Taking some of the best technology from their DryJoys, Reel-Fit, and SYNR-G shoes and incorporating some higher-end leather, the ICON shoes are a contemporary, updated look to your base saddle and wingtip style of golf shoes with a few other styles tossed in for kicks.
Many view the ICON line as a replacement to the Classics line of shoes, but FootJoy is quick to point out that though they may occupy a similar price range, the ICON line is really a fresh new step in the company's history.
End of An Era
The American-made, hand-crafted line of FootJoy shoes - the Classics - have been in the FootJoy family since 1959 and have been made at the Brockton FootJoy plant during that time. Unless you've lived under a rock for the past couple of years, the manufacturing base of the United States has been disappearing due to a variety of reasons, which since this is a golf site and not an economics/political site, we won't go into.
With that, FooJoy is ending the Classics line. They've already closed their Brockton, MA plant, which employed the 103 workers who made the high-end, customized shoes (ostrich, eel, or alligator skin anyone?).
I understand the economics of the decision but it's pretty sad to see this level of craftsmanship and more of an "artisan-style" of making shoes go away. Perhaps its the nostalgia in me that hates to see this disappear. I've never owned a pair of the Classics, which sold for about $250+, but the shoes had a surprisingly devoted following, though one that has dwindled in recent years.
In With the New?
The new ICON line looks to be a contemporary, high-end line of shoes that incorporates a bunch of technology from the various lines of other shoes in the FootJoy family. According to an interview with FootJoy's Vice President of Golf Footwear, Jack Erickson, the ICON have been in development for awhile now and were a collaboration between the product development team at FootJoy and the tour players who wear FootJoy shoes. Let's take a look at some of the new features for FootJoy's new flagship shoe.
The upper part of the ICON are made from premium leather with calfskin detailing and feature a two-year waterproofing warranty. The meat and potatoes of shoes however come in with what's under the hood to provide stability to a golfer.
The ICON's feature full-leather linings for extra comfort, slip resistance and breathability and a leather-covered foot bed to provide a much better fit and cushioning. Memory foam is placed in the tongue and around the collar of the shoes to help provide a more customized fit for you as well. A microfiber heel counter helps to give you a more slip resistant fit (nothing worse than having golf shoes that slip off your heel).
But's that not all as the Tri-Density TPU (thermoplastic urethane) makes an appearance throughout the outsole to provide to you what FootJoy calls, "a stable hitting platform" (I love that line!). The Dual OptiFlex zones are a two-part flexibility channel that have become a mainstay of other FootJoy shoes to provide a pleasurable walking experience.
A torque bar made from a perforated alloy is used to give you more midfoot stability (and is perforated for a more "contemporary look") and an ABS insole board gives you more flexibility in the forefoot while giving you more firmness in the heel for added support. Toss in the Stinger cleats by Champs and you've got yourself a shoe that takes the best of the FootJoy line and wraps that into one , top-of-the-line model. As a bonus, the BOA lacing system shoes up on a couple of pairs for those of you who hate to tie your shoes.
Availability and Price
The entire ICON line will be available in mid-summer (although you can find them being worn by current FootJoy staffers now) and they will carry a MSRP of $250. As with other FootJoy models, a variety of sizes are available in Narrow, Medium, and Wide.
If none of the 19 current styles fail to do much for you, don't worry as you'll be able to customize to your heart's contentment by ordering through the MyJoy program later this year. Something like 25 million styles will be available that way, so you can go wild if you'd like.
Even with all the new "sportier" looks in golf shoes today, I have to admit that I've always had a fondness for the classic-looking saddle shoe. I'm not sure why but that styling has always been pleasing to my eye. The ICON models all look quite sharp. I'm a bit concerned that the BOA lacing system was only shown on some of the more unusual styles, but time will tell if the system is available on every style or just a few, and whether it's an option in the MyJoy program.
It will be interesting to see how the ICON line pans out with the general public. It's pretty hard to end one line of high-end shoes and replace them with yet another line of high-end shoes, especially when the one that's ended has the history and the following of the Classics line. There obviously is a market for high-end shoes just like high-end anything, though the current economy might have some say in this.
If the ICON ends up being anywhere close to the Classics, FootJoy could have a massive hit on their hand with the combination of their best technology with the history and style of the Classics and the customization of the MyJoy program. In the end, time will be the final judge of that.