NIKE: free flyknit running shoes
all images courtesy NIKE
this week, designboom was in portland, oregon to attend the 2013 NIKE innovation summit, as the brand unveiled the new NIKE free flyknit running shoes.
men’s free flyknit running shoes
sean mcdowell, creative director of NIKE running told us more about the new shoe:
DB: please could you explain the concept behind free flyknit?
NIKE free flyknit is an expression of natural performance principles, combining a supportive, sock-like upper and a flexible midsole and outsole that move with the body. the compression fit brings the foot closer to the sole for better lockdown and propulsion.
this shoe is about enhancing what nature gave us – humans were ‘designed’ to run on soft terrain but now most running is done on hard surfaces, this shoe feels so light and so well cushioned it’s as close to running in a sock as you can get – so to your mind your feet feel ‘free’ – but it also provides all the support you need.
men’s NIKE free flyknit running shoes
DB: how does this shoe follow on from your recent innovations in running shoes?
SM: it’s another example of a continuing trend in running – where the equipment be it shoes or apparel are moving with the body. we used to put more things on shoes to give you support and stability and now we are freeing things up. new materials like flyknit and flywire allow us to strip away anything that’s unnecessary and keep the shoe simple in terms of the number of parts.’
DB: how long does the design process take?
SM: there is a research period where we meet with athletes and review what they think of our existing footwear – we listen to what they tell us and study how they perform using our equipment. from this feedback and observations we get to work. then there is about an eighteen-month period before the shoe goes to market. with this product we had time to take a look at the success of the previous free range and the support offered by flyknit and really develop something that raises the bar. we went through fifteen final iterations of this shoe before we settled on this design.
flyknit detail – men’s
men’s NIKE free flyknit – detail sole + flyknit stitching
NIKE flyknit upper
a new, more compressive NIKE flyknit construction in the shoe upper secures the runner’s foot to the shoe platform. the unique zoned performance mapping pattern of the NIKE flyknit upper is derived from insights on how pressure is exerted on the top of the foot. NIKE sport research lab scientists employed pressure-mapping technology to locate stress areas, and designers used the data to inform the new upper. zones on the top of the foot have engineered stretch built to enable natural flex, while a tighter weave at the perimeter stabilizes the forefoot and heel. additionally, elasticized construction fits securely around the ankle for a comfortable, secure fit. by knitting a one-piece upper, NIKE flyknit construction reduces NIKE’s typical upper waste by an average of 88 percent.
NIKE free flyknit: inside the design
video courtesy of inside NIKE running
installation showing the sole’s flexibity
image © designboom
NIKE free platform
the advanced NIKE flyknit upper sits atop a NIKE free+ 5.0 midsole, which lies in the middle of the NIKE free spectrum, providing mid-range cushioning. (on a scale or 1-10, 1 is akin to running barefoot and 10 is comparable to a traditional running shoe.) the articulated NIKE free sole is flexible and moves naturally with the foot. diagonal hot-knifed sipes (strategically-engineered flex grooves) through the arch help ensure natural movement in the mid-foot as a runner transitions stride.
the NIKE free flyknit comes on the heels of decades of biomechanics research and design exploration with the intent of providing the best run possible. the breakthrough combination of a compressive NIKE flyknit upper with a highly flexible NIKE free midsole and outsole adds up to a running shoe that delivers a more natural ride, amplifying athletes’ ability to move quickly and comfortably over distance.
the NIKE free flyknit costs 160USD and will be available globally from august 1st.
it can be pre-ordered at NIKE.com/freeflyknit.