There are still those that walk through parks and see metal baskets with dangling chains and find it odd. Or those who see groups of adults with bags full of frisbees and wonder why the heck they would need so many. Those days may be numbered, though. Yes, it is still a niche sport, but disc golf is growing in popularity in a huge way. Between cracking the ESPN Sportscenter Top Ten (several times) and having their first million dollar pro player and getting sponsorships from Adidas, the future seems bright for a sport that already has so many completely enamored.
Since you are here, we’re guessing you don’t need much of an introduction to the game. You may, however, need advice on what the best shoes are to be playing in. Disc golfers have strong opinions on this topic, so we are here to sort and parse those opinions. Maybe you are sick of going through two pairs of shoes every week, or you just want a little added support when you throw. We’re here to help, so that the next time somebody asks if you really need all those frisbees, you can answer, “they’re not frisbees, they’re discs, and yes, I do”, without being worried that the sole of your shoe is going to fall off as you walk away.
- So what are we looking for here?
- The Best Disc Golf Shoes 2020
- The Best Disc Golf Shoes for Women 2020
- The Best Youth Disc Golf Shoes 2020
- Guide to Buying the Best Disc Golf Shoes
So what are we looking for here?
That may seem like a simple question, but really, it isn’t. Depending on your skill level, the wear and tear on your shoes when playing disc golf will change. Those really proficient with their technique create a lot of torque with their bodies and can rip through shoes in no time. The type of shoe you want may also depend on where you live. Those playing disc golf in Texas might be used to courses that are a bit more flat than those who play in Vermont, where most of the courses go through mountains. The type of shoe you will want to buy will depend on the weather and the terrain of where you live.
In this article we are going to go over some of our favorite disc golf shoes for men, women and kids. We’ll go over why we like each of the shoes and why we think they’d be great for you.
The Best Disc Golf Shoes 2020
The most notable thing about these shoes is their grip. In fact, Salomon calls the grip on these “aggressive.” While these hug your feet and offer great protection from rocky ground, you’ll hardly realize you are wearing them because they are so light. This is very important in disc golf, because footwork is so important. You need to be able to move your feet quickly and precisely to be able to throw that Hyzerbomb over the trees, but you also need to maintain your footing while doing so. These shoes offer the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and performance.
As mentioned, the grip here is remarkable, but they don’t look silly when giving you that awesome performance. These shoes look like a slick pair of running shoes. They were designed for runners going on trails as opposed to roads, and they fit that bill admirably well. As for durability, since these were made for the trails, they were meant to last. As long as you aren’t dragging your toe all over the tee box, these should last you for several seasons.
One of the downsides to this shoe is that you won’t be able to get much casual wear out of them, as their biggest strength can also be their weakness. With that, we are of course talking about the traction on the bottom. It is so (as Salomon likes to call it) “aggressive” that these shoes can’t really be worn on anything except dirt and earth, as they feel almost like a cleat.
This is a really narrow shoe and they don’t offer a wide option. We’ve heard that although these can break in nicely for those with wider feet, they do take a little bit longer to break in.
There is a reason why these shoes are seen so regularly out on the disc golf course. These can be worn for any type of terrain, from mountains to cities. They are also the perfect in-between hiking boot and running shoe, which is exactly what the ideal disc golf shoe should be. You won’t have to worry about losing your footing on a difficult hillside shot, but you also won’t be slowed down by the weight of what is on your foot. These allow you to remain nimble while still being able to rough it in some of the more demanding environments that disc golf can take you to.
This isn’t the type of shoe that you would likely wear out to a party, unless it was a party for disc golfers. Merrell is all about functionality and they are concerned with functionality while hiking. That isn’t to say that it is a bad looking pair of shoes. They look like they belong in nature, or on a disc golf course. The toes are protected with a rubber cap, which helps protect you from whatever debris you may find out there on the disc golf course. The rest of the sole is made with Vibram’s patented TC5+ technology. While these aren’t waterproof, they do a great job of keeping moisture out, as well as debris, as the tongue is a bellowed closed cell design. While most shoes that keep moisture out have a hard time breathing, that isn’t the case with the Merrell Moab 2. The lining is made of 5mm thick mesh.
This is a bit of a wide shoe that takes a little bit of time to get used to. Aside from that, these break in very quickly, to the point where it seems like they require no time at all. These are very durable for the most part, and if they do start falling apart, it is normally the inside of the shoe that goes first. Merrell sizes are also known to run a little bit small.
