Apparently the GolfThreads invitation got lost in the mail, so I headed to Hawaii and followed the glorified show-and-tell session in the Twittersphere while sitting on the beach and sipping Mai Tais in 85 degree weather. Dare I say that I got the better end of the deal as Rory and company appeared to freeze their collective swooshes off while clad in scarves, beanies and rain jackets.
In all seriousness, the unveiling looked like a first class event and while I haven’t always been a huge fan of the styling of Nike Golf’s apparel and footwear, ‘the swoosh’ once again showed why it is one of the most innovative brands in the world. Here are a few of my observations and opinions (from a beach chair) on Nike Golf’s 2014 apparel and footwear. Look for all of these Nike Golf products to be available January 1, 2014.
Do Move It
For 2014, Nike Golf appears to be channeling much of their innovation towards freedom of movement throughout the golf swing. The brand showcased three apparel products at the unveiling (the Hyperadapt Wind Jacket, the Nike Lightweight Innovation Color Polo and the Innovation Woven Cover-up) and each of them feature technologies designed to enhance movement.
Nike Hyperadapt Wind Jacket $100
I prefer a sweater rather than a jacket on the course. Sweaters are quieter and less bulky. Nike got my attention this past summer with the sweater-like fit and feel of the Hyperadapt Storm-FIT Rain Jacket. This same four-way stretch technology is included in the new Hyperadapt Wind Jacket, but in a lighter, windproof and rain-resistant version for spring. This half-zip jacket also features a transparent outer shell, elastic cuffs, adjustable waist and a back pocket.
GolfThreads’ Take: If you like technical golf apparel, you’ll love the Hyperadapt Wind Jacket. I’m intrigued with the technology behind this jacket, but the styling is a bit too techie for me.
Nike Innovation Woven Cover-Up $120
A sweater and jacket in one? Now, you have my attention. The Innovation Woven Cover-Up blends two technologies into one design. The body is the ‘jacket’ – constructed of a lightweight wind-and-water resistant Dri-FIT stretch woven fabric. The sleeves feature Nike’s new 3D knit technology that moves and insulates like a sweater.
“Golfers love wearing sweaters on the course. They’re soft, warm and easy to move in, unlike a lot of jackets. With the Innovation Woven Cover-up, there’s no need to choose one over the other or add layers. It’s the best of both worlds.” — Merritt Richardson, VP of Global Golf Apparel
GolfThreads’ Take: The Innovation Woven Cover-Up is a must-try for me this spring. In fact, I may be waiting in line for it on January 1st. I have a base layer shirt with the 3D knit sleeves and it is awesome.
Nike Lightweight Innovation Color Polo $75
I hate seeing golfers tug on their shirt sleeves as part of their pre-shot routine. Get a shirt that fits! Nike Golf is hoping to eliminate this annoying habit through a new mobility chassis technology. No, this isn’t NASCAR, but rather a new seam construction designed to enhance movement throughout the swing. Nike designers moved the shoulder seam towards the upper back (rather than across the top of the shoulders) and bonded the arm holes (instead of stitching them) for a more comfortable fit.
You can get a look at the blue-on-blue colorway on Rory McIlroy in this new Nike ad with Wayne Rooney. Great ad, by the way!
GolfThreads’ Take: I’m assuming the Nike designers chose contrasting sleeves for this shirt to really showcase the new location of the shoulder seam, which they do. I like the blue-on-blue colorway, but the rest of the colorways just don’t resonate with me. I’m all for eliminating the dreaded sleeve tug, so hopefully we’ll see this technology in other styles of shirts from Nike in 2014.
Nike Lunar Clayton Shoes $249
Old world meets new. Nike claims the inspiration for this shoe came from Florence, Italy and the Lunar Claytons certainly have that distinctive up-market feel to them. Nike designers started with a waterproof, handcrafted leather upper with brogue design detailing on the toe and around the heel. Then, they added a molded rubber outsole with the brand’s cushiony Lunarlon technology and joined the two with an old school leather welt — a traditional method of joining the upper to the outsole.
GolfThreads’ Take: I’m psyched about many of the new shoes that will be hitting the shelves in 2014 and I love the looks of the Lunar Clayton. I’ll even go out on a limb and say these are the best looking golf shoes from Nike ever. They are definitely on my short list.
Over the years, I’ve struggled with the styling of Nike golf shoes. They have been difficult to pair with a nice pair of trousers because the swoosh always made them look like a sneaker. The designers at Nike have done a great job, though, incorporating the branding into the Lunar Claytons and with the overall styling of the shoe.
Nike may claim that the inspiration for the Lunar Claytons came from Florence, but they have a striking resemblance to the Cole Haan LunarGrands (above) that are already in my closet. (Keep in mind that Nike owned Cole Haan until early this year and frequently incorporated its Air and Lunarlon technology into Cole Haan shoes.) Maybe that’s why I like these so much.
Nike Lunar Control Shoes $160
Pick a color, any color should be theme for Nike’s range of Lunar Control shoes in 2014. Colors such as Venom Green, Military Blue and Challenge Red radiate from a mix of white and black full grain-leather uppers and highlight Nike’s Lunarlon cushioning system. According to Nike, more of its players choose Lunar Controls over any other style and it is easy to see why. They are highly versatile and will appeal to a wide range of players.
GolfThreads’ Take: No huge surprises here, unless you we’re expecting a molded spike version. The Lunar Controls have been a cornerstone of Nike’s golf shoe lineup for the past few years. While Nike highlights the Lunarlon cushioning, the Flywire technology in the Lunar Controls plays an integral part in the comfort and performance of the shoe, as well. I have Flywire in several pairs of running shoes and it really adds support through the mid-foot area while eliminating weight. If you prefer athletic-looking shoes on the course, then the Lunar Controls should be on your short list.