March 16, 2016

Nike Evolves Basketball Uniforms Beyond a Jersey and Short

Pioneering Nike Vapor basketball uniforms impose a new order on the court by pairing progressive knit jerseys and shorts featuring Nike AeroSwift technology with innovative base layers to minimize game-time distractions and maximize performance.

The system is anchored by basketball-specific base layer options, including arm sleeves, padded compression gear and knee sleeves, which together wick sweat from the skin, providing a feeling of protection and compression, and keeping the players’ arms and legs warm off-court.

Designed to interact with the base layer but not cling, the lightweight, tailored jersey features stretch knit with engineered mesh as determined by extensive sweat-mapping studies.

The short also introduces a FlyVent waistband that addresses the discomfort of traditional basketball waistbands via a new manufacturing process that combines two types of knit mesh into one highly secure, breathable band. This is matched to a hybrid of engineered knit mesh in the back and a hydrophobic four-way stretch woven fabric in the front. Additionally, the front of the shorts features a mobility vent. Placed specifically where basketball players need it most, based on their five key movements, it reveals a flash of tights as athletes move. The result is a 35% more breathable kit than that worn in 2012.

Moving down the body, designers further reduced distraction with the Nike Elite Versatility basketball sock. A 360-degree ankle-support system, dynamic arch compression, anatomical design and footpad cushioning add to the comfort and locked-in feel of the sock, while Dri-FIT fabric wicks away moisture and increases breathability.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits provided by Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift technology, the women’s kits take fit to the next level with two distinct jersey and short silhouettes that, regardless of their pairing, create a consistent team look. Designed in direct response to athlete insight, one jersey features a standard armhole whereas the other features a larger one, allowing for a range of athletes to find their perfect fit. Female players are then able to select between two pairs of shorts: one pair with traditional waistband placement and one pair with a shorter rise, for those who prefer to wear their shorts at their hips.

National Teams, including United States, Brasil, Spain and China, debut Nike Vapor Basketball Uniforms with AeroSwift technology for 2016. Each uniform’s respective aesthetic captures the energy of Rio and Brasil’s dramatic nature via the common theme of exploded, vivid color, which extends the respective country’s national palette with rich saturated hues and vibrant neons. Individual details reveal each country’s culture and history at the same time iridescent mesh numbers and names, which appear and disappear as athletes move, take inspiration from beetle wings.

Sustainable Innovation

Nike Vapor uniforms with AeroSwift technology have been partially constructed from recycled polyester, which is rendered from plastic bottles to produce fine yarn. Since 2010, more than three billion plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills and converted into recycled polyester for Nike performance products. 

June 28, 2016

New Spike Prepares Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for Historical Race

The 100 meters, for all its brevity, is best understood as a series of moments. Sprint experts break the event into three phases — drive, maximum velocity and maintenance. Sprinters tackle these phases through either a stride-rate or stride-length approach, meaning some sprinters are superb off the blocks; others, expert at catching pace deep in the dash. The rare runner who can master all phases breaks records.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a prototypical stride-rate runner. Her game is bolting to the lead (maximum velocity) and then fighting (maintenance) to keep her position through to the finish. Standing at just 5 feet 1 inch, Fraser-Pryce offsets her lack of leg length with an unprecedented technical command of the race. That mastery has won her three world titles, along with gold in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Yet, for all her success, she’s not lost sight of a personal goal: shaving one tenth of a second off her best race time.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at Nike's NSRL (Nike Sports Research Lab).

That goal brings us back to moments. Fraser-Pryce knows she’s unbeatable through 70 meters. But between that point in the race and 80 meters is when she’s got to battle to maintain her lead. It’s there, within the minutiae of the 100-meter dash, that the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite story begins — the place where a cross-functional Nike team (designers, engineers, scientists, runners and more) dug into the performance possibilities of a sprint spike.

The Nike NSRL team observing Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce train in Italy.

The team examined why Fraser-Pryce felt fatigue at this stage. They captured data to measure her speed off the blocks and on the track — further defining her stride characteristics. With this information, they fixated on propulsion and a vital feature of any great running tool: energy return. To optimize that coveted rebound off the track (pushing Fraser-Pryce past fatigue), the group sought to deliver the ideal plate stiffness for the sprinter’s power and foot size.

