Devil Ball Proving Ground: Nike’s TW ’13 golf shoe

Jonathan Wall

Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today, we take a take Nike's TW '13 for a spin around the course.

Testers -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.1

Target Golf Audience -- All golfers

It seems fitting that our review of Nike's TW '13 shoe would fall on the week of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, because it was a year ago this week that the sportswear giant unveiled a new prototype golf shoe for the biggest names in the sport, Tiger Woods.

By now you most likely know the story behind the TW '13: Woods goes to Nike looking for a new pair of kicks with same characteristic as the Nike Free, a running shoe that was designed to replicate running in bare feet, but at the same time provide some protection and traction.

Tobie Hatfield, the head of Nike's footwear creation, returns with something resembling a running flat on spikes and the TW '13 was born.

The shoe certainly looked interesting. But the big question on everyone's mind was if a golf shoe inspired by the Nike Free could really work on the course.

Fast-forward a year and the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Despite having a brief scare earlier this year, the shoes has done the job for Woods, giving him the superior fit and stability he was searching for.

With golfers clamoring for the TW '13 -- at the time, Nike said the shoe wouldn't be released to the the public -- Nike decided to release an updated model to the public right before the U.S. Open.

If they work for Tiger Woods, you'd expect them to work for the average golf hack, right? Well, we decided to test out a pair to find out. Here's our review of Nike's TW '13 golf shoe.

Initial thoughts

If you're the kind of golfer that enjoys a pair of classic, monochromatic saddle golf shoes, the TW '13 probably isn't for you. We're not saying you shouldn't try out a pair, but one look at the above photo tells you everything you need to know about these kicks: they were made with the athlete in mind.

Based on Nike's Free running shoe, the TW '13 is incredibly flexible. At first glance, the spikes and tread on the bottom would lead you to believe it's a very rigid shoe with very little give, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

You can twist and turn this shoe in every direction thanks to the Free-inspired outsole that provides for more natural movement and incredible feel. From the moment you slip these shoes on you can feel the Dynamic Fit wrapping around your foot.

Even after I tried these on for the first time, I never had to wonder if my foot was going to slide in the shoe. They fit like a glove. Not only that, the TW '13 is incredibly light and sticks with the Free mantra that shoes are supposed to feel weightless, as if you were walking around the course in your bare feet.

On-course thoughts

The one thing that really stuck out about these shoes was how stable my lower body felt standing over every shot. While the shoes allow you to have free range of movement thanks to the Free technology, the soles kept my feet on the ground -- even when I took a solid rip at the ball.

Another thing that really impressed me? How easy it was to transfer my weight during the swing. It always takes a couple of rounds to break in a new pair of golf shoes, but with the TW '13's I was able to throw them on, hit course and feel the weight transfer, especially on the downswing.

When you're a feel player, sensing that weight transfer is critical to certain shots. I was skeptical about the shoes design and description before I tried it out, but after taking them out on the course, I found myself trusting the technology.

Final verdict

Simply put, the TW '13 gets the job done. While it might not be the sexiest looking golf shoe around, the design and use of the Free technology make this a must-try if you're looking for a minimalist golf shoe that performs on the course.

Price: $180

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