In tennis, the difference between winning and losing hinges, literally, on a player’s ankles and wrists.
Just ask Serena Williams. After 20 major singles championships, the 33-year-old veteran is virtually indomitable. But even Williams has voiced fears about repeating the ankle injuries she incurred in recent years, which had the potential to slow her astounding 86% win record.
It was at this moment of vulnerability that Williams teamed up with Nike innovator Aaron Cooper to design a new breed of tennis shoe, using Ariaprene® foam to create a game-changing form of ankle support.
The NikeCourt Flare is a lightweight tennis shoe with a form-fitting Ariaprene® ankle cuff. With its elastic, breathable fit and its quick recovery and response, the Ariaprene® cuff melds intuitively with the NikeCourt Flare’s minimalist design, reminiscent of Nike’s legendary Kobe series. The cuff extends into a secondary bootie inside the shoe, providing integrated ankle support from the ground up.
In an interview with Nike.com, Williams credits the Ariaprene® cuff for giving her greater confidence and physical awareness. “Mentally,” says Williams, “when you have something around your ankle, it kind of feels like it has more balance on it.”
This sense of balance comes from the kung fu principle of “unencumbered flexibility,” an idea that inspired Cooper to reach out to Ariaprene® for the NikeCourt Flare’s cuff design.
“This cuff,” says Cooper, “enables the shoe to be more connected to you mentally, so you are more aware of what is on your foot, and this becomes more an extension of your own personal self.”
Watch the full interview with Serena Williams and Aaron Cooper below, and discover the NikeCourt Flare at the Nike online store.