Known for being the company behind golf’s top-selling shoe, FootJoy traces its roots back as far as 1857. Founded as the Burt and Packard Shoe Company, and soon thereafter the Field and Flint Company, the Brockton, Massachusetts-based company was one of the first to manufacture left and right shoes, which were sold to Union soldiers during the Civil War.
“From the very beginning, innovation has been the root of every project, every first step, every pen-to-paper on what we do,” said Chris Tobias, FootJoy vice-president of global footwear.
Over the last 150 years, that focus has led to industry-changing products and innovations including the first shoe with soft spikes, spikeless shoes and customizable golf shoes.
Featuring the classic silhouette that FootJoy is known for, the new Premiere Series pays homage to the brand’s storied history while being engineered for today’s golfer. Led by its VersaTrax+ outsole, the anti-channeling tread pattern is designed to provide grip for any lie or angle, offering a firmer thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) for on-course grip and a softer TPU for traction on harder surfaces. An Ortholite EcoPlush FitBed delivers comfort and perimeter stability in the heel as well as custom underfoot cushioning.
“The team wanted to ensure if we were going to deliver a new classic shoe, which from a trend research perspective and timing of all things from a creative lens lent itself to say, ‘Hey, it’s time for an update,’ we wanted to ensure we put in the right amount of innovation into the model,” Tobias said. “… One of the biggest advantages we have that we don’t take for granted is that we have such a storied past that we never want to talk so much in the past to make us look like a museum, but how do we really maximize all that history and knowledge and apply it in a modern and performance way?”
The Premiere Series encapsulates that sentiment not only in style and aesthetic but also functionality. The Tarlow collection, named after Bill and Dick Tarlow who bought FootJoy in 1957 and focused the brand primarily on golf, is a modern interpretation of the cap toe design. The Packard collection, inspired by FootJoy founder and shoe pioneer Frederick Packard, features a pebble grain leather in the vamp and quarter. Rounding out the Premiere Series is The Flint, a sleek and refined collection named for Perley Flint who designed FootJoy’s first golf shoe in the 1920s.
Not only were the developers inspired by classic FootJoy iterations, but they relied on the expertise, knowledge and feedback through real-world application and use from PGA Tour professionals including Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter. Not only did Scott provide observations on the feel and performance of the Premiere Series when in action, he also suggested style tweaks and modifications, including the piping detail on The Flint collection.
“I genuinely think the new FootJoy Premiere Series are the best shoes on the market,” Scott said. “The performance features are top-notch and as soon as your foot hits the sole, you immediately notice the difference from any other shoe you’ve worn. The Premiere provides great balance between a classic, stylish look and modern feel and comfort. There are no other shoes on the market that perfectly blend style and comfort like these do.
“The team really set the bar high with this line.”
Prior to their retail availability on March 15, the Premiere Series was trialed and tested by some of the world’s best on the PGA Tour. It was the top silhouette at the 2020 Masters, played November 12-15 due to the pandemic.
Having the No. 1 shoe on the PGA Tour is nothing new for FootJoy, which proudly boasts that honor for the past 75 years.
“That focus on innovation, quality and our commitment to golf and those who play the sport has remained consistent for so long,” Tobias said. “With that, we allow ourselves to continually challenge and to be disruptive. We look at change and the opportunity to take some swings. … We also don’t have to worry about other categories or other sports and athletes. We’re glued in on Thursday through Sunday rooting our players on and making sure we’re connecting with them before and after to see how the shoes felt, what can we do better and what’s next in terms of golf footwear.”
Not only does FootJoy hope the Premiere Series extends the its popularity on the PGA Tour and among amateur and casual golfers, the series was developed to reintroduce the company’s story to a new crop of players.
According to the 2020 National Golf Performance Report, rounds of golf soared by 13.9% and equipment sales increased by 10.1% from 2019, with the former being the largest total year increase since Golf Datatech began collecting and projecting rounds played in 1998. Spending in 2020 reached near-record levels as overall golf equipment sales eclipsed $2.81 billion—the third-highest annual total all-time, trailing 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).
“It’s phenomenal for the sport to see so many new entrants and so many folks picking up golf clubs and getting out there,” Tobias said. “There’s this new discovery of the sport and this reintroduction to this sport that’s been around forever. … We’ve had a long history of being a classic silhouette, so the timing was right for us to update that for new consumers to retell our story of leadership in this space by having an absolute pinnacle performance product but with a style and design aesthetic that you’re used to and feels safe, and that is classic and reminds you of good times.”