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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 in a call to 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
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 your 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 features 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
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