Laser-fit shoes

EXCLUSIVE! We check out the latest technology from FootJoy

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 9 Jul 2001

Laser-fit shoes
Feet are laser measured.

Four out of five of us are wearing the wrong size of golf shoe, according to new research by top market-leaders FootJoy.

Not only can this lead to tiredness and discomfort it can also effect our game. An ill-fitting shoe will not give grip or stability in your golf swing.

Though the makers of Europe’s first Laser Fitting System, based at the company’s headquarters in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, shy away from claiming laser-fitted shoes will knock shots of your handicap, it’s a fair bet they will give you a fighting chance of improving.

The LFS as it is known, considers all the critical dimensions of your feet such as toes, the height of your arches and total foot volume. As your feet are bombarded with laser beams for a few seconds you realise it’s a far cry from the unsophisticated strap-over-the toes fitting, most of us had in High Street shops as children.

The beams, which are totally harmless and were originally developed for identifying archeological remains under the ground, paint an electronic picture of both feet on screen including all the imperfections from bunyans to blisters.

Zoe checks the computer reading.

Here, definitely, size matters and I was surprised to find that you are one of a rare breed if the dimensions of your feet are, like mine, almost identical.

Apparently, according to data gathered in the US for over seven years, 90% of the population have different sized left and right feet. More alarming is the fact that around 80% of those already measured were wearing the wrong shoe size.

And as measuring continues, the chances are that Europeans will demand a completely different range of golf shoes sizes to their US cousins.

FootJoy technician Zoe Middleton, who has so far devoted her life’s work to shoe fitting, says the system helps eliminate the trial-and-error approach that most golfers have had to adopt.

"I don’t want to create the impression that we can solve people’s foot problems or that we can knock shots off your game," says Zoe (28), who works closely with the bio-mechanics laboratory of the University of Massachusetts. As well as her US FootJoy colleagues.

"The shoe is probably the last piece of golf equipment you would think of that can effect your game but it’s important that the foot fits properly inside the shoe.

"If there is too much movement, side to side, along its length and up and down, you lose torque in your legs and grip in your feet at impact. Proper fitting shoes will also give you a sense of well-being," says Zoe.

These will do nicely.
With the wide range of styles, colours and footbed sizes available in their stock, FootJoy, who have recently increased their market share to over 38 per-cent, can match any fit the LFS throws at them.

It takes on average just over 30 minutes for a laser fitting (call 01480 301114 for an appointment) or call in at the Titleist FootJoy stand at the Open Championship from July 16-22.

Finally, if you can’t get to St Ives or The Open, here’s Zoe’s three tips for a perfect shoe fitting:

1. If when you pull your laces tight the space between the parallel eye holes comes together, your shoes are either to big or too wide. 2. The crease in the upper on your instep when you take a normal stride should not be deep. 3. The back of the shoe should grip the heel when you stand on the balls of your feet. If there’s movement the shoe is too long.