Sneaker heads rejoice. 🙌🙌🙌 Another iconic Nike silhouette is coming to the fairways.
During Wednesday’s practice round and Thursday’s first round at The Players Championship, Rory McIlroy sported the Air Max 90 IT, a golf-specific version of Nike’s classic Air Max 90 shoe.Embed from Getty Images
The Air Max 90, originally created by renowned Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, has inspired numerous offshoot designs, and Rory’s Air Max 90 IT is the latest. In order to transform this classic shoe into a high performance option for the course, Nike designers made several golf-specific tweaks. Most notably, the iconic visible Air Sole unit on the Air Max has been exchanged for a full-length Phylon midsole. Nike’s Zoom Air technology has been added to the forefoot area for lightweight, responsive cushioning. In addition, the waterproof, one-piece bootie construction of the upper keeps the foot dry and locked in.
It also appears that McIlroy is sporting a custom version of the Air Max 90 IT. The retail version is equipped with a rubber outsole and Nike’s spikeless Integrated Traction system, which allows golfers to wear the shoe both on and off the course. Rory’s version, though, is outfitted with a 7-cleat outsole, presumably for an increased level of traction. (Hey, when your swing speed tops out north of 120 mph, you need all the traction you can get.)
Look for the Nike Air Zoom 90 IT to be available in the black/white colorway on May 13th (that’s tomorrow, people!) and in white/black on June 1.
Rory followed the trend set earlier this year by Rickie Fowler, and then followed by Adam Scott, by pairing the new Air Zoom 90 IT with joggers. Very little is known about Nike’s joggers at this point, but you can bet that they will be available at retail very soon. Puma’s long-awaited joggers will be hitting stores in the coming weeks, and the Swoosh doesn’t like to be anything but first to market with new styles and technologies. (Remember, the Nike Flyknit Chukka golf shoes hit the retail shelves a couple of months ago, while Puma’s IGNITE Hi-Tops are expected to arrive in early June.)
I’ve been wearing Nike shoes since I was a 5-year old Nerf hoop legend. (Yeah, that was a long time ago.) I’ve laced up Air Forces, Air Jordans, Roshes, Flyknits, Lunaracers, even Tiempo and Mercurial soccer boots, but I’ve never been a fan of the Air Max 90s. I know this is blasphemous to all the sneaker heads out there, but they’ve always looked a bit clunky to me, and Rory’s Air Max 90 ITs look equally clunky. Thanks, Nike, but I’ll stick with the Lunar Controls for now.
As for the joggers, I just don’t see Rory as the jogger type. Rickie can pull them off, but I’m not sure anyone else on Tour can. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Adam Scott.) Besides, Rory’s are too baggy through the lower leg. Rickie’s joggers are very slim and well tapered below the knee, which is one reason why they work for him.