ECCO GOLF seems to be on a technology kick. And why shouldn’t they be? Technology looks fresh to the new crop of young men who haven’t seen it before. It’s certainly a nice change of pace from the same old, same old. One can’t help but wonder how these technological advancements will help performance on the golf course.
The kind of technology I’m talking about is ECCO’s BIOM C4. Recently, the Danish brand launched its most recent collection, including the BIOM C4, the newest development in the BIOM® series, which offers 360-degree breathability and allows golfers to stay cool and comfortable throughout their rounds. This blend of innovative comfort ensures cushioning, rebound, waterproofing, and airflow. Although ECCO is known for its broad range of footwear offerings, the company’s strategy is to develop the best golf shoe ever.
Naturally, ECCO isn’t alone in playing with advancements in technology. But in my opinion, when it comes to product development, the brand is leading the way by far. In fact, I think they’re finally bridging the gap between the older, more serious guy who wants to come across in a more youthful way, and the younger customer who doesn’t want a knockoff of his father’s golf shoe style. ECCO designed the same model that works for both. In my research, I called upon a family member to confirm my opinion with regard to BIOM C4. My nephew Dennis DeAcetis spelled out the experience in this way. He reported back with great enthusiasm that ECCO’s BIOM C4. “ is not only super comfortable but the 360 breathability truly works .” He went on to say how ‘his feet were completely dry whereas all the other player’s feet were soggy and wet. This is serious sportswear technology.’
ECCO GOLF, which started out in Denmark, has grown substantially since its founding 25 years ago. At that time, the brand’s vision was to make golf shoes as comfortable as possible. Early on, Danish golf professional Thomas Bjørn started wearing them and in doing so, gave the brand much-needed data on fit and comfort. Soon thereafter, the development came step-by-step and other professionals showed interest in wearing ECCO GOLF shoes during tournament play.
But the game-changing moment for ECCO GOLF came in 2010 when brand ambassador Fred Couples played the Masters wearing ECCO GOLF shoes. It was undoubtedly this moment that kicked off an unprecedented demand for ECCO’s first hybrid shoe. In fact, it was this historic moment for ECCO GOLF that represented an interesting opportunity for the brand. Or, as Freddie puts it himself:
‘It was ECCO that started the hybrid revolution. I shot the first round of 66, which gave me the lead, but all anyone wanted to talk about were my new hybrid shoes. At first, people were saying to me, “What are those?” They thought they were tennis shoes. But soon enough everyone was calling out, “I want those shoes.”’
Hybrid shoes became an instant success and today 80 percent of golf players around the world are wearing hybrids. When playing any sport, time is one of your most valuable assets. And when playing golf, you can choose to let some things slide or you can choose to elevate every moment. But I can assure you that one choice leads to regret whereas the other choice will lead to freedom.
Inspired by barefoot runners, ECCO developed the pioneering BIOM® technology. The brand introduced the technology to its golf shoes to allow golfers to move more naturally and efficiently. At the heart of ECCO GOLF innovation lies the FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology – ECCO’s signature technology that injects fluid material into a mold to create a lightweight, cushioned, flexible and durable sole.
The market is evolving. Now ECCO GOLF is celebrating 25 years of innovating and changing the sport of golf. The brand’s tour presence is stronger than ever as LPGA star Lydia Ko points out: ‘You only have to look at ECCO GOLF’s range of ambassadors – from Fred Couples to Henrik Stenson to Erik van Rooyen to the ladies on the tour, such as myself – to appreciate that this is a brand that appeals to golfers of all ages, and of both sexes.’
The company recently opened a 7,000-square-foot studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The first U.S. endeavor of its kind for ECCO, the studio boasts the most complete expression of the intent of connecting and collaborating with US creatives and footwear industry professionals, the space focuses on footwear and bag design, prototyping, product line development, and leather sales. Upon viewing the space, one can’t help but notice the bouldering-inspired sportswear pieces for men and women, along with technology, lightweight performance pieces of footwear, and some accessories. The brand has grown substantially since its founding in 1996, its vision remains the same by inspiring and enabling golfers to never stop exploring which includes everything from comfort to performance.
The headliner of the most recent collection is the BIOM C4, the newest development in the BIOM® series, which offers 360-degree breathability and allows golfers to stay cool and comfortable throughout their rounds. This blend of innovative comfort ensures cushioning, rebound, waterproofing, and airflow. ECCO tanneries put artistry, sustainability, and quality before sales and the company aims to be energy neutral in the coming years.
I recently had the privilege to speak with Jesper Thuen, General Manager of ECCO GOLF USA who played golf professionally, and was the first golfer to sign an endorsement deal with ECCO in 1996, the year they began making golf shoes. He now leads the entire golf operation in the U.S.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is the competitive advantage in the marketplace today?
Jesper Thuen, General Manager of ECCO GOLF USA: ECCO is vertically integrated and controls the manufacturing process from A to Z. We produce ECCO leather in our own tanneries and make shoes in factories that we own and operate, which means we can control the quality process in a greater way. Quality always comes first in everything we do at ECCO.
JD: Speak to my readers about the current collection- colors, textures, design, comfort, and technological advancements as well as the intermix of advancements in technology.
JT: At ECCO GOLF, we have always liked colors. In the AW22 collection, you will see a great color scheme that will suit the consumer’s eye. The technology that stands out in our AW22 collection is the Gore-Tex Surround which allows the foot to breathe 360 degrees while at the same time, it’s 100 percent waterproof.
Lydia Ko on her signature shoe. Courtesy of ECCO
—We are also very excited to launch the BIOM G5 where we have collaborated with Lydia Ko on her signature shoe. It’s been a pleasure to work with such an accomplished golfer to create her own unique shoe that looks tremendous and has received fantastic feedback so far.
JD: What makes ECCCO stand out in the golf category?
JT: Our philosophy in ECCO has always been forming follows function. That means we always design our shoes to follow the shape of the foot and not the other way around. Quality and comfort are always first on our minds, and having comfortable golf shoes is a necessity to perform your best on the golf course. We want our consumers’ feet to feel just as good when they walk off the 18th green as they do when they walk onto the first tee.
JD: In your words, which famous golfer best represents the brand and why?
JT: We have had world number 4 Lydia Ko wearing ECCO shoes for years. Lydia is a perfect ambassador for your brand with her charming personality as well as a world-class golf game. Other notables are style icon Erik van Rooyen who wears our BIOM H4 model and Fred Couples who started the hybrid revolution with ECCO back in 2010 and is still a brand ambassador.
JD: What is the inspiration for the FW 2022 collection?
JT: Our main inspiration for the AW22 collection has been the introduction of the BIOM G5 and the work we have done with Lydia Ko to make her signature shoe.
JD: Where is the product manufactured and why?
JT: ECCO GOLF shoes are produced in our own factories in Thailand, China, and Portugal.
JD: Moving forward; What is your business strategy with respect to Sustainable efforts, NFTS & Metaverse Gen Z and Millennials
ECCO will continue to push the boundaries when it comes to new technologies that will attract younger consumers. Just in the last couple of seasons, we have introduced the revolutionary ZONAL FLUIDFORM, which is three different densities in our midsoles on the S-Three. It has been very popular amongst younger consumers. The Gore-Tex surround technology as previously mentioned is another technology that has attracted a younger demographic.
In regard to sustainability, ECCO has initiated a very ambitious plan to become energy neutral within the coming years in all our facilities. ECCO is also a front runner in the shoe industry when it comes to reducing water in the leather tanning process which is seen in our dry-tan leather.
Words by Joseph DeAcetis