Can You Wear Running Shoes for Golf? (Sneakers)

When you are starting out with golf, chances are you don’t have a pair of golf shoes. This makes you wonder if the average pair of sneakers can be worn on the turf.

So, can you wear running shoes or sneakers for golf?

Golf shoes are recommended, but not necessary. As long as they do not damage the turf and are allowed by the golf course, you can play in a golf course wearing running shoes, cross trainers, tennis shoes, and even Vans sneakers.

In this post, let’s find out what shoes you can wear besides golf shoes. My job is to help golf beginners maximize the tools they have to enjoy the wonderful game of golf. By the end of this post, you will also understand the difference between running shoes and golf shoes.

Can you wear running shoes while golfing?

People on average own running shoes or athletic footwear, more than they own golf shoes.

So to help beginners understand the proper golf attire, let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding running shoes and golfing.

1. How are golf shoes different from running shoes?

Most golf beginners wonder if they can wear sneakers on a golf course because they are not ready to invest in a pair of golf shoes. But you need to understand that both of them are different.

So how do golf shoes differ from running shoes?

Unlike running shoes, most golf shoes have spikes underneath them to help keep your feet from sliding on wet or uneven turf. Running shoes are designed to stick to concrete, asphalt, or clay, so they may not perform well on grass.

Golf shoes are designed to “grip” onto the turf.

Additionally, golf shoes are more flexible to help golfers swing on an awkward slope since the game is often played on irregular and uneven ground.

Running shoes and athletic footwear, on the other hand, are slightly stiffer than golf shoes because they are made to keep the wearer’s ankles securely in place

In short, a golfer needs a solid foundation to make good contact with the golf ball, so golf shoes are designed to prevent the golfer from slipping or sliding during the swing.

2. What can you wear instead of golf shoes? 

Say you are a beginner who does not own a pair of golf shoes. You may be wondering: What are some of the alternatives to wear besides golf shoes? 

You can wear running shoes or sneakers with a good grip if you don’t have golf shoes.

They won’t provide the same balance and flexibility, but you may not notice the difference when you are just starting out.

In fact, did you know that there are no rules about footwear in golf?

You can even play barefoot if you like. However, there are many private clubs and luxury resorts around the world that employ strict rules about attire. 

One of my friends came to a specific golf club wearing an expensive golf shirt with no collar.

Because of the club’s strict dress code, his caddie had to go find him a shirt with a collar before the club would let him play. That’s how strict some golf clubs can be.

Golf has plenty of written and unwritten rules.

If you are interested in learning more about proper golf etiquette, I recommend reading the Golf Rules and Etiquette for Dummies. It’s a friendly guide about golf etiquette, on and off the course.

It also includes tips for playing golf with your boss, telling jokes, and much more.

3. Can you wear Vans to golf?

Being able to transition from the street to the golf course is very appealing to golf beginners.

One popular sneaker brand is Vans, praised for its retro style and comfort for daily wear. But since Vans are skateboarding shoes, many ask: can you wear Vans to play golf?

If you don’t have golf shoes, you can wear Vans sneakers to play golf, as long as they are permitted by the golf course. Some country clubs have strict dress codes that you need to follow, so be sure to check the golf course’s shoe policy before playing.

However, if you want to take your sneakers to the next level for golfing, you can install Golfkicks. They transform almost any sneaker, including Vans, into golf shoes.

Transform your Vans into golf shoes by installing Golfkicks


The installation is easy and pretty straightforward. Golfkicks also has a helpful video on how to install the spikes on your shoes. Basically, all you need to do is to stick your hand in the shoe to create a firm base to push against and then screw the spike in the sole. 

It’s recommended to screw them in between cracks, although flat surfaces are also fine.

I was interested in the idea of transforming any shoes into golf shoes, so I’ve decided to give Golfkicks a try. Because it’s a trial run, I wanted something cheap, as well as something that looks unique (unlike golf shoes), so I decided to use a pair of Slip-On Vans.

The next day, I gave my new “Vans golf shoes” a try.

I felt the pressure points on the bottom of my feet coming from the spikes, similar to wearing a pair of acupuncture sandals. That’s because Vans have thinner soles than basketball shoes, I think.

Fortunately, much of the pressure points are gone once I’m on the turf. In fact, I can’t notice the difference between my Vans and my regular pair of golf shoes.

Trying hard to ignore the fact that I was wearing Vans, I was impressed at how stable and balanced the shoes were. Not a single spike became loose by the end of the afternoon.

The best part was, that I got many compliments and remarks about my unique “Vans golf shoes” which made the afternoon one to remember.

GolfKicks Golf Traction Kit (buy on Amazon):

Sure, Golfkicks will not replace your everyday golf shoes, especially if you are a pro. But it is a product that is a lot of fun to try, and very easy to use, especially for golf beginners.

I was satisfied with the result on my Vans because Golfkicks definitely live up to the hype.

Bottom Line

Now you know whether you can wear running shoes for golf or not.

If you are not ready to buy golf shoes, find the “grippiest” pair of sneakers — with ridges, bumps, and textures — you can find to help you perform your best.

You can also transform any pair of sneakers into golf shoes by using Golfkicks.

Remember, always check with the golf course you’ll be playing at to find out what shoes they permit. You can also ask if they offer shoe rentals. 

Reviewed by: Robert Martin