Their Own Words ECCO Golf Shoes

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Editors note: ECCO's roots in defying convention run deep. 40 years ago in the small southern Jutland town of Bredebro, Denmark, Karl Toosbuy pioneered a revolution in footwear, choosing comfort over conformity. Tired of having his feet mold to his shoes, he charged that the foot should lead the shoe. A new type of footwear was born.
 
ECCO approaches design a little differently. They design from the inside out: inside every comfortable shoe is a foot. Outside, you'll find inspiration from nature and fashion trends, the simplicity of Scandinavian design, environmental circumstances, and all the ways you run through the day. That's all important. ECCO responds with shoes that take you from work to play, from casual Friday to tee time on Saturday and back through that great hiking trail on Sunday. ECCO design their shoes to live up to all your functional needs. And inside it all is a comfortable foot.

 
A conversation with Ed DiStefano, Fitting Specialist, ECCO
 
Casey / Q:

Ed, tell us about this ECCO van.
 
Ed / A:
The van is called the Tour and Tech van. The purpose of it is to do promotional events and to go to our vendors for educational training. We have basically a mini showroom in here where can do fitting for either our TOUR players or promotional events at golf courses where well set up with a tent and the van. And we have this big TV in the van that will play various ECCO brand videos. The van also travels and works with our sales reps helping them at their accounts and training them in fitting techniques as well. The goal is to get the outreach to the consumers and also to be able to service our TOUR players. The entire 2008 line is right here in this van. If ECCO Golf makes it I can show it to you here.
 
Casey / Q:
What is the philosophy behind ECCO golf shoes?
 
Ed / A:
I can sum up what is so special about ECCO golf shoes in one word. Comfort. We guarantee out of the box comfort with no break in period and that is due to the fit. The fit is snug in the instep and then generous in the toe box area. And the reason that works so well is because thats the way a persons foot is naturally shaped. And because there is extra room up front in the toe box area, the minute the golfer puts the shoe on theyre ready to play 18-holes or even
36-holes without a problem.
 
Casey / Q:
Take us through an example of what you do to fit a golfer for ECCO golf shoes.
 
World Class Ecco
World Class ECCO model.
Ed / A:
Lets take a narrow foot, for example. For most golfers with narrow feet it is difficult to get a good fit in a golf shoe. And with ECCO having a more generous toe box, you might think its tough for us to fit a narrow foot. But actually, we can do it quite well. So the first thing I do as a fitter is to measure the foot properly and then get some other informationlike what other shoes have you been wearing. Once I have that information I can zero in on what style in our line will fit you best. And for a narrow foot I pretty much know I am going to fit the golfer in either our new Classic series or in our World Class model shoe. Both these model shoes have the type of a last (fit) that will allow me to customize the shoe to a narrow foot.
 
Casey / Q:
Use your World Class model as the example for a custom fit.
 
Ed / A:
OK. Well use the World Class as an example that we will fit to a narrow foot. What I have to do is take volume away from the shoe. And I do that by changing the inlays in the shoe. The great thing about our product is that the inlays are fully removable. They are meant to be changed in and out for fitting and also can be replaced from time to time to keep the shoes fresh and new feeling.
 
Casey / Q:
What types of inlays do you have?
 
Ed / A:
There are a couple different kinds of inlays. There is the PU Wedge inlay which can take up to 6 millimeters of volume away from the shoe. But that might be too much for someonemake the instep area a little too snug. So another option is to leave the original inlay in the shoe and add a second inlay on top of it. That inlay on top of inlay will take 3 millimeters of volume away from the shoe which is a happy medium between the two. And generally speaking, with these two types of fitting options, we can fit a golfer very comfortably in to a shoe.
 
Casey / Q:
And if a golfer has the opposite problema very wide foot?
 
Ed / A:
For a foot that is very wide we would try and add volume to the shoe by going with a thinner inlay. Also, because some of our shoes have different instep depths, I would be able to select one of our models that has a higher instep and that will help accommodate a wider foot. So because of the selection of shoes in the line we have to choose from and knowing what last fits what type of foot ' and then the different options we have with inlays ' just about any type of foot can be comfortably fit in an ECCO golf shoe.
 
Casey / Q:
What kind of schedule does this van have?
 
Ed / A:
The vans schedule is set 14 months in advance. I know pretty much where Im going to be 14 months in advance of the van being there. Its not 100 percent etched in stone. Things do change, obviously. For example, Im waiting to here about the LPGAs Kingsmill tournamentdoing the pro-amif all the pro-am players are getting a pair of ECCO shoes. That tournament is in the first week of May next year, I think. If that comes through I will have to adjust the schedule a little bit. So, stuff like that comes up and when it does we make changes to the schedule. But most of the time we know where the van is going to be pretty far in advance.
 
Casey / Q:
And you work with retailers that carry ECCO shoes, right?
 
