Golf Monthly traveled to Brockton, Massachusetts, on an exclusive trip to meet the talented people that design and develop FootJoy shoes
FootJoy wouldn’t be where it is today without the people. Every person’s knowledge and skill set is critical when creating innovative designs that enable the brand to stay ahead of the competition. Here, we find out more about the team and what part they play in every shoe’s development.
“We have built a knowledge base in the company that most other companies underestimate,” FJ President Jim Connor told GM. “You could take our playbook with all our current and future plans and hand it to a competitor and they couldn’t execute it as well as we could because we have the people. The knowhow we keep by people who are driven to stay with this business for a career is a huge advantage.”
Jim Connor became president of FootJoy in 2000, overseeing the transformation of the FJ brand from traditional golf shoe company, to one that also offered a variety of athletic styles to maintain their status as the No.1 choice of shoe in golf.
Doug oversees footwear worldwide, covering everything from the spikeless category through to the traditional Icon model. He is the key link between the office in Brockton and the factory in Asia where FJ shoes are made.
Mike Foley, Mike Feeney & Chris Kerr
FJ’s Product Management team is responsible for everything that goes into the launch of a new shoe, including the market research, product brief and design concept.
As one of FJ’s Principal designers, Weddle always has one eye open looking for what could become the next great FJ design, like the time he noticed the structure of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge bridge when stuck in traffic on his daily commute, turning what he saw into the FlexGrid on FJ’s successful HyperFlex shoe.
Another of FJ’s shoe designers, Rick always has a pencil and sketch book with him ready to jot down his next idea for a shoe that could come from anywhere, be it a medical show, car design or nature itself.
Originally from England, Jon comes from a strong sporting background and has worked for companies like New Balance and adidas before joining FJ. He was the brains behind the D.N.A. shoe, taking influence from the flexibility and low-profile nature of American Football footwear.
A stalwart of the FJ design team, Jack has been with the company for over 20 years and looks after the traditional footwear designs, including Icon Black, taking inspiration from car design and men’s fashion shoes.
Michelle Beans and Paul Teeter
As Product Developers, Paul and Michelle are responsible for sourcing new and upcoming materials through a lot of market research as well as making sure the creative team’s designs are possible to manufacture in the Taiwan factory.
Rob takes the designer’s sketches and brings them to life in 3D using parametric modeling software to create CAD designs that can be tweaked quickly if needed. A typical design takes about two weeks to complete.
Ludie has been testing FootJoy shoes for over 25 years. She is responsible for ensuring every FJ model has the best quality, testing things like the durability and waterproof qualities of fabric as well as the strength of the bond between outsole and upper.
The unenviable task of managing over nine million combinations of shoe design? That falls on Rita, who’s seen it all when it comes to shoe design elements thanks to her time running the MyJoys platform. Not only can you choose your favourite colour, but you can also add a logo or your initials and pick different sizes for each foot, delivered to your door within four weeks.
A Product Development specialist, Jamie carries out in-depth testing in his ‘Shoe box’ labatory on both existing and prototype models with golfers of different abilities. He uses Force Platform as well as a K-Vest to assess the shoes’ performance and how a certain type of shoe construction may help the golfer enhance his or her performance.