MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three local entrepreneurs hope to convince golfers to trade in the traditional golf shoe for a more laid-back option.

The University of Minnesota grads started “Swannies.” Their main product is a soft spike golf sandal they call comfortable, casual and practical. And they have turned to Kickstarter to make the sandal a reality.

Brothers Joe and Mike Hau, along with partner Matt Stang, grew up caddying together.

“We’ve been golfing our whole lives,” Joe said.

The Evans Scholars took their love of the game and turned it into a business.

“We’ve seen the game kind of evolve when we were younger from a stodgy, old-school image into more of a casual nature,” Matt said.

And that is where the plan for an alternative to the traditional golf shoe started.

“We came up with the idea of a soft spike golf sandal that you could wear straight from the parking lot onto the course and it will wear like a normal shoe,” Joe said.

Matt says it took the trio about a year to create a prototype. They say the sandal is stable during the swing.

“We didn’t hold back at all with the top leather strap, it’s real leather. We went with memory foam in the mid-sole,” Mike said.

The bottom is made out of natural rubber, and it has 75 soft spikes on it. But to bring the Swannies Sandal to the marketplace, they need capital.

“Our manufacturers require a 500-piece minimum order quantity, and right now as a start-up, most people know start-ups need money, so we need the capital of $20,000 right now to fully put into manufacturing our first 500 pairs,” Joe said.

They hope people will support their idea of changing the game from the ground up.

“It might take a little time for people to adjust to the idea of a sandal on the golf course, but we think it’s going to work,” Joe said.

The team has until Aug. 6 to reach their $20,000 goal. The cost of a sandal is $59. Click here to visit their Kickstarter page.

Jennifer Mayerle

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