Barefoot Shoes for Golfers – On and Off the Course

Barefoot ShoesAs you can see, the theme of my last few posts have been golf related and this is because it’s spring/summer, I have golf on my mind, and so do a lot of you folks.  Today I want to talk a bit about a subject that is very near and dear to me, as I am sure you can tell from the title of my blog, barefoot shoes.  The content of this post will focus on barefoot shoes for golf and casual wear (ie. in the clubhouse).  Before I begin, I have compiled a number of brands here and I have not tried all of these shoes (that would be very expensive :-)).  I will however mention what shoes I have tried and my thoughts on them throughout.  I have also included links at the bottom of each section for purchase options.

Barefoot Shoes for Golf

It is only fitting for this section to be the first part of this post on barefoot shoes written by the Barefoot Golfer.  You may be surprised by this but I don’t actually golf barefoot, I would if it was socially acceptable and if I knew pesticides and herbicides were not used on the course.  So, my next best option was to find the best minimalist golf shoe I could source.  When choosing the best option for you, keep in mind that you are looking for comfort and function as well as the presence of soft spikes or not.  Here is what I have found to date.

Barefoot BERBS – These are my shoes of choice for the last 3 golf seasons.  They look a bit strange but they have spikes (the only brand of the minimalist golf shoes to have this) and are very minimal and comfortable.  If you go with the all black style, it minimizes the odd look of the shoes.

VivoBarefoot Hybrid – I have not tried these shoes and of all the options available, I find them to be the best looking shoe.  They do not have soft spikes, but once I can justify the high price point I will be buying a pair of them.  VivoBarefoot shoes get great reviews in general from the barefoot shoe community

TRUE Linkswear – These are the most popular barefoot style golf shoe on the market.  I am guessing that this is probably due to marketing and the fact that they are, in my opinion, the least minimal of the list; although I have only tried the “proto” style.  This has been my winter golf shoe because it is 100% waterproof, otherwise, the shoe is much too much of a shoe for my linking

Vibram Five Fingers – These shoes are becoming very popular recently in the running, fitness, and even casual wear community but I have not yet seen them on the golf course much.  Vibram is my choice of shoe for fitness and I may at some point switch to a version of them on the course (if I can get past the strange look they would have on the course).  Vibram has actually begun to market some of their shoes for golfers, as you can see in the link I provided, and the “speed xc” is even waterproof for those rainy climates like Vancouver and those early morning dew filled rounds.  I get closer and closer every day to trying these out.

Well everyone, that is about it on the barefoot shoe front for golf.  Pretty skimpy if you ask me.  Seriously, big name golf shoe companies, jump on the barefoot shoe bandwagon so we can get a widely available option.  Otherwise, we will have to wait for a long time for the smaller companies to get more traction in the market, but who knows how long that will take.

                                          VivoBarefoot    True Linkswear   Vibram Five Fingers


Barefoot Shoes in the Clubhouse

This section will focus on casual barefoot shoes that would be appropriate to wear in the clubhouse after a round of golf, or anywhere for that matter.  At this time there are many options out there for a more casual barefoot shoe; however, the casual I am referring to here is a bit more on the dressy side, something you would be able to wear out to a nice restaurant or even to work.

Patagonia Advocate Line – The advocate line of shoes from patagonia are currently my go to for casual wear.  I rock these bad boys everywhere other than when I am exercising or golfing.  Although they don’t work well in the rain :-(.  The darker the colour you choose, the dressier they become.

Soft Star DASH RunAmoc – The Dash RunAmoc looks pretty nice on the Soft Star website.  I have not tried these shoes but have seriously been thinking about it over the last year.  They are leather and look dressy enough for work, maybe even with a suit? I anticipate that since they are leather, they might have some level of water resistance also.

VivoBarefoot – Take your pick here folks, VivoBarefoot has a huge line of casual and dress wear barefoot shoes.  They are very popular in the barefoot shoe market.  I have not personally tried a pair because they are hard to find in Canada and they run pretty expensive for many of their styles.  That being said, they definitely have the best looking options if you are willing to fork of some cash.

