FootJoy: GelFusion to ease foot fatigue

FootJoy used the 2002 U.S. Open to launch three new lines of golf shoes, including the GelFusion, which features what company president Jim Connor described as “the most significant outsole breakthrough in 10 years.”

According to FootJoy, the advance is similar to the sort of independent suspension found in premium automobiles and designed to isolate the movement of one wheel from another, keeping optimum contact with the road surface and maximizing performance.

“Our new outsole technology allows the shoe to match the natural anatomical rotation of the foot while following the natural contours of the ground, essentially molding your foot to the surface,” said Rob Kelly, director of brand marketing for FootJoy, which holds more than 55 percent of the nearly $250 million U.S. golf shoe market and is No. 1 in that category by a wide margin. “Your foot remains in contact with the ground regardless of the terrain. This reduces fatigue as you walk and improves balance when you swing.”

GelFusion, which is available in four models, carries a suggested retail price of $185 and begins shipping in August.

FootJoy also is rolling out two other shoe lines. One is X-dimension, which fits into the entry-level portion of the performance segment. It features six different models, all of which go for $120 a pair with the exception of the athletic model, which costs $110. In addition, the company is introducing a new women’s eComfort line that is made up of five styles and runs $85 a pair.

FootJoy is becoming more aggressive on pricing, something company executives believe consumers are demanding. For example, the Dry Ice shoe line that GelFusion is replacing retailed at $200 a pair in 2001. Yet it did not have the advanced features of its successor, which will sell for $15 less.

Footjoy, which is part of the Acushnet Co., also announced additions to its No. 1 glove line as well as a new line of socks.

Company officials said they have terminated the animated Golf Gods advertising campaign after only 10 weeks, largely because it did not resonate with longtime FootJoy customers. New campaigns are being considered, with a decision likely to come in September. There is an outside possibility that the popular Sign Boy may return as a brand spokesman.

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