“Shrink it and pink it.”
It was a phrase commonly used to describe the old approach to making golf shoes for women.
“You would take a men’s shoe and just make it smaller and make it pink,” said Thomas Dixon, Ecco’s product manager for golf and sport.
In recent years, though, companies have increased their efforts to make products catered to women.
“Our women’s line requires just as much focus and resources during the research and development process that our global line does on the men’s side,” said Keith Duffy, FootJoy’s senior product manager of golf footwear. “Our designers and developers are constantly traveling the globe, staying in touch with the latest and greatest in women’s footwear styling … so that we’re offering an attractive line of product for the avid female player.”
Women’s shoes are now built on their own lasts, providing a more feminine fit and shape. And it’s common to find designs and materials, from the upper
to the outsole, that are used exclusively in women’s styles.
The FJ Leisure Women shoe has styles that feature a tropical or Egyptian blue snake print. Adidas’ Pureboost XG shoe features a CircleKnit upper that includes colors such as real coral and ash green. Puma’s Ignite Statement shoe has a modern silhouette highlighted by an oversized padded tongue and heel.
And Nike, which a few years ago released the Blazer high-top shoe made popular by Michelle Wie, has continued its women’s footwear success with the Lunar Empress 2, which features a no-sew textile upper.
“We definitely play around more with fashion and different looks, and take a bit more risks,” said Valerie Kriegel, senior footwear designer at Adidas.
Data suggests that women are gravitating more toward spikeless footwear, predominantly because of comfort. Spikeless shoes are often listed at lower price points, and studies show women buy as many as three times the amount of shoes as men.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a high-performance, more-expensive women’s shoe. Ecco’s BIOM Hybrid 3 Boa features the same benefits as its male counterpart: premium traction, comfort and durability.
Same goes for the Nike Lunar Control Vapor 2, FJ Aspire Boa Women and Adipower Boost Boa.
“It would be easy to go down a road where all you make are shoes under $100 that are spikeless with a little bit of fashion twist, and just churn them out,” said Masun Denison, global footwear director of Adidas Golf. “We’re very proud of the fact that we offer a product that LPGA players can wear.”
As Duffy said: “At the end of the day, these products need to perform.”
These days, women’s golf shoes are performing better than ever. Gwk
(Note: This story appears in the May 2018 issue of Golfweek.)