When you own a lot of brands, you own a lot of opportunities. Callaway is a master at finding those opportunities. Its acquisition of TravisMathew has been a winner on every level and now TravisMathew is spreading out with a new sub-brand – a lifestyle brand within a lifestyle brand, if you will, called Cuater.
If TravisMathew is for the young and hip, Cuater is for the even younger and hipper.
Cuater: New/Not New
Cuater may not be XXIO-level in pronunciation but it does require a tutorial. Imagine Barry Kripke trying to say crater and you’ve got it. If you have no idea who Barry Kripke is, just put a C in front of the word waiter.
“The last couple of years, Cuater has been a sub-brand of TravisMathew,” says K.C. Clarke, Cuater’s Senior Marketing Manager. “We had two styles of casual footwear – very simple, basic footwear.”
This past weekend, Cuater launched four golf shoes to its retail channel as well as to its direct-to-consumer and eCommerce channels. They are the Ringer, Moneymaker, Wildcard and Legend.
“Simple” and “basic” still fit.
“Each shoe has its own market,” says Clarke. “The Wildcard, for example, is a very, very casual approach to golf. If you’re wearing it out, nobody would have any idea that it’s a golf shoe. The Legend is very much for the traditional golf enthusiast and the Ringer is more of a modern, athletic-looking golf shoe.”
Cuater, it would seem, is hanging its hats on the Ringer and the Moneymaker. The overriding impressions you’ll get from both is a very True Linkswear-ish casual vibe. According to Clarke, Cuater doesn’t think its customers want to be decked out head to toe in loudly branded golf apparel.
“You don’t have to wear a giant brand mark on your products with Cuater,” says Clarke. “We keep it pretty understated and kind of let the shoe speak for itself.”
Minimalism is a popular catchphrase in golf. Manufacturers believe younger golfers want simple, clean and not overly technical.
“The way we see the golf footwear marketplace is there’s a lot of unnecessary technology,” says Clarke. “Take a thing like BOA. You have this big old turn dial on the back of your shoe and all it does is tighten your shoe instead of just tying it.”
BOA fans may beg to differ but as Horton Smith once said to Lloyd Mangrum: different golf shoe-tying technologies for different folks.
Golf shoe Nirvana meets at the intersection of Style Street, Comfort Boulevard and Performance Avenue and it can be surprisingly hard to find on the map. You can buy really sexy looking shoes that are comfortable but lack stability or traction. Then there are stable shoes with plenty of traction and comfort that look like they belong on a circus performer. Very rarely do you get all three.
Clarke insists Cuater is checking all those boxes, albeit for a specific demographic.
“We’ve made sure to focus on traction,” he says. “But our big differentiators are two things. First, you don’t have to wear a giant brand mark on your feet with Cuater. We keep it pretty understated and let the shoe speak for itself. And, most importantly, it’s about comfort.”
The Legend and the Ringer use what Cuater calls SweetSpot technology: a foam midsole that’s new to golf. Clarke says it’s about 30-per-cent lighter than other midsoles.
“The responsiveness and overall comfort, in combination with a molded sock liner, really sets the shoe apart,” he says. “Once you put your foot in there and walk around a bit, you can really tell the difference.”
The Cuater Lineup
Cuater bills the Ringer and Legend as premium performance spiked shoes. As mentioned, both feature the SweetSpot Foam insole and Cuater says they are waterproof. The Ringer is an athletic-looking shoe with an air-mesh lining for breathability and a molded sock liner.
The Legend is about as traditional looking as a brand like Cuater is likely to get, with just a hint of a low brogue on the toe cap. The upper is made from full-grain leather and is perforated for breathability.
The Moneymaker and the Wildcard are both spikeless with a look of extreme casualness bordering on indifference. Neither has the SweetSpot Foam insole but Cuater insists the Molded Orthlite insole provides adequate comfort.
Both shoes feature knit fabric uppers. The Moneymaker is billed as waterproof while the Wildcard is water-resistant, which means your feet will eventually get damp in the morning dew. Both shoes, however, are treated with 3M Defender to keep them mud resistant.
Cuater is under the TravisMathew umbrella which is ultimately under the Callaway umbrella. Clarke, however, doesn’t see any conflict with Callaway’s shoe offerings.
Who Is Cuater For?
TravisMathew unapologetically targets a younger-than-average demographic.
“We’re targeting the same demographic as TravisMathew, which is the 30- to 50-year-old range,” says Clarke. “But we’re actually skewing a bit younger, maybe in the mid-30s with a little disposable income, who appreciate well-made products.”
And who appreciates a little fun, as well?
“We wanted to create product names that had a little bit of our brand ethos, that are fun and marketable,” Clarke adds. “Across the line, there’s a little bit more fun and personality in the shoe names than you’d normally see in golf with XLT, SL Type One, and so on.”
That sense of fun extends to Cuater’s line of golf gloves. They’re 100-per-cent Cabretta leather but the unique selling proposition is the look/attitude: minimalistic without being boring. Each glove has stitching where the palm meets the fingers as a grip reminder. Some say Grip Shaft Here, while others say Insert Beer Here or Cash Please. The Between the Lines glove gets even more playful with BIRDIE written vertically on the middle finger.
“At the end of the day, we’re very serious about the products we make but we’re also not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Clarke. “This is a game; we play it because we enjoy it. Sometimes brands lose sight of that and are way too over-technical and way too serious.”
Price and Availability
All four shoes as well as the gloves are available on Cuater’s section of the TravisMathew website. Since Cuater is a full lifestyle brand, you’ll find casual shoes, sandals, hats, socks, boxers and belts there, as well.
In keeping with the minimal mindset, colorways are limited. The spiked Ringer and Legend are available in black or white only. The Ringer sells for $199.95 while the full-leather Legend retails for $249.95.
The knit Moneymaker sells for $159.95 and is available in four colorways: Black, Heather Grey Pinstripe, Heather Microchip (sort of an off-white), Heather Indigo (blue). The ultra-casual Wildcard is $129.95 and comes in grey, black and navy.
If you’re looking for a bargain-basement glove, you won’t find it at Cuater. Style is, of course, subjective, but in Cuater’s case, style comes at a price.
You’ll find four models on Cuater’s website: Premier, Ace, Prime and Between the Lines. The Premier ($29.95) comes in four colors: White, Mood Indigo (deep purple), Quiet Shade (gray) and Black. The Between the Line – the one with BIRDIE on the middle finger — comes in Sleet (white and gray combo) and sells for $34.95. The Prime and Ace sell for $39.95. The Prime is a multi-colored glove while the Ace comes in Gray Pinstripe with black palm trees on a grey background.
Cuater is clearly a brand aimed at a very specific demographic. If you’re not in that, chances are you won’t find much to your liking.
For those of you who are in it, what are your thoughts? Is this a brand that appeals to you?
For more information on Cuater, visit travismathew.com/cuater.