"Golfers look really stylish," said no one outside of golf, ever. But (hopefully) that was before brands like Nike got in on the act. The Swoosh is at the forefront of transforming golf's wardrobe, and it's well overdue.
Golf is known for terrible clothing. Most golfers looks utterly ridiculous - and the sport has suffered because of it. "White men dressed as black pimps," Tiger Woods famously said. It's what happens when the majority of those involved in the sport are over 50, white, posh, male and say things like "football is a game for gentleman played by thugs, rugby is a game for thugs played by gentlemen".
Alas, our sport is changing. Thank God. The push to attract an increase in participation from a younger demographic coincides with a new, sportier outlook from golf's tailors. Golf polos with no collars, trousers that stop above the ankle, and even hoodies - it's PC gone mad.
"Lifestyle" has become the new buzzword. "Athletes" are what we are now told to call golfers. It's change for the better - just feast your eyes on these beauties.
Nike Lunar Mont Royal - £45.49
The Swoosh are calling it a “heritage look” - we just think it looks like a classic trainer.
Nike’s knowledge in the trainer department - both in developing striking aesthetics and high performance shoes - come to the fore here. The all-white colour scheme make this a summer staple for sneaker heads, and will have non golfers asking “are those really golf shoes?”
Lunarlon cushioning offers supreme comfort, while a mesh upper and synthetic leather offer durability and ventilation.
An integrated waffle grip on the underside is going to offer you decent levels of grip.
It’s also available in black - but why would you do that?
Nike Course Classic - £74.95
Similar to the Lunar Mont Royal, but with a bit more golf-specific tech built in. Hence the increase in price.
This new shoe is inspired by tennis, with Nike saying the two sports “are similar in many ways with regards to time-honoured tradition, sportsmanship, heritage, as well as being classic in every way.” They had Borg, we had Daly.
Again, the all-white aesthetic is safe for summer, not so for any other season.
It has a pressure mapped outsole offering grip, and is designed to not clog up with dirt.
A waterproof upper keeps your feet dry, while a full-length foam midsole offers comfort and support.
The NGC version offers up a tan colourway.
Nike Air Zoom 90 IT - £149.95
If any of you are smugly thinking “these shoes may look great but they don’t offer enough performance for golf”, you’re wrong. These are Rory McIlroy’s favourite. And he swings it faster and harder than you.
These offer more grip than the summer style shoes thanks to an integrated Traction pattern. They also have a waterproof upper and inner sleeve which will get you through the worst of conditions. You’re going to be able to wear these for the majority of the year.
Nike’s Air Zoom technology maxes out the comfort levels, in this excellent shoe.
Nike Lunar Force 1 G - £76.97
Basically Air Force 1 for golf. Nelly was right all along - you do need two pairs. One for golf, one for casual wear.
The Air Force 1 is a classic, and it looks just as good on the course. The waterproof leather upper also helps your feet stray dry in the rain, and breathe when it’s hot.
A waffle design also helps with grip.
Nike Air Zoom Gimme - £62.30
These will make the club captain choke on his cheese and pickle sandwich. Not to everyone’s tastes - granted - but definitely worthy of a spot in the list. You need to have some cajones to pull these off - because the members are going to have a pop, no doubt. Just mumble something about Muirfield and golf being elitest, then walk off.
Look, this is not a rigid golf shoe offering maximum grip. Great for a quick nine or trip to the range, but probably not for the club champs.
Zoom air cushioning and the mesh upper offer outrageous levels of comfort, and you will get a mediocre offering of grip from the traction outsole.
Nike Air Jordan 1 golf shoe - £129
Who would have ever thought Air Jodan would get into the golf game. Michael Jordan’s love of golf should have been a giveaway, I guess. Why they’ve decided to team up with Keegan Bradley and Pat Perez, though, is beyond us.
Unfortunately, getting your hands on Air Jordan golf shoes is a tough business - we’ve tried, and have come up short. As in, we haven’t even had a reply to our emails...
These hi-tops just look like basketball shoes Nike have stuck studs onto. And we’re glad they have.
Jordan wore almost identical shoes - minus the spikes - in the 1985 NBA season, and again when he returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1998.
A premium leather upper mixed with a Nike Free inspired outsole combines with flex grooves and a Phylon injected unisole.
Basically there’s a load of golf-related technology in there, despite looking like they just dropped straight out of White Men Can’t Jump.
Nike Air Jordan 13 golf shoe - £150
The newest Air Jordan golf shoe landed in May, paying homage to Tinker Hatfield’s XIII design in 1997. He found inspiration for his design in cats paws….do you see it? No, neither do we.
The midsole is made from a soft, resistant foam, while the leather upper provides waterproofing.
This is a spiked shoe, and the undersole pattern will provide excellent levels of grip, even when soft underfoot.
Available in a red version, but we’re fans of the all-white version.
Nike Air Jodan 6 golf shoe - £160
Based on the shoe worn in Jordan’s first of six championship runs (that’s SIX Lebron fanboys).
Nike say it’s also inspired by Jordan’s competitive spirit - ?! - and it comes with a full grain leather, waterproof upper.
A plate helps the foot stay stable through the swing, while the rubber outsole provides traction. A strategically placed Jumpman logo also provides extra grip.
Nike Benassi Solarsoft 2 - £23.95
In 2017 socks and sliders went mainstream, largely thanks to the grime scene. We never thought we’d see the day they would make their way into golf, but it’s equal parts brilliant and hilarious they have. If we see anyone wearing these around the course, we’ll shake their hand and buy them a drink.
(obviously these are not golf shoes...but they’re too great not to make this list. Props Nike).