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FIELDREPORT


unsung heroes responsible for the comfort of DNA. Or the Fine-Tuned Foam fitbed that gives firmer cushioning for stability round the edges, and is soſter in the heel and forefoot for comfort. “But we have changed the Soſtspikes in the


Most of these latest shoes show modest, inflationary price increases. DNA remains at £160 though the 49-steel-strand Boa version is up from £175 to £180. Hyperflex is up £5 and £10 respectively to £140 and £160 and DryJoys Casual is up a fiver to £135. All, though, remain definitely and defiantly premium – testimony to the fact that people are willing to pay for quality. Some six years ago, shoes over £100 constituted


same number of shoes can be sold for higher prices, then that’s good for OEMs and retailers alike.


“But to achieve this, the product has to be good enough. We’ve talked a lot about the look of our shoes and aesthetic updates, but if their performance falls short no amount of marketing or incentivising is going to make it work commercially.


“Our mission is to keep moving, keep taking risks, doing things people didn’t expect from us. Consumers are more demanding; they don’t want the same again, they want new things, new features and technologies. DNA and


outsole from the PINS system to the Tornado TourLock cleat,” Fryer adds. “This performed strongly in distance testing, so we’ve put it into the new products.”


Still in its first year, HyperFlex has further confirmed the market for sporty FootJoy. Launched in March, it has remained in the top three sellers during 2015. Its futuristic FlexGrid upper, allied to a strong-yet-flexible outsole and a series of support elements, would appear to mark it as a product for the younger golfer. “Those boundaries are getting increasingly blurred though,” Fryer believes. “The product is perhaps for the young-at-heart golfer, and he could be any age.” For 2016 the shoe sees the addition of five new colours in Navy/Electrical Blue, White/Lime, Black/Red, White/Metallic and Silver/Yellow.


None of which is to say FootJoy is turning away from the traditional styling for which it is famous. Classic models like the AWD, Contour and DryJoys Tour represent the brand’s good- better-best policy in each major styling group, and the latter has also been upgraded for 2016. “DryJoys Tour will now benefit from the soſter ChromoSkin leather used on the DNA,” says Fryer. “This leather needs no membrane because the waterproofing is tanned in at the same time the fat and impurities are tanned out. That helps us keep the shoe light and breathable, as well as waterproof.” DryJoys Tour has also had a slight faceliſt, with new toe patterning and stitching including a sleeker, more swept back saddle version. New colour options include Black/Black Croc, White/White Croc, White/Brown Gator and White/Navy Gator. It’s a similar story for the spikeless DryJoys casual, a shoe that suffered by being launched at the same time as the DNA. Increasingly popular on the world’s professional tours – Louis Oosthuizen sported a pair in a FootJoy-dominated Open playoff – the shoe also benefits from soſter leather and is offered with the foot-hugging BOA closure system for the first time. New colour combinations are White/Navy, Black/White, White/Red and White/Black.


around 15% of sales; today the figure is more than a third.


“We are seeing a drive towards premium in all our categories, and especially footwear,” Fryer expands. “The shoe market is pretty flat,


if anything getting slightly smaller. It’s in no one’s interests to try to drive volume by 10%, because the golfers are probably not there. But if going down the premium angle means the


Hyperflex have encouraged us to keep the pedal down, keep innovating. But whatever our shoes look like, performance will remain at their heart.”


We are seeing a drive


towards premium in all our categories, and especially footwear


SGBGOLF 15


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