Worn Out: The End Of The Traditional Golf Shoe


We’ve all noticed the growing prevalence of sneaker-style golf shoes, which has really accelerated this season. But what you may not have realized is that what we are witnessing, in the big scheme of things, is the death of the traditional golf shoe. For nothing in fashion ever goes backwards, and everything, in the end, is fashion.

Golf shoes used to be modeled on dress shoes. Today, of course, they’re based on athletic shoes. Proponents could say it comes down to comfort, but behind the quest for comfort are larger forces that shape the historical timeline of menswear. People used to dress up for most aspects of daily life, from work to dining and plane travel. A certain amount of discomfort (and if you consider suits and ties to be uncomfortable, bear in mind that Fred Astaire danced naturally and gracefully in white tie and tails, which didn’t seem to bother him) was endured for the sake of formality and custom. In the long history of men’s clothing, the prizing of comfort above all else (including status and power) is a relatively new development.

Sneaker-style golf shoes are here to stay because that is the overall direction of golf taste in general: casual, athletic (in the shiny, polyester sense) and democratic in a consumer-culture way. Odds are the traditional wingtip, spectator and saddle shoe-styled golf shoes will soon go the way of other golf attire once de rigueur and now hopelessly old-fashioned, including cardigans, traditional hats (the kind worn by Sam Snead), neckties on the golf course, and the biggest example, knickers worn with long socks.

If you’re like my father, as conservative and middle-of-the-road as they come, in the early ’60s you wore skinny lapels and ties, were clean-shaven, and wore your hair short. Ten years later, you probably had wide ties and lapels, grew your hair out, and might have grown a mustache.

Fashion always move forward and it is the great dictator. This site will attempt to be a beacon in the darkening twilight and defend traditional good taste. But as history has proven,  it’s safe to say that this is the direction things are going:


3 Responses to “Worn Out: The End Of The Traditional Golf Shoe”

  1. Bob Says:

    I just bought a pair of these:

  2. GolfStyle Says:

    Interesting classic/modern hybrid.

  3. Golf Style » Blog Archive » Fancy Footwork: A Q&A With Allen Edmonds CEO Paul Grangaard Says:

    […] Golf shoes seem to be going through a rapid transition right now. In fact, I recently predicted that what we’re witnessing is the death of the traditional golf shoe, which will soon go the way of plus-fours. Your Jack Nicklaus collection is modern without being […]

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