with midday temperatures pushing 95°F (35°C) and humidity soaring above 50 percent, many of the world’s greatest tennis players have been struggling with the extreme conditions at this year’s US open. while wet towels have previously been donned to keep body temperatures down, this year marks the debut of a new item of tennis equipment — the cooling vest. designed by NIKE, the zip-up garment has been engineered to reduce stress on the body caused by high heat and humidity.

NIKE cooling vest
rafael nadal wears a new NIKE cooling vest during practice at flushing meadows



the prototype was born in the NIKE sport research lab through tests on the relationship between body temperature and athlete performance. researchers found that roughly 25 percent of energy used during exercise goes toward moving muscle, and the remaining 75 percent becomes heat that increases body temperature and hinders player performance. ‘anything that can help with this heat is a benefit,’ says the competition’s defending champion rafael nadal.

NIKE cooling vest
the vest is designed to reduce stress on the body caused by high heat and humidity



the customizable vest has four removable cooling packs that cover maximum surface area across the front and back of the torso. NIKE says that the vest is capable of quickly reducing body temperature — sometimes within only two to three minutes. the garment, which is both lightweight and form-fitting, can be worn during warm-ups before matches, between games, and during rest periods. ‘this vest gives me relief in all the places I need it. every area of the vest was designed with players in mind,’ adds nadal, who is competing to win his fourth US open title.