Jesper Parnevik, who will make his PGA Tour season debut at the Humana Challenge next week, will be donning new gear when he takes to the first tee, as Cobra Puma Golf announced it had signed the 14-time winner to an apparel and golf-club contract.
“Cobra Puma Golf and Jesper Parnevik are a perfect match,” said Bob Philion, president of Cobra Puma Golf. “He has been a world-class performer and a pioneer of modern golf fashion on the global golf stage for over 20 years; making him the perfect blend of performance and style that Cobra Puma Golf embraces. We’re excited to see him return to the PGA Tour and embody the Cobra Puma Golf spirit on and off the course.”
Parnevik will wear Puma's Spring and Summer 2013 Collection, while also adding a nearly complete bag of Cobra clubs. Parnevik will be at the Cobra Puma booth on Demo Day during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando on Jan. 23.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the Cobra Puma Golf team; they’re not afraid to do things a little differently,” said Parnevik. “I’ve played Cobra and worn Puma in the past; both brands provide ...
Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, has joined Oakley Inc. to wear its performance golf apparel in 2013, the company announced Thursday.
“I’m proud to join their family because they love the game and they never stop pushing technology to make the game better," Watson said.
Oakley officials said Watson's distinctive style of play makes him an effective spokesman for the brand, which is bringing its action-sports heritage and technology to the golf category.
“He is a Masters champion who fuels excitement with amazing drives and unbelievable shot making, and his personality brings a whole new flavor to the game," said Scott Bowers, senior vice president of global marketing and brand development at Oakley.
Oakley announced the deal on its website this morning, complete with this video:
If there's a product that exemplifies what Oakley aspires to be in golf, it's the company's Cipher shoe.
At 260 grams, it is the lightest performance golf shoe in the marketplace, and it offers a sleek profile and a truly unique traction system. Rather than conventional plastic cleats, the Cipher features an outsole covered with thousands of Nanospikes.
"This material actually grips on to the surface of individual blades of grass," says David Ortley, Oakley's global director of footwear and accessories.
Combined with other traction elements that dig into the turf, he says, the Cipher offers a traction experience like none other. Consider also Cipher's green-friendliness – Nanospikes leave putting surfaces virtually unmarked – and its light weight, it's no wonder consumers are taking notice, Ortley says.
"If you're taking 8,000 steps over a 4.5-mile trek (in a round of golf), the weight is a big deal," he says. "It's unlike any other golf shoe."
With its futuristic look and unfamiliar technology, the shoe won't be for the masses.
Which is precisely what Oakley wants.
The company's aggressive growth plan for golf is based as much on who it'll ...
Among shoe geeks the debate to label the latest trend in the market place as "spikeless," "hybrids," "lifestyle" or "alternative traction" likely will go unsettled.
But whatever it's called, one thing nearly is certain: Footwear, without replaceable cleats, will multiply rapidly.
Virtually every major manufacturer is racing to offer more footwear options that don't have conventional cleats and receptacles. Of course, demands of serious golfers and those who fret about slipping will ensure plastic spikes keep a place in the game, but shoes that feature traditional traction systems seem destined to shrink in number.
Indeed, rising interest in alternative-traction shoes is causing companies to constantly revise their forecasts. In January, at the PGA Merchandise Show – the industry's largest trade expo held in Orlando – TaylorMade-Adidas Golf executive vice president John Kawaja predicted that shoes without replaceable cleats would account for 40 percent of all golf footwear sales within 24 months.
And in another five years, Ecco officials expect alternative-traction shoes will represent more than 75 percent of all sales.
Though there are numerous factors contributing to the sea change, one man can be credited as being the catalyst that ignited the trend: Fred Couples.
Industry observers say Couples ...
Today's golfers have unprecedented options when it comes to selecting footwear. From top-of-the-line, tour-caliber shoes equipped with every conceivable performance feature to models emphasizing light weight or versatility, manufactures are meeting consumers' needs.
Golfweek.com continues to highlight new offerings and give readers the opportunity to explore even more choices – either by brand or performance category – in the adjacent "Shoe Vault" widget. To enjoy golf in greater comfort and play better, invest the time to find the footwear that best suits your game.
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Adidas Tour360 ATV
The skinny: As its name implies, the ATV – All-Terrain Versatility – is a shoe that touts its traction and movement capabilities. With ultra-forefoot flexibility and a zonal-traction design, the shoe is engineered to move and flex to adapt to any surface. It features 10 spikes and secondary lugs for extra grip. Other enhancements make the shoe weigh 2.0 ounces less and 1.14 mm lower to the ground (for enhanced stability) than the previous-generation Tour360 model. The style shown here is a special edition created for U.S. Ryder Cup team member Dustin Johnson. (It will not be sold to the public.)
