More than a Game

25 Years of ECCO Golf
Let's look back at the last 25 years and the way we think about the modern golf shoe.

25 Years of ECCO Golf

25 Years of ECCO Golf

This is an amazing story. It's the story of how ECCO GOLF, which started out in Denmark 25 years ago as just a bit of fun, went out into the world and changed golf forever.

Let's rewind to 1996. ECCO GOLF might never have been created if ECCO founder Karl Toosbuy hadn't been given a set of clubs for his 60th birthday by the audit firm KPMG. Until that gift arrived, he'd never played the sport before, but now, as these irons arrived, he and his son-in-law and former CEO of ECCO Dieter Kasprzak thought they should give this sport a try. Dieter Kasprzak remembers: 'I'll always remember the Saturday morning when we went to hit some balls on the driving range. It was cold, wet, windy and totally miserable, and I thought: "No, this is not my sport.” A couple of weeks later, Karl invited me to play again, and I had that classic moment - the moment that gets you hooked on golf - when you hit the ball and it flies a bit. Then you say to yourself: "OK, it's not so bad.” So I started to play golf and I was responsible for the development of the entire product range of the company, and I said to him, "Golfers need golf shoes. We should make some golf shoes.”'
Before ECCO GOLF arrived on the scene in 1996, everyone just accepted that you played Golf in stiff leather shoes that would become five kilograms heavier anytime it rained.
Thomas Bjørn
This was 1996 and the plan at the beginning was very simple. Dieter explains: 'to make a golf shoe that was as comfortable as possible. Golfers are walking around the course for hours, so they need a shoe that fits and is comfortable and does not give them blisters.'

To kick-start a business out of this mission, a professional golf player was needed - someone who would wear the shoes on the tour. Early on, Dieter and Karl found a star - and a Danish star at that - in Thomas Bjørn. With him, the start of the business was a reality. ECCO expanded the collection, with more shoes and more choice for consumers, including women's golf shoes. The development came step by step and other professionals showed interest in wearing ECCO GOLF shoes during tournament play.

The game-changing moment for ECCO GOLF came in 2010, when brand ambassador Fred Couples played the Masters in what looked like a pair of street shoes. Those shoes turned a lot of heads not only at Augusta but around the world, and the ECCO GOLF STREET kicked off an unprecedented demand for ECCO's first hybrid shoe. The Masters 2010 was a historic moment not only for ECCO GOLF but also for the sport of golf. Or, as Freddie puts it himself: 'It was ECCO that started the hybrid revolution. I'll always remember wearing the ECCO GOLF STREET at the 2010 Masters. I shot a first round of 66, which gave me the lead, but all anyone wanted to talk about were my new hybrid shoes. I was walking down fairways expecting people to say, "Nice tee shot,” or, "Go get them, make a birdie here.” But instead, everyone was talking about my shoes.
At first, people were saying to me, "What are those?” They thought they were tennis shoes. But soon enough everyone was calling out, "I want those shoes.”'

The head of ECCO GOLF Michael Waack remembers those key moments in the brand's history well: 'I couldn't have asked for a better ambassador for the hybrid shoe than Freddie, and I couldn't have hoped for a greater launch than the Masters that year. Freddie unleashed a monster and it was crazy how quickly everything happened after that. More or less overnight, we changed the world of golf shoes. There have been other revolutions in golf. Woods with metal heads. Multilayered balls. Shaped putters. This was our revolution, the one we started - the hybrid shoe without cleats.'
TThese shoes are unreal. Once my ECCO GOLF shoes are on my feet and I've laced them up real tight - which is how I like to wear them - they almost feel like a second skin. For me, the comfort level is a ten - they're perfect on a golf course and in town.
Fred Couples

Instead of cleats or spikes, the shoes featured the state-of-the-art ECCO DYNAMIC TRACTION SYSTEM hybrid outsole design, or E-DTS®, with traction bars and traction angles providing grip in all playing conditions. Hybrid shoes became an instant success and today 80 per cent of golf players around the world are wearing hybrids. The footwear in golf has completely changed in the last ten years, and that's because of ECCO GOLF.
The innovation at ECCO GOLF didn't stop with the hybrid outsole. Inspired by barefoot runners, ECCO developed the pioneering BIOM® technology for an almost-barefoot feeling in 2011. While originally created for elite triathletes, ECCO introduced the technology to its golf shoes to allow golfers to move more naturally and efficiently. Thanks to an anatomical BIOM® last that follows the natural curves of your foot, you can enjoy a better push-off and maximum forward movement, as well as enhanced support and comfort. In combination with soft and durable ECCO leathers or bonded textile uppers, the last also provides a close fit that increases comfort.
ECCO GOLF hybrids offer more traction than spiked shoes. You also have the benefit of that wonderful comfort, which is crucial for someone like me who spends so much time in golf shoes.
Henrik Stenson

At the heart of every ECCO GOLF innovation lies the FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology - ECCO's signature technology, which the shoemaker has developed over more than 30 years - direct-injects fluid material into a mould to create a lightweight, cushioned, flexible and durable sole. In combination with an anatomical last that follows the natural curves of your foot, that makes ECCO GOLF shoe extremely comfortable.

Henrik Stenson, member of the ECCO GOLF family since 2020, knows the feeling very well: 'As a professional golfer, I wear a golf shoe for up to twelve hours a day - and seven hours at the absolute minimum - so that's why switching to ECCO GOLF has made such a big difference to my game and to my life. I go walking in the clouds every day. "Cloud walking” is how I like to describe the sublime, lightweight comfort of my ECCO GOLF hybrid shoes.'
Now ECCO GOLF is celebrating 25 years of innovating and changing the sport of golf. The brand's tour presence is stronger than ever as LPGA star Lydia Ko points out: 'You only have to look at ECCO GOLF's range of ambassadors - from Fred Couples to Henrik Stenson to Erik van Rooyen to the ladies on the tour, such as myself - to appreciate that this is a brand that appeals to golfers of all ages, and of both sexes.'
I happily wear my ECCO GOLF hybrid shoes off the course. I throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, slip on my hybrids, and away I go.
Erik van Royen

Danish superstar, Ryder Cup hero and the first ECCO ambassador Thomas Bjørn is still an influential part of ECCO GOLF: 'ECCO GOLF has always been different to other brands. It's a brand that stands for enjoyment and comfort, and that's reflected in the slogan, "More Than a Game”. When you choose an ECCO GOLF shoe, you know the sport is about more than just pure performance; it's also about the joy of being in nature, the exercise and the friends you make.' MORE THAN A GAME!

25 years design of ECCO GOLF