An early iteration of the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite, signed by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, with a 3D-printed outsole.

Another early iteration of the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite, signed by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, with a 3D-printed outsole painted gold.

The unlimited colorway of the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite.

The outsole of the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite, made using computational design inspired by ocean organisms.

Their first cues came from nature, with ocean organisms providing a geometrical structural that was both light and stiff. Computational design and rapid 3-D prototyping next allowed for a pace of testing fitting of the 100 meters itself: The team quickly produced an array of plates yielding a comprehensive understanding of how much and where stiffness suited Fraser-Pryce’s needs. Additionally, the process allowed the above-mentioned organic structures to commune with the natural motion of the foot, leading to the creation of a spike plate that eliminated traditional screw-in spikes in favor of fixed pins and an increase of secondary traction. This ensures the foot is closer to the track and, thus, faster off it. Add all the advances together and Fraser-Pryce is moving quicker, for longer, and getting incrementally closer to her next personal best.

The beauty of the design doesn’t end with Fraser-Pryce’s times or the plate’s bewitching aesthetic. Thanks to its method of creation, scaling the innovation to meet the individual needs of runners of all sizes, and distances, is not only feasible, it’s fast. 

June 28, 2016

Nike’s First Law of Speed

Newton’s Third Law of Motion makes a compelling case: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, which means that an athlete’s speed is the sum of their applied force and the effect of the opposing force upon them. In the case of a runner’s pace, that contrasting agent is aerodynamic drag: the force that acts on any moving solid body in the direction of the fluid free-stream flow. Nike’s new symbiotic track and field speed system — customizable to the event and athlete — is expressly engineered to reduce that drag and maximize effort.

At the base of the system are the company’s track spikes and Nike Vapor track and field kits, which minimize weight via Nike AeroSwift technology featuring recycled polyester. The kit’s four-way stretch knit with breathable, engineered mesh also integrates Nike AeroBlades: formed nodes that channel air around the athlete, resulting in the greatest drag reduction of any Nike track and field kit to date.

As far back as 1996, scientists and aerodynamicists in the NSRL (Nike Sports Research Lab) had theorized that applying textures to a runner could drop aerodynamic drag. They debuted this exploration in Sydney in 2000 with the original Nike Swift Suit and continuously evolved the technology, leading to the introduction of nylon flocking, which appeared on the company’s sprint apparel in London 2012. The flocking was effective, but nowhere near as efficient as AeroBlades, which elevate Nike Swift technology to a new level.

Mo Farah wearing the Nike AeroSwift Bib at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic.

Omar McLeod wearing Nike AeroSwift Tape and an AeroSwift Bib at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic.

In addition to incorporating AeroBlades into track and field kits, designers have created leg and arm sleeves with strategically situated AeroBlades. They also took cues from another item common to athlete bags: elastic therapeutic tape, applying AeroBlades to anatomically shaped, adhesive patches.

To identify the areas of highest wind resistance and inform the ideal placement of the AeroBlades, the designers turned to wind-tunnel testing on mannequins the same shape and size as the company’s various track and field athletes. The multi-disciplinary results were integrated into the comprehensive Nike AeroSwift Tape kit. Complete with event-specific placement instructions that aim to cut a measurable podium-making fraction of a second from sprinters’ times and multiple seconds from marathon runners’ records, it provides athletes with performance options that they can customize to their personal preference, based on respective events and conditions.

Nike AeroSwift Tape application instructions.

The fidelity of the AeroBlade shape is critical to its performance — the little point is where the magic happens.

These marked aerodynamic advances, in turn, shone the spotlight on one greatly underserved kit aspect: the track and field bib. Traditionally attached with a safety pin, an invention dating back to 1849, the flopping paper bib is a physical and visual foil to Nike’s progressive, streamlined system. It creates drag and distraction — plus, modern track and field kits barely possess enough area for pinning.

Nike AeroSwift Bib

Taking inspiration from the AeroSwift Tape, designers engineered a single, perforated, breathable micro-layer knit, the Nike AeroSwift Bib, that can affix directly onto the kit, forming a seamless, stretchable layer that moves with the body. It can withstand a marathon’s worth of weather and wear, but still easily peel off at the end of the race.

