Disc golf: a sport that few knew about 20 years ago when I was growing up has made itself into a cultural hit in recent years, capitalizing on a trend of games that are both cheap and relatively easy to play for a number of people of all shapes and sizes. Because of this, the game has grown and increased its hold on people, and as a result an emerging market has formed.
As more and more people have taken to the game, it has gotten to be more competitive, and the courses are becoming way more professional right along with some of the players. For the serious player, or those that want to become serious, the right pair of shoes is not only desired but also necessary to take your game to the next level. You’ll no longer have to worry about slipping or hurting after a round or two on the links if you choose the right shoes, and we will help you with that today by talking about the features you need and then reviewing the most popular pairs of shoes for disc golf in 2019.
Top Disc Golf Shoe Comparison Chart
|1. Adidas Golf Men’s Adipower S Boost 3||Men||$$$|
|2. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent||Men||$$$$|
|3. KEEN Men’s Saltzman Disc Golf Shoe||Men||$$|
|4. Latitude 64 Chain Wear T-Link||Men||$$|
|1. Puma Women’s Ignite Disc Golf Shoes||Women||$$$|
|2. Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Swift R GTX||Women||$$$|
|3. Adidas Women’s W Adizero Sport III ||Women||$$$|
|4. Salomon Women’s Speedcross 3 Disc Goft Shoe||Women||$$$|
Disc Golf Shoe Buying Guide
A Brief History of Disc Golf
While the history is a little bit unclear- and well fuzzy- the gist of the story of disc golf is fairly simple. It was all bred from the creation of the Frisbee, which is believed to have originated in the 1920s. The craze for the Frisbee, a light, plastic object that could be thrown by virtually anyone yet required skill, ended up inspiring a couple of games. One of them is called ‘Ultimate Frisbee.’
The other, of course, is now known as Disc Golf. The origins of disc golf aren’t totally known, but according to the Professional Disc Golf Association, it began in 1966 when the Frisbee was patented. Another was in 1975 when the disc golf ‘pole hole’ was created. By 1977, there were disc golf courses being set up in playgrounds.
Fast forward to modern times, and the sport has gone from a laid back phenomenon to something in your face. ESPN has showcased on its top plays, there are plenty of videos of trick shots and tournaments on Youtube, and overall more and more people are just aware of it. It took a while to go from zero to sixty, but sixty to 120 has been much quicker, if you will.
DIsc Golf vs Golf Shoes
Golf and disc golf might seem to be very closely related, because they are essentially the same game with a different set of tools, but there are some key differences that make the two games stand out from one another. While golf is played on mowed, well kept courses for the most part so that you have an easier time to find your ball and can even drive golf carts on it, disc golf is played on the opposite. Oftentimes, disc golf courses are played in a ‘rugged’ environment with varied terrain that can slope at a moment’s notice. While golf, at least in America, does utilize trees a little bit (but mostly to use on either side of the fairway), disc golf might utilize those same trees as the course itself, forcing you to throw the disc through various trees in order to get to your ultimate target.
Because of this, different shoes are needed. You need something that has good traction because you aren’t always going to experience the best grip otherwise. You might be on a muddy course, because you are in the woods after all, or you could be on a steep hill. Not to take away from regular golfers, but so many of them would just drive up it with a cart. Disc golf doesn’t offer such frills, so you need something to use help you reach your destination. We’ve all been there playing a new sport where we didn’t have the right footwear. It can be painful, uncomfortable, or just downright scary. It makes you worry about that instead of playing and learning the game. So it’s important to find a pair of shoes to take disc golfing to make sure you don’t have those worries any longer.
Another thing that disc golf brings with it is the elements, meaning that the game will take a toll on your shoes. Running shoes, or tennis shoes, might be good for an occasional game or two, but after a while the terrain can play a big role in scratching them up and making them start to tear. The need for more durability is another reason you will want to look into a pair specifically designed for disc golf, especially when you consider there are certain movements that are unique to the game and will require a different set of shoes. Things like dragging your toe and rotating your body around heavily in the throwing motion are not what running shoes are made for.
