It’s no secret that Jon Rahm is one of the best ball forwards on tour. If you look at the stats, the defending US Open champion is hitting the ball even better this year than last year. Rahm’s driving distance has improved from 309 yards to nearly 316.7 this season, and he’s improved to No. 1 in strokes gained/off the tee. But on Tuesday in Southern Hills, the Spaniard told the media that he hasn’t necessarily changed anything in his own game. Instead, there’s an added stability to Rahm’s swing that comes from an unexpected source: his shoes.
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“I think the game-changer is the shoes I’m using this year, they’re different from last year,” Rahm said. “They are much more comfortable. I did a good job with Cuater and Travis Mathew’s team, and I think it allowed me to be a little more stable and increase my ball speed and swing speed without being worried.
This season, Rahm wears Cuater by TravisMathew’s “The Ringer” shoe. The model is Cuater’s tour-grade performance shoe, made with a lightweight cushioning system and removable soft cleats. The spikes feature “Spring Flex” legs which are intended to add traction and stability to the swing set from the ground.
According to Rahm, the flatter, less durable shoes he wore last season didn’t work well for his game and even caused him pain. At The 2021 Open Championship, Rahm explained for the first time that his infamous short backswing is a product of the split right foot he was born with. When the Spaniard was a child, doctors had to break almost all of his ankle bones to straighten his foot. Now Rahm has limited ankle mobility on his right side, which forces him to do everything possible to relieve the pressure on this weaker limb.
“I mean, I have a really messed up foot so I don’t have [overlooked footwear]”, Rahm said. “I think what a lot of players do behind doors gets overlooked. For any athlete, the only point of contact we have with the ground is our feet, so I think that should be the thing. the most important.
The world No. 2 makes a good point. Choosing the right golf shoe for your swing and stance can make or break the stability you feel while playing.
Rahm’s emphasis on his choice of shoes may seem over the top, but the shoes you wear on the course have a bigger impact on power than you might think. One of Golf Digest’s Top 50 Teachers, Erika Larkin, says the key to shoe selection is finding a stable interaction with the ground.
“We dynamically push and twist against the ground at many different parts of the swing, so it’s important to have a shoe that helps grip the ground so we don’t slip and gives us leverage to transfer energy to through body segments to the club for control and speed,” Larkin said.
Whether or not Rahm’s shoe is really the key factor in his earnings over the past year, take that as a red flag to pay extra attention when shopping for your next pair of golf shoes.