Nike next applied the same lens of lightweight speed and precision directly to its lenses. Conventionally worn by athletes who desire sun protection or don’t want competitors to see their eyes, on-track eyewear is more often noted for its look, than its attention to aerodynamic drag.

But Nike touts a strong no-compromise design philosophy, so it set out to create an unprecedented eyewear style that underscores its commitment to a holistic speed system while making an aesthetic impact. To inform its efforts, the company looked to its master teacher of the season: nature, taking inspiration from the lightweight, flexible strength and structure of tendons.

These lessons, combined with extensive design studies — focused on gestural lines that expressed the visual language of speed — and more wind-tunnel testing, led to the development of the Nike Wing: a single-body curved sun shield that extends the traditional lens to eliminate hinges. The disruptive glasses also incorporate fractal cuts and a peaked middle “speed crease” to enhance aerodynamic flow.

The Nike Wing will be available August 5 at nike.com.

To realize the unexpected design, however, required an entirely new material mix and method of creation — because a single-body glass had never been made before and the nylon mix traditionally used for eyewear wouldn’t suffice. To meet these unique challenges, Nike turned to field experts: VSP Global’s eyewear design and innovation lab, The Shop, and optical lens specialist ZEISS.

Using rapid 3D prototyping to accelerate a potentially five-year process into approximately 20 months, the group perfected each piece of the design, including an adaptable silicone nosepiece and back band (which comes in two sizes) for a comfortable, secure, moisture-resistant fit. There is also a ventilated silicone brow-bar that allows for maximum airflow, to reduce fogging.

True to its name, the Nike Wing weighs four grams less than an average piece of eyewear and touches the face and head in fewer places. The design’s final touch comes from the lens surface, which features Nike’s Speed Tint to reduce glare while allowing all red light, which has a calming effect on the body, to enter the eye. It is finished with a silver flash — a word Nike hopes will also describe the velocity its athletes achieve with the assistance of its unprecedented speed system.

Nike’s holistic "system of performance" philosophy is applied to all Nike Vapor Kits, including this summer’s basketball uniforms and football kits.

Commitment to Sustainability

Flyknit technology engineers every stitch of a shoe upper to deliver maximum performance while producing 60% less waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods. Since 2012, the technology has reduced nearly three and a half million pounds of waste. At this summer's competition, more athletes than ever before will be wearing Nike Flyknit.

Approximately 71% of Nike footwear and apparel products contain recycled materials, in everything from apparel trims to soccer kits to Flyknit yarns. For example, since 2010, Nike has transformed more than three billion plastic bottles into recycled polyester for use in Nike performance products. Learn more about Nike Grind, a palette of premium recycled and regenerated materials, here.

June 28, 2016

Shades of Unlimited

At Nike, the phrase “be a sponge” is often bantered about. Mark Parker, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc., has noted the eyes-open mandate as a habit he picked up as a child, when he would take long walks with his grandmother and soak up the natural world — plants and rocks, seeds and bugs. This attentive observation is shared by Nike designers, who consciously connect to the world around them. They interact with athletes, view art and travel the globe to activate their imaginations and inform their creations — a dynamic blend of influences that has recently taken on a vivid tone.

Artwork by Christopher Marley from "Pheromone."

In anticipation of the summer’s competitions, the company’s color design team first considered the flow of the body in motion. Imagining athletes’ travel then directed their minds to tropical rainforests and the fauna that thrives in the environment: birds, with their attention-grabbing, color-shifting feathers; beetles, with their futuristic shining shells. Absorbing these inspirations prompted an exploration of artwork. The designers pored over images and films of birds in flight, close-ups of their iridescent wings and insects arranged like precious jewels.

These colorful influences ring out into the company’s vibrant summer palette, led by Nike’s new signature unlimited colorway and extending to its exploration of national shades, which broaden traditional flag tones to both their brightest and their deepest extremes.

Artwork from "D&AD13."

Artwork by Andrew Zuckerman from "Bird."