Those are made for running in a straight line, and while effective at that, they just won’t last very long if you are putting them under immense amounts of torque and strain. Same goes for your regular tennis shoes. Spinning and pivoting on your toes will make the wear out very quickly, making it necessary to get something more permanent. This doesn’t even make mention of the fact there are many concrete pads used to ‘tee off’ in the game, meaning you might tear them up even worse than you otherwise had imagined that you would.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for Disc Golf Shoes
There are a few keys to look out for when you are looking into getting a good pair of disc golf shoes. Your own personal preferences are very important, so you will need to evaluate what you need and the area in which you will be playing in. If you play in diverse climates, you might want to go with a blend of a couple of options or pick out a couple even.
Breathability vs Waterproof Shoes
Unfortunately, this is an area where you have the toughest choice to make. Do you want to be breathable or do you want your shoes to be waterproof? Let’s say you live in the Pacific Northwest or the deserts of Phoenix. Your choices would be rather easy to make. However, if you don’t live in a clearly defined climate this can be a lot tougher on you to pick. For starters, the issue begins due to the truth that shoes with a lot of waterproof-ness to them are just less breathable.
The way in which the vast majority of shoes today are made is by using mesh as a way to air out your feet. This mesh allows you to have your foot feel less sweaty, but it also just isn’t the best when it comes to you getting them doused with water. The reason: the tiny perforated holes that the mesh has built in to the shoe. If you are playing early in the mornings, you will want something waterproof because of the dew. It also won’t be as hot, so that is a major plus. However, some people just want to be breathable. For you, you’ve got to pick your spot a little bit better to make sure you won’t run into a bunch of wetness. Fortunately, there have been improvements made to shoes in the last few years that allow a little bit of both. While you won’t be waterproof and breathable, some will dry up pretty rapidly. This is desirable, then, if you will be going to varied courses with different weather.
Weight is always a factor in the world of shoes, whether you want to admit it or not. The weight of the shoe can either make you look forward to the last nine holes, or it can make you literally dread the action. Like with the above issue of breathability vs waterproof-ness, there are trade offs in this area. A lighter shoe allows you to be more explosive with your shots, letting you use your momentum in a big way. For smaller players, this can make a big difference in not just how you feel but also how well you do.
However, you are likely to give up durability by going with this option. That’s why some people will go with a heavier shoe. Heavier shoes also usually offer more protection for you as well because they can be high tops, meaning you aren’t nearly as prone to rolling an ankle or sustaining some other type of foot injury. It might not seem like a big deal, but that can sway people to get a heavier shoe, especially if they are playing at a course for the very first time. When you are trying on a pair of shoes, always make sure to walk around and practice your movements in them. You need to make sure that you will be comfortable in them, and this is the only way to do so. Failing to do the same motions you will do on the course could cause you to make a right decision that you will regret down the road.
Foot Comfort When Playing Disc Golf
Comfort is a blanket term used in this instance, and you should know that it’s about a whole lot more than just being able to stuff your feet inside a shoe and go “ahhhh.” That feeling is great, but we have all found ourselves in comfortable shoes at one time or another that ended up making us hurt very badly sooner or later. What you need to understand about comfort is that it incorporates a ton of different concepts. Yes, you want to feel good as you play, but you don’t want that level of comfort to come back and haunt you, either.
One thing you have to look for is that there is adequate cushioning. A lot of people equate cushioning and comfort to be the same thing, but it’s just one small aspect. To be comfortable, you will need to have a comfy bed of the shoe. It has to have the right amount of cushioning to it. Without it, you’re not going to feel right, and no matter how great they look, they won’t hold up. Just know that have the right amount of cushioning alone is not the answer or the end-all to the issue.
