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Posted March 18, 2016 in Podcasts by Tom Brassell
US Footwear Manager for adidas, Shawn Koutahi, was kind enough to join us to discuss the new Tour 360 BOOST. Along with the history of the brand, Shawn touches on:
Tom Brassell: We are back with GolfBetter, episode number 199. Joining us from way out west, where it never rains in Southern California, Carlsbad, CA, is the United States footwear manager for Adidas Golf, Shawn Koutahi. Shawn, thanks so much man.
Shawn Koutahi: Tom, thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be on with you.
Tom Brassell: 2 things to pronounce there, 1 is your last name, I think I got that close. Some of our listeners may not know this, but the correct pronunciation is not Adidas right? It’s AH-dee-das.
Shawn Koutahi: That’s correct. If you talk to anyone in Europe, specifically in Germany, they’ll tell you it’s A-dee-das. Adi being the first name of our founder, short for … His nickname was Adi, and then last name Dossler, so AH-dee-das.
Tom Brassell: Adidas has hit another home run with the Tour 360 Boost. Those things are flying off the shelf. Before we get into that, can you give us a little history about the tour 360 itself, because it’s kind of like a brand within itself. It’s about 10 years old I think, right?
Shawn Koutahi: Exactly. You’re spot on. It’s 10 years old. It’s the 10th anniversary. The new release Tour 360 Boost came out earlier this year. The first one came out in 2005. This was a franchise for us that redefined golf footwear. From the onset, when it first launched in 2005, the emphasis was on performance, comfort and style. We believe that golfers are athletes and their footwear should be designed accordingly. This is 10 years in the making, and couldn’t be more proud of where we’ve come. With the new tour 360 boost, we believe it’s the best golf shoe we’ve ever created within Adidas golf. We think it might even be the best shoe in golf period. Extremely proud of where it’s come.
Tom Brassell: The thing I remember is someone who bought footwear for Edwin Watts golf 10 years ago was if you didn’t buy enough in your initial order of that Tour 360, you were kind of out of luck. You guys had no idea I think it was going to be that … You knew it was going to be successful, but it was just, it was mind boggling, wasn’t it?
Shawn Koutahi: Yeah. We knew it was special. We knew it was different. I’ve been with the company since 2002, so I was fortunate enough to be here when it first launched. We knew it was different. It was special. It kind of took a different path from where golf footwear was going, but you’re right, we didn’t know how special it would be. 10 years later, that we’d be here celebrating the 10th anniversary. Very iconic footwear in golf, and its changed the landscape in golf footwear as well.
Tom Brassell: Shawn, talk a little bit about the Boost. Some of the features that may be new to the shoe, and some of the great carry overs that make it so great.
Shawn Koutahi: I’ll start from the ground up. When we talk tour 360 boost, like I said, it has a rich tradition and history. We set … When we set out to create the 10th anniversary version, it was back to the drawing board in a way. We wanted to maintain some of the things that have made Tour 360 franchise so special, but we also wanted to bring it to the modern day game. Adidas is known for innovation and technology when it comes to sports. It would be no different in golf. From the ground up, we started with the 10 cleat full length TPU out sole. This provides ideal traction in any situation.
Sometimes, you see some competitors, and even some of our other models, we go with 6 and 8 cleat out soles. Some go spikeless. We felt like this 10 cleat out sole, as I’ll talk a little bit more detail about, it provides the ideal traction for our premium golfers, the guys on the PGA tour. For those that really want the best out of their footwear. For those that are familiar with early generations of the Tour 360, Tom, I think you’d probably be one of those guys. You would remember, where the forefoot and the heel was kind of de-coupled from each other …
Tom Brassell: Exactly, yeah.
Shawn Koutahi: You had that 360 wrap that integrated right through the mid-foot. That made the shoe very unique as well. When we set out to create the new tour 360 boost, we wanted to still maintain that 360 wrap that went through the shoe, and again, what makes it so unique and special, but we wanted to make it a little bit better. We thought, how could we make this shoe … How could we enhance it? How could we provide further improved control and stability throughout the swing? We came up with what is now known as the torsion tunnel. That torsion tunnel now bridges the heel and the forefoot. For anyone that’s seen images of the shoe, or actually seen the shoe or tried it on, you notice that you still have the heel and forefoot separated, but now you have that tunnel portion through the mid-foot.