A gradient fusion of Nike volt and hyper-punch pink, the unlimited colorway adorns the uppers of the season’s footwear, including all of its track and field silhouettes. Volt, the company’s celebrated bright yellow hue, defines the toe, immediately catching the eye — yellow is the most visible color to the human eye and volt is the most visible version of yellow, which means it makes a statement. In the case of Nike, that statement is speed. Hyper-punch pink, when mixed with volt at the mid-foot and saturating as it approaches the heel, mimics the optic blur of a breakneck runner. It also harmoniously pairs with the footwear’s metallic spike plates, which — like those aforementioned beetle shells — feature an iridescent flash that shimmers silver, purple and blue.

In motion, these brilliant colors appear to paint a subtle glowing path, representing not only its wearer’s unlimited athletic abilities but also the way in which Nike views the world: bursting with unlimited inspiration and design possibilities.

Sign up to get notified when the Unlimited Colorway collection is available on nike.com.

European athletes Amel Tuka, Gianmarco Tamberi, Adam Kszczot, Ramil Guliyev, David Storl, Churandy Martina, Kariem Hussein, Renaud Lavillenie, Greg Rutherford, Sandra Perkovic,Thomas Roehler, Marlou van Rhijn, Alessia Trost, Ruth Beitia,Dafne Schippers, Ekaterini Stefanidi, Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, Olha Saladuha, Renelle Lamote, Alina Talay, Angelica Bengtsson and Joanna Jozwik will represent their respective nations in Unlimited Color this summer.

Commitment to Sustainability

Flyknit technology engineers every stitch of a shoe upper to deliver maximum performance while producing 60% less waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods. Since 2012, the technology has reduced nearly three and a half million pounds of waste. At this summer's competition, more athletes than ever before will be wearing Nike Flyknit.

Approximately 71% of Nike footwear and apparel products contain recycled materials, in everything from apparel trims to soccer kits to Flyknit yarns. For example, since 2010, Nike has transformed more than three billion plastic bottles into recycled polyester for use in Nike performance products. Learn more about Nike Grind, a palette of premium recycled and regenerated materials, here.

June 28, 2016

Victory by Design

Back in Ancient Greece, victorious athletes wore little more than a scrap of fabric to receive the laurel wreath that designated their championship status. Modern athletes have instead opted to take the podium in statement apparel that displays their national pride, providing Nike with a prominent opportunity to showcase its progressive designs. This summer, the company advances that tradition by reimagining the iconic ceremonial sport style for the United States Olympic Committee and Comitê Olímpico do Brasil. Using Nike’s most innovative methods, designers have created the NikeLab Dynamic Reveal Team Jacket and Pants specifically for that seminal medal-stand moment.

The premium garments showcase a contemporary athletic, fitted silhouette and vivid interpretation of each country’s national colors extended across a spectrum of modern hues.

The NikeLab Dynamic Reveal Jacket’s ribbed knit sleeves provide zones of breathability and mobility, and bear ribbons of brilliant color (red for the US and yellow for Brasil) when the arms are in motion. A woven front panel protects against wind, while the engineered mesh back panel and side panels support ventilation. The country name is engineered directly into the back mesh. 

Complementary NikeLab Dynamic Reveal Pants, available only to national team athletes, also champion comfort and mobility. A vertical ribbed zone provides a full range of motion and breathability while flashing the same arresting shade as the jacket ribbing when the athlete shifts or bends. 

Team Brasil and Team USA NikeLab Dynamic Reveal Jackets are available July 28 at nike.com/nikelab and select NikeLab stores.

June 28, 2016

The Speed Gambit

When it comes to track and field, “fast” takes on a number of definitions. It can mean sprinting 100 meters in 10.70 seconds or covering 10,000 meters in a medal-winning 27:30.42. Ahead of the summer, Nike footwear designers tasked themselves with not only outfitting but also accelerating athletes across this entire gamut.

So they started with science on the sprint-side of the spectrum, which says that to make a sprinter, like three-time 100-meter World Champion and two-time gold-medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, faster through a shoe you have to stiffen the sole. Imagine a baseball bat: the longer that bat, the harder you can hit the ball. It’s all about force transfer. The idea of making a spike plate stiffer is the same: It increases the foot’s ability to drive propulsive force into the ground — the key component of speed.

