rubber-soled shoes are extra comfortable thanks to a cushioned liner. The typically brown outsole provides a stylish contrast to suede or leather uppers for an effortlessly cool and casual enhancement to any look. The thick lining on the low sneaker gives the shoe an inherently sporty feel and pairs well with joggers or shorts and crew socks.
While classic white shoes are a top sneaker trend, many want to turn up the color in a major way with a statement-making splash with their footwear. Bold and colorful kicks are a quick way to add personality to a simple outfit or amp up an already colorful look. Similar to white shoes, the look can easily be ruined when dirt and scuffs come into play, so look for an easy-to-clean material or avoid muddy rounds.
Low-profile white lace-up sneakers, like the adidas Stan Smith, are one of the styles that have led the recent sneaker revolution in fashion. The traditional white court sneaker was released in 1963. It’s a versatile shoe that can be worn with many different looks because it is not overly athletic and the simple white leather is versatile in dressing an outfit up or down. The challenge with these shoes is how to add traction for golf without taking away from the simplicity of design and lightweight feel. Integrated traction patterns that look more like nubs than spikes are typically found on the bottom of the golf-versions of these shoes, making them better suited for quick rounds on dry days than journeyman weekends.
When it comes to high-fashion footwear like sock sneakers or Yeezys, it’s not always easy to find a similar look for golf. Typically, these shoes have designer price tags and sell out fast. Sock sneakers are a high-top soft sneaker that looks like a tall sock with the sole of an athletic shoe. The knit style shoes look best with a tapered athletic pant (think: slim-fit joggers) and are best in simple, single-color designs.
This oversize, chunky footwear is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some runway style to your golf look and try the trend out. They pair best with loose, oversized pieces like wide-leg trousers, big jackets and retro, boxy polo shirts. In the fashion world, these shoes are often paired with oversized boardroom-inspired suiting. Many also will intentionally create a contrast between soft or feminine silhouettes to highlight the bulky shoe trend. In golf, these shoes have been around all along and are known for their comfort, support and wide foot bed.
Skate-style shoes have been a go-to in the fashion world for both casual looks and adding an edge to trendy pieces. While the two major players, Converse and Vans, haven’t gotten into making golf shoes just yet, golfers often wear the non-golf shoes during casual rounds. We found a few golf options that have a little extra traction and support while still bringing skate-inspired vibes to your look.
Nike Air Force, Air Max and Jordans
Nike has been a major player in creating golf shoes that replicate iconic off-course styles, but these shoes are often released with limited inventory and sell out quickly. The Air Max golf shoe has lasted the longest in Nike’s lineup, with many iterations around majors and big golf events each year. Jordans tend to come in and out of the company’s golf shoe offering, catching the eye of sneakerheads and golfers alike. The closest thing to Nike’s Air Force 1 was the Lunar Force 1G that was released in 2017, but can only be found on select sneaker re-sale sites today. The Nike Air Jordan 1 Low brings similar design elements with an all-white exterior, air-cushioned heel and low profile design.
Retro track shoes inspired by 1970s and 1980s athletics are another trend in fashion that bring nostalgic style and comfort to the forefront. The rounded toe and thick midsole were once a game-changer in adding newfound comfort and support to running shoes and quickly moved from the track to the street. The style has seen a resurgence in recent years and are often worn with suits or upscale dresses in the fashion world. The typically bright, colorblocked shoes add a pop of color without being as sporty or bulky as many other sneaker trends. The slimmer profile is more lightweight for a comfortable statement piece that doesn’t require too much trouble when matching with the rest of your look.