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The skinny: So-called "hybrid" or "spikeless" shoes ...
Tobie Hatfield remembers getting the message from Phil Knight.
"You need to give Tiger a call. He wants your help."
When your boss happens to be the co-founder and chairman of Nike and he asks you to lend a hand to one of the Swoosh's mega-stars, you hop to it.
Hatfield, however, wasn't fazed by the summoning to duty. As one of Nike's foremost shoe creators and director of the "Kitchen," the company's top-secret innovation lab, he'd been tapped before.
He created Michael Johnson's infamous "gold" spikes that propelled the sprinter to double gold in the 200- and 400-meters at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Though the bedazzling look earned the shoes notoriety, Hatfield is prouder of the fact that they were the first track spikes engineered to weigh less than 4 ounces. He's helped numerous other Olympians go faster, higher, stronger, too.
Creating a golf shoe would be a first for Hatfield, but he relished the assignment. He's never really done anything the easy way. In fact, he's achieved his success without being academically trained for his profession. Hatfield is not schooled as an industrial engineer, and he's no biomechanist ...
The golf division of Ecco, a premium-shoe manufacturer based in Denmark, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
But for many American golfers, at least, the brand wasn't necessarily a leader in "mindshare" – even though its among the top golf footwear companies in actual market share.
"We are not a marketing company," Jesper Thuen, Ecco's global manager for golf, says matter-of-factly. "We are first and foremost a shoe company. A multi-million dollar advertising campaign is not in our plans."
It may not have sought a higher profile, but Ecco got one anyway two years ago. That's when company endorser Fred Couples took a stroll along Augusta National's fairways in the 2010 Masters and rocketed the company's fortunes. Before a global TV audience, Couples, in his ever-so-cool saunter, showcased a most unconventional shoe: The casual-looking Ecco Street Premiere, featuring a rubber outsole with molded traction bars, but not a single, replaceable cleat.
Ecco doesn't disclose financial data for specific shoes, but Thuen recalls, in the week following the tournament, "We could have written orders for hundreds of thousands of pairs." But Ecco couldn't because its inventory had been depleted, wiped out by demand from ...
Rob Rigg is an avid golfer and long-distance runner, and he's combining his two passions in a most unusual way.
This fall, he not only will tackle the Portland Marathon in Oregon and the New York City Marathon in a span of four weeks, but he'll run the combined 52.4 miles wearing – drum roll, please – his golf shoes.
Call him crazy, but Rigg is out to prove a point and promote so-called "natural-motion" or "minimalist" golf footwear created by his start-up shoe company, True Linkswear. Inspired by a revolution in running that is advocating super-flexible shoes that enable feet to function as if they were barefoot, Rigg launched True to bring the same concept to golfers.
His premise: Feet that move freely provide better balance, more comfort, minimize injuries and create better tempo for a powerful swing.
Though it would be easy to dismiss Rigg as a radical with a vested interest, he's hardly alone in adding runners' speak – minimalist jargon such as "zero drop," "low profile" and "natural motion" – to the golf lexicon. Major golf footwear companies, including Ecco have invested and committed to natural-motion golf shoes. And athletic giants such as Nike and Adidas ...
Golfers may be a traditional bunch, but their tastes in shoe design are clearly changing, and their expectations for footwear performance never have been higher. Such developments have unleashed shoe designers to re-think what footwear could look like and how they should function.
The upside for golfers? A spectrum of choices, ranging from footwear with unprecedented versatility to shoes engineered primarily to tackle specific issues such as traction, movement, weight, stability or weather conditions.
In the coming weeks, Golfweek.com will highlight some options and give readers the opportunity to explore even more choices – either by brand or performance category – in the adjacent "Shoe Vault" widget. So, before you grab another pair of saddles, consider footwear that best suits your game.
Also, check out the other two features from this week surrounding Shoe Month:
• The MyJoys philosophy: Allow consumers to pick colors and design their own shoes, and creations that FootJoy’s professional designers never could have imagined – or probably would want – come to life. Story.
• Transformation: Force plates, 3D-motion analysis and simulators. Footwear design has become a high-tech affair, and the result makes much more than a fashion statement. Golfweek.com's Shoe Month begins today and shows how ...
As the overseer of MyJoys, the custom-design shoe initiative offered by FootJoy, Rita Lepage has pretty much seen it all.
Allow consumers to pick colors and design their own shoes, and creations that FootJoy’s professional designers never could have imagined – or probably would want – come to life.
At the 2009 Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco, Lepage witnessed golfers’ creativity in person. FootJoy had set up a jumbo monitor at a work station where fans in attendance could make magic. One man’s footwear vision involved a lime-green base, lime-green crocodile leather and lime-green patent accents.
