Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Product Review: Nike Golf FI Impact Shoe

Like everything else in golf, the shoe has evolved over time. Gone is the rigid leather upper with static sole and metal spikes. In its place - a lightweight, flexible, breathable shoe ... often without any spikes at all.

With this in mind, NIke Golf introduced the FI Impact. The free-inspired outsole is designed to mimic and conform to the natural movement of a golfer’s foot. It offers increased flexibility and full athletic motion by allowing contact with the ground longer, better harnessing the energy of the foot to the shoe and, therefore, the shoe to the ground. The result is more control and power with every shot.

Out of the box, you may think there’s been a mistake. You wanted a golf shoe ... not a running shoe. There’s a perfectly good explanation for this, however. After learning that Stanford athletes had been training barefoot on the university's golf course, three of Nike's most innovative and creative employees set out to develop a shoe that felt natural and weightless, similar to bare feet. In 2002, they examined a group of men and women with pressure-measuring insoles taped to their feet, using high-speed cameras to capture images of each foot in motion.

The team spent eight years studying the biomechanics of shoeless running. The results yielded a profound understanding of the foot's natural landing angle, pressure and toe position, allowing Nike designers to build an unconventional and flexible running shoe from the inside out.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical. I’ve only recently ventured away from replaceable cleats. Now I’m being asked to believe a shoe without aggressive “nubs” will keep me in place throughout a swing. According to Nike, the FI Impact’s Integrated traction provides low-profile stability, maximum ground feel and comfort.

Time for a test. Typically, if/when I slip, it’s my right foot going backwards as I finish my backswing and begin my move toward impact. More times than not, this happens when I’m trying to gain a little extra speed. With that in mind, I took a series of swings as violently as I would under those playing conditions. Not once did I lose traction. Success!

American Golfer recommendation: Strap a pair of Nike Golf’s FI Impact shoes to your feet. If you’re inspired to run, so be it. If you’d rather golf, know you’re secure in your footing and in for a cushy, comfy round. If you still feel like running, run in a few putts and lower your score.


No comments: