Boa Making Its Mark in Golf – ForbesMarch 8, 2017
Boa hosted a few members from the golf industry press. Scott Kramer of Forbes shares what he experienced.
This article was written by Scott Kramer for Forbes. View the original article here:
Snow flurries are gracing downtown Denver on this late February morning. But inside a converted taxi dispatch building, BOA is just heating up. This is the company that makes lace systems for many types of athletic footwear -- replacing traditional shoe laces. So for instance, if you’re a golfer who’s bought shoes in recent years, you’ve probably noticed that the likes of FootJoy, adidas Golf, Ecco, Nike Golf and Under Armour offer BOA-armed shoes, as well as traditional lace models in their lineups.
For golfers, mastering the system is easy: There’s a protruding dial somewhere on the shoe that quickly and uniformly tightens and loosens a wire "lace" that’s threaded through it and several guides around the tongue region. All you do as a user is slip the shoe on and turn the dial clockwise. You’ll instantly hear the ratchet system click the shoe tighter. To loosen it up instantly, just pull out the dial.
I’ve had the chance to play golf twice now in adidas Golf’s new Powerband BOA Boost -- the company’s first shoe that’s offered only with BOA and not alternatively with laces. And I’m impressed. My feet are narrow. So when I play golf, I normally need to tighten my shoe laces once every three holes or so. With the BOA system, I never needed to do it once through two rounds. The shoes were just as snug by the 18th green as they were on the first tee.
Photo Credit: Scott Kramer
It’s a product that truly makes putting on gear quick, easy and secure. “Once you try it, you won’t ever want to go back to laces,” vows Eric Weis, BOA’s global category manager of golf. “You can see it, touch it and instantly feel the difference it makes.”
The company puts its wire laces, dials and lace guides through incredibly rigorous testing throughout its Denver headquarters. Weis claims that only one-quarter of a percent of the wire laces actually break. And the main reason that even happens is from people wire-cutting through it because it's the same color as the hang tag, so they think they need to remove it. That said, it’s pretty strong: Each wire lace used in a shoe is actually 49 strands of stainless steel woven together and then coated in nylon.
BOA systems for golf shoes are starting to catch on big in the United States -- a process that's grown slowly ever since FootJoy inked an exclusivity deal for it in 2006. PGA Tour pros are signing up, too. According to adidas Golf officials, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm all wear shoes sporting BOA systems. “We see that once Tour pros try it, the conversion rate from laces is high,” says Masun Denison, adidas Golf’s global director. “When I saw how much it helped the fit of our adipower Boost BOA shoe a couple of years ago, and how it sold through in the U.S. in two weeks, it proved to me that BOA had a place in golf.”
That said, BOA has a 70 percent market share in Asia where 30 golf shoe brands offer it. Officials claim its success there likely hinges on the fact that weekend rounds there take so long to play that golfers have to sit down and rest on nearly every tee box. Thus, they like to loosen their shoes or even remove them, during the wait. And BOA makes that process easy.
BOA systems generally add about $20 to $30 to the price of a pair of shoes. But those costs are going down. And as traditional laces disappear in future years, you can bet BOA will gain an even tighter hold of the market.