TIGER'S NEW STEP
JASON KERKMANS By
With Tiger Woods back, it looks like the biggest
winner during his hiatus may have been your feet.
Balance is an easy thing to lose. One day you think you have it, and the
next it’s like its been missing for years.
I’m sure Tiger Woods knows what that
is like, but then again so has every other
golfer I know.
The problem: for far too long shoemak-
ers have held (and we have believed)
that proper balance, regardless of sport,
begins with a controlled base.
In theory, it seemed like a practical hypothesis. The problem is…no one swings
in theory. As the minimalist running shoe
trend has shown, the human body (legs,
torso and all) was designed to function
on bare feet. And while years of wearing
thick-cushioned heels and arch support
stabilizers may make golfing au natural
seem painfully impossible now, a step in
the right direction can still lead to impressive results.
Small brands like True Linkswear and
Vivobarefoot have pioneered the introduction of minimalist or barefoot design
into golf, but the first big step in that direction was taken by Woods at the WGC
Bridgestone Invitational last August when
he first wore the prototype version of
what is now called the TW 13 golf shoe.
The TW 13 looks so much like the Nike
Free running shoe that you’re excused for
thinking Woods has been wearing a pair
of Nike sneakers the past nine months. In
fact, if you did assume that, you’re closer
to right than you might think. As the story
goes, Woods was already training in the
shoes when he went to the Free designer,
Tobie Hatfield, to see if they could be
converted to golf.