An insider recap of the new Sun Day Red brand launch (plus Tiger Woods on his new “prototype” golf shoes)

Feb, 2024

This week was one of the most fun weeks in golf gear that I can remember as a PGA Tour equipment writer.

To briefly recap, Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer and businessmen-athletes ever, has teamed up with TaylorMade – an undeniable titan in the hard goods industry – to create an entirely new brand of apparel, footwear, and accessories, called “Sun Day Red.”

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To announce the brand, and officially unveil the logo, Tiger and TaylorMade invited about 100-150 of the most influential content creators, writers and photographers in the golf and fashion world to attend the launch event, which was hosted in a second-story, luxurious event center in Pacific Palisades, and they had Erin Andrews host the event.

Yeah, Sun Day Red kicked things off in just about the biggest way possible.

They also revealed a slew of items at the event, from hats and headcovers, to gloves and ball markers, to shoes and shirts and windbreakers and hoodies. It’s clear that Sun Day Red will offer roughly everything that golf consumers tend to consume – aside from golf clubs and bags; that’s still TaylorMade’s territory.

We learned a lot about Sun Day Red on the night of the launch event, but we’ve learned way more since.

With all the talk of Sun Day Red being a “premium lifestyle” type of apparel brand on the night of the launch, it was easy to forget that Tiger is still a highly competitive golfer, who has forged a certain aesthetic on the golf course throughout his career. He was wearing a cashmere hoodie at the launch event – would he actually wear something like that during an event?! Also, he’s had a bit of drama in the last year when it comes to his footwear of choice on the course – you know, the whole Nike vs. FootJoy saga – so what shoes would he wear? And what would his new on-course look be with Sun Day Red? Would he make a drastic change in vibe, ala Jason Day? Would he go with the Freddie Couples-esque look with the footwear, and start wearing low-rise type golf sneakers?

As it turns out, all things considered, his new Sun Day Red apparel and shoes weren’t actually a large departure from his previous look.

On Tuesday, for his 9-hole practice round, Tiger was looking quite sharp in a black hat, black shirt, black pullover, white pants, and new black-and-red shoes. Everything was Sun Day Red, a.k.a. SDR.

Yes, even the shoes were Sun Day Red. That was the biggest surprise to me, at least.

On Tuesday, he wore an eye-catching pair of black-and-red shoes, surprisingly equipped with only soft spikes in the red-bottom soles. Usually, he wears a combo of soft and metal spikes, so the soft-spiked-only footwear on Tuesday was intriguing.

As soon as I saw the shoes, I knew I needed to learn more.

Were they FootJoy shoes with an SDR logo on them? Were they made by Nike, or Jordan, or another manufacturer? Were they entirely new prototypes? Are they retail ready? Can people buy them on May 1st when the first run of apparel drops?

So, I tracked down Charley Hudak, who, as I’ve learned, is the creative director for Sun Day Red’s footwear. I also spoke in-depth with TaylorMade CEO David Abeles about all things Sun Day Red, including the shoes.

After speaking with Hudak and Abeles, it became clear that Sun Day Red is designing its own golf shoes, and Tiger is highly involved in the design and feedback process. And, for now right, they’re still “prototyping” the shoes, and actively working on the design.

It didn’t take long for their points on “prototyping” to be proven: On Wednesday, Tiger showed up to his Pro-Am wearing a new pair of white shoes with red trim, equipped with a combination of soft spikes and metal spikes.

Based on my comments and mentions in the X post above, it seems that the general public liked the white versions better than the red-and-black versions. Ultimately, the general public does have a say when it comes to retail success, so that’s at least somewhat of a factor.

As it turns out, the soft-spike-only construction from Tuesday wasn’t cutting it for Tiger. I can’t say I didn’t see that one coming, but either way, I asked Woods about the shoes in his Wednesday press conference.

“As far as the shoes go, had to make a slight adjustment yesterday, was putting some nails in for traction,” Woods said. “Being at home in Florida and testing in Florida was very different than coming out here [to Riviera C.C.] and playing off a slope, and playing off of wet grass and having the traction I needed. So I put some nails in yesterday and it’s been working.”

Of course, by “nails,” Tiger means metal spikes.

While the future of Sun Day Red is uncertain, I think it’s important that I pause here to remind everyone how cool all of this really is: Tiger Woods partnered with TaylorMade to create an entirely new brand called Sun Day Red, and on the week of his own event – the 2024 Genesis Invitational – Tiger is actively testing and prototyping new golf shoes, right in front of the eyes of the public.

Certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the apparel and footwear itself, or the name, or the logo, or the rollout, or the colorways, or the potential pricing, or the materials used, or whatever you want to get opinionated about. Everyone is allowed their own opinion.

But don’t tell me it’s not cool that Tiger Woods is basically designing new golf shoes on the fly, in the public eye.

Because it is.

And that’s my opinion on the matter.

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