Nike Vapor Kits with AeroSwift Technology Anchor Advanced Football Performance System
March 16, 2016
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.
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.