There is an important downward trend affecting the performance of every golfer – falling arches.
If the foot is not properly supported and aligned, not only does short term performance suffer, like the lack of speed and power in the swing, and later in life in foot, knee and hip issues. In adults, many of the knee issues contributing to knee and hip replacements can be linked to fallen arches and the changes that makes in lower body alignment.
Having your arches fall is normally a sign of age, yet in this case, it is a result from poor footwear choices, the lack of proper lacing, worn out golf shoes, and a general lack of understanding of sizing and in-shoe support for golf athletes.
The foot essential has three arches – the medial, transverse arch, and lateral arch. The lateral arch is normally what collapses in motion, resulting in a loss of balance, stability and power. The golf shoe can only partially make up for this lack of stability if the foot is unstable, and the minimalist shoes found in some brands are less than optimal if you have foot problems What you wear the rest of the week is also important as well, wear shoes with laces that fit properly.
It has been estimated that 80% of people in the U.S. need orthotics; this percentage is even higher with golfers because of the added load and rotational stress of the swing. In addition, at least 75% of people, including golfers are in the wrong size shoes. The two go together in you will perform better if they have the right size shoes, and will avoid arch issues in the future with proper in-shoe support.
Get your feet evaluated for size, shape and tendencies, then buy shoes that fit that profile. Just because there is a charging animal on the shoe does not mean it is a good shoe for everyone! Some feet do better in straight lasted shoes, and some do better in curved last shoes. Find someone who can tell you what is best for your foot type and needs, and can measure their feet on a yearly basis to monitor changes.
Have you feet evaluated for structural soundness and tendencies in both basic standing and gait, and then if necessary, you can have anything from simple support in an insole to a medical orthotic placed in their shoes. However, remember the sock liner in most shoes provides minimal arch support at best. Both shoe fitting and foot structure are specialized approaches, just like club fitting. And just like club fitting, off-the-rack rarely works for most golfers.
Golf orthotics are significantly different than street shoe orthotics, so if you decide on that route, make sure the orthotic is both geared to your foot and golf game. Golf orthotics should provide slightly more rigidity under the midfoot to help with weight transfer. In one study, golf orthotics added 10 yards to the drive of each subject!
If you get an orthotic or insole, always try on new shoes with that insole instead of the foam sock liner, as that level of support will change foot size inside the shoe.
There is mounting evidence that minimalist shoes are not ideal for athletic training and performance, so err in the direction of more conventional shoes in both areas if you have foot problems.