May 21, 2021 1 Comment
Note: Blog post subject matter is discussed in more detail on the Athalonz Podcast.
There are three key aspects to a golf shoe that affect athletic performance. (1) How the shoe interfaces with the ground; (2) How the foot interfaces with the shoe; and (3) How the forces traverse within the shoe between the ground and the foot. In this blog, we’ll discuss the first key aspect.
(1) How the outsole of the shoe interfaces with the ground.
All golf shoes have a tread pattern, whether it includes spikes or is spikeless, to prevent slipping. In physics terms, the tread pattern provides friction forces that prevents slipping. As long as the golfer does not exert more force along the surface of the ground than the friction forces of the shoes, the golfer will not slip.
Not slipping is extremely important, but most tread patterns are designed to prevent slipping in all directions (i.e., provide equal friction forces in all linear directions of movement and equal friction forces in all rotational directions of movement). In golf, however, it’s advantageous to have a lower friction force for rotational movement of the back foot as the weight is shifting from the back side to the front side during the execution of the swing.
Let’s discuss what’s happening on the back foot (e.g., right foot for a right-handed golfer) during the swing. At the address, weight is equally distributed between the feet and concentrated on the medial side (inside). Some players put most of their weight in the forefoot while others have a more distributed balance the between medial forefoot and the medial heel.
During the back swing, the weight shifts primarily to the back leg and should stay on the medial side. If the weight shifts to the lateral side (outside) of the shoe during the back swing, we sway. Sway adversely affects our golf swing. Key aspect (2) how the foot interfaces with the shoe and key aspect (3) how the forces traverses within the shoe address sway and how to eliminate it.
For the down swing to the point of contact, weight transfers from the back foot to the front foot such that, at the point of contact, almost all of the weight is on the front foot. The biomechanics of the down swing is a complex movement and is fairly well understood. With respect to the feet engaging the ground, the back foot is pushing and rotating simultaneously during the down swing. It’s pushing to transfer the weight to the front side and rotating to facilitate rotation of the body around the front hip to hit the ball.
As the weight shifts to the front side, we want the weight to stay on the medial side and the front foot to not rotate. In addition, we push up on our front leg into the front hip. This combination of keeping the weight on the inside of the front foot, the front foot not rotating, and pushing up into the front hip creates a solid and stable pivot point for the down swing up to contact. When this is done, we have less wasted energy and less variance in our swing. In other words, we consistently generate more power and have fewer misses (i.e., shots that did not go where we wanted it to).
For the follow through, the weight stays on the front foot and may transfer from the forefoot to the heel to aid in allowing the body to finish. Ideally, the front foot does not rotate out.
So, looking at the feet, we want the back foot to have a high friction force in the linear direction of pushing during the down swing. We also want less friction force on the back foot for the rotational component of the down swing. On the front foot, we want the foot to stay locked to the ground in linear directions and to not rotate.
This is where Athalonz patented Grip & GlideTM tread pattern comes into play. The Grip & GlideTM tread pattern is designed to work for right-handed golfers and left-handed golfer. In essence, Grip & GlideTM works to provide the high-level linear friction forces to resist linear movement of both feet, provides a low-level rotation friction force to allow for desired rotation of the back foot, and provides a high-level friction for to resist the front foot from rotating.
By having a low-level rotation friction force on the back foot and a high-level rotation friction force on the front foot, energy transfer from the back side to the front side is more efficient (i.e., less loss of energy by not having to overcome the high-level rotational friction force of the back foot). A more efficient energy transfer results in greater distance and control; we’ll have less misses and more fun playing.
I am the CEO and Founder of Athalonz, LLC., I am a founding partner of the patent boutique law firm of Garlick & Markison, I am a survivor of child abuse, and I am an inventor on over 300 patents.
Athalonz is a technology company based on Mesa, AZ. It develops and sells athletic footwear, which incorporates its patented technology that leverages the laws of physics to improve athletic performance. Website: athalonz.com
Garlick & Markison is a patent law boutique firm that assists clients in building a patent business within their business using proprietary tools and techniques. Website: texaspatents.com
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