GOLF RETAILING spoke to Jason …., Skechers’ vice president of marketing, at the 2014 PGA Show, ahead of the company’s new range of golf shoes arriving in the UK and Ireland
What is the background to Skechers entering the golf market?
Skechers started in 1992 in California primarily just as a men’s boot company, and then we started importing Doc Martins into the United States, and today we’re a $2 billion company and we’re worldwide. We are the number-two shoe manufacturer in the United States after Nike.
Three years ago we made our first running shoe and created our Sketchers Performance Division. Through that we have been able come up with a lot of really cool materials – meshes, outsoles – that we incorporate into our products. A lot of it stems from the minimal, barefoot philosophy. If you make a shoe that’s more back to basics, more ergonomically made, it helps your body, and helps develop muscles and helps your balance, which really helps with golf. You want to be flat to the ground so you can feel what you’re standing on, so your body can know which way to lean. You also want a wider toe-box to so your toes can spread out and you can really grip the ground and be more stable, and produce a solid swing through your core.
Are all your golf shoes spikeless?
Yes, they are all spikeless. Our GO GOLF shoes are comfortable to walk around in before and after your round of golf; you can drive your car in them, walk around the clubhouse in them, and they cause less damage to golf courses. We took trail shoe technology and applied it to the outsole of the golf shoes.
The GO GOLF Bionic is particularly eye-catching.
We created the GO GOLF Bionic to be athletic looking, as a lot of people want golf shoes that look like a running shoe, and not the traditional saddle shoe. It’s for the younger golfer and has flashier colour pops.
The GO GOLF Bionic is also very flexible, and just a little more rigid than our running shoes, but it is built with the wider toe box so you can feel the ground better, and it has a sock feel inside. There is not a seam inside the shoe that will rub anywhere on your feet. Golfers won’t get any of rubbing spots like you do on some other shoes. Then we used a material called Resimax, which is a blend of rubber and EVA, and we put that in the insole. This gives extra comfort and cushioning, because while you want to be close to the ground, the golfer still needs some cushioning.
Where will you be selling in the UK and Ireland?
We have learned that you need to build from the ground up and you need to start with the green grass accounts, the pro shops directly, and so we are using sales guys who are already ingrained in the golf industry.
Classic lines: The GO GOLF (RRP £99)