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Fairway Life


Feb 04, 2021

Adidas ZG21 Shoe Line

Shawn Koutahi

Recently, we chatted with Shawn Koutahi US Sr. Merchandise Manager - Footwear & Accessories for Golf at adidas about their new ZG21 Shoe Line .

FairwayStyles: Describe what your role is with adidas Golf.

Shawn Koutahi: I am the US Sr. Merchandise Manager for Footwear & Accessories. My role entails working closely with sales, marketing and the product creation team to ensure we have the most progressive and compelling products in the US market.

FairwayStyles: What trends are you seeing in the industry right now? Are there any specific materials, fabrics, or performance features?

Shawn Koutahi: As it relates to footwear, we’re seeing a couple key trends. On the footwear front, spikeless outsole models continue to trend up and currently represent about 65-70% of golf shoes sold in the US, this is up from about 50% just a couple years ago. However, there is still a healthy appetite for quality spiked models and we at adidas golf pride ourselves on making the best spikeless and spiked footwear for all golfers. Versatility is a trend we’re seeing across all product categories; golfers are looking for products they can golf in as well as enjoy off the course too. Materials in footwear continue to rapidly evolve, we’re seeing technical waterproof textiles and microfibers become more common in lieu of traditional all-over leather shoes. Ultimately it comes down to performance and comfort which makes perfect sense for a sport that involves so much walking.

FairwayStyles: Golf footwear has changed tremendously in the last two decades often with the promise of better performance. What has been the biggest change in golf shoe design at Adidas Golf and how is it helping golfers play better?

Shawn Koutahi: We also have a clear mission to be the most progressive golf brand in the world. With this mission in mind, we’re creating products with the tenets of innovation, creativity, inclusivity and sustainability. Over the last couple decades we’ve continuously challenged ourselves to make the best performing most comfortable shoes for golfers. Take our most iconic franchise the TOUR360 that launched in 2005 that really redefined what a performance golf shoe should be, to BOOST technology in golf footwear in 2015 that provided the most comfortable and responsive midsole foam, unlike anything golfers had previously experienced. In 2020 we launched the CodeChaos which represented the most technical and comfortable spikeless model in our portfolio. It was one of the bestselling models all year long and exceeded all expectations. We just launched the ZG21 which is all about lightweight performance without compromising comfort, traction & stability. In addition to the ZG21 the EQT SL will debut in February which offers the exceptional comfort and performance you’d except from adidas footwear but also incorporates PRIMEGREEN recycled polyester as we continue in our journey to end plastic waste.

With all these advancements we stay true to our positioning which is, Born of Sport, Rooted in Golf. We’re part of one of the greatest sports brands in the world but everything we create is through the lens of the golfer.

FairwayStyles: Tell us about the new ZG21 Shoe - What can Golfers expect when they slip on a pair for the first time

Shawn Koutahi: The ZG21 which is all about lightweight performance without compromising comfort, traction & stability. This model is offered in Men’s (Medium & Wide), Women’s and Juniors versions in both laced and BOA closure options. The ZG21 offers a clean, sleek yet bold design that stands out from other golf shoes. It represents the lightest spiked golf footwear model with BOOST that adidas has ever created, weighing in at 13 oz. (size 9), that’s approximately 20% lighter than the TOUR360 XT.

It’s all about innovation when it comes to the ZG21. The SPRINTSKIN 4-layer fused upper offers a lightweight waterproof alternative to traditional leather. The midsole is comprised of a proprietary LIGHTSTRIKE foam which offers excellent cushioning and energy return along with a 40% weight savings compared to regular EVA. Combine that with BOOST in the heel and golfers will experience the best of cushioning and stability in a spiked model. One of the most noticeable features of the ZG21 is the stability fin on the lateral midsole. Not only does this lightweight polymer component provide a bold aesthetic element, it also functions to provides tremendous stability. The stability fin’s elegant design works in unison with the TPU heel counter to ensure golfers are secure and stable in any condition on the course. Last but not least golfers will notice a unique swing plane traction zone on the outsole which was perfected over hundreds of hours of testing & heat map studies over about 2 years. This swing plane zone creates optimum traction for the golfer throughout their round.

FairwayStyles: What trends are you seeing in the industry right now? Are there any specific materials, fabrics, or performance features?

Shawn Koutahi: The only thing that comes to mind is that we’re seeing a slight shift in traditional technical fabrics. Those will obviously always live on the course and are made to perform, and the golfer loves them, but they also want to fill their closets with other fabrics that are also extremely comfortable to wear.

Adidas ZG21 Shoe

FairwayStyles: Two of the most talked about adidas shoes in recent years have been the Code Chaos & Tour 360 models. What role did they play in the ZG21 line?

Shawn Koutahi: The CodeChaos and TOUR360 models have achieved so many accolades and really represent the best of both worlds when it comes to spikeless and spiked golf footwear. As we set out to create the ZG21 we took inspiration from both models. We wanted to create a lightweight, comfortable model that complimented natural foot movement as does CodeChaos while also providing unrivaled traction, comfort and stability that golfers have come to expect from the TOUR360. Although both of those models helped shape the ZG21, make no mistake that this is another unique adidas Golf model that golfers are sure to fall in love with.

Adidas Code Chaos Spikeless Shoe

Adidas Code Chaos Spikeless Shoe

Adidas Tour360 XT-SL TEX Spikeless Shoe

Adidas Tour360 XT-SL TEX Spikeless Shoe

FairwayStyles: What’s the biggest mistake golfers make buying golf shoes, and how can they avoid it?

Shawn Koutahi: As strange is it may sound, incorrect sizing is often times the culprit of a poor experience. I managed our fit & wear testing department for several years and all too often I would encounter golfers wearing shoes that were a ½ to a full size off from what they should be wearing. Foot shape, length, width, arch and instep height among other specs are integral in finding the perfect fit for each golfer. I highly recommend getting fit by a knowledgeable footwear expert if possible.

FairwayStyles: Thank you so much for your time and sharing your insight into the adidas Golf brand.