If you haven’t been keeping your eyes on Nike lately, you might have missed the unveiling of their most creative and original shoe design yet. It’s called the Nike Flyknit Racer, and prepare for them to be flying off the shelves faster than the Olympians who will be wearing them. In addition to the …
If you haven’t been keeping your eyes on Nike lately, you might have missed the unveiling of their most creative and original shoe design yet. It’s called the Nike Flyknit Racer, and prepare for them to be flying off the shelves faster than the Olympians who will be wearing them.
In addition to the gorgeous minimalistic design, there is so much more to this shoe than meets the eye. It is completely new, imploring minimal waste use with fabrics. The Flyknit uses new technology on a machine that automatically knits the complete upper part of the shoe in a single piece before attaching it to the tongue and the sole. That basically means that the normal thirty seven pieces needed to make a standard Nike running shoe are cut down to just two. Maybe I should leave it to Nike to describe it best:
An additional environmentally sustainable benefit to Nike Flyknit is that it reduces waste because the one-piece upper does not use the multiple materials and material cuts used in traditional sports footwear manufacture. Nike Flyknit is truly a minimalist design with maximum return. NIKE embarked on a four-year mission of micro-engineering static properties into pliable materials. It required teams of programmers, engineers and designers to create the proprietary technology needed to create the knit upper.
The next steps were to map out where the specific yarn and knit structures were needed. Applying 40 years of knowledge from working with runners, NIKE refined the precise placement of support, flexibility and breathability – all in one layer. The result is precision engineering in its purest form, performance on display. Every element has a purpose: resulting in one of the lightest, best fitting running shoes NIKE has ever made.
Good design and unique technology don’t come easy or cheap though. The shoe is officially released in July, and will be priced at $150. Obviously it is more expensive than a normal runner’s shoe, but if it holds up to everything it is touting, it will be worth it. The shoe is pushing the norm, and I’m all for supporting that.
The Flyknit Racer shoe and technology has one of the most unique and expansive stories to tell in Nike’s history. I’m willing to bet with four years of R&D on the technology and shoe, we’ve only heard a little bit of the story. It’s so easy sometimes to see a polished finished product, and forget how much time, effort, and dedication went into it. Nike could have just kept spitting out a shoe with a slight design change, maybe some new colors, and the same old materials. Instead, they decided (years ago) to go back to the drawing board, to the founding question of, “How should a runner’s shoe be made?”. The ability to make this shoe wasn’t possible, so Nike decided that they would make it possible. Or as I like to imagine, a Nike manager saying to a pessimistic engineer, “Damnit, I don’t care that the technology doesn’t exist, the resources aren’t available, or the capability isn’t possible…Just Do It!”.