5 Questions for Nike’s Tom Rushbrook

Nike Golf senior footwear designer Tom Rushbrook knows what it’s like to want to wear the shoes of his favorite athletes, and now the athletes are wearing his Nike Lunar Control.

“I’m pretty big into soccer,” said the U.K. native. “That’s how I was when I was a kid: I would see the soccer guys wearing a product, and I immediately wanted to go out and buy the same thing.”

The $190 shoe will be available in the U.K. on July 11 on Onlinegolf.co.uk and in the U.S. on July 13 on Nikestore.com. Nike Golf athletes, including Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover, Justin Leonard, Francesco Molinari and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, will sport the shoes at The Open Championship on July 11-17.

Here, Rushbrook discusses his part in the design of the limited-edition shoe.

1. What was the inspiration behind the Nike Lunar Control Shoe?
“The main inspiration was to bring ultimate performance lightweight [design] to the product. The entire shoe uses the idea of stability, comfort and traction. [We took] all the elements of traditional golf shoes and packaged them into a lightweight structure.”

2. Aside from its lightweight features, how is the Lunar Control different from other Nike designs?
“[It’s] a very forward-thinking product for Nike Golf. It’s a first for us. It uses two of Nike’s biggest concepts: the Lunar cushioning you see in the running shoes in the heel, and Nike Flywire, [a strong thread used on the upper for its lightness and strength].”

3. British golfer Paul Casey contributed to the design. What was his involvement?
“He’s a big time sneakerhead. He’s a very open and technically savvy kind of guy. He worked with us to basically [create] what he needs out of a shoe. Paul Casey has been our biggest ambassador for the product. We worked with him to get the actual shoe [completed] so it works on a core level.”

4. Why is it important to get the Nike athletes involved in the launch?
“The reason we [get them involved] is to bring recognition to the brand and to the athletes. They choose [what to wear] themselves in some ways. Tiger Woods has his own range of products in Nike Golf. But for everybody else, it’s the way they play their game. The Lunar Control is a very fresh and new product, so A) these guys need to be willing to wear it, and B) it needs to actually speak to their style of play.

5. How did your background influence your design?
“The actual pack was derived from the tradition of the golf game and the tradition of English tailoring. I looked at the patent, shiny leather on this season’s dress shoes, at herringbone quills of tailor-made [shoes], at the hand-finished stitching. … It’s not over-the-top with color, but it’s got a lot of material execution. It’s something that you need to get close to [in order] to [understand] the work that’s gone into the product. But from afar, you still see a very stylish, traditional-looking shoe. Without being the new kid on the block [or] being a little bit rebellious, it’s still very traditional.”

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