Biion Footwear is unlike any golf shoe you've ever seen or worn, the brainchild of Canadian
fashion guru Rick Buchanan - Biion is a combination of innovation, classic lines, casual vibes
and colorful themes .
At first glance, Biion's new shoes are so different from conventional golf footwear it's tough
to put them into a category. Is it a dress shoe? Is it an actual golf shoe? Is it made of rubber?
Where are the laces . . .
It can be a dress shoe (albeit a casual waterproof one). Yes it is a spikeless golf shoe. Biion
shoes are actually made from Ethylene Vinyl Acetate - also known as EVA (the outsole is made
of rubber). Smooth and ultra light, EVA provides extreme flexibility for a superb fit . . . so much
so that they ARE slip-on (no laces).
One of Biion's most popular models is called pattern, the snake skin version caught our eye at
the PGA Show in Orlando. An important factor when ordering your Biion shoes is sizing. If your
feet are normal or narrow width (like mine), order a size smaller than your normal shoe size
- because of the nature and the flexibility of EVA, it's essential to make sure they fit snug . . .
especially for golf.
Patterns and bright colors are what's popping at Biion footwear
Biion's spikeless honeycomb cleat pattern provides better traction than you might expect.
Recently I broke out the Biion shoes for a 36 hole event at the famous Palm Beach Par 3.
The shoes brought great curiosity, comments like, "What are those?" "Are those golf shoes?"
"Rubber wingtips!" but throughout the day I hit golf shots and never gave the shoes a thought.
I wear them anywhere and anytime the mood strikes, golf or the beach.
A few weeks back I caught up with Biion founder and CEO Rick Buchanan and picked his brain
about everything Biion.
LinksNation: I was somewhat skeptical before I wore my Biion shoes to play golf for the first time
recently, and was pleasantly surprised by how well they performed and how comfortable they are.
Rick Buchanan: It's been good, we've been pleasantly surprised as well with the reaction, you get
plenty of skeptics especially in the golf industry. Originally we started about 18 months ago, and
when we went to many pro shops we would get the typical response "what the hell is this?", but
really you can't knock it till you try it. Once we got the shoes in peoples hands, they said "these
might be okay". A lot of the pros we talked to when we were designing the shoe stated that they
practiced in bare feet. Our shoe is a connection to the ground. I designed the shoe for the other
95% of golfers who just go out to enjoy the game.
LN: The shoe is unlike anything else out there on the market, where did you come up with the
RB: My background is in fashion, so I've been involved in distribution here in Canada over the years
for many brands all over the globe. I was doing another footwear line as well, it's been a combination
of a ton of things. I noticed in the golf market right now, companies went towards an athletic style and got
away from their roots - an Oxford Brogue. Everybody has gone towards a running shoe, and the oxford
is a timeless classic, it's never going to go out of style. So I thought lets get into an EVA Oxford Brogue
that's a form fitting shoe and see where it goes. People were looking for something new, and our shoe
is not just a golf shoe, it's a lifestyle shoe.
LN: What do you see as your target demographic, I can see the mature male crowd gravitating towards
the classic wingtip and saddle models you offer . . . any thoughts on whether the younger generation will
catch on with the old classic styles?
RB: Absolutely 100%. What sets us apart outside of being a rubber shoe, is the flavors we have. Unlike
any other golf shoe, we have 36 colors now and will have over 50 colors for 2016. It's tough for shoe
companies that produce leather shoes to do that many colors, our production process is a lot simpler.
When I originally designed the shoe, I thought the demographic was 18-45 years old. It's been literally
across the board from small kids to 85 year olds. Our story is about color, surprisingly enough it's the
classic colors that are our weakest seller, everyone wants the bright colors.
LN: The themed Patterns you offer like anchors and Palm trees are really unique, your thoughts ?
RB: The Patterns are our best sellers. Guys like course designer Ron Garl who were stuck in their old
traditional shoes, have been the ones who are really taking to that style. Now he owns like 30 pairs of
LN: How did you come up with the spikeless honeycomb sole pattern?
RB: Our shoe is 3 parts - EVA upper, EVA midsole and rubber outsole. The reason we went with rubber
is because rubber is a compound that's made for grip. . . so it's great for the golf course and for a boat.
It's the actual golfer that has taken our shoes off the golf course, on the boat, restaurant or just wearing
them everyday. We've gone from zero to fourteen countries in 18 months. I was at a fashion trade show
in Florence (Italy), and saw a guy walking the cobblestone streets wearing Biion shoes - that was fantastic,
very rewarding to see. At the end of the day, we just wanted to simplify the golf shoe.
LN: What's coming up next for Biion?
RB: We're all about color, so we're branching out into not only golf, but boating and fashion. We have
a Biion 2.0 coming out, a little more technical and expensive with not as many flavors but matching
belts to go with the shoes.
For more info on Biion Footwear: http://biionfootwear.com/index.php
Special thanks to Greg Moser on this story.