Serena Williams just one Wimbledon, completing her Serena Slam, and making history as the oldest winning player. To celebrate she took to the dance floor with fellow men’s winner, Novak Djokovic to resurrect a Wimbledon tradition at the Wimbledon Champions’ Ball.
Timed with her big wins. the tennis star is releasing a version of her custom-made Nike shoes for everyone to buy. The name is NikeCourt Flare, may have helped the champ complete her “Serena Slam.”
The shoes are $200 and offer a lot of stability to users. “At the time, I was having issues rolling my ankle,” Williams says. “So I wanted to create a shoe that would give me a lot of stability and make me a better player.”
Interestingly, it was a mix of the ancient martial art Kung Fu and Kobe Bryant’s collection of KOBE Signature shoes that helped inspire the shoes. Aaron Cooper, the designer of the NikeCourt Flare, led the design team in the Nike Innovation Kitchen. This is a secret area where the team is able to brainstorm and invent their products.
“…She (Williams) needed something that would really work with her as a second skin,” Cooper said. This is where the Kung Fu comes in. By working with a Kung Fu master, the team was able to study his limitless mobility and realize the product essentially needed to be an extension of her body, according to Cooper.
The unique design for the tennis shoe might even be the first of it’s kind and according to Nike “signals the next generation of tennis footwear.” It’s boot-like structure featuring a neoprene ankle cuff gave Williams the feeling of stability she was looking for, which meant more confidence on the court. “Mentally, when you have something around your ankle, you don’t think about it turning as much,” Williams said.
“We obsessed every millimeter in the NikeCourt Flare because millimeters translate to milliseconds in sport,” Cooper says. “And for Serena, milliseconds can be the difference between just getting the ball over the net and hitting a winner.” Williams had no trouble at all beating Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4 on July 9, her 17th win against the Russian athlete since 2004.
ESPN will have complete coverage of Wimbledon 2015 starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow against 21-year-old Spanish player Garbine Muguruza. If Williams gets the win, she will have her 21st major.