What that does, it gives you a little bit more traction. It has a little bit more surface area that connects with the ground. It provides a little bit more stable platform for you as well. It’s a little bit more green friendly as well, because now you have more weight distribution through the bottom of the foot. Obviously green friendly is a big thing for us. We look at in making sure that we’re creating the best shoes possible. We feel like we’ve checked all the boxes there when it comes to the outsole.
Moving on, I think the biggest change that you’ll see from tour 360, the new version of the tour 360, in years past is what we call boost foam technology. Some people might be familiar with boost. It’s another sporting category for Adidas. We introduced it in golf last year in 2015 with our Audi power boost, and Audi power boost sport. For those that are familiar with those 2 models, we had boost technology in the heel of the shoe. In 2016, with the Tour 360 Boost, it’s actually a full length boost mid sole. Boost is proprietary to Adidas. Think of these little pellets that are basically bound together, thousands of these little pellets, these little capsules. When they’re compressed, you create what’s the best stepping comfort we believe, and the most energy return of any sort of midsole material out there in the market, whether it’s from us or from our competition. Boost delivers the best stepping comfort and energy return.
Sometimes I like to think of it this way, just putting it in layman’s terms. Think of memory foam. I think a lot of us are familiar with memory foam. The comfort that you would maybe get from a memory foam, but unparalleled energy return. I think the one problem that you would have with some sort of memory foam in a shoe is great stepping comfort but you don’t have the energy return. With boost, you get the best of both worlds. You get that initial stepping comfort, and then you get that return of energy as well. I think that’s what really sets boost apart from anything else in the market.
Tom Brassell: Well, one thing that you guys have never had any trouble with, and that’s getting your tour players to put them on their feet and almost immediately … What kind of feedback are you getting from the guys out on tour?
Shawn Koutahi: That’s a great question. When our first month on tour … We had a 90+% conversion rate, which is phenomenal for us. We look at shoes as equipment. These guys make a living playing golf. They have to really believe in their shoes. If they don’t they won’t switch. For us to get a 90% conversion rate within that first month, and some of the other guys that didn’t make the switch are … They just maybe have a different type of model. They maybe are more of a spikeless guy, or more of a hybrid spike person. Of the guys that were in spiked footwear, we got pretty much all of them to come over into Tour 360 Boost. That conversion rate was phenomenal for us. I think you see the presence and visibility of the tour 360 boost on TV. It’s been fantastic. We’ve had a number of guys in contention here over the last couple of months. That bold branding, the comfort, just the aesthetic of that Tour 360 just comes out loud and clear on TV as well.
Tom Brassell: Shawn, final question. You can’t give too much away, but sometimes you guys like to do something special around the major championships and Ryder cup and things like that. Anything you can tell us that might be looking for behind the curtain that we can look for?
Shawn Koutahi: Yeah. I know we were touching on some of the features and benefits of tour 360. We have 6 new color waves that launched in January. We’re going to have 4 more color ways that are going to launch in June. More fashion type color waves, but within 4 of those color waves, 2 of them are going to be Olympics theme color waves, with golf coming back to the Olympics. Those have been in very high demand and very difficult for us to keep in stock. You’ll have 2 Olympics themed color waves that are coming up. As far as majors go, I can’t let too much out of the bag right now, but I can tell you that come summer time, consumers are going to be really happy with some limited edition stuff that we come out with. Definitely be on the look out for some limited edition golf footwear coming from Adidas golf here right around June timing.
Tom Brassell: Well, the shoe is a Tour 360 Boost. Make sure you go give it a try. Put it on and walk out the door with it. If you don’t somebody else will. They’re flying out the door. The man is Shawn Koutahi. Shawn, thanks so much for taking time with us. We look forward to not only getting the shoes on our feet, but also seeing some of those color waves that are going to be coming out later in the year. Thanks so much.
Shawn Koutahi: Tom, I appreciate the time.