Sometimes, women’s golf shoes call to us.
In my first round of golf of the year, I had spring in my step for nine holes, with a fresh swing and happy heart. Right around the turn, though, I realized my lower body had stopped turning, my knees creaked and my feet had started aching.
Time for new shoes! A pair that would cushion and support my entire lower body. A pair that would give me traction on turf. A pair so fashionable, I wouldn’t rush to change them for the 19th hole.
Luckily for women golfers, more and more brands are venturing into the market for women’s golf shoes that was once dominated by Footjoy. And more and more of those brands are mixing form and function, so that we don’t have to choose between technology and fashion in women’s golf shoes: We can have both!
If you’re new to golf, you can play in tennis shoes. But, yes, you will eventually need golf shoes! Here are three pairs of supportive women’s golf shoes I’ve tested this summer and can now recommend for your own golfing feet.
ADIDAS ZG21 BOA GOLF SHOES
I love Adidas for always keeping women in the loop for the latest in golf shoe technology: What Adidas offers men, it also offers women. That’s not true of every golf shoe developer. Adidas may not have as many styles and options in women’s golf shoes as in men’s golf shoes, but it does not discriminate when it comes to making top-performing shoes.
If you’ve got a match to win, the ZG21 is the shoe to wear that day. This is also a good one for getting golfing guys to drool all over you in envy.
The first thing you notice is the BOA, the little dial that’s replaced laces for tightening and loosening the shoes. Teamed with the Adidas Boost system and six replaceable cleats, this gives the golfer a distinct feeling of stability that generates energy over 18 holes of walking, even though it’s one of the lightest shoes on the market. It’s also completely waterproof — and by that I mean, not waterproof only on the bottom, or only for a 20-minute Maui shower. Completely waterproof.
For women, the ZG21 comes in three color options. All of them are so much white they’ll go with anything, but will look particularly spiffy if you’ve got an outfit in the trim colors.
Specs: In white trimmed with hazy green and acid yellow, or white trimmed in silver metallic and screaming pink, or white trimmed in solar red. Sizes 5-11. MSRP $190.
Best for: Avid golfers. Rainy days. Sporty fashionistas.
Shop: Amazon or Adidas.
ROYAL ALBARTROSS, SNEAKER STYLES
I’m wearing Royal Albartross’ Luna Rosa, which invariably attracts compliments from fashion-minded women golfers. The thing is, they can’t get the Luna Rosa. You can’t either. But that’s the major appeal of Royal Albartross: CEO and designer Alex Bartholomew creates designs that are not mass produced but are handcrafted in small, family-run factories in leather-loving countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Bartholomew describes her customer as someone who appreciates the finer things in life. “We have a loyal following of people who wear our products because we aren’t mass produced and are built to last,” says the South African-born, sunny-day golfer. “These are investment pieces that hold their value.” Indeed, I have noticed my Luna Rosas becoming more pliant and comfortable with wear, yet unyielding in their support. (Vibram consults on sole technology.)
You can find your own investment piece now and rest assured that your match opponent is not going to be wearing your Fieldfox Leopard. I recommend the spikeless sneaker styles for walking the golf course (here’s a sample); for anytime wear, Bartholomew has continued developing the Runway collection of slip-on range shoes (like this one).
Specs: Sneaker styles come in a variety of colors and are $249 and $299. Sizes 5-10. No half-sizes. These run a bit big, but use the online sizing chart instructions to measure your feet before ordering.
Best for: Golf resort wear. Shoe fashionistas.
Shop: Amazon or Royal Albartross.
COLE HAAN’S NEW GOLF SNEAKER
It’s been 80 years since Eddie Haan patented Cole Haan golf shoes. A look at the brand new collection for men would no doubt have old Eddie blinking and rubbing his eyes: It’s very hip and happening for fashion-minded young dudes, with an eye-catching, playful aesthetic.
There’s nothing so over the top about Cole Haan’s new women’s golf shoes, however. They are simply and thankfully smart-looking, incorporating performance technology into two distinct styles: the traditional oxford-style ØriginalGrand Golf Shoe and the fun, feminine GrandPrø AM Golf Sneaker.
The Golf Sneaker comes in five color options, and I’ve been wearing the wheat gold ever since a spring visit to the Broadmoor, a classic golf resort in Colorado Springs. I put them on in the morning and walked all over the property in them. Nobody said, “Hey, you’re wearing golf shoes!” They’re so cute and comfy.
The Golf Sneaker performs, too. I feel really good after walking 18 holes in them. In fact, they’re the shoe on this list you could put on at home and not want to take off until you walk back in the door.
These, too, are waterproof. They’re just too cute, though, to be my go-to rainy day golf shoe.
Specs: ØriginalGrand Golf Shoe, three colors. Sizes 5-11. MSRP $170. GrandPrø AM Golf Sneaker, five colors. Sizes 5-11. MSRP $150.
Best for: Walkers. Golf fashionistas. Golf travelers.
Shop: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, and Cole Haan.