The Puma Tazon is a lightweight shoe that is made for running but doubles up as a great disc golf shoe. We wouldn’t recommend this shoe for mountain disc golf, but these are perfect for smaller or more flat disc golf courses. Where these shoes really shine is on the practice field. Because of the amount of cushion they provide and the support they offer, they are a wonderful choice if you find yourself in a field throwing shots over and over to work on your game. They are pretty lightweight and slender, which makes for quick footwork. You definitely won’t feel like you are being weighed down with these shoes.
This is a really slick looking pair of shoes. The downside to that is that you might want to maintain how nice they look, which is definitely not possible if you use them for disc golf. Of course, they could be maintained by avoiding concrete tee pads, but that is hard to do in the world of disc golf. These shoes were designed with athleticism in mind, which you can feel when you are trying to keep your weight over your toes, a crucial element to crushing drives past your card mates.
With Puma, sizing runs a little bit small, so when you order these, you will want to keep that in mind. We wish these shoes were a bit more durable, because disc golf can rip through some of the toughest shoes out there. We would avoid wet courses and rocky/hilly courses with these shoes.
Once you have these broken in, it is hard to find a shoe that performs better out on the course than the Adidas Terrex. There’s a reason why so many pros wear them, and why you see them more and more at your local disc golf course. First of all, they are very light weight, which is great for you and your footwork. The difference between a 300 foot drive and a 400 foot drive can come down to how quick and precise you can execute a few steps, and these shoes put you in great position to perform. The bottom tread gives you great traction, but at the same time you won’t be scared of your foot getting stuck in the ground as you turn on it. The Adidas Terrex GTX were made for hiking, but they might as well be advertised as disc golf shoes.
If Merrell’s look like they were designed to be on a mountain (or a disc golf course) then the Adidas Terrex looks like it was designed to be on a mountain but wanted to do it in style. While these are meant for hiking, they look exactly like a running shoe. They feel like it as well. One of the biggest perks of the Terrex is the waterproof design. They maintain breathability all while keeping water out. Did you throw your disc in a creek? No problem. Well, as long as the water doesn’t go up over your ankle.
These don’t offer as much cushion as other hiking shoes, but are still really comfortable. The only other downside is that they can take a pretty long time to break in.
While we love this shoe, we also think that there are shoes (like the others on our list) that perform about as well for less money. They also take a long time to break in. But, if you have the patience to break them in and are willing to pay the price tag, you are getting one of, if not the, best disc golf shoe on the market.
The Best Disc Golf Shoes for Women 2020
If you are looking for comfort on the course, then look no further! The Asics Gel-Venture 6 is a great all around shoe that is perfect for those long days where one round of disc golf just isn’t enough. These shoes are lightweight, allowing for careful footwork, but keep you cushioned over those rough stretches where you’re grabbing on to trees trying to find your way to the basket. These offer plenty of traction, but not so much that you will feel like your lead foot is going to plant and stay there when you turn. Asics offers shoes for all foot types, and this is their neutral offering. With these shoes, you will not have a hard time finding your balance in an athletic stance.
These shoes come with a trail specific outsole, in case you weren’t convinced about how good these were for rugged terrain. Mix that with Asics GEL technology, which is their cushioning system, and you have yourself a shoe that is rugged and comfortable. The Gel technology doesn’t just soften the impact when you step down, but uses it to place your foot in the best position possible. While this is great for trail running, it is useful in disc golf as well as balance is a crucial element to being able to perfectly execute that “S” line through the woods and up the mountain.
The sock liner is removable so you can customize your insoles. These shoes offer stability and durability. Because of the ability to customize these, they are also great for people with Plantar Fasciitis and other foot ailments.
These are actually a little bit less cushioned than the model before, the Gel-Venture 5. So, if you prefer a whole bunch of cushion, you could opt for those instead! The only other thing we can think of that isn’t awesome about these is that they aren’t waterproof.
2. Nike Tanjun
We should preface this with saying that these probably aren’t the best shoes for playing disc golf in some of the tougher terrains out there, but they sure do the trick on most courses! The Nike Tanjun is the mesh running shoe that you see so frequently while working out, running, or, yes, disc golfing. The sole of the shoe offers plenty of support and cushion, while the top of the shoe is made of material that is so lightweight you can find your surprised that you are wearing shoes at all. These allow for precision with footwork while still having a good amount of traction. These shoes are also perfect for taking to the field for your marathon practice sessions.
These shoes were made for running, but because of the simplicity in their design, they gained a bit of a following as a style statement as well. Those wearing them on the disc golf course are most certainly wearing them for other reasons. For example, enjoying how cushioned they are. With the Nike Tanjun, there is plenty of cushioning, and it makes up the bulk of the shoe. Even though it has a thick layer of it, the material is very lightweight, making these shoes feel almost non-existent when you wear them. These may not offer the most support, but they do offer more than you would expect from just looking at them.
