Allen Edmonds of Port Washington introduces Jack Nicklaus shoe line

Allen Edmonds of Port Washington introduces Jack Nicklaus shoe line

April 04–At the 2011 Masters Tournament, under Augusta National Golf Club’s historic Big Oak Tree, the head of Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp. had a lucky idea.

He would codesign and manufacture a golf shoe collection with Jack Nicklaus, the 73-year-old “Golden Bear” of American golf.

Although Paul Grangaard, president and CEO of Allen Edmonds, thought it would be a long shot to work with Nicklaus, the opportunity played out.

This month, Allen Edmonds released the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Line, which includes golf shoes, hats, belts, gloves and a stadium blanket.

The collection’s shoe styles are named after Nicklaus-designed golf courses, including Desert Mountain, Muirfield Village and Bear’s Club. The shoes are spikeless and use an X-patterned tread that secures golfers’ feet as much as they respect the putting greens.

“We did not just borrow Jack Nicklaus’ name. We worked very closely with him on the shoes,” Grangaard said.

Allen Edmonds is known for its commitment to quality and tradition as a company that boasts 90 years of American-made products, which every president since Ronald Reagan has been seen wearing. This was attractive to Nicklaus Companies, which works to mirror the high standards established in the career and life of Nicklaus to golf-related businesses, Allen Edmonds said in a statement announcing the partnership.

The shoes can be worn on or off the course and come in olive leather, black or brown gator and white and green color combinations.

“Most traditional golfers really don’t like the styling of new golf shoes. They say they look too much like skateboard shoes,” Grangaard said. “Ours are updated, but still classic.”

The Jack Nicklaus Signature shoes feature a stability rim sole which stabilizes golfers during their swing. Grangaard said this is underestimated in footwear but is key when golfers make an aggressive swing.

“When you swing 90 miles per hour, as good golfers do, having extra movement (in the sole) can cause bad things to happen awfully fast,” he said.

Nicklaus said the golf swing starts from the ground up, so he wanted a line that combined performance and stability, without jeopardizing current styling.

Nicklaus is an Ohio native who now resides in Florida. He has amassed 18 professional major championships and has walked over 11,000 holes during his professional career.

What most people don’t know is that he has a long history of foot problems, and that his right foot is wider than his left.

“I’m pretty tough when it comes to perfecting a design, so we went through a comprehensive design and development process,” said Nicklaus in a statement. “We believe we have created core shoes that appeal to golfers of all skill levels and tastes in styles.”

Nicklaus’ son contributed ideas to the design, as did other professional and experts who tried on and provided input to Allen Edmonds during the development process.

Product development began in fall 2011, Grangaard said, and has been perfected up until this month.

The investment has been a stretch for Allen Edmonds, but worth the contribution to the golf community, he said.

Even Nicklaus benefits.

According to Grangaard, Nicklaus walked Augusta’s entire 18 holes last month while wearing his signature shoes — something he hadn’t been able to do in three years.