Ed / A:
Many of the off-course retailers we work with ' Golf Galaxy, Golfsmith, PGA Superstore, Edwin Watts ' book the van to make an appearance for a day and we can fit a large number of golfers that way. Then the retailer places a custom order for their customer with the details we got from the fitting in the van. And what I have found is that most of the time on the retailers Web site, they will list a schedule of what companies are making appearances at their store throughout the year. So thats a good way to see if the ECCO van is going to be at a store in your town or neighborhood. There is also a PR company ' Buffalo Communications out of Washington, D.C. ' and I submit my schedule a month in advance to them and they help get the word out and market the vans appearance in whatever area I am going to be in.
 
Casey / Q:
What about private clubs?
 
Ed / A:
There are also some appearances that dont get any publicity at all. And those are when the van goes to a private club and has a fitting day just for the membership. We dont advertise or market those appearances to the general public because they are member-only events.
 
Casey / Q:
You told me you have actually made appointments with individuals for fitting.
 
Casual Cool Ecco
Casual Cool Hydromax ECCO model.
Ed / A:
Thats right. I have made appointments with individual customers, believe it or not. Lets say I am going to be in a certain area of the country visiting a golf store. And I know after that appearance is over I am going to drive to my next scheduled location. Well, if a golfer lives in between and they make an appointment with me Ill stop and fit that golfer. And then they will take the fitting information to their local PGA Professional who can place the order for them or a golf store in their area where ECCO is carried and the retailer will place the order for them. And, of course, they can go on-line to order the shoes directly from ECCO.
 
Casey / Q:
What about the custom fitting partthe inlays?
 
Ed / A:
If the fitting requires a customization like we talked about for a narrow foot or a wide foot, I will give the golfer the inlays right out of the van and when they receive their shoes from ECCO they just put the inlays in however we decided for the proper fit. I keep a large and varied inventory of inlays in the van so we can make sure people are properly fitted.
 
Casey / Q:
There are ECCO outlet stores as well, correct?
 
Ed / A:
Absolutely. Another option is for a golfer to go to one of our ECCO outlet stores. ECCO outlet stores are company owned and they carry the entire golf line in those stores. So if I custom fit a golfer in the van and give them the inlays they need, they can then go find one of our ECCO outlet stores and get the shoes there. They will also order a particular shoe and size if they dont happen to have it in stock. And these outlet stores also have people who work there who can help fit you as well. I am not the only fitting option for ECCO shoes. I actually have traveled to every one of our ECCO outlet stores and I have trained the people who work there how to custom fit golf shoes.
 
Casey / Q:
Why is it so important for a golfer to have a golf shoe that fits properly?
 
Ed / A:
If a shoe is not properly fit then it is going to bother the golfer and the golfer is going to think about the shoe that isnt fitting rather than about their golf game. Its going to be a negative. Its going to detract from the golf experience and may actually lead to a poorly played round. So it is very important to have a pair of golf shoes that fit properly. And with all the various options we have for fitting, I happen to think that ECCO is the way to go in golf shoes. Weve done our job at ECCO when you dont think about your golf shoes at all because they are so comfortable you just play golf and dont even think about what shoes you have on your feet. If you arent thinking about your feet or your shoes when you are playing golf then we have done our job at ECCO.
 
Casey / Q:
The ECCO shoes I see you wearing, Ed, dont have golf cleats in the bottom. They look like little nubs. Whats up with that?
 
Ed / A:
I am wearing our World Class model golf shoe but Ive replaced the golf cleats with street caps. Our golf shoes are so comfortable that a lot of people buy our shoes, take the golf cleats out, and put in what are called street caps. Champ makes our street caps for us. They go in the place of the golf cleat and then you can wear the shoes around just like normal street shoes. That says a lot about the comfort and quality of ECCO golf shoes.
 
Casey / Q:
Tell us something about ECCO leather and the process you guys use to make your golf shoes.
 
Ed / A:
We make our own leather at ECCO. We are one of the largest producers of leather on the world. BMW and Coach buy their leather from ECCO to make their products. Wilson makes their baseball gloves with our leather. We treat all of our leathers with a vegetable oil tanning process which makes it water resistant and hydro-phobic. Additionally, we are the only company in the world that uses a direct injection process to adhere our outsoles to our uppers which forms a water tight bond between the two. The uppers get placed in to a mold and then the urethane is direct injected under low pressure for about 40 seconds and in that time a chemical reaction takes place fusing the outsole to the upper. As a result there is never any separation or cracking and there is a complete water tight bond. In addition to the leather being treated some of the models have a Gortex liner as well. So, its all the highest quality leather and the most sophisticated manufacturing techniques in the business. That all goes in to the making of ECCO golf shoes.
 
Casey / Q:
Thanks for taking the time to show me the ECCO line, Ed, and for telling me about ECCO golf shoes.
 
Ed / A:
Thank you, Casey.
 
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