Sports fans love a redemption story. The Patriots coming back from a 25-point deficit to win the Super Bowl. Michael Jordan returning from two years as a baseball player to lead the Bulls to another round of championships. And, the ultimate rise from the ashes could possibly happen in April if Tiger Woods wins the Green Jacket. TRUE Linkswear is another redemption story, one with a much happier ending than what Mr. Woods will likely face in the sunset years of his career.
TRUE Linkswear: Version 2.0
The TRUE Linkswear of today has been reimagined, updated, and enhanced. Call the 2017 iteration, Version 2.0. The company is poised to spread the word about comfortable shoes ready for 18 holes and any other activity you can imagine. After taking a hiatus to redefine their business model, the Seattle-based company is focused on new designs with top of the line materials and manufacturing capabilities, and a renewed focus on the customer.
TRUE did not design a golf shoe with off course comfort as a secondary requirement. It also didn’t design a street shoe and slap some marketing lingo on it to say it is good for golf. These shoes were designed from the sole up to be for the course, the office, or for any occasion in between. Currently, two models are offered, the Original and the Outsider. Both styles look great and are really comfortable. More on the products below.
TRUE Linkswear Overview
TRUE’s goal is to be different from the big shoe and apparel companies. The products they design, the emphasis on the customer experience and their business model set them apart from the rest of the market. In the company’s first iteration, the majority of their products were sold through traditional retail channels. However, in Version 2.0, they have shifted to a more direct-to-consumer model. This shift enables a closer relationship with the end user and the ability to serve the golfer more efficiently. For example, all orders received by 2:00 pm Pacific ship the same day. In order to control the complete experience, TRUE will look for strategic retail partners and green grass accounts who connect to their company’s mission and values.
TRUE is determined to avoid the pitfalls of expanding too quickly and building a brand built on anything but good products and quality customer service. The team also wants to hear from customers and is open to feedback. Their goal is to constantly get better.
“Customer communication is key for us,” said TRUE Partner Justin Turner. “We want to get the feedback from our customers and use it to build our company.”
TRUE distinguishes itself from the competition by thinking of the customer experience and making each pair of shoes feel unique and special. The difference begins with the presentation of the high-quality shoe box enveloping your shoes. I have to admit, I love the smell of new shoes and these shoes smelled like a sweet combination of leather, rubber, and the Pacific Northwest mountains. Inside each box is a small information card about the new shoes and a postcard that is signed by the TRUE team member who inspected the product for quality. TRUE is fully committed to their products and all shoes come with a 30-day no questions asked money back guarantee.
“We stand behind our products and giving customers a 30-day free trial is a risk we are willing to take,” said Turner.
Marketing efforts mostly center around identifying brand influencers to help promote the brand through social media, blogs, and other unique channels. The company does have one high profile ambassador, five-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Moore.
TRUE Linkswear Outsider
Over the past month, I had the opportunity to fully put both the Outsider and the Original to the test. Based on my conversations with the leadership team prior to receiving the shoes, I took the Outsiders straight out of the box and packed them as my only shoes for a four-day trip to my sister-in-law’s wedding.
Don’t get me wrong, these shoes were not going to be worn with a tuxedo, but they were going to be worn with jeans, shorts, and to play golf. I put my full trust in Justin and the team to not leave me covered in blisters in a remote town with no other shoe options. I am happy to say the Outsiders were great on the trip and have only gotten more comfortable with continued use.
The Outsider is offered in three colors, black, white, and grey/blue for $149. It is constructed of a waterproof full-grain leather, which reinforces the company’s claim of only using the highest quality materials. After a month of use, the shoes look as good as new with none of the scuffs or marks typically seen on a shoe after multiple wears.
The shoe also features a sock liner that envelopes the foot. When you slide your foot into the shoes you hear a “thump” as it gets encased in the liner. You only notice how snug and tight the shoe is when you take it off and realize your foot has not moved since you put them on. The natural width toe box is a nice change from traditional styles and provides added comfort and traction.
Having put the Outsider through the paces on and off the course, I can say that the shoe is great for any occasion. TRUE says you can do any activity in their shoes–workout, play golf, walk, run, etc. That being said, I probably would not wear the shoe for a 3-mile run or to play basketball at the gym.
The shoe held up great during 18 holes and had traction like an Italian sports car. What impressed me the most is I found myself wearing the shoes more off the course than on it. I give the Outsider a recommendation for a golfer wanting a different look for the course or knocking around town with the spouse.
TRUE Linkswear Original
Longtime fans of TRUE will immediately recognize the Original. It has been redesigned and re-engineered with a high-quality, waterproof leather, a sock liner, and a style that is appropriate for the greens or a dinner on the town. Offered in white, black, and blue/grey, the shoe is listed at $149.
The main difference in the two shoes is the Original has a wider toe box. The comfort of the shoe is the highlight and overshadows the slightly large toe box. The Original is noticeably lighter in weight and the Cross Life tread provides traction for even the most powerful golf swings. If the Original’s style fits your eye, I would definitely put it on your Christmas list.
The Future of TRUE Linkswear
Moving forward, TRUE plans to expand their product selection to include hats, t-shirts, and other waterproof products. All small companies face the same issues–continuing to design interesting and inspiring products past their initial launch, marketing their brand and products without breaking the bank, and being able to continually provide a positive customer experience.
TRUE is off to a great start with their latest collection of shoes. It also has an intriguing PGA Tour ambassador in Ryan Moore and it has invested the resources necessary to support long-term success. I look forward to watching TRUE continue to develop and hopefully grow into the company the founders envisioned back in 2009.