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Lately it seems golf has gotten more athletic looking, especially in footwear. It also appears to have turned back the hands of time as the traditional saddle shoe is no longer  as prevalent as it once was with consumers and TOUR pros. Golf shoes have gone towards a more casual, street look, which is clearly opposite of the way people thought about the product from 5, 10 and 20 years ago. Today it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see someone wearing a golf shoe on the street or in the airport as part of a fashion statement. Another trend within the category has been towards natural motion. Some companies refer to it as a barefoot approach where the foot has the freedom to move as if it weren’t wearing anything. On the surface, shoes have gotten a lot more comfortable than previous generations. The days of breaking in a pair, which often meant enduring a blister or two looks to have become a thing of the past, at least for some. Not everyone has adopted the appearance but it seems to be a growing movement not only on TOUR but with the rank and file that pay for the product.

Nike Golf announced the new Nike TW ‘13, inspired by Nike FREE technology, will be available starting on June 8, 2012 (MSRP:$220, MAP/Street:  $180).

 Its the shoe Tiger Woods went to exclusively last summer. According to the company, the inspiration behind the product began with Woods himself. He requested a shoe that gave him the performance fit and feel of his Nike FREE shoes when uses for running and training. It ignited a collaboration between Woods, Nike Golf’s footwear creation team and Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, led by Tobie Hatfield. “I train with Nike FREE technology all the time,” said Woods. “I love training in it, running in it, lifting in it. So I asked, why can’t I play golf in it?” According to Woods, his feet feel stronger and more athletic in the Nike TW ’13 and he believes, thanks to the shoes, he can release more power through his swing due to the freedom of movement.

The natural motion engineered outsole is designed to mimic and conform to the natural motion of the foot, Nike Golf said, coupled with the protection and traction of a lightweight performance golf shoe. The outsole allows players to keep contact with the ground longer, better harnessing the energy of the foot to the shoe and, therefore, the shoe to the ground. “An athlete trains every other part of their body, except maybe their foot,” said Hatfield. “Natural motion technology helps increase the strength of the muscles and flexibility within the foot. It brings out the human potential for each athlete.”

The Nike TW ’13 also features a new Nike Dynamic Fit support system. Targeted support delivers unprecedented strength-to-weight ratio, according to Nike, and one-to-one fitted support. Flywire-infused nylon straps extend 360° from the footbed to the lacing system, securing the foot for an adaptive fit that provides golfers stability with mobility. To ensure that the TW ’13 upper moves in concert with the Dynamic Fit system, designers turned to Nike’s Innovation Kitchen to source the multidirectional stretch synthetic available in Tiger’s signature colors of White or Black with Red accents.