We have a bit of concern with the durability of the Nike Tanjun, but just like the support they offer, they hold up better than you would expect. When they do start wearing out, you can expect it to happen in the toes, as the toe region of this shoe is a bit cramped. Many a disc golfer has been out there in similar shoes with their big toe hanging out before.
These run a bit small, which you should take into account when ordering.
You probably have little doubt that Merrell would show up on this list. It is a list for disc golfers, after all. This lightweight hiker will allow you to play on the toughest of terrain while confidently keeping your footing, and allowing for the precise movements needed to execute a disc golf shot. They are certainly heavier than the Nike Tanjun, but not so heavy that it will interfere with your footwork. They offer plenty of support, and will keep you comfortable even during the most grueling rounds of disc golf.
This is a tighter offering from Merrell. They just look more streamlined and more athletic than other shoes that Merrell offers. They are made with the Vibram sole which is then partnered with Merrell’s Air Cushion comfort technology. The tongue is bellowed to keep out debris, and while this shoe is not waterproof, they do make a version that is. The footbed is made with an EVA contoured design, and should be comfortable for most wearers.
If you are the type who is used to running shoes, then these may take a bit to get used to as they can feel a bit more roomy inside. You may think that this is going to lead to blisters, but it won’t, and pretty quickly you’ll get used to the feeling. Those who are familiar with Merrell’s will be happy to hear that these break in just as easily as all the others.
There is a weird thing with Merrell shoes that should be pointed out. These are known for durability and quality, but every now and then you can get a dud that will fall apart in a flash. It is rare, but known to happen.
We say that this is good for the off-season because these are a bit more bulky than the other shoes we have on this list. While these wont sink you like cement bricks, the weight they have is noticeable. This shouldn’t affect your footwork too much, especially in the wintertime when you are dealing with snow and ice anyways. With that being said, when it comes to hiking boots, these are very much on the light end of the spectrum. They also offer plenty of support and plenty of cushion, so if you’re out there braving the elements, the last thing you will be worried about are your feet.
Keen has their own patented waterproofing system, which these shoes are made with. It holds up well to its competitor, GORE-TEX, and offers a decent amount of breathability as well. Of course, if you are wearing these in the winter, you probably aren’t too worried about how well they breathe. These are made with 100% leather and mesh. The sole offers plenty of cushion on the inside and traction on the outside, and there is even a rubber tip to help protect your toes from whatever rock may be popping out of nowhere.
Keen is known for durability and comfort. The reason we have them lower on our list is because we think of them as more of a seasonal shoe for disc golfing. Disc golfers are known to play in any weather no matter what, so it only makes sense to offer a shoe that can protect them from the elements. These shoes take no time to break in and are comfortable from the moment you buy them.
The Best Youth Disc Golf Shoes 2020
When it comes to shoes for kids, it’s a tough line to toe because on one hand, they grow up so quickly that they could grow out of them at any point, and on the other hand, kids destroy everything in their path. Well, Keen can’t stop your kid from growing, but they can offer a shoe that is durable to the rigors of youthful energy and disc golf. These are great shoes for your child to learn disc golf in because they offer the proper support and cushion while not being heavy. Footwork is arguably the most important part of disc golf, and your young one will have a leg up on the competition learning the proper mechanics in these hikers by Keen.
The same care that goes into any other pair of shoes by Keen also goes into these. They are made with the lightweight performance mesh that you would find on other Keen shoes, as well as a breathable lining. The insole offers much needed support, while the sole of the shoe offers plenty of traction, making sure that the kiddos are as safe as can be out there on the disc golf course while offering optimal performance. So, the next time an eight year old outdrives you by 100 feet, check to see what shoes they are wearing.
You might want to get these even if your child doesn’t play disc golf. Parents are thrilled at the durability of these, and considering how fast kids go through shoes, that’s saying a lot.
Everything about these are up to the level of the Terrex made for adults. They offer great support for the foot, have wonderful traction, all while being light enough for you to stay quick with your feet during that all important x-step. Another area where these shoes shine is durability. It’s no secret that when kids become hooked on disc golf that they become hooked, so it’s best if they are outfitted with apparel that is going to last.
The Adidas Terrex shoes look as good as they perform. While they are meant for hiking, they look like a slick running shoe. This holds true for the youth version as well. Here you also have a Velcro enclosure and self-tying laces so that you won’t have to yell at your kid or kids to tie their shoes! The traction on the bottom is great for all conditions, but especially when it gets icy and snowy outside.
