Since Tiger is playing the Masters this week…Someone tell MJ that Tiger took the upper off the AJ XX9 and put it on his shoes. This is an application of Flyweave that I can actually get behind.
PROS: Excellent sock like fit, flexibility, lightweight
CONS: Cushioning, price
I passed on the TW ’13 and ’14 mainly because it looked sloppy and cheap to me; It looked as if Nike just slapped some cheap synthetic material and didn’t bother cutting off the excess materials. I loved how Nike incorporated Free into the golf shoe although they were already heading that way with their Power Channels. The last TW I bought was the TW ’12 and Tiger didn’t even wear them since was injured. The TW ’12 used high quality leather, real Zoom Air and an awesome sockliner for I believe $225 retail. I didn’t pay that of course since I waited for clearance sales and grabbed them for $80.
Above: double stitched premium leather
below: real bouncy Zoom Air
As all sports have moved towards a more minimal lightweight shoe, the TW line switched to the Free runner look in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.
I usually don’t care about the upper but in the case of golf, this upper feels and looks great. Nike is 1 or 2 in footwear and apparel and looks to capture more of the younger set with a “not your dad’s country club” campaign. The TW 13 to 15 ditches the conventional golf shoe look to give the shoe a unique look and runner like comfort.
The upper is a direct descendant of the AJ XX9’s and fits like a glove … Or sock in this case. No hot spots, no break in time, no excess fabric, just a smooth perfect fit.
The reason I like this application of the upper is because golf isn’t as dynamic as basketball where I’m running at full speed and trying to stop on a dime so I don’t need to worry about coming out of the shoe.
The upper is waterproof thanks to a membrane inside the shoe. It slightly inhibits the “Sockiness” but it’s minimal. If you didn’t know , golf is played outdoors in all conditions so waterproofing the upper is required. Who wants to walk 18 in a wet sock ? I carry an extra pair of socks in my bag just in case I soak my socks. Breathability is average since the membrane is doesn’t let any air in or out but it isn’t any worse than a leather upper.
Above: the darkened gray areas are reinforced high wear areas and also act to repel water. Lace loop breakage or tears can easily happen at the lace loops so they are reinforced.
Below: membrane inside the Flyweave to keep water out.
Another strength of the TW 15 is its flexibility. Although not a true full Nike Free set it, the shoe flexes much more than a traditional set up.
Above: my old Free 5.0 . Notice how the segmentation runs all the way through to the bottom of the shoe. I’m not sure why Nike wouldn’t do this with the TW 15
Below: notice how there are more segments and grooves on the Free 5.0
Regardless of the groove depth, the shoe was very easy to bend since the entire sole is made of foam and not a rigid plastic like the older TW. I believe Nike called it Power Platform.
Above: TW 12 Power Platform
With the excellent flexibility and zero break in time, in theory the player should be able to get more through the ball but in practice, I didn’t notice any difference.
I thought the weight difference was going to more but that’s still a big chunk of weight to lose. If you’re a walker, the lost weight is a fantastic benefit over a 4.5 hour round.
Ps don’t tell my wife I used the baby scale for weighing shoes!
I bought my standard sz 11 and I felt the toe box was a little short . I usually like one finger width between my big toe and end of the toe box and these had about half that . Regardless, the smaller size didn’t bother me since I’m not going to come to a jump stop in these so my toes won’t get mashed. Width wise the shoe fit great thanks to the socklike upper. Heel lockdown was also fantastic as I felt no heel slippage since the upper wraps around the heel and there is some contour inside the ankle collar.
I don’t know why the tongue of the shoe is shaped like this . It runs very high although it didn’t bother me.
Free shoes typically have minimal cushioning and the TW15 is no exception. The only cushioning is provided by the sole/midsole and thin sockliner. Does it matter when walking on grass ? Not really but it would be nice. I really enjoy the cushioning of the TW12 and Lunar Controls lunarlon so maybe in the future Nike will give us that.
To save weight and bring the player closer to the ground, there are only four soft spikes and three quasi spikes. I’ve never been a big traction freak when playing golf since I read an article about David Duval wearing dock shoes during range time. But during wet conditions, some extra spikes would be nice. I didn’t experience any traction issues but it wasn’t wet and I don’t swing out my shoes.
Above: debris will get stuck between the grooves so if you’re anal about your shoes, have fun cleaning them . I couldn’t even pull the leaf out lol.
When I heard the msrp was $250 I swore off Nike (I do that a lot across all product lines with Nike except tennis). But retailers realized that $250 was stupid and they retailed for $199 and are now $160 with coupon codes on Eastbay which I feel is a pretty fair albeit high price. Each year you’ll find TW shoes at outlets for under $120 so if you’re patient these will hit outlets for a similar price. Considering Tiger isn’t teeing it up as of now, I’d suspect they will hit sales racks fairly quickly.
I don’t feel the sig shoe model really works for golf even with rock stars like Tiger and Rory; golfers do follow trends and admire great players but they buy what works for them and are usually old enough to make decisions in performance and needs, not limited availability or how well someone plays golf. Sure junior golfes will buy the hottest shoe but guess who buys those shoes for them ? Their parents. Nike is taking aim at the younger generation so I do enjoy their take on new fashion but wish they’d cool it with the absurd pricing and “drop ten strokes with these ” campaigns (ok every brand is guilty of that ).
Super comfortable sock like upper that requires zero break in time. Free inspired outsoles gives the shoe a lot of flexibility without sacrificing stability due to a very low very profile ride. If you need extra cushioning or enjoy a softer cushioning set up, look at other shoes. Nike has improved the quality of the Free Runner inspired TW and I hope they implement some better cushioning into the next model.