“We’ve seen some really funky shoes. . .” says Lepage, MyJoys’ marketing manager. “But he thought they were the coolest ever.”
That’s the beauty of MyJoys: Golfers essentially can build whatever they want.
The program allows consumers to customize 20 FootJoy models, and they can select from among 42 leathers, including prints, patents and color varieties. Counting all of the style, color and material options, MyJoys offers more than 500,000 combinations, according to Lepage.
The program drew the allegiance of baseball fans when it negotiated a licensing deal with Major League Baseball, giving MyJoys access to team logos. Similar agreements ...
BROCKTON, Mass. -- Ben Hogan had it wrong. The secret isn't in the dirt.
It's in the shoes.
Scoff if you want, but what I witnessed here – inside FootJoy's high-tech testing chamber, dubbed the "Shoe Box" – underscored that what golfers wear on their feet makes a difference. As in 10 yards or more.
Standing atop force plates that measure contact with the ground and strapped to sensors charting his swing in 3-D, Chris Kerr hit several shots with a driver in a golf course simulator – wearing FootJoy's top-of-the-line stability shoe, the XPS-1. When the FootJoy staffer repeated the exercise wearing less stable footwear, depriving him of a solid foundation to propel his swing, Kerr's double-digit distance loss flashed on an LED display.
It's a demonstration, not a conclusive scientific study. But company executives say the Shoe Box's gadgetry enables them to test theories and quantify performance like never before. The end result: Better shoes engineered to deliver a competitive edge.
"We utilize all of it because it's not about measuring (an individual factor) for the sake of measuring… We're trying to determine the correlation with performance," says Mike Feeney, FootJoy's senior ...
The Tommy Hilfiger Group, which relaunched its golf collection in 2011, has entered into a sponsorship deal with the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
The two-year agreement includes advertising placement for Hilfiger's Spring 2012 campaign, which features endorser Keegan Bradley. Other signage – including parking garage banners, elevator door wraps and tee-divider patches – are part of the deal as well.
In addition, club staff will be outfitted in Tommy Hilfiger Golf apparel and select merchandise will be sold in the New York Golf Center pro shop at Chelsea Piers.
The sponsorship continues Tommy Hilfiger's push back into the market. In February, the brand announced Bradley, 2011 PGA Championship winner, as its global ambassador. In March, the company signed British golfer Melissa Reid to promote its women's golf collection.
Regarding the new sponsorship deal, Hilfiger said: "The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers is an iconic spot for New York golfers and a great location to showcase the golf collection."
For fans of the Masters Tournament, there's an endless array of Augusta-inspired merchandise, spanning from apparel to coffee cups to umbrellas.
But for those who think their collection is never complete, FootJoy is offering a commemorative shoe for the season's first major – custom-made no less.
Through the company's MyJoys design program, FootJoy is making available a limited-edition, green sting ray printed leather to make 200 pairs of the themed footwear. The shoes can be made in a variety of FootJoy models and range in price from $140 (LoPro Spikeless) to $310 (FJ ICON Sport with BOA) for men's shoes. Women's options are from $140 (LoPro Sport Spikeless) to $200 (DryJoys).
This is the fifth year MyJoys is offering a special product for the major. In 2008, Zach Johnson, then the Masters' defending champion, was among several players who wore shoes made of a green caiman gator printed leather. For this year's tournament, the sting ray print will be used to craft shoes for numerous FootJoy staff players, including Luke Donald, Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner, Nick Watney, Bill Haas, K.J. Choi, Gary Woodland, Johnson Wagner and Johnson.
FootJoy launched the MyJoys initiative in 2004 ...
Considering the volatile nature of the golf apparel business, which companies often enter and leave just as quickly, it’s no surprise that FootJoy took its time deciding whether it wanted to be a part of it.
But after intense research, which amounted to a veritable “white paper” on the $1 billion wholesale apparel category, FootJoy made its call. With insight gained from 3,000 consumer responses and 314 one-on-one interviews with trade partners, FootJoy is confident there’s an opportunity to be had amid the chaos.
“It’s a fragmented category,” said Andy Jones, FootJoy’s vice president, gloves/accessories/apparel, worldwide. “If you look at golf clubs or balls, if you get the top eight companies or so, you’re going to have 90 percent-plus of the business. In apparel, there could be 200 companies. There’s no one player who has 50 percent share.”
For spring, the company has unveiled its first lineup of FJ Performance Golf Apparel with which it’ll make its foray into the market: Four color-themed collections. All performance fabrics. No cotton. Designed for the serious golfer. (At this week's PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company also is debuting four ...