But stiffness is only part of the solution; the shoe must also be light. Cutting-edge computational design tools and speedy 3D-printed prototyping led the team to the ideal balance of requirements and steered the creation of the Nike Superfly Elite spike, which propelled Fraser-Pryce down the track .013 seconds faster, a gap that could mean the difference between first and fourth place.

To meet their greater “fast” directive, the team looked to extend the Superfly Elite plate innovation across all track and field footwear, noting that as event distances go up, speed becomes less about stiffness and more about endurance, which places cushioning at the fore. The same push and pull applies to the upper: while the 100 and 200 meters require maximum containment, longer distances necessitate more breathability. The upshot: Each shoe is more than the sum of its parts; it’s a cohesive acceleration system.

The 2016 Nike track and field footwear collection (pictured above) includes: 
1. Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2: Throwing spike (javelin)
2. Nike Zoom Rotational 6: Throwing shoe (hammer throw, shot-put and discus)
3. Nike Zoom SD4: Throwing shoe (hammer throw, shot-put and discus)
4. Nike Zoom Streak 6: Racing flat (marathon)
5. Nike Zoom PV II: Jumping spike (pole vault)
6. Nike Zoom LJ 4: Jumping spike (long jump, triple jump)
7. Nike Zoom Victory 3: Distance spike (800 to 5,000 meters)
8. Nike Zoom D: Distance spike (800 to 10,000 meters)
9. Nike Zoom Matumbo 3: Distance spike  (1,500 to 100,000 meters)
10. Nike Zoom Celar 5: Sprint spike (100 to 400 meters)
11. Nike Zoom Superfly Elite: Sprint spike (100 to 400 meters)
12. Nike Zoom Victory Elite 2: Distance spike (1,500 to 5,000 meters)
13. Nike Streak Flyknit: Racing flat (marathon)
14. Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit: Sprint spike (100 to 400 meters)

Not pictured:
Nike Zoom Streak LT3: Racing flat (marathon)
Nike High Jump Elite: Jumping spike (high jump)
Nike Triple Jump Elite: Jumping spike (triple jump)
Nike Zoom Ja Fly 2: Sprint spike (100 to 400 meters)
Nike Zoom Mamba 3: Distance spike (steeplechase)
Nike Zoom Maxcat 4: Sprint spike (100 to 800 meters)
Nike Zoom Rival SD 2: Throwing shoe (hammer throw, shot-put and discus)
Nike Lunaracer 4: Racing flat (5,000 meters to marathon)

Commitment to Sustainability

Flyknit technology engineers every stitch of a shoe upper to deliver maximum performance while producing 60% less waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods. Since 2012, the technology has reduced nearly three and a half million pounds of waste. At this summer's competition, more athletes than ever before will be wearing Nike Flyknit.

Approximately 71% of Nike footwear and apparel products contain recycled materials, in everything from apparel trims to soccer kits to Flyknit yarns. For example, since 2010, Nike has transformed more than three billion plastic bottles into recycled polyester for use in Nike performance products. Learn more about Nike Grind, a palette of premium recycled and regenerated materials, here.

March 16, 2016

Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit

In 200- and 400-meter sprints, an athlete’s control through the track’s curve can add or subtract crucial milliseconds — the difference between being crowned champion and taking second place. For gold-medal-winning American sprinter Allyson Felix, commanding this variable is just one of the many challenges integral to repeating her 2012 success. To address the challenge ahead of Rio, Felix entered into an unprecedented collaboration with Nike, comprising design and engineering research, with the aim of creating a new spike built specifically for the races’ requirements.

The Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit unites extensive scientific analysis from Nike’s Sports Research Lab (NSRL) with computational design by the company’s designers and pixel-level stitch placement by its Flyknit engineers. Combining this data with perception testing by Felix and additional feedback from her coaches, the collective team precisely adapted the spike’s key elements of strength, fit and flex to Felix’s specifications and biomechanics — exemplified by a long, graceful, powerful stride.

To tailor the fit to the unique contours of Felix’s foot, a custom last was created specifically for Felix’s size 9.5, AA-width feet. The spike’s plate was also developed to align with Felix’s stiffness preference, a balance of flexibility and pop made possible through 3D print prototyping.