As with the other Terrex on this list, these shoes can take a little while to break in. This can be more difficult for children as they can be more sensitive to uncomfortable shoes. Unlike the pair of Terrex we have listed above for adults, these shoes are not waterproof.
These can be found between $40 and $60.
Guide to Buying the Best Disc Golf Shoes
Disc golfers are an interesting bunch. It’s a group of people who forever want to be able to throw a frisbee a little bit farther than the throw before. If you were to walk into a casual conversation with some disc golfers, you might think the game was scored based on how far you throw. Well, it most certainly is not.
To that tune, we aren’t here to tell you that a new pair of shoes is going to add 100 feet to your drive. You’re probably never going to hit Eagle McMahon or Drew Gibson levels of distance even if you attach rockets to your arm, shoes and disc. We are here to tell you that the right footwear can make a big impact on the comfort of your game, and that might very well show up in your scores.
During a round of disc golf, you want to be focusing on your game, not how your feet feel. Without the right footwear, you could easily get blisters, as playing disc golf amounts to going on a hike where you stop frequently to torque your body violently on your feet. So, how do you know what to look for when looking for a pair of shoes for disc golf? Let’s take a look.
Support and traction
Support is crucial because of how much you will be twisting around on your ankles. Most disc golfers prefer a mid-top shoe, something that offers a little ankle support, but still offers the freedom and flexibility of movement. Support isn’t all in the ankles, though. You’ll find that a lot of disc golfers prefer low tops for maximum freedom of movement.
Another form of support is how much traction the shoe has. This is absolutely crucial because you might find yourself on terrains that are actually dangerous, attempting to do athletic moves that put you at risk for injury. You want to be confident that you aren’t going to slip and fall when executing your shots. There’s also the task of getting from shot to shot. While some disc golf courses are quite literally a walk in the park, some courses can actually be hikes that have varying levels of difficulty. There are even some courses that require the use of ropes to get to the baskets!
With all that being said, there is nothing worse than staring down a 25 footer for a birdie, you pull your putter back, and then your back foot completely slips out of place and you sail your putt 50 feet over and past the basket.
If you are a disc golfer, you already know this, but the folks who like throwing discs at baskets can be a little obsessive. What was supposed to be 18 holes can very quickly turn into 36, if not more, at the drop of a hat. Because of this, disc golfers tend to be on their feet a lot. That calls for some good cushion.
It seems that a trend among disc golfers is to use trail-running shoes, which makes sense because they have great cushion. Not only do they have great cushion, but they generally have technology that absorbs the shock from stepping on branches and rocks and things of the like while you are out running. The same happens in disc golf, and it can really affect your shot. So, instead of stepping on a rock and feeling every bit of it, shoes that absorb and disperse the shock will allow you to continue your throw as if nothing happened.
Disc golf is notoriously hard on shoes. When you throw a full power shot, you twist on the heel of your leading foot, effectively trying to bust your foot out of your shoe. While that is happening, most disc golfers drag their back foot, absolutely ruining the toe of the shoe. Form changes can help with the latter (stop dragging your back toe!*) but there is nothing you can do about the former. Because of this, you are going to want a shoe that is known to be rough and rugged and able to hold up to quite a lot of wear and tear.
*One trick to stop dragging your toe is to attempt to have your shin parallel to the ground as you are following through. This will not only help your shoes to last longer, but will give you more drive out of your hips, adding extra distance to your drive.
Depending on where you play, you might want to look into waterproof shoes. Even if you aren’t the type to play in less-than-ideal conditions, most courses don’t have great irrigation because they are multi-million dollar complexes like golf courses, which means they can hold rainwater for a long time. Most disc golfers are all too familiar with playing on a perfect day and stepping into a huge puddle that they wouldn’t have expected, soaking their feet for the rest of the round.
This one is obvious, but it is important. Because of the movement you are making in disc golf, you want to make sure your shoes are not too small because when you step down with your plant foot to throw a drive, you are effectively smooshing all of your toes. If your shoes are too small, that can get very uncomfortable, very quick.
Shaking hands on the 18th tee
If you are new to disc golf, hopefully this article not only helped you find a good pair of shoes, but taught you a thing or two about the game. With the rapid growth of popularity, courses are popping up all over and manufacturers are taking notice. In fact, Adidas sponsored a course for the Disc Golf Pro Tour a couple of years ago!
Until then, remember this one thing: slow is smooth, and smooth is far. See you out there on the course!