Arch Support for Disc Golf
The second thing to watch for is arch support. No matter if you are someone that is flat footed or has a high arch, you still will need this in order to feel good. Have you ever come home from work or playing a sport and had your feet hurt? Barring that you got stepped on or dropped something on them, it was probably because you had a lack of arch support, causing the bottom part of the foot to hurt. Over time, even the best shoes start to lose their way in this regard, so even those do not to be replaced after a while. If you don’t feel that you are being supported very well, it’s best to just ditch the shoes immediately. It’s one thing to try to get full value for them, but you don’t want to hurt, and they won’t get much better over time in this aspect. You can break in shoes, of course, but they very rarely are going to get better in this specific arena.
Narrow Disc Golf Shoes
Determining whether you have wide or narrow feet, or somewhere in between, is also a key. If you are trying on a pair of shoes, and you realize that there isn’t a lot of room to the sides of the toes for you, then do not assume that will just get better over time. Instead, it’s likely to get worse due to your feet swelling. Even if you don’t go to try on a pair of shoes in person, you can usually find out fairly quickly how wide- or narrow- they tend to run by looking in the reviews. If it’s a consistent pattern, you most likely will want to run away from them as fast as you can to avoid disaster and harm to your feet.
The length, of course, is another big factor in picking the right pair of shoes. This is so often done the right way. Like with the width, you have to be careful and make sure to do it the right way. You need to try on your shoes later in the day or after activity so that you can make sure they will feel at their very best when you are out on the course. People tend to forget about their feet swelling, so they don’t factor that in and end up failing to get the correct size.
They instead match up their size with the size they’d need with no exercise, and it’s ends up being a mess that they blame on the company that made the show. Always make sure you aren’t ‘cold’ when trying on shoes, do your best to try them on in person, and make sure you have about a whole thumb’s worth of room between the ends of your toes and the shoe to make sure you don’t feel cramped.
You also don’t want to have a whole bunch of extra room there, either, because it can cause you to slide back and forth in your shoes. This, coupled with a day out on a course with uneven terrain, rocks, and some dampness, could add up to a very bad injury that should have been easily preventable.
Shoe Lace Types
Laces might seem like a rather trivial thing to bring up, but it can be a major concept that helps you experience a better and more comfortable round. The chief purpose of a shoelace to begin with is to keep you secure and locked in. However, you have to balance this with the need to feel comfortable. Some set ups are just too tight and they cause people a lot of problems because of that.
Whether it cuts off circulation or just restricts movement, it can turn a leisurely day into a horrible one rather quickly. You can make sure the laces are durable as well if you find them to have a metal rings in there. The rings support where the laces slip through add more durability to the shoes, especially if they are made of a softer, more pliable material, which means you can have the best of both worlds in this instance.
Disc Golf Shoe Grip
The last thing to think about when looking into a pair of disc golf shoes is the amount of grip that is given. This can vary from person to person because it just depends on where you are at. The best way to get good grip is to look at the tread on the bottom of the shoe. Much like regular golf shoes, you will find different looks. Some shoes have moved toward a minimal type of look and feel where there aren’t any noticeable treads. These tend to be lighter and offer a little less traction but have become en vogue.
However, if you are playing in places where wet weather is prevalent, then you will want something more pronounced and obvious to help keep you upright. Generally, treaded shoes are going to be able to give you grip on a number of different terrains, including the concrete tee box, dirt, roots in the middle of the woods, mud, snow, dirt, or fairways covered with dew. It can cover it all. Less pronounced tread can be good for you, but it does have its trade offs, and you should be made fully aware of that before embarking on a round with them.
Best Women Disc Golf Shoe Reviews
Puma Women’s Ignite Disc Golf Shoes
Starting out our list is an offering from Puma, a leader in the industry of golf in general. This shoe is one that looks great with its design in a few colors, but none look better than the gray and white combo with just a little bit of pink thrown in. Aside from the obvious good looks of the shoes, the first thing you notice is the laces on the upper.
They are a string like substance meant to give you a whole lot comfort where many do not have it. Instead of tying your shoes, these loop around. I suppose this could be seen as a negative if you just really like to feel very tight in your shoes, but if you prefer not having to worry about tying them and want a looser fit, this is a good choice for you. The bottoms have six circular ‘cleats’ to give you increased tread, with two of them in the back and the other four dispersed toward the front of the shoe.
