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ECCO strides ahead with the BIOM Hybrid 2

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A shoe design ought to begin with the foot in mind. Sounds obvious, right? ECCO’s founder didn’t think it was obvious to shoemakers in the 1960s. In the golf sphere, too, form seemed be trumping function in the late 2000s when ECCO decided to take golf shoes in a totally new direction, offering golfers spikeless, comfortable shoes that could be worn on the course, in the clubhouse and on the street.

Karl Toosbuy founded ECCO in 1963, and the company has been pushing innovation in footwear in general, and golf footwear in particular, ever since. Toosbuy, an accomplished shoemaker, was driven to own and operate his own business. He left a manager position at a shoe factory in Copenhagen to start his own outfit guided by a unique philosophy.

The idea that the shoes should be designed primarily with the foot in mind led to the creation of shoes that were supremely comfortable and functional. A commitment to quality, comfort and innovation lie at the heart of Toosbuy’s dream, and those principles are foundational to ECCO’s newest golf shoe: the BIOM Hybrid 2.

The Danish company produced its first pair of golf shoes in 1996. Since then, ECCO has signed the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Fred Couples, and Graeme McDowell. Perhaps most notably, the company pioneered the spikeless golf shoe revolution (ECCO calls them “hybrids”) with the launch of the original Golf Street shoe Fred Couples wore at the 2010 Masters.

FC5B2221
Above: Shoes in the ECCO BIOM series feature a completely anatomical last developed by scanning the feet of 2,500 athletes.

ECCO launched BIOM Golf in 2011 and produced the first golf shoe to utilize the company’s revolutionary Natural Motion technology. They followed up a year later with the BIOM Hybrid and then the Tour Hybrid in 2013, which features a high-performance outer and classic-looking upper.

Continuing the evolution of the BIOM technology in the golf shoe, ECCO is introducing the BIOM Hybrid 2 this season. It’s lighter and thinner than the existing BIOM Hybrid, which is presently one of the most popular golf shoes on the market.

I had a chance to speak with David Helter, ECCO USA’s Specialty Sales Director about the ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2, some of its component technology and the ECCO brand in general.

Check out the Q&A below.

BA: What about ECCO technology in shoe construction makes it different from its competitors?

DH: ECCO is one of the only major shoe manufacturers that own the entire production process. Producing our leathers and golf footwear exclusively in ECCO owned and operated factories allows for complete oversight of design and quality control.

ECCO Tannery 1
Above: One of ECCO’s tanneries, which are located in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Far East. 

Since its founding in 1963, ECCO has dedicated itself to the study of the human foot and has developed several unique technologies, most notably being our Direct Inject Process (DIP). Rather than using cement, like many manufacturers, each ECCO upper is placed in a mold where the polyurethane (PU) midsole is shot around it in liquid form creating a chemical bond. Not only does this process create an unbreakable, water-tight seal, it also reduces the overall weight of the shoe. As an alternative to the common EVA foam of other brands, PU is also highly flexible and resists breakdown for out-of-the-box comfort that lasts season after season.

Additional innovations include the ECCO Dynamic Traction System (E-DTS) outsole on our hybrid shoes that provides more than 800 traction angles and our HYDROMAX weatherproofing treatment to our leathers.

BA: Tell me about the leathers that ECCO uses in its shoes. What makes them so special?

DH: ECCO is the fifth-largest tannery in the world. In addition to producing all of our own, we provide leathers to many of the world’s leading luxury brands. More than 200 pairs of hands touch each piece of leather before it leaves our facilities, so ECCO customers can rest assured they are wearing only the best. Our vertical integration allows us to develop many specialty leathers for our golf collection, including highly-durable Yak and Camel along with traditional cowhide. In addition to world-class quality, all ECCO Golf leathers are treated with HYDROMAX for superb protection from the elements.

BA: Fred Couples and ECCO launched the spikeless shoe craze in 2010. What made the company’s spikeless shoes so popular?

DH: Couples brought hybrid golf footwear to global attention when he climbed the leaderboard in ECCO Golf Street at the 2010 Masters. Prior to that, no Tour players were competing in hybrid shoes, primarily because the materials couldn’t perform at that level. The ECCO E-DTS outsole – made from the same durable material as luggage wheels – changed that by offering more than 800 points of traction. It resists off-course wear and prevents on-course slippage despite Tour-level swing speeds. Golfers can travel seamlessly from car to course to other activities without changing shoes and enjoy a stylish, street-inspired aesthetic.

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Above: The mold for ECCO’s patented E-DTS hybrid outsole has approximately 100 molded traction bars offering 800 traction angles.

According to Golf Datatech statistics, in 2014, hybrid footwear now represents more than 45 percent of all golf footwear sales and ECCO leads the premium market in this category. ECCO remains at the forefront of the hybrid concept, now offering a diverse selection of hybrid product styles for golfers of all tastes.

BA: How has the BIOM Hybrid been received?

DH: BIOM Hybrid is a perfect example of how ECCO incorporates its extensive research into the human foot. It is built on the BIOM anatomical last which was created using data gathered after scanning more than 2,500 pairs of feet. It encourages the foot’s natural motion and brings it closer to the ground for increased feel while offering extreme flexibility and torsion. The result is BIOM Hybrid becoming the leading premium hybrid style in the golf market.

BA: So what’s next?

DH: In addition to BIOM Hybrid 2, ECCO will be launching several other new products this year including new Tour Hybrid and Street EVO One models that incorporate even more exotic leathers and lifestyle-driven aesthetics. There might be a few surprises as well. We are always looking for ways to incorporate fashion-forward upper designs with our E-DTS outsole to marry everyday style and superb on-course performance.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Stu

    Nov 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Please make a wide version.

  2. Tanner

    Nov 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Will they ever create an anti sway shoe?

  3. Desmond

    Nov 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I bought two pairs of the Biom w spikes — they fit better on my feet than the Hybrid. A little more money, but oh, so comfy with better leather and more stability.

    After reading the article, I am looking forward to the Tour Hybrid …. not in love with the Yak leather in the Hybrid.

  4. mike

    Nov 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Bought my first pair this year at the recommendation of my club professional, and I have to say these are the best golf shoes I have ever worn. The comfort level is unreal. Try the biom zero – you are in for a nice surprise.

  5. Tony

    Nov 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    For $200 they better lower my score by 5 strokes.

  6. Don

    Nov 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I live in Vancouver. Where it is wet and I do not see too many people with spikeless shoes. How do these perform in sloppy conditions?

    • adam

      Nov 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      If they’re anything like the hybrid shoe from last season they are not very good in the muck. Every other condition they are great, however.

    • kev

      Nov 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      try looking for adidas climawarm golf shoes. you’ll thank me later. one of the best buys i ever made for sloppy wet cold golf condition golf shoes. i feel like superman golfing in northwest weather during cold wet days.

    • mike

      Nov 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      I live in Vancouver as well, I wear the hybrid biom spikeless all year and never slip even in a downpour, they aren’t great at keeping the feet super dry, but still the most comfortable shoes around, plus I would never go back to spikes after the comfort level these shoes bring. Like I said too, even in downpour I haven’t slipped while swinging

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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