Thursday, August 8, 2013
Designers and engineers in the Nike Sport Research Lab as well as members of Nike’s Advanced Innovation Team recently took a look at how a runner’s body responds to motion, weight and thermal properties. As a result, the Beaverton, Ore.–based sports apparel and footwear giant introduced several new running technologies and “nature-amplified” innovations designed to be natural extensions of the athlete’s body.
RUN WITH IT: Nike’s Dri-FIT Knit fabrics are engineered to keep runners cool. The company’s Free Fly-knit sneakers feature a knitted one-piece upper for a secure fit and natural flex.
“Nature Amplified means designing for bodies in motion and creating incredible new products that work intuitively with the human body,” said Trevor Edwards, Nike brand president. “The footwear and apparel we’ve unveiled … is based on insights from athletes and runners at every level, combined with extensive research in our Sport Research Lab. These innovations are data-driven but body-led.”
For apparel, Nike Aeroloft and Dri-FIT fabricsare designed to assimilate to the body’s adaption to temperature change in a variety of weather conditions. Nike Aeroloft is featured in the Nike Aeroloft 800 Vest, an outerlayer, perforated down garment designed to keep runners warm and insulated. The runner’s movement stimulates ventilation in the vest, allowing heat to escape the body and ensuring that the athlete stays dry. Retail priced at $180, the Nike Aeroloft 800 Vest will be available beginning Sept. 1.
Nike Dri-FIT fabrics are also designed to help keep athletes dry in a variety of temperatures. The company introduced three new fabrications, including Nike Dri-FIT Knit, a soft, lightweight fabric that incorporates different knit patterns for stretch and cooling; Nike Dri-FIT Touch, a featherweight fabric that provides a breezy coolness for hot conditions; and Nike Dri-FIT Wool, a lambswool/polyester blend that provides warmth but, unlike pure wool, does not absorb sweat and dries much faster, according to the company.
Focus on feet
For footwear, Nike’s Free Flyknit features a combination of the Nike Flyknit upper and Nike Free outsole to create what the company describes as a barefoot-like flexibility and a support that holds the foot in place. The shoe was designed to flex while the foot is in motion while the upper features a second-skin fit for foot support.
Nike Sport Research Lab scientists used pressure-mapping technology to identify stress areas, which designers applied to create the sock-like upper. The upper has extra stretch over the top of the foot to ensure a natural flex and a more-constricted construction at the perimeter to stabilize the forefoot and heel. The shoe is elasticized around the ankle for a comfortable, secure fit. Additionally, the company said the knitted one-piece construction reduces fabric waste over a typical upper by an average of 88 percent.
The Flyknit upper rests on a Nike Free + 5.0 midsole, which featured “strategically engineered flex grooves” placed at the arch to ensure natural motion for the runner.
Nike Free Flyknit retails for $160 and is currently available globally.
The newly designed Free Hyperfeel was made to feel like an extension of the foot with fewer shoe parts. Coined the “low-profile” shoe, the Free Hyperfeel provides lining and protection in only essential areas. The insole contains Lunarlon cushioning, which provides a connective layer between foot and outsole. An ultra-thin protective outsole uses waffle pistons for grip to hone in on key pressure points.
The Nike Free Hyperfeel will retail for $175 at Nike stores in the U.S., U.K. and Japan beginning Sept. 5.
“Nike Free Hyperfeel has fewer total shoe parts and places the foot directly on top of responsive Lunarlon foam,” said Tony Bignell, vice president of Nike footwear innovation. “The shoe acts as extension of the foot and delivers a natural motion sensation for the runner.”
Find more information visit www.nike.com.