Golf is challenging. That's why you like it and are always looking for ways to get better. Whether it's trying a new putter or switching up your grip, any change you can make to your game that helps decrease your stroke count is a win. But there's probably one change you haven't even thought about making that could have a really big impact.
The Basics ---
- Golfers want every advantage possible to improve their game, but there's one you probably haven't even thought to try. Adding insoles to your golf shoes can make a big difference in your balance, endurance and comfort.
- Clinical studies have shown that arch support insoles can increase club head velocity (CHV) and add yards to your stroke.
- To truly help with your golf game, your insoles need to provide firm support that holds up over 18 holes. Soft foam underfoot will not provide the structure needed for real improvement.
- We recommend Tread Labs Pace or Dash Insoles. If you're looking for a firm, yet flexible insole to make your golf shoes more comfortable, go with Pace. If you need the firmest level of support, choose Dash with their carbon fiber arch supports.
What You Need To Know ---
So much of your golf game depends on your feet. Not only is there all the walking - during the average 18-hole round, you'll walk about five miles - but there's also the connection between your feet and your swing.
Jack Nicklaus, regarded as the greatest professional golfer of all time, said of the importance of feet to a golf swing, "All timing, distance and direction comes out of the lower body with the feet leading the way."
If your feet aren't stable during your swing, you definitely won't have your best round. To understand the impact insoles for golf can have on your game, you first have to get to know how your foot functions when you're at the tee box.
How Your Feet Work During Your Golf Swing
Podiatrist Larry Huppin points out, "the foot functions completely differently in golf than in any other activity. First your weight is placed lightly on the balls of your feet, balanced between your front and rear foot. There is a slight shift to the back foot, then another shift to the front."
Understanding what happens with your foot and ankle mechanics while you play the game, particularly during your swing, will help you see how insoles can improve your swing.
LER Magazine breaks down your golf swing into these four phases:
- Ball set up and foot stance - when you align your body and the ball, with your weight nearly equally distributed between the feet, with slightly more weight on the back foot.
- Backswing - when your lead leg rotates, transferring your weight to the trailing side.
- Downswing - the return of the club head to the ball with maximum velocity and accuracy with the rotation of the body.
- Follow through - the deceleration of the body and club head.
While you're taking your swing and the weight of your feet is shifting, you're creating movement in your shoes. That movement reduces the power that your legs, shoulders and back could use, which can reduce your distance by as much as 20%.
The movement in your shoes can also lead to foot injuries and other conditions like leg strain, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, and blisters. Reducing the movement is necessary for good balance and a solid foundation that supports your rotation and accuracy.
Why Your Golf Shoes Aren't Enough
Although the look of golf shoes has changed significantly over the last century, as Paul Worsfold, Professor of Exercise Science, points out, the spike configuration and sole shape have not. This has a lot to do with the asymmetrical way you use your feet while you swing and the hilly topography of golf courses.
Worsfold also found there is no current evidence that a particular golf shoe design can enhance shot distance, accuracy or any other golf performance metric. So, when you're buying golf shoes, you should focus on comfort and traction.
Like other shoes, golf shoes are made with minimal support so they fit the widest range of people. For support that minimizes the movement and slippage of your feet, you need to add arch support insoles to your golf shoes.
How Golf Insoles Help Improve Your Game
There's strong evidence that adding a pair of golf insoles to your shoes can lead to improvements in your game. In fact, one study found that experienced golfers who used orthotics had a 3-5 mph increase in clubhead velocity. That's an increase of about 15 yards.
In addition to improving your performance with better footwear and stability, insoles for golf also prevent against ankle injury while improving pronation. Insoles help with your:
- Balance - Insoles with strong support increase balance by spreading the contact on the bottom of your feet over a larger area. This increases stability and gives a more grounded feeling which translates to longer drives.
- Endurance - Limiting pronation in your stance helps your accuracy. Limiting pronation as you walk reduces fatigue. Less fatigue will increase your focus and lower your score.
- Comfort - You play for enjoyment and when you can't wait to get off the course because your feet are killing you, it ruins the day. Arch support that makes your shoes more comfortable will make all the difference in your day on the links.
Beyond helping with balance, endurance and comfort, golf orthotics can help with pain relief. In one study of golfers, it was found that orthotics significantly alleviated pain while improving foot posture by managing pronation.
All Golf Shoe Insoles Are Not Alike
Now that it's clear how much of a positive difference golf insoles can make, before you put them in your shoes, you'll want to make sure you're picking the right ones. Just like clubs, balls and shoes, not all insoles are created equal.
To get the most benefit from your golf insoles, they must be:
- Firm enough to control how your body interacts with the green. Soft foam may feel good initially, but it certainly won't add stability. An insole with a solid structure will control your pronation and maximize the energy of your swing.
- A proper fit that matches the contours of your feet. The key to minimizing slippage or movement is finding an insole that locks into the contour of the arches of your feet. When your foot and arch is properly anchored in your shoe, your power and distance improve and you reduce slippage during your downswing and ball impact.
- Made of lightweight and flexible materials that will reduce fatigue associated with long periods of repetitive weight-bearing and load shifting.
With all of the ways insoles can benefit your game, the time to add them to your golf shoes is now. When you see how much of a difference they make to your game, you'll never go without them again.
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