If you have decided to put down the clubs for the day and go hiking instead, you may be wondering if you can simply go hiking in your golf shoes. Even though golf shoes are durable, they are not the best options for hiking.
Simply put, hiking shoes are almost guaranteed to get dirty and messy. Even if the golf shoes offer a lot of traction, it’s not a good idea to bend golf shoes. Not to mention, some golf shoes come with spikes or don’t offer the proper traction for the versatile ground you will be walking on during a hike.
So, can you hike in golf shoes? The answer to this question is yes. Some golf shoes may be suitable for day hiking but this can put your safety at risk.
Are Golf Shoes Good For Hiking?
Technically, you can wear golf shoes for hiking. After all, who is there to stop you in the great outdoors? Still, that does not mean you should be reaching for your golf shoes next time you go into the mountains.
Though some golf shoes are okay for day hiking, they shouldn’t be used on more intense trails, especially if they have spikes.
Simply put, hiking shoes and golf shoes do not serve the same purpose, even though they are similar. Hiking boots are meant to protect your feet from the elements while offering support to your foot and ankles. This keeps you safe and comfortable through intense hikes, especially when they are multiple days long.
Golf shoes, on the other hand, are designed to give traction on greens, which are considered relatively reliable terrain. Yes, there are slopes and sand, but you generally know what you will get when you go to a golf course. As a result, golf shoes are meant to keep your feet comfortable and flexible while increasing your stability while you swing.
Since these two shoes have such different purposes, they are not good to use interchangeably. Golf shoes will not provide enough ankle support and protection against the elements when you are hiking. Any serious hiker should opt for hiking boots that give them more protection.
Another reason why golf shoes are not great for hiking is that golf shoes tend to be really expensive. In addition, they need to remain stiff in certain places to help your swing.
Hiking around in golf shoes means that you can easily damage them, wasting your money. Most people don’t like the idea of getting their golf shoes completely muddy and wet.
Is There Ever A Time To Wear Golf Shoes Hiking?
If you are going to a well maintained trail once with a buddy, there is no need to buy hiking boots. If you have spikeless golf shoes or tennis shoes, those will be fine since well maintained trails typically don’t come with a lot of rock and debris.
If your golf shoes have spikes, don’t even think about wearing them. Some hikes have a lot of rock. Walking on rocky terrain in spikes increases your chances of falling and damaging the shoes in the process.
If you start going on hikes more regularly, however, definitely consider investing in a pair of hiking shoes. They will help you stay safe and comfortable, even on some of the roughest of trails.
What to Look for in Hiking Shoes
There are quite a lot of hiking shoes to choose from, and with good reason. There are different types of hiking. You should select a shoe based on the terrain and level of difficulty you are expecting the hike to be. Here are some things to look for in hiking shoes:
Solomon is a proven brand in the industry of hiking. They make some of the most comfortable, and long lasting boots around. These Ultra 3’s are some of the best hiking boots in its class it terms of comfort, and functionality.
First and foremost, you need to get a style of hiking shoe suited to the type of hiking you intend to be doing. Light hiking shoes are kind of like running shoes, but they are much more durable. Still, they are light enough for day hiking and sometimes long distance backpackers.
In contrast, mountaineering boots are for people who intend to be walking over rocky, snowy, or icy paths. These boots are incredibly durable, and they are designed to give you traction, no matter the environment you are walking in.
Finally, the last general classification of hiking shoes is backpacking boots. These boots are very versatile because they can be worn for a day hike or for a multiday trek. These offer a stiff sole and durability so that you can wear them for a long time.
Much like the style, you need to get the right cut of shoe. Just about every style of hiking shoe will come with different cuts, which means that they support the ankle to different degrees.
Low cut hiking shoes look a lot like a running shoe or golf shoe. Casual hikers who don’t hike in dangerous environments will be fine with low cut hiking shoes. If you know that a low cut hiking shoe is all you need, you can use old golfing shoes, so long as you aren’t worried about ruining them in the mud.
If you like hiking in slightly more rugged environments but still don’t expect to be climbing a lot of rocks or slippery slopes, you can go for a mid cut style. This offers slightly more ankle support, and it will protect your feet more from any loose debris.
For optimal ankle support, go for the high cut. The high cut is best for hikers who go on and off trail, especially through potentially dangerous lands.
In addition to the style and cut, you need to pick hiking boots that have the right material. Once again, where you intend to be hiking will largely determine the material type you choose. For a light and not very water-resistant option, you can get hiking shoes made from synthetics.
If you want something a bit more durable but still not made for the most rigorous hiking, go with a split grain leather. This will typically involve half leather and half synthetic materials. These shoes will be breathable, but slightly more durable than fully synthetic shoes.
For intense hiking needs, especially those where it is cold, get full grain leather shoes. These are incredibly durable and waterproof. However, the downside is that they are also less breathable and incredibly heavy.
Finally, the last factor to keep in mind is the size. You want your hiking boots to be the absolute perfect fit on your feet. They should be snug everywhere, but not loose or tight anywhere. A snug fit ensures that your feet do not slide or roll around. Still, they are comfortable enough to feel like your feet and toes can breathe.
All in all, you really shouldn’t be wearing golf shoes on your hike. They don’t offer enough traction or support, and can even put your safety at risk.
Not to mention, golf shoes can be quite expensive. You don’t want to ruin them while trekking around in the mud.
If you are only going on a hike once and you know that the trail is maintained well, you can grab an old pair of spikeless golf shoes instead of buying hiking shoes. Still, it definitely is smartest for your feet and safety to opt for hiking shoes instead.