The spike’s custom Flyknit upper perfectly complements the plate’s advances by reducing volume and weight and, for the first time in a sprint spike, extending to three-quarter height, which supports a larger potion of the foot to facilitate fluidity in motion.

“One of the things that I love about the process is that I'm not an expert in this, but I have all this science behind me. This is what [Nike] does and this is what they're passionate about,” says Felix. “I can have confidence that they're going to give me the best equipment.” 

Throughout the design process, Felix met with the Nike team over a dozen times — from the first fitting in May 2014 to a recent final wear test in Los Angeles. 30 versions of the spike’s plate were produced and the Flyknit upper was tweaked over 70 times before the team felt secure they’d landed on Felix’s pinnacle personalized solution.

This level of prototyping is made possible through advance manufacturing techniques; SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printing reduces sampling time from weeks to days. The rapidity facilitates immediate feedback, quick iteration and, fundamentally, enables a better final product for the athlete.

“Our role in the Innovation Kitchen is to invent the future of performance innovation for athletes. We do that with a mission to make athletes better. In this work with Allyson, the product that has been created is making her measurably better,” confirms Tony Bignell, VP Footwear Innovation, NIKE, Inc. “We’re seeing faster times in practice, more efficiency through and exiting the curb as well as unprecedented feedback from Allyson. We cannot wait to see how she performs in the spike throughout the coming months.”

To become a Nike+ member go to Nike.com.

March 16, 2016

Nike Vapor Track & Field Kits with AeroSwift Technology

Allyson Felix wearing Nike Vapor track and field kit with AeroSwift technology

Allyson Felix wearing Nike Vapor track and field kit with AeroSwift technology

Nike’s new, faster Nike Vapor track and field kits featuring Nike AeroSwift technology are designed to enhance overall human potential for speed and at the same time address the specificities of each athlete and event.

Made from innovative, lightweight Nike AeroSwift technology featuring recycled polyester, the kits reduce and simplify construction in an effort to minimize weight. This performance hybrid is made possible by an advanced manufacturing process that pairs a four-way stretch knit with breathable, engineered mesh that also integrates Nike AeroBlades.

Engineered into the apparel in strategic areas — identified via hundreds of hours of wind tunnel testing — Nike AeroBlades disrupt and improve the air around the athlete, resulting in the greatest drag reduction of any Nike track & field kit to date. And unlike past aerodynamic technology, which was specifically designed for sprints, Nike AeroBlades assist all runners. “In past years, we had focused on sprinters,” Ken Black, Nike Creative Director, explains, “but this year we wanted to create an innovation that went across all running disciplines — from sprint to mid-distance to marathon, to name just a few.”

Mo Farah wearing Nike Vapor track and field Kit with AeroSwift techology

Mo Farah wearing Nike Vapor track and field kit with AeroSwift techology

The kit’s adaptability is also visible in its construction. Complementary products have been developed for distance, sprint and field events, which provide athletes with options specifically developed for distance, sprint and field events, meaning athletes can tailor the kit to their personal preferences, based upon performance needs and conditions.

Nike’s commitment to eliminating distraction extends to the development of a new NikeGRIP running sock, a two-sided solution that considers both the inside and outside of a sock to maximize grip at the weight-bearing areas of the foot: around the heel and along the bottom of the forefoot, which minimizes slippage in stride.

National Track & Field Federations, including the United States, Brasil, Germany and China, debut Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift technology for 2016. Each kit’s respective aesthetic captures the energy of Rio and Brasil’s dramatic nature via the common theme of exploded, vivid color, which extends the respective country’s national palette with rich saturated hues and vibrant neons. Individual details reveal each country’s culture and history at the same time graphic lines highlight the body in motion.

Sustainable Innovation

Nike Vapor track and field kits with AeroSwift technology are made using recycled polyester, demonstrating Nike’s commitment to sustainable innovation: creating product engineered for superior athletic performance while reducing environmental impact. Since 2010, more than three billion plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills and converted into recycled polyester for Nike performance products.

March 16, 2016

Nike Vapor Kits with AeroSwift Technology Anchor Advanced Football Performance System

Two years ago, Nike introduced 10 national team kits for the World Cup. Before the tournament had even ended, Nike was hard at work revolutionizing the look of football with torso-to-toe innovation.