The fit itself is a ‘bootie-like’ fit that is becoming more and more the norm in shoes. What it is designed to do is give you a secure feeling while not locking you down too much, and it can usually be distinguished- like in this pair- by having a heel that is much lower than the tongue area is. Some of the issues one might run into with this pair of shoes include the price of them and the fact that the insoles aren’t the most supportive ever. The price is quite high, while the insoles just don’t give you very much arch support.
- Don’t have to fool with the laces
- Great looks
- Bootie makes you feel more free
- Quite a premium to pay
- Arch support is lacking
Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Swift R GTX
If you are looking for something a little bit more rough and tumble for your excursions on the disc golf course, then this could be just what you are looking for. The Terrex Swift R GTX is designed as a hiking shoe, so with that, you get a lot of the positives that those shoes bring to the table. Obviously, they are good for the outdoors, rocky terrain, and all sorts of weather and can do a good job in wooded environments.
Despite them not being ‘golf shoes’ per se like the above pair, they do have spikes n the bottom to help give you grip while on the course, which is going to come in handy as you not only walk but also spin and pivot to make throws toward the ‘hole.’ They are made from synthetic material, so they are bound to last quite a long time while also remaining to look very good, which is something you can almost always say about Adidas, no matter what kind of shoe or activity it is for. The calling card of this shoe is going to be the fact that it uses Gore-Tex.
Gore-Tex is a life saver for many hikers, trail runners, and mountaineers due to the fact that it combines both breathability and waterproof features into one. This goes above and beyond normal mesh, and that is why it is just so desirable and needed in the world of disc golf. Another huge positive is that they can be found for a very reasonable, mid-range price, too, meaning they won’t set you too far back to have something for the harshest of elements. One possible problem you could have is that they do have a harder sole to them due to the construction that is necessary. If you are used to a softer feel, these might not be best for you. They also tend to run a little small, so that is a worry you might have to account for.
- Gore-Tex keeps your dry and cool
- Very durable
- Still has spikes on the bottom
- Has a hard sole
- They tend to run small
- Looks plain compared to ‘golf shoes’
Adidas Women’s W Adizero Sport III
Another more ‘golfy’ option, the Adizero Sport III offers a product to you for quite a low price, and thus has to be looked at simply because of that if you are starting out your career in disc golf. Another calling card of them is that they just look great. They have a lot of flash to them in multiple colors, making them ideal for you if you are one that wants to make herself stand out a little bit in the crowd.
Despite the looks and the relatively low price, though, you still get what is considered to be a “weather ready” shoe. They are waterproof, so in the event of rain or a soaked course, you would be happy to have them in your bag as an option to wear. Also, unlike the two previous offerings on our list, it has the traditional lace setup. This isn’t a deal breaker for most people one way or another, but it could be important for you to have to control how tight or loose your shoelaces are. They also are fairly breathable as well, though you shouldn’t expect the mesh to do as good a job at being both waterproof and breathable like a Gore-Tex product would.
A big difference between it and the Puma is that these don’t have the spikes on them. While you may well give up some of the traction without them, you will loss weight and thus feel lighter as you walk. As you near the end of your round, you might just feel better because of it. The downside here could be the fact that you don’t have metal to reinforce the laces, with the exception of the top hole. This can be an issue for some. They also are a little bit stiff for some people, just because they are made that way, and that can be a deal breaker to someone that is a little bit more athletic. They are also a little difficult to clean because of their shiny nature, so that can be an annoyance to you.
- Very manageable price
- Good for rain
- Very lightweight
- Difficult to get to come clean
- Stiffer than others out there
- Lack of metal to reinforce laces
Salomon Women’s Speedcross 3 Disc Goft Shoe
Though designed for trail running, the Speedcross 3 has found its way into the hearts of many disc golf players due to its versatility and range. The Speedcross has a number of lugs on the bottom of it that very closely mimic the affects of a spike on the normal golf shoe. But to go beyond that, they allow you to climb up things much better than an ordinary golf shoe would, making them the ideal choice for ground that is not the most stable. They are also fairly lightweight despite all of this function being afforded to you, and they are very cushioned as well.
