Without any internal debate, I’m going to tell you in no uncertain terms that the coolest…the requisite and proverbial game-changing technology of the 2016 PGA Show was found inside the FootJoy booth.
That’s right, the biggest technology…the biggest digital technology story of 2016 might very well come from a shoe company. Although, in the interest of covering all the bases, I should probably mention that FootJoy also makes both gloves and apparel.
Shoes. Gloves. Apparel. If that doesn’t scream DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY, well…I suppose it doesn’t.
Go Get Fitted
You already know you should get fitted for your clubs. Stronger and stronger cases are being made to get fitted for your ball. Now FootJoy is saying you should get fitted for your shoes.
I know what you’re thinking. I know my size, and there’s no way I’m wearing high tops, so we’re good, thanks.
Not so fast. There’s way more to this than most of us have ever imagined.
But before we get to that, let’s start with what, is to me, an absolutely remarkable stat.
70% of golfers are wearing the wrong size shoe
Not long ago FootJoy conducted a shoe fitting research project of sorts. They measured golfers in the US, the UK, and Japan. Approximately 10,000 golfers surveyed (and measured), and the results were consistent across all regions.
70% (Seven-Zero, no misplaced decimal) percent of golfers are wearing the wrong size shoe.
How is that even possible?
Man, you guys are idiots.
Not me, I wear the right size shoes, except the guys at FootJoy busted me wearing a too-narrow shoe, which is perhaps the textbook example that can help to explain how 70% of us end up in ill-fitting footwear.
As you might imagine, a substantial amount of our sizing errors can be traced to wearing shoes with the wrong width. My guess, either golfers aren’t fully aware that they have options when it comes to width, or that because of immediate availability and style preference, some of us are content to get by with close-enough.
The store only stocks regular? I’ve got a tee time in 20 minutes. These will do.
As a quick aside, this should be less of a problem with FootJoy. Their new FREESTYLE, for example, is available in astounding 47 size and width combinations. If you can’t find a FootJoy in your size, you should probably schedule a consult with a foot surgeon.
Me, I know I’m a 9.5 wide, but since wide isn’t always available, I often find myself in a 9.5 regular (especially since shoes just show up on my front porch). 9.5 regular is exactly the size I was wearing when FootJoy pointed out that my shoes don’t fit properly.
What About the Technology?
Buying the right size shoe isn’t exactly technology. Hell, I would probably have argued it’s common sense, but that 70% number looms large. Regardless…let’s say for the sake of this story that you’re actually smart enough to buy the right size.
How do you know which golf shoe is actually right for you?
The conventional wisdom is that you buy what you think looks cool and what feels good on your feet. FootJoy says that’s probably not the best way to do it.
Do any of us actually know anything about golf shoes?
Top Instructor, Footwear Revolutionary
Made curious by what he had observed using force plate technology during his lessons Michael Breed approached FootJoy and suggested there could be something to be gleaned by taking a closer look at how different golfers move within their shoes during the swing.
FootJoy is nothing if not committed to knowing every possible thing there is about golf shoes and so they embarked on another study to find out to what extent shoes matter on an individual basis.
What they found is compelling stuff.
Unstructured, or Mobile shoes as FootJoy calls them, work really well for one-third of golfers. Stable shoes…I guess what many of us would consider a traditional platform, work really well for another third. The final third ride the line and can get by just fine with either.
More importantly to you and me, FootJoy’s testing revealed that quantifiable and significant performance gains can be realized for golfers who switch from the wrong shoe platform to the right one. The company routinely sees driver swing speed gains of up to 3 MPH through no other voodoo than a shoe change. This is true for amateurs and FootJoy’s tour players alike.
Plug-in your own launch and spin numbers, but we’re talking about driver gains that could approach 10 yards. That’s right…upwards of 10 MORE YARDS…just from changing your shoes.
For those readying the just fix your swing argument, the 33/33/33 breakdown holds true on Tour as well. Rather than try and figure out which 2/3s are doing it wrong, we should probably accept that proper shoe fitting is as much about anatomy and DNA as it is the golf swing itself.
How It Works
It only takes 3 swings on top of an iPad-connected BodiTrak Pressure Mapping Sensor (which measures how your feet work with and against the ground and how your weight shifts during your swing) for FootJoy’s fitters to classify your feet and then make the appropriate shoe recommendation.
My footwear mechanics show what FootJoy calls the fishhook pattern. It’s the telltale digital signature of a guy who should be in a mobile shoe.
The new Freestyle and the HyperFlex are among my ideal choices. Sufficed to say that Moby the Frog and I will spend some time getting to know each other this season.
For guys who benefit from Stable shoes, DryJoys and the Icon Black are among your choices.
FootJoy will be rolling the Performance Fitting System this spring. You’re likely to find it at top FootJoy accounts as well as special fitting events all over the country.
We’re not ready to say that the Performance Fitting System will revolutionize shoe fitting, but given what golfers have historically done in pursuit of more yardage, getting you guys to take 5 minutes out of your day to figure out what type of shoe is ideal for your swing should be an easy sell.
More Information on the Performance Fitting System will be available on the FootJoy Website soon.