Tiger will continue to wear his Nike FREE-inspired golf shoes—white on Thursday and Saturday, black on Friday and Sunday—at the 2012 US Open.
I've written about these shoes several times over the past year—referencing them in a couple different articles—but it was only recently that I was able to experience them myself.
Tiger has been wearing a prototype since last summer and it immediately created a buzz, prompting legions of fans to wonder when they could get their hands on a pair.
Well, that time is now. As promised, Nike Golf has the new TW '13 shoe in stores in both colors, black and white, before the US Open, and I got to test drive a pair just before they were released.
Before I even slipped them on, the first thing I noticed about the shoe, other than the fact it looks more like a sneaker than a traditional golf shoe, was how flexible and light it is.
This shoe has serious flex appeal. It's designed to mimic and conform to the natural motion of the foot. Once I put them on, I could actually see my foot moving inside the shoe. In some ways, it felt like a second skin. But it also offers the protection and traction of a lightweight performance golf shoe—on grass, on dirt, in the sand, even on pine needles.
The outsole keeps contact with the ground longer. It mirrors the natural motion of the foot, which allows more freedom of movement and thus, more power through the golf swing.
"Again, it was one of those—Nike getting down in the 'Innovation Kitchen' and really thinking about what we were trying to do in solving an athlete's needs," Reed said. "Sometimes you get really lucky and when you have an athlete that's as insightful and willing to partner and collaborate on a product like Tiger is, you can come up with stuff the industry wouldn't have even dreamed about."
When it comes to golf shoes, I've always been more of a traditionalist. Not to the extent that I'd like to see—God help us, steel spikes and kilties back on the market—but I tend to like a shoe that looks like a traditional dress shoe, yet behaves like a sneaker. And I want it to be light. And waterproof. Is that asking too much?
Then along comes these TW '13 shoes and my expectations for a golf shoe have been elevated. My mind has been changed. I love the athletic look. It's incredibly light. And waterproof. And as far as performance goes, I haven't worn anything better and certainly not as comfortable.
My feet typically hurt after I've played 18 holes—even if I'm riding, no kidding. Problem solved. The TW '13 shoe wraps your foot in comfort and support. I walked up hills. I walked down hills. I jumped up and down. I jogged. I tried every possible movement I could during a round of golf with these great shoes on my feet and felt nothing but comfort and support.
Tiger wanted a golf shoe that gave him the performance fit and feel of the Nike FREE shoes he runs and trains in. So he took the idea to the powers that be at Nike and the result is this very shoe. He says he feels stronger and more athletic with these on his feet and I can understand why.
I feel stronger and more athletic in these shoes. And for my feet to feel as good as they do after 18 holes—I'm blown away.
As for the rest of the Nike golf roster, Carl Pettersson was spotted wearing them during a US Open practice round and Kevin Chappel has promised to give them a try soon. I expect others to follow suit.