“We did extensive research with players on what their ultimate future uniform would entail and themes started to emerge around fit, breathability and a superhero aesthetic,” says Martin Lotti, Nike’s Creative Director. “Once we visualized what was possible, we aggressively accelerated bringing the future forward with a complete system of dress built for speed.”

Making that vision a reality began with a new yarn. Nike’s design team tested hundreds of yarns before identifying the perfect properties for ensuring breathability sans opacity.  “We got right down to the filament level, “ continues Lotti, “and re-mastered it for a texturized surface that helps disband moisture better.” The result is a kit that wicks sweat away from the skin 20% faster than Nike’s most recent football kits, while also drying 25% faster.

The texturized yarn is fuller than previous iterations, which enables Nike to use less yarn without risking transparency. As a result, Nike Vapor kits with Nike AeroSwift are 10% lighter, with 50% more stretch than the kits they replace. The new yarn also has a brushed quality to it that feels better against the skin.

As important as the yarn itself is the precision knitting process undertaken to construct Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift. “We learned a lot – and were very inspired by – Nike Flyknit and how it has advanced footwear,” says Lotti. “We took a similar approach to these garments and then took it to another level for a full body in motion under a variety of conditions.”

Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift feature a combination of single and double knit; single knit where the athlete needs breathability, double knit where more structure is required. The knitting is so precise it enables construction of true holes where needed. “In the past, we would complete a kit and then laser perforate holes for ventilation in post production,” continues Lotti. “This new method makes it possible for us to build breathability right into the garment without compromising its structure or burning through it.”

For the first time, the kit shorts will be knitted from the same yarn as the jersey. Previous shorts have always been woven, which is more restrictive, but Nike AeroSwift yarn provides the optimum combination of lightweight stretch and structure necessary to achieve a knit short. “Of all the positive player feedback we have received,” says Lotti, “they were most excited about the short. It is drastically more comfortable than anything they have previously experienced.”

The short features a knitted mesh yoke in back and a flat-finish waistband that eliminates the need for a drawstring. “Once you experience the new waistband,” says Lotti, “It immediately seems antiquated to have ever tied a string around your waist to keep you shorts up.”

Nike AeroSwift knitting presents strong visual cues as well. The torso embodies the superhero aesthetic with a defined chestplate construction. “We were focused on the right fit, not a tight fit,” says Lotti, “It was important to reduce grab areas while also ensuring the garment did not ride up. Player feedback on this fit has been phenomenal.”

While football is often associated with feet and legs, Nike’s design team was keen to design for an upper body that is in constant motion as well. “We felt the shoulders had been a bit underserved in the past and looked to improve upon that,” says Lotti. “We were able to do so by knitting the proper amount of stretch, starting near the neck and working all the way out to the arms.”

The sleeves of the Nike Vapor kits are cross-dyed to provide an additional splash of color that accentuates the blurred look of a body in motion. The stripe down either side of the torso expands to reveal a pop of color.

“These are national team kits, so we wanted to ensure each country’s unique pride elements were knitted directly into the uniform,” says Lotti. Each sleeve can be flipped up to reveal words of national pride knitted right in. For example, the England kit has “Three” and “Lions” inside its sleeves paying homage to England’s iconic crest. The crests themselves have transitioned from an appliqued woven badge addition to a flat and seamless silicon mesh combination for less irritation to the chest. On the inside of the jersey, underneath each crest, are nationally significant pride points that will be the last thing the player sees while pulling the jersey on before a match.

To ensure a complete torso-to-toe system, the kit socks feature NikeGRIP technology, a two-sided solution that integrates more traction at key contact points in the sock via the sock’s nanofiber. This advanced technology works in harmony with the microfiber sock liner in Nike Football boots to help prevent the foot from sliding within the boot.

Nike Vapor kits with Nike AeroSwift technology will debut on the federations of England, Brasil, France, Portugal and the United States.

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Sustainable Innovation

Nike Vapor kits with AeroSwift technology are made using recycled polyester, demonstrating Nike’s commitment to sustainable innovation: creating product engineered for superior athletic performance while reducing environmental impact. Since 2010, more than three billion plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills and converted into recycled polyester for Nike performance products.