Product reviews: FootJoy GelFusion, WinterSof gloves

By David R. Holland,
Senior Writer

USHUAIA, Argentina (April 3, 2003) -- You won't find Sign Boy diving into the frigid Pipo River here at Ushuaia Golf Club in the southern-most city in the world. And you won't find him in the locker room admiring the new FootJoy GelFusion model with Brad Faxon and Ernie Els eye-balling him from the background.

It's March and late summer at Ushuaia Golf Club, the southern-most golf course in the world, but you will find golfers wearing FootJoys only 500 miles from Antarctica. You might also find an American golf travel writer wearing FootJoy's WinterSof gloves in 40-degree weather.

You can be sure, however, Sign Boy wouldn't be skinny dipping here.

Not that FootJoy really needs a great advertising campaign, but 2003 signaled the return of "Sign Boy", the shifty, sly, amusing character played by actor Matt Griesser, who also appears in "Peter Jacobsen Unplugged" on The Golf Channel.


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FootJoy keeps hitting home runs and GelFusion is a major part of that.

The new GelFusion technology, FootJoy says, is similar to the sophisticated independent suspensions found on the best sports cars. It is designed to isolate the movement of one wheel from another and keeps optimum contact with the road surface for maximizing performance.

This "independent suspension" helps isolate the movement of the front of the foot and heel portions of the shoe.

"This unique axial-rotation outsole increases the contact area of the golfer's foot to the turf, regardless of the contour of the ground," says FootJoy. "The lightweight outsole features strategic 'flexzones' for a more natural range of motion as you walk. This unique independent suspension for your feet helps provide an adaptable footprint platform that adjusts to any surface to provide optimum performance and maximum comfort on the course."

"Golf shoe construction has always been a balancing act between increasing performance by providing a stable platform for your swing and providing superior comfort, flexibility, and reduced foot fatigue when you walk," said Rob Kelley, Director of Brand Marketing for FootJoy.

"Gel Fusion offers golfers the best of both worlds. Our new breakthrough outsole technology uses advanced TPU formulation, biomechanical flexzones and a new independent rotational axis that allows the GelFusion shoe to match the natural anatomical rotation of the foot while following the natural contours of the ground, essentially molding your foot to the surface. Your foot remains in contact with the ground regardless of the terrain. This reduces fatigue as you walk and improves balance when you swing."

FootJoy is the overwhelming choice of more of the PGA Tour's best. The No.1 shoe in golf accounted for 78 percent of the wins, 66 percent of the total shoe count, and 62 percent of the total money won thus far in 2003, through the West Coast Swing.

Footjoy GelFusionFrank Lickliter added an exclamation point to FootJoy's early-season success with his victory at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, where he relied on Classics Dry Premiere golf shoes for all four rounds.

Two-time winner in 2003, Mike Weir, wears the FootJoy GelFusion model, which FootJoy calls the most technologically advanced golf shoe on the planet.

My GelFusion model -- the Brown Buffalo Grain/Brown Overlay/White Smooth -- were comfortable right out of the box and waterproof on Ushuaia Golf Club's spongy wet turf. Here are the specs:

FootJoy GelFusion

GelFusion #59948
Brown Buffalo Grain/Brown Overlay/White Smooth
Retail price: $185

Full-grain leather uppers
AQUAf.l.e.x leather uppers
Two-year waterproof warranty
Cushioned full-leather linings
EVA Fit-Bed® Dryz
IntelliTempT foam GelCollar
GelRideT heel technology
Titanium Stability Bridge
FTS/Black WidowT cleats

WinterSof GlovesWinterSof gloves

A must when playing in chilly 40-degree temps, FootJoy's WinterSof gloves are a combination fleece and ThinsulateT insulation. The gloves include elasticized Velcro® adjustment strap, knit cuffs and Cabretta leather palm and index finger inserts. Retail cost is $22.

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