Course of Style: FootJoy Increases Personalization Options

September 25, 2009

From license plates to head covers, Americans love to personalize things. Next month FootJoy, the largest seller of golf footwear, will debut a new customizing option for its FJ Icon collection, the sort of premium calfskin golf shoes worn by the professionals, which can now be personalized for color, size, and various monograms.

FootJoy has long offered online customization of its popular Contour and DryJoys lines, but the options have been somewhat limited—and the shoes themselves were moderate to mid-priced. At the existing, shoppers choose from three base-color leathers (black, brown, or white), which can then be combined with 48 contrasting saddle and accent colors. Want a brown shoe with jungle-camo saddle and purple trim? No problem. You can also add your initials, a flag, or a wide selection of college team and major league baseball logos to the shoes. You can even order a left and a right shoe of different size or width, in case you are a difficult fit.

But FootJoy is kicking it up a notch. The numerous color, leather, and logo selections that can be added to the FJ Icon shoes—including lizard and alligator style leathers—give the consumer up to 2 million possible variations, according to FootJoy executives. This is the golf shoe equivalent of haute couture. FootJoy’s sponsored pros like Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas, Hunter Mahan, and Luke Donald have already been using the custom process to design their own shoes. Starting Oct. 5., regular Joes can do the same.

With golf footwear, there are obvious practical advantages to “building your own.” How many times have you sat down and tried on golf shoes, only to be told, “Sorry, we’re out of that color and size right now.” Or worse, that they don’t even stock the exact color and width you prefer in a high-end shoe. If you’re going to pay all that money, why settle for less than exactly what you want? The new MyJoys program should take some of the potluck out of purchasing top-of-the-line golf shoes.

Ordered shoes will be delivered in four weeks (or for an additional charge, two weeks), according to the existing site. Standard shipping in most cases is free, but customizers will pay a premium for the service. The stock version of the FJ Icon typically sells for $250. The custom versions will cost from $270 to $290 (depending on the monograms ordered).

Tehama, the golf apparel company co-founded by Clint Eastwood and apparel executive Nancy Haley in 1997, has changed hands. Longtime apparel entrepreneurs Steven Banks and Gordon Peters of Nacabi Trading, Inc. have purchased the high-end golf clothing brand from PG-USA (which retains a minority stake). Banks will serve as Tehama’s chief executive officer and Peters as its president.

The new company is to have its headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, FL (formerly it was based in Denver), with operating offices in Denver and Toronto. Susan Shade will continue as president of the Golf Division; Anne Ingham will oversee design; and Jamie Meyer will continue as director of operations. Haley stays on in an advisory role. The current sales force structure will also remain intact.

Tehama, from a Native American word meaning “abundance of nature,” is known for its use of exotic and environmentally friendly fabrics.