When it came to developing the Free-Inspired TW’13 golf shoes, Nike turned to its long-time endorser Tiger Woods for assistance. Then, the company decided to produce a high-performance women’s shoe, and its primary adviser in that process was Suzann Pettersen.
She traveled to the Pacific Northwest last summer for footwear testing at the Nike Sport Research Lab, and work on a Free-Inspired shoe for women began immediately, incorporating technology from the TW’13 and lots of feedback from Pettersen. The result is the new Nike FI Impact, and technicians were so pleased with the finished product that they pushed to make it available in both men’s and women’s styles.
According to Nike officials, the key benefits of these shoes is the ways they provide freedom of movement with maximum ground feel, thanks to the FI Impact’s outsole technology. That is designed to conform to the natural motion of the foot while delivering protection and traction. That way, golfers can keep contact with the ground longer so they can better harness the energy of the foot to the shoe, and therefore the shoe to the ground.
“We collaborated closely with Pettersen to create a shoe fit for her game,” says Lee Walker, Nike Golf’s footwear product director. “The FI Impact allows her to get the transfer of energy she demands.”
According to Walker, Pettersen fell hard for her new footwear, shooting 65 in the first tournament round she ever played with them on her feet and going on to win the event.
As is the case with the women’s version of the FI Impact, the men’s model utilizes Nike’s Dynamic Fit system to enhance support, while a Nike Free-Inspired platform and waterproof mesh upper are made to keep them flexible and breathable.