As a rule, golf fans are mostly interested in what clubs Tiger Woods has in his golf bag. More recently, however, the talk has been about what shoes are on his feet – the TW ’13.
This product, which became available to consumers for the first time June 8, was inspired by Woods, who put a call into Nike Golf last summer wondering whether the company could make him a pair of golf shoes that utilized technology similar to the Nike Free shoes he wore when he did his running and weight training. Why? Because Woods liked the way those shoes, which are designed to merge the natural motion of a bare foot with the protection of traditional footwear, felt when he worked out.
So, he connected with Tobie Hatfield of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, where company technicians cook up new products. “We talked several times in an effort to find the best way to give Tiger what he wanted,” says Hatfield, who had helped develop the original Free.
One bit of Nike Free technology that Hatfield utilized in the TW ’13 golf shoes were the “sipes,” or deep slices, in the outsole to encourage flexion and extension in all directions. “The idea was to create a pretty flexible shoe that works with all the different surfaces a golfer finds on a course,” says Hatfield. “The undulations, the hills. You need something on your feet that moves with the ground and brings natural motion into play. At the same time, it must be stable enough to hold your feet in position at address as well as through the swing itself. Especially when you swing is as powerful as Tiger’s.
“To that end, we came up with an upper that works with the foot but does not inhibit it,” adds Hatfield. “It featured an adaptive fit system that holds fast through the swing but is still very comfortable.
The result, Hatfield says, is the TW ’13, prototypes of which Tiger has been wearing in competition for months.