Players have longed for a golf shoe that they can wear both on the course and after the round. (Photo: True Linkswear)
Who better to help TRUE Linksweardevelop a golf shoe than a guy who logs hundreds of miles a year walking around golf courses?
“Growing up in golf shoes that we couldn’t stand to wear, or be seen in, was a huge motivator in where we are today,” Jason Moore said recently in an email to Alabama Golf News.
The story of TRUE Linkswear is the story of people who saw the footwear industry just wasn’t delivering what they wanted in a golf shoe. So they set about fixing that.
When the Industry isn’t responding is when TRUE innovation occurs
“There have historically been two options in the category, a rigid dress shoe with spikes or an uncomfortable plastic foot cage. We wanted to create something players could wear before, during, and after their rounds; shoes that weren’t just your favorite golf shoes, but your favorite shoes – period. The kind of shoes that looked and felt like your favorite sneakers but performed better than anything else on there on the course.
“These same ideals continue to motivate us, and is the main reason TRUEs are worn just as often off the course as they are on it,” he said.
In researching standards for footwear waterproofing, TRUE Linkswear’s founders discovered there really was no standard. So they developed their own. (Photo: True Linkswear)
TRUE Linkswear offers five lines of men’s shoes – the newest being the Sport series. Other men’s lines include the Knit series, LUX series and Original series. Women’s lines include Knit II, Knit II Pure and Foray X.
Jason Moore admits diving into an industry filled with well-know brands with mega-marketing budgets was going out on a limb with no safety net.
“Of course, it’s crazy to start a niche brand when you’re going up against some of the biggest heavy hitters in global footwear – but the need, selfishly and globally, was worth the risk,” he said.
Going up against some of the biggest names in golf
“In fact, we still believe the category and industry itself needs innovation and we want to be a part of that cultural shift. We believe shoes should blend seamlessly from the course to the post-round drinks with friends – and wherever else your life takes you.
“Golf lifestyle is evolving – new players are entering the game and we want to build gear that fits their lifestyle.”
Moore said he was surprised that investors, friends and family liked the idea of a new company with a fresh idea entering the marketplace.
“That gave us a little more confidence that there was an actual need in the marketplace, and we offered a revolutionary solution,” Moore said.
“But it wasn’t until the product hit the shelves and we saw such a strong reaction and early following that we knew we were on to something.”
There was a learning curve as TRUE tried to build a better golf shoe and entered the marketplace. Jason Moore admits that early on, the team was “in over our heads.”
Designing golf shoes involves engineering, ergonomics and more
“Footwear development is hard,” he said. “It’s complex. It involves everything from engineering, studying ergonomics, global sourcing and manufacturing and more. But with time, practice, humility and the competitive drive to get better, we think we really started to hit our stride these last several years.”
He said they also encountered an industry in which standards were all over the board. He used waterproofing as an example.
Golfers liked what they saw in TRUE Linkswear shoes and business started growing. (Photo: TRUE Linkswear)
“Being new to the space, we thought we could build shoes in a similar waterproof construction methodology to the other brands in golf,” he said.
“What we found is, those standards were incredibly low, and consumers these days are not fooled by a lack of quality. The golf consumer now has access to the internet with thousands of options at their fingertips to study and make an educated buying decision.
“So about five years ago we decided we wanted to be industry leading in our waterproofing technique and we completely re-worked how we build our shoes from the ground up.
“What we offer today is not only the highest quality waterproof products in our category, but also the highest rated products by our verified customers.”
Carving out a market niche
It didn’t take long for the TRUE Linkswear brand to carve out its place in the industry. While Jason Moore didn’t offer specifics as to the company’s sales numbers or staffing, he said TRUE Linkswear has “essentially doubled as a company for the last four years consecutively.”
“Independent analytics have made a case we just may be the fastest growing footwear company in golf,” he said.
“Ironically, we carved out a niche very early on and grew our business off of that foundation. We built the first minimalist, comfortable shoes for the walking golfer, and it really struck a chord with our loyal patrons because no one else was doing this.
“Today’s customer is much more willing to think outside of the box when it comes to ‘known brands’ and search out high quality, niche products that better fit their lifestyle – and because of that we continue to take market share.”
TRUE shoes and apparel are sold online or through independent retailers and are not available at the national chain stores or through online discount retailers. The price range of their shoes is from $140 to $210.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News
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