Our modern world — so mechanical, so techie, so, well… modern — can leave us pining for the artisanal, the authentic, the throwback. It’s why we’re again drinking classic cocktails and watching TV shows about bladesmiths, often at the same time.
That said, golf-wise, few of us long to return to the days of 1-irons and wool jackets. The goal isn’t nostalgia, it’s products that combine the craftsmanship of yore with up-to-date utility.
Enter — actually, reenter — the new 1857 Collection from FootJoy.
The year 1857 saw Fredrick Packard leave his father’s boot workshop to create his own shoe business in Brockton, Massachusetts, which would become the iconic golf brand FootJoy. Back then, the shoes went through a 150-step process to make nonpareil footwear.
Today, through a partnership with a family-owned European factory, the 1857 shoes go through the same process and materials: hand-chosen premium Italian calfskin leathers, full leather linings, leather outsoles, suede heel pockets and cork-layered fitbeds.
The craftsmen building the 1857s, many from a long line of shoemakers, work with hand tools. Techniques like stitching, lasting and Goodyear-welting are similarly old-school. Yet the resulting performance and comfort are as dialed in as a rangefinder.
If the sense of bespoke comfort transports the golfer back in time, so too does the line’s styling. Saddles from the Justin Thomas playbook, wing-tip patterns like those preferred by Henrik Stenson: There’s a veritable cornucopia of classics available, all priced at $750. And when the final putt is holed but you’re loathe to slip into something less comfortable, fear not. Off-course dress shoes are also part of the 1857 line, with straight tip, double monk strap, blucher wing tip and genuine suede wing tip patterns, priced from $395-$595.
Pairing such craftmanship with a bunch of synthetic fabrics would seem to defeat the purpose — and there’s no need. The FJ 1857 apparel line follows the same template as the shoes, with archetypal styling united with top-notch construction and premium materials, like a Supima cotton-based performance blend and high-grade cashmere. A genuine Pittards leather glove, supple as a Tour pro’s turn, completes the FJ 1857 collection. Yes, it’s time for timeless again.