The athletic equipment and apparel market is rife with “performance ” and “technology” claims, but what does that even mean? As far as most shoemakers are concerned — including all your major brands — it means diddly. We’ve all been duped.
There is one company’s claim of high performance, however, that’s more than just a marketing scheme. It’s that of Athalonz.
“There’s no denying the laws of physics — they apply to everyone and everything,” says Athalonz founder and CEO Tim Markison. That’s the basis of his shoe design. The company was founded on the idea of scientifically improving the ground-body connection, which affects all athletic movement. More specifically, Markison, a 30-year engineer and patent attorney, honed in on improving what initiates that athletic motion based on the laws of physics.
Sounds complicated, sure, but boil it down a bit and it makes perfect sense. All movement is governed by Newton’s laws of motion. For example, when you push on the ground the ground pushes back, always. This is called ground reaction force, and the starting point of the athletic motion of swinging a golf club. How that force is distributed, meaning the position and angles of your body while in motion, has a direct impact on the power you can generate in your golf swing. More ground force equals more power — it’s a scientific fact.
Given that your shoes are the only thing in between your feet and the ground, and thus have a direct impact on your ground reaction force, the idea of science-based athletic footwear came to Markison during a baseball clinic, when his coach placed a rosin bag under the outside of his foot to mimic a more physically sound base for hitting and throwing. “The problem with the drill was that you could feel the position but couldn’t recreate it without the bag,” he says. He later analyzed the footwork and alignment of top players’ athletic motions and realized their knees are always in a certain line from the inside ankle to the groin. The rosin bag his coach used forced players into this position, but Markison realized he could do the same thing with a specially designed shoe.
Most all standard golf shoes have a U-shaped inner design aligned perpendicular to the ground. When you swing a golf club, that U-shape causes your feet to slide away from you and push the force away from that inside line, dissipating your power and made all the worse depending on what material the shoe is made of. Athalonz’s angled inner design, on the other hand, shifts the ground reaction force from perpendicular to about four-degrees inside, while the sturdy material keeps your foot from pushing the forces outward. All of that leads to an increase in ground reaction force by almost 10%, according to Markison.
“We did the math and tested to verify we did the math correctly. With the design being based on physics and our design working according to the math, we didn’t need to perform a study to know people will have an improvement in ground reaction force,” Markison says.
With such a clearly defined relationship between ground reaction force and your golf swing, and the role your golf shoes play, you’d think more footwear companies would be gushing on designs similar to Athalonz. Unfortunately for them, they can’t, because Athalonz holds multiple patents ensuring its proprietary edge. Truth is, Markison says the idea has been around for awhile but failed to catch on after a “wedged” golf shoe debuted and was subsequently banned by the USGA back in the ’90s. Prior to that, the most groundbreaking technological advancement in athletic footwear similar to the idea were cleats and spikes, way back at the turn of the 20th century.
“Now, a lot of shoe companies want comfort over everything,” Markison says. “People just aren’t aware of the physics of what’s actually happening inside the shoe.”
That awareness and understanding of how it works is what’s setting Athalonz apart from all the major brands, not only in the realm of science, but on the course, too.
Fred Funk, Ken Duke and Bernhard Langer have all made the switch to Athalonz, the latter of whom ditched his shoe sponsor of 40-years for Athalonz. “Before he was with us, Langer said he’d go through 3 pairs of shoes in one tournament,” Markison says. “The shoes would compress on the lateral side really quickly, making his foot angle outward, and keeping his feet from getting set.”
Athalonz have become the go-to choice for men and women World Long Drive competitors, too, a trend credited to Ryan Steenberg and carried on by the likes of 2020 WLD Champions Kyle Bershire and Chloe Garner. If anyone knows the importance of harnessing power, it’s these kinds of athletes. Berkshire went viral in 2019 by setting a new world record for recorded ball speed (228 mph) wearing, you guessed it, Athalonz’s EnVe golf shoes.
While the majority of us aren’t banking on our athletic ability to pay the bills, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to improve our ability any way we can on the course. Fortunately for us, science doesn’t play favorites.
“That’s the beauty of physics, it’s fundamental laws and facts. If you prove that there’s physics in play, it works 100% of the time,” Markison says.
All you have to do is make the switch to see the Athalonz difference.
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