At the launch of the FootJoy Pro/SL shoe in Portugal, I met with Jeremy Baldwin, FootJoy Director of Product Management EMEA, to talk about the development of the shoe and how it came to be.
Hi Jeremy. There seems to be an evolution from the DryJoys Casual shoe to the Pro/SL, so can you talk us through that process?
Well, the evolution is really in the upper where we have a new ChromoSkin leather. The outsole is pretty much the same as before with most of the stability coming from the Fine Tune Foam and the design of the upper. We have seen a great take up of this on Tour with more players using spikeless shoes and we think it will be the most played spikeless shoe on Tour next year.
I’ve used the DryJoys Casual and think it’s a great shoe and saw it used quite a lot on Tour as well. Did it take you by surprise that so many players are going spikeless?
It did a little bit. I think the main thing that Tour players have found is that because they play on fairly firm fairways and with the old style of nub spikeless product they weren’t really getting any kind of imprint and grip on the turf so they were a little bit worried about getting the right traction.
These outsoles have little spikes made from a TPU material and it actually punctures the turf to give players a great grip and traction. That then combines with the stability that the rest of the shoe provides and you get a really great performing product.
Having used the Pro/SL here today, it does feel more stable. What have you done to achieve that?
The upper pattern has been designed to give more stability. We have a ChromoSkin leather upper that has a higher tensile strength than previous generations, to help make the shoe what we would call a structured product, which in a spikeless shoe is actually quite unusual.
What share of the market or of your sales is spikeless now?
We think it is around 25% of the total UK market which we feel is probably a plateau and we are number 1 in the spikeless area so we are pleased with what we have done over the last 4 years.
We have many different types of spikeless products, for example the Contour Casual that may be worn a little bit more often off the course as well as on the course, whereas we see the Pro/SL as a shoe that will probably be worn more on the course, as it has a more players look and is less casual looking than say the previous DryJoys Casual model.
It comes with a one year waterproof guarantee, so can you explain what that covers and how you achieve that?
The waterproofing comes from the leather tanning process. The Pittards leather we use has every fibre tanned with a waterproof property so we don’t have to use an additional membrane in the shoe. Whilst it is very waterproof when you put a membrane in you are effectively putting a barrier between the lining and the upper you will impact on the breathability of the shoe, so removing the membrane provides a more breathable product.
It does have a more 'players' look, so has it been easy to get your Tour Pro’s into the shoe?
We’ve been surprised how many have moved to it. We don’t dictate what they wear and once they have seen the product they’ve remarked that it gives them the stability and the traction that they may not have felt in the past.
In the general market the Pro/SL name of the shoe very much represents the positioning of the product in the market. This is the player’s spikeless shoe and very much positioned as a performance product.
Read our FootJoy Pro/SL shoe review
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