When you have one of the most powerful golf swings on the planet you need to make sure your feet are firmly anchored to the ground.
For Rory McIlroy, his choice of golf shoe plays a major part in allowing him to operate at the very highest level, and as a Nike player he has a partner whose focus is on continual innovation with the goal of making everything better to allow their athletes to perform at their best.
The result. The Nike Lunar Control 3 golf shoe.
The rotating force of McIlroy's swing makes stability and control from the ground up critical and the Northern Irishman challenged Nike's designers to produce a shoe that provides better traction, prevents slipping and gives the control needed to generate power and speed through the ball.
Carl Madore, Nike Golf Innovation Design Lead explained the process they went through:
Rory worked with us to increase the stability of the shoe. To achieve that, we not only added a spike, but also brought the traction to the outside of the leading edges of the shoe to create that stable base. In the past we had a lot of spikes a little bit inboard and we really wanted to focus on bringing them to the perimeter to leverage that stability piece.
The extra spike is located under the big toe, or in the medial forefoot for anatomists, on the outsole of the shoe and is complemented by what Nike call 'secondary traction elements' that add to the grip.
The Lunar Control 3 has a wide base for extra stability that allows the player to maintain contact with the ground for as long as possible through impact and is complemented by the carbon fibre midfoot shank that is lighter, lower to the ground and gives more stable control.
This lower profile is something that really appeals to Rory McIlroy:
I love the look of the shoe and how much lower to the ground it makes me feel. With the increased traction and stability, I am able to be more aggressive with my swing and do not have to worry about slipping.
The stability of the Lunar Control 3 is added to by the Flywire technology we have seen in previous Nike golf shoes. This supports the foot laterally and the robust cables help to secure the foot effectively within the shoe.
Madore explains why this is so important to players like McIlroy:
It is the Nike Flywire in conjunction with the extra traction that help athletes maintain control. With Rory, he creates so much torque that we are leveraging the Flywire in the midfoot to contain his foot. It is basically the symbiotic relationship between the outsole and the Flywire that is the key to the whole design of the Nike Lunar Control 3.
All of the elements of the Lunar Control 3 are made from lightweight materials for comfort during the round with a full-length Nike Lunarlon foam in the midsole providing responsive cushioning.
The upper is constructed from a microfibre synthetic that is water resistant and hard wearing and ensures a great fit for the foot without any need to break the shoes in.
Fans of McIlroy can get the shoe in the distinctive white and volt colour scheme, that features in Nike's Vapor range of metalwoods and irons, in an exclusive six day online sale from November 28th before the shoe reaches the shops early in 2015. The Lunar Control 3 will also be available for customisation through the NIKEiD programme.