This cushioning extends not only to the inside of the shoe but also to the bottom, too, helping you make sure you don’t get hurt if you step on a rock, root, or something else that could otherwise bruise your foot. They also just look great, with a few very flashy colors that make the designs pop out at you. It will definitely make you stand out no matter where you are. Don’t be fooled, either, by the fact that you can go on hard ground easily and effectively with them. You can also walk on soft ground very easily, too, because the lugs work to give you a good foothold, meaning you can use them in the wet or very dry.
Just think: they are supposed to be used for running, so you should be able to get a huge amount of use out of them before they eventually see retirement. The first thing to note in the negative column is the price. They are a little expensive to buy, but that is due to all of the features that they are able to bring the wearer. They also tend to run narrow, meaning that it will be difficult to get the best size if you have a wider foot. Lastly the laces are lacking in quality and can give way, making it hard to replace them.
- Extremely durable
- Great colors
- Gives a ton of protection
- Pricier than most
- Laces lack in quality
- Not good for wide feet
Best Men’s Disc Golf Shoe Reviews
Adidas Golf Men’s Adipower S Boost 3
Like on the women’s list, the men’s list begins with a ‘golf’ shoe to start off at #1. The Adipower S Boost 3, first and foremost, looks great in a number of distinctive colors and designs that are out of the box quite a bit, which is a change from the typical look that Adidas gives with its classy and sometimes understated looks. One look on the bottom reveals that these shoes have taken a different approach from the usual golf spikes. Instead there are a ton of smaller spikes on the bottom which will give you the grip that you need by spreading out the work evenly across the shoe.
The Boost name has become very popular, and it is due to the way the midsole cushions you. Not only does it perform that function, though, but it also offers energy return, which means you don’t lose all of that energy and don’t end up feeling sapped at the end of your round of play. The climaproof material that Adidas uses helps to make the shoe lightweight, breathable, and also protective and cool at the same time. The tongue is composed of EVA, making it comfortable and very cushy to give you the best possible feel.
One major issue you might encounter is that the heel is not secured very snugly. This means they can slide around and cause you problems as you walk, which could set you up for a number of injuries. The upper part is also not the most durable, so if you use them a ton you might not get much more than a season or two out of them. You also are sacrificing a little bit of traction, so that has to be kept in mind.
- Boost gives added comfort
- Very flashy designs
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Upper doesn’t have great durability
- Traction not the best
- Heel slips in some cases
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent
A more rugged look and feel, the Merrell Moab 2 offers men a chance to get on the roughest of courses and not have to worry about tearing up their shoes over time. Like many of Merrell’s products, these shoes have a lot of ventilation built into them. However, these hiking shoes aren’t just good for that. Rather, they are also great in both terms of traction and with performance.
The lugs on the bottom of the shoe are placed strategically to get the most of them, while the leather toe cap- that is used to protect toes while running typically- is very useful for spinning and throwing upon, making them last longer than your ordinary shoe would. The tongue is made in a ‘closed’ manner, making sure that both moisture and debris stay out, which is a big time plus when you are on unpredictable terrain. One of the things that you might not like is the looks. They aren’t the flashiest, and thus you might not like them for that reason. Another reason is that the laces are difficult to get tight on your foot.
- Lugs give traction
- Leather toe cap helps with toe dragging
- Very durable
- Not everyone’s cup of tea for looks
- Laces difficult to tighten
KEEN Men’s Saltzman Disc Golf Shoe
Keen are no surprise at all to make this list due to the fact that they work in partnership with the Disc Golf Pro Tour. One of the main reason they have such a deal with them is the fact that they are renowned for their waterproof nature. The shoes also have a great support, are lightweight, and have a lot of traction thanks to the tread, too, making them a good choice for anyone that is willing to pay a little bit extra for a shoe that is supposed to be for “hiking.” All of these features mean you can safely take them out to play in just about any kind of weather and expect for them to hold up for quite a while, too. One of the trademarks of KEEN and their Saltzman is their nearly unmatched level of comfort. Their use of EVA in the footbed makes the insole come to life, and it keeps you going for hours at a time, something most shoes just won’t be able to do. Along with the price, they also seem to run a little bit narrow, so that will be a worry for some folks.
- Waterproof is a massive boost
- Lightweight and give traction
- Great comfort levels
- Runs a little narrow
- A little costly compared to others
Latitude 64 Chain Wear T-Link
A shoe designed solely for disc golf, the Latitude is a good option for someone wanting to pay a mid-range price for a shoe that has good waterproofing abilities. And like it’s stated very clearly, these are made for the course, one of the first of its kind, but has the ability to look and feel good enough to be worn elsewhere. Very few shoes can say that, even in golf.
The rubber tread that is used can double for good use on a number of surfaces while also keeping you on your feet with an anti-slip functionality. They are also designed in an ergonomic manner so as to reduce impacts on your foot, another big plus if you have had a hard time on your feet in the past. The biggest negative in this camp is the fact that the laces are thin and can easily rip as a result if they get caught on something. The grip you get on grass also isn’t that great but it is passable. Lastly, they don’t last forever, taking a beating after an entire season.
- Awesome looks
- Waterproof technology
- Made for disc golf
- Laces are cheaply made
- Won’t last forever
- Grip is mediocre
Conclusion & Final Shoe Recommendations
Disc golf as a sport is only growing, and due to the fact that is easy to pick up by all kinds of people it is easy to see why. The sport has become so big now that shoes are starting to become very important as people just want to have a better time on the course without wasting their shoes that are intended for other things. Because of that, a number of different types of shoes have started to be used. Initially, we had hiking shoes, running shoes, and golf shoes, but it’s getting closer and closer to the point where we will see disc golf only-shoes. It might be some time off, but until then you can rest assured to get something great that fits you and your needs!
Frequently Asked Questions About Disc Golf Shoe
What Kind of Shoes Can I Use to Play Disk Golf?
This is a very good question, and it’s one that comes with no clear answer. There are a vast array of shoes that can be worn and there are good reasons for them to be worn, too. But that doesn’t mean that you should wear them or that they are the best. Trail running shoes, turf soccer ‘cleats,’ indoor soccer shoes, normal golf shoes, and hiking shoes can all be viable options depending on the things you are looking for. The fact that there aren’t any shoes specifically for disc golf makes it harder yet easier to zero in on what you need.
Can You Play Disc Golf with Running Shoes?
Running shoes aren’t really your best choice here. Disc golf, by all accounts, are very, very tough on shoes. They just eat them up to the combination of the hard ground, other elements, and also the motions that you are putting your body through. Many a people online have played just once or twice and seen their running shoes destroyed as a result. You can avoid that by just not doing it altogether, or trying to keep that to a minimum. The reason why is because running shoes are meant for one motion: going forward. Nothing more and nothing less!
Are Shoes Required to Play Disc Golf?
For the most part, shoes are a requirement. While you could probably get away without wearing any in some practice situations, it will not be looked upon favorably. In tournaments, you are required to wear shoes and a shirt and to look somewhat presentable in doing so. If you just absolutely are one of those people that hate shoes, there are options to make you feel like you aren’t wearing any. Many companies and brands have began to make minimalist styles that are just covering your feet essentially. These might not be the best possible shoe that I’d recommend, but they might just be what you are looking for, so look out for those.
What are the best disc golf shoes to wear during bad weather?
In most cases, yes play will go on in bad weather if it is a tournament. Because of that, you will want a good pair of shoes that offers you grip and comfort to get through your round in whatever conditions you might encounter. If you are just practicing, most places will let you do so in the rain, but you might want to have a serious think about being out in thunderstorms, even if you are technically allowed to be out in them.