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The Nike Elite 51 Uniform

The Nike Elite 51 Uniform is truly the next generation in superior lightweight performance delivering a fully integrated system of dress for athletes at the highest level. This uniquely engineered chassis and baselayer combination provides everything an athlete needs and nothing he doesn’t need. Rooted in body-led design, the uniform system is built for a body-contoured fit resulting in zero distractions in order to help amplify speed.

As a player, Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman wore the number 51, and after serving in the 10th Mountain Division in WWII he understood the importance of a uniform in battle. Lightweight mattered, as did movement and strength. As a coach, Bowerman knew that extra ounces added up and less weight meant increased mobility and speed.

What Bowerman started, Nike continues to perfect, crafting a fully integrated system of dress where the athlete’s baselayer works in concert with his entire uniform – true innovation from the inside out. Lightweight padding is integrated directly into the crucial “hit zones” in the baselayer. New innovations include integrating Flywire technology into the neckline to reduce weight and provide lockdown fit over pads, increasing sleeve articulation for better range of motion, and integrating new four-way stretch fabrication to provide a streamlined shrink-wrap fit. A design that enables speed without compromise.

ELITE 51 Uniform Explore the next generation in superior lightweight performance. See the full innovation of the Nike Elite 51 Uniform. Launch the interactive tech sheet.

In addition to the new fabrication and performance-led design, teams chose varying levels of design changes reflecting their unique heritage. The Seattle Seahawks worked with Nike to re-design the entire design of their uniform to honor the team’s Northwest roots, and also give a nod to the fans. The Chicago Bears chose to continue to honor George S. Halas, - the revolutionary player, coach and respected innovator – by enlarging his GSH initials on the jersey sleeve.

THE NIKE ELITE 51 – A Completely Integrated System of Dress

Key features include:

  • LIGHTER –The Nike jersey and pant, wet or dry are lighter than previous versions

  • FLYWIRE TECHNOLOGY- Eliminates layers, reduces weight, and provides lockdown fit

  • ZONED MESH VENTILATION – Provides cooling zones for optimal thermoregulation

  • ZONED STRENGTH - High tenacity, stretch material, for light weight lockdown strength.

  • CUT FOR MOBILITY – Four-way stretch, hydrophobic materials enable range of motion wet or dry.

  • STRETCH TWILL NUMBERS – Four-way stretch even on numbering system

  • CUSTOMIZABLE BASELAYER PADDING – Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong baselayer with integrated lightweight, Deflex padding offering customizable flexible protection.

  • DEFLEX PADDING - Lightweight, flexible impact protection integrated into top “hit zone” areas

  • ALUMINUM D-RING BELT - Aircraft-grade aluminum D-ring belt reduces weight.

The uniform also features the Nike Vapor Game Sock – a highly innovative sock designed specifically for football. The knee-high design combines compression, Nike Pro inspired cushioning, mesh venting and structure precisely where needed.

The Nike Vapor Jet 2.0 Gloves deliver a lightweight, breathable and articulated fit combined with innovative Magnigrip on the palms and between the fingers for a tacky grip suitable for all weather conditions. The team logo is featured prominently on the palm when athletes interlock both hands.

The Nike Vapor Talon Elitecleat is designed to maximize speed with premium performance attributes including adaptive traction, Hyperfuse construction and carbon fiber strength. Utilizing the best of Nike’s proven technologies, it provides lightweight traction and durability and a lockdown fit. Built for diverse ground conditions, the adaptive traction system utilizes on-demand forefoot talon cleats for multi-directional field movement. 


Nike unveiled today its Nike Elite 51 football uniforms for the 2012 NFL season – a head-to-toe integrated system of dress. The following athletes representing each of the 32 NFL teams joined Nike in New York, NY to unveil the highly innovative new uniforms:

AFC: Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice / Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton / Cleveland Browns, Joe Haden / Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger / Houston Texans, Andre Johnson / Indianapolis Colts, Robert Mathis / Jacksonville Jaguars, Rashean Mathis / Tennessee Titans, Nate Washington / Buffalo Bills, George Wilson / Miami Dolphins, Karlos Dansby / New England Patriots, Wes Welker / New York Jets, Shonn Greene / Denver Broncos, Champ Bailey / Kansas City Chiefs, Dwayne Bowe / Oakland Raiders, Darren McFadