A few years ago I noticed my 30 something peers talking more about new golf footwear design, than say new basket ball footwear design. This sounded strange because golf footwear, like bowling shoes weren’t nearly as glamorous and cutting edge as most other athletic footwear.
I realized that with age come changes in lifestyle, fashion and sport choices. Those 30 year old golf footwear fans I was overhearing were transitioning to a new sport, maybe one that better reflected their lifestyle and fashion.
As people live increasingly healthier and longer lives there will be more athletes over the age of 30, with different aesthetic and performance requirements and not just in golf. Given the choice will a 50 year old tennis player wear the same shoes as a 16 year old?
Source: CRS extractions from U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base (IDB), http://www.census.gov/ipc/ www/idb/country . php.
With a growing US and European demographic of athletic consumers over 30 years old, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to cater and design to the culture and style of groups above the age of 30.
Not surprisingly virtually every athletic footwear brand is currently developing an extensive golf footwear line. Adidas, Nike, Puma, New Balance, Brooks and even Sketchers are all entering the golf footwear market to address the new over 30 consumer.
The sport of golf is unique in that it has the broadest age range of players, all looking to perform and be the best equipped. Making the golf footwear market perhaps a forerunner of how the athletic footwear market will be segmented in coming years.
Besides the performance/technology categories that benefit all golfers regardless of age (spikeless, summer, rain), the Mens’s Golf Footwear Market can be broken down into specifically 4 Cultural Style Groups :-
Progressive Post-30 – Technical Sophistication, maximum performance and sober like a BMW.
Like this Porsche Design Golf Cleat, bringing exclusive style and performance.
Progressive Pre-30 – Technical expression, performance and aggressive like a KTM.
Like the Adidas Powerband 3.0, the model that brought bold visible technology to golf uppers.
Classic Post-30 – Traditional Retro, maximum elegance and smooth like a Bentley.
Like the FootJoy Classic Dry Premiere, the classic choice in golf footwear.
Classic Pre-30 – New Retro, youthful fashion style and hip like a Vespa.
Like the Ecco Street Premiere, the model that drove the recent retro trend in golf footwear.
The 4 groups come together to create a Golf Footwear – Cultural Style Groups Chart, defined by consumer age and style.
Of course there will always be consumers that make unpredictable lifestyle, fashion and sport choices. There are consumers over 40 that wear sneakers to play golf, as there are consumers under 20 who wear wing tips to play.
But by enlarge given also the differences in disposable income, I imagine most consumers under 20 years old would prefer a sneaker styled golf shoe as opposed to a wing-tip. But that’s not to say that a new design style cannot be made to cater to both consumers.
The Golf Footwear – Cultural Style Groups chart above shows how there is ample room to design in between men’s golf footwear styles; creating a design that fits between a Classic Retro and a New Retro for example.
But the Golf Footwear – Cultural Style Groups chart can also be applied to all product markets to effectively target male consumers both over and under 30 years old.