The Style Report

    Style Insider: Nike shakes up golf fashion

    Brand unveils new footwear, polos and tights for spring

  • Nike Golf's new collection features radical new footwear, polos with re-imagined collars, and legwear that bridges the gap between the gym and the course. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)Nike Golf's new collection features radical new footwear, polos with re-imagined collars, and legwear that bridges the gap between the gym and the course. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)

Can you feel it? Change is in the air. Disruptive technologies, companies and business models are challenging the status quo. Dollar Shave Club has changed the way we buy razor blades, Uber has altered the way we hitch rides, and Airbnb has transformed the way we travel.

Now, Nike Golf is aiming to disrupt the golf fashion establishment with the launch of a new capsule collection that pushes the boundaries of both style and function. Nike’s new progressive collection features radical footwear, polos with re-imagined collars and modern fits, and legwear that bridges the gap between the gym and the course.

The showcase piece in Nike’s new collection is the ankle-high Flyknit Chukka golf shoe, which plays into the high-top shoe craze. Nike’s Flyknit Chukka was originally created in 2013 as part of a collaboration between Nike CEO and designer Mark Parker, legendary Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield and streetwear style icon Hiroshi Fujiwara. It then began trending on the streets after appearing on the feet of numerous medal-winning athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

At a distance, the Flyknit Chukka is simple and clean, but an up-close look reveals every detail of this revolutionary technology. Through a state-of-the-art manufacturing process, designers are able to micro-engineer every stitch of the shoe to create a featherweight, form-fitting, one-piece upper. Not to mention, the process is more sustainable as it reduces manufacturing waste and materials. Quite simply, these aren’t your grandfather’s brogues or your dad’s saddle shoes.

Golf-specific tweaks have allowed Nike to bring the street-savvy Flyknit Chukka to the fairways this spring, and along with it, a fresh take on the modern golf shoe. A Nike Free-inspired sole unit with powerful traction elements in the toe and heel provides enhanced grip, even for TOUR-level swing speeds. The upper is skinned with a thin TPU layer for water resistance to protect against light showers and early morning dew, and Nike’s Flywire technology has been integrated to offer foot support.

Rory McIlroy wore Nike's new Flyknit Chukka shoes on Wednesday at the Northern Trust Open. (Jonathan Wall/PGATOUR.COM)

PGA TOUR players Patrick Rodgers, Jamie Lovemark and Kevin Tway have already been spotted rockin’ the Flyknit Chukka during the West Coast Swing, and Rory McIlroy, above, had them on at the Northern Trust Open on Wednesday. The shoes are now available at retail in two colorways (black/white and racer blue/white).

Nike’s progressive looks for 2016 extend well beyond footwear. A new range of polos features contemporary cuts and revolutionary collar designs.

The MM Fly Blade Polo fuses Nike’s edgy blade collar with a refined fit for an incredibly sleek and modern look. For this polo, Nike has created a more tailored fit through the chest, a slight taper through the body, and shorter and narrower sleeves. Even though the fit is more streamlined, a single knit circular jacquard performance fabric and ergonomic seams allow for natural movement and maximized range of motion. That being said, the real eye-catching detail on this polo is the futuristic collar. It is unlike any collar we have seen in golf fashion to date. The minimalist design is crisp and clean, and the shape triggers memories of vintage baseball jackets.

“I wanted a great fitting polo. I wanted something I could pull on at the beginning of my round and not think about again until after the last putt,” said Rory McIlroy. “When they finally let me try their prototype polo, I thought: this is it! I really didn't want to give it back."

Look for Rory in the MM Fly Blade Polo this Spring, especially when he tees it up at the Masters.

Joining the MM Fly Blade Polo is the MM Fly Roll Polo with a similar tailored fit, Dri-FIT fabric and ergonomic design. With this polo, Nike introduces a fresh take on the classic shawl collar. The minimalist design, combined with the snap placket, creates a clean and polished look, and the touch of cotton makes this a perfect transition piece from the course to the street.

With its new collection, Nike is putting a twist on golf polos and shoes, but it is also introducing a new piece of apparel to the game – tights. And you thought joggers were a disruptive look.

Runners, basketball players and football players have turned to tights for performance and recovery benefits. While PGA TOUR players are not allowed to wear tights in competition, their inclusion in Nike Golf's collection shows how players are seamlessly moving from the gym to the course on off-weeks, and also how they view themselves as athletes.

"I absolutely love wearing the tights when I practice and workout,” said Scott Pinckney. “I feel more athletic and my legs always feel better after I practice when I wear them.”

There is no doubt that Nike’s capsule collection is taking golf fashion in a new, more modern direction. Look for it in retail stores now.

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