Personally these are the best options I have located for golf and casual wear in the barefoot shoe market.  I hope you find this information helpful in your search for barefoot shoes.  If you have any other suggestions that have worked for you, I would love to know what they are.

                                                                           Patagonia             VivoBarefoot




The Barefoot Golfer


  1. Billy

    “You may be surprised by this but I don’t actually golf barefoot”
    Then your site should be called “The Minimalist Golfer”. Have you ever tried playing barefoot? I have, and I love it. I wish I could do it everywhere. Yes, it’s not socially acceptable, and if I’m playing in a group, I’ll wear shoes. And I’ll typically tee off on 1 wearing shoes. I only ditch them after I can no longer stand the pain.

    “I would if it was socially acceptable and if I knew pesticides and herbicides were not used on the course.”
    I’ve not actually seen any info indicating that pesticides and herbicides can be absorbed through the feet, which has the thickest skin on the body. Still, I agree that it’s a concern.

    Have you ever walked 18 in your Barefoot BERBS? If so, do you do it regularly? I typically walk, and my problem is that none of the shoes I’ve tried (2 pr of golf shoes, 1 pr of sneakers) are comfortable enough to walk 18. All of mine start hurting after about 9 holes. Have you ever tried golfing in a non-golf shoe? Some “trail shoes” have more traction than a typical sneaker, and might work.

    1. The Barefoot Golfer
      Twitter: barefootgolfer1
      (Post author)

      Thanks for the feedback, I would agree with you on the name, but it didn’t sound as catchy as barefoot :-). I have golfed barefoot before, but not a full 18 hole round barefoot; however, I would prefer to golf barefoot if the conditions were right. In the pacific Northwest (Vancouver), we have very wet weather most of the year which also makes it not so comfortable to golf barefoot. I also play in a lot on amateur tournaments that do not permit me to golf barefoot.

      Regardless, I always walk my rounds of golf unless a cart is included in my green fees. Also, in all the tournaments I play in, it is a requirement to walk the round. So, to answer your question, yes I walk full rounds in my BERBS and have found them to be the most acceptable (for the price) I can find. That being said, they are still not quite as minimal as the type of shoes I wear off the course (ie. vibrams, patagonia advocate). I have not tried other non-golf minimalist shoes on the course, mainly because I was looking for a water proof/resistant shoe for the course, and there are limited water-proof options in the minimalist market. Although, recently I have been seeing more become available, particularly with the vibram 5 fingers, but then you would have to deal with everyone you golf with asking you about your shoes :-). On the traction side of things, I am not fully convinced that full soft spikes are needed, just look at many of the newer types of golf shoes on the market that do not have typical soft spikes (ie. Nike Free, Ecco, Crocks, True Linkswear) that are used by pros all over.

      1. Billy

        Thanks for the reply.

        “I have golfed barefoot before, but not a full 18 hole”

        The most I’ve done is 17 out of a 27 hole day. After 10, my feet were killing me, and I had to ditch the shoes. My feet felt great for the next 17 holes. But I know that if I can’t play 18 in shoes, I’m going to be very limited in where and when I can play. The course where I played barefoot is very friendly, and I’m grateful that they allowed me to continue without shoes, but I’ll bet that they are the exception rather than the rule. And I doubt I’d EVER get invited to join another group while I was barefoot, or be allowed to play through.

        Glad to hear that the BERBS are comfortable for walking a full 18. Next Q, how wide are they? I have a wide foot, which I think is the root of my golf shoe problems. I have a pair of Vivobarefoot Ra’s, which are very comfortable. So I’m sure I’d probably like the Vivobarefoot Hybrids, but geez, they’re pricey.

        “On the traction side of things, I am not fully convinced that full soft spikes are needed”

        I’m fully convinced that full spikes (soft or metal) are NOT needed. My golf “footwear” options are: soft spike shoes, metal spike shoes, sneakers (non-trail), and none (barefoot). The spiked shoes have more traction than my bare feet, which have more traction than my sneakers. My feet provide enough grip in wet or dry. The sneakers are marginal in the wet. So for me, the ideal traction would be equal to that of my feet. But then again, I do all my practice barefoot, so I’ve grooved my swing to that level of grip. It worked for Sam Snead.


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