The 2010 Masters is remembered for three big things: Phil’s 6-iron from the pine straw, Tiger’s return from exile and Fred Couples’ ECCO shoes.
That was literally the first time many of us had ever seen a golf shoe without spikes. Freddie got a ton of TV time that week. He turned back the clock and was among the leaders well into Sunday’s final round but all I remember thinking is, “What’s up with those shoes?”
They were ECCO Golf Street shoes and today ECCO is re-releasing a 10th-anniversary edition of its first big hit. It’s called the Street Premiere.
It’s no understatement to say the original was a defining, revolutionary moment in golf footwear.
That’s what ECCO is calling it. Before the 2010 Masters, most golfers had never heard of spikeless – or hybrid – golf shoes. Heck, most of us were just getting used to plastic spikes after decades of metal cleats.
“Back in 2009, the market was approximately one-per-cent spikeless and 99-per-cent spiked,” says ECCO USA General Manager Jesper Thuen. “That was the moment that changed everything.”
It was a revolution and Fred Couples was its Paul Revere, John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson rolled into one.
“He’s one of a kind, you know?” says Thuen. “When I started at ECCO 17 years ago, I was asked if I could have one brand ambassador, who would that be? I said Fred Couples right away.”
“With his laid-back style, no glove, no socks. He was the perfect guy to go into that shoe.”
ECCO officially is calling it the Hybrid Revolution – self-serving but business is business. And ECCO prefers the term “hybrid” instead of the commonly used “spikeless.”
“Spikeless sounds like there’s no traction to them,” says Thuen. “We call them hybrid shoes because you can wear them on and off the course and it’s a performance shoe that provides plenty of traction.”
Couples had been wearing the ECCO Street shoes since January 2010 on the Champions Tour. He had just turned 50 and had already won twice and finished second once before hitting Augusta.
“After The Masters, everything went ballistic for us,” says Thuen. “It changed the whole business for ECCO Golf. Our business exploded since then.”
ECCO’s business breakdown is about 80 per cent hybrid shoes and 20 per cent spiked shoes. Globally, the market is roughly 45 per cent hybrid and 55 per cent spiked.
“There are a number of markets where you literally don’t see spikes anymore,” says Thuen. “Others are 80 per cent hybrids and still others where you see quite a bit more spikes and not so much spikeless.”
For the record, the ECCO Biom Hybrid finished fifth overall in our 2019 Spikeless Buyer’s Guide. The company did not submit a spiked shoe.
The New ECCO Golf Street Premiere
The special anniversary edition Street Premiere will be available in the same three colorways as the 2010 models including the Licorice/Coffee/Fanta worn by Couples. For the less stylish among us, that would be brown.
ECCO has experimented with a slew of outsole designs over the years and some, to put it mildly, were head-scratchers. The Anniversary Edition STREET 10 uses the same E-DTS outsole as the original. It’s not fancy but it features more than 800 angled traction angles.
“Actually, that outsole is the longest running in ECCO history,” says Thuen. “Not only for golf but for our regular shoes as well.”
Thuen says STREET 10 features all of ECCO’s best construction tech including full-grain, pebbled calf leather treated with Hydromax® for water resistance, a micro-perforated leather lining and a leather-lined insole for comfort and moisture management. ECCO also uses its FLUIDFORM™ technology which fuses the upper and the outer sole into a single unit without glues or stitching. ECCO says FLUIDFORM™ makes its shoes more flexible, durable and lightweight.
Final Thoughts, Price and Availability
To borrow a golf cliché, it’s fair to say the original Street is the shoe that changed the shoe. Everyone has a spikeless – ‘scuse me – hybrid, shoe now, and ECCO rightfully deserves credit for that.
For a time, ECCO was the benchmark for comfort in hybrid shoes but in recent years we’ve seen Skechers, Inesis, adidas and others bring comfort and stability to new levels. ECCO has struggled to keep up and has had as many misses as hits. The last ECCO spiked shoe to be tested at MyGolfSpy was the Cool 18 GTX back in 2017. It finished in the middle of the pack: above average in comfort and stability, below average in style and resistance to elements.
So, who buys the 10th Anniversary Street Premiere? It was an incredibly popular shoe back in the day and the look remains distinctive. Some, of course, will buy a pair for old-times’ sake (that’s why companies do retro/anniversary specials) and others because it was, and still will be, a decent looking and very comfortable shoe for walking.
The 10th Anniversary ECCO Street Premiere will come in the three original colorways: the aforementioned Licorice/Coffee/Fanta (brown), Concrete/White/Cactus (white) and Moonless/Black/Chili (black).
They’ll be in stores and on ECCO’s website today and will sell $150, the same price as in 2010.