NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Thomas Nelson, President
Michael Waack, Head of Global Golf
Andrzej Bikowski, Lead Designer
ECCO USA, Inc. has grown into one of the world’s foremost premium golf shoe brands, handcrafting each shoe at company-owned factories using premium leathers produced at its own tanneries. The company says it ranks fourth in sales (both globally and in the U.S.) behind big brands FootJoy, Nike and adidas.
New Hampshire-based ECCO USA is a subsidiary of the Danish company ECCO Sko A/S, which offers an extensive range of footwear – dress, casual, outdoor, boots, sandals, slippers, running, performance and, of course, golf. ECCO also features accessories such as bags, small leather goods, insoles, socks and shoe care products.
Family-run ECCO owns and manages every aspect of its leather and shoe products, not to mention managing its retail sales, and is one of the world’s biggest producers of high-quality leather. ECCO’s soft, supple leather is not only a staple in its shoes and leather goods products, but is also sold to several leading luxury brands.
Today, ECCO products are sold at more than 14,000 sales locations in 88 countries worldwide.
ECCO has been a footwear staple in the golf industry for nearly 30 years. Known for some of the most comfortable, durable and stylish shoes on the course, the company has assembled a portfolio of tour sponsorships that includes golf legends Fred Couples and Ernie Els.
With significant visibility on a global scale, the brand has a wide variety of styles available, from fashion forward bold looks, to traditional premium golf shoes.
ECCO produced its first pair of golf shoes in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2002 that it founded a dedicated golf division focused on product development and distribution. In 2006, the company signed Fred Couples, who four years later truly put ECCO on the map in the U.S.
ECCO has been an innovator with its proprietary HYDROMAX leather, which has water-repellent characteristics, while some golf shoe models feature complete waterproof Gore-Tex construction. Other innovations in recent years – all designed to enhance comfort and performance in their golf shoes – include natural motion technology, self-cleaning soles, cage stability, 360 degree breathability, and an asymmetrical closure system.
The coolness of Freddie Couples not only helped ECCO burst onto the scene in the golf world, but ignited the sport’s hybrid footwear revolution.
Couples, who used to play in the era of stiff golf shoes and metal spikes, garnered attention throughout the game when he first strolled down the fairways at Augusta National in 2010 wearing ECCO’s spike-less hybrid shoes – sans socks no less. The company’s sales projection for the shoe line that year had been about 2,000; after Couples’ appearance at The Masters it surged to more than 80,000 and equaled that in the first quarter of the following year alone.
ECCO has continued to ride that splash to success in the U.S. golf market and remains one of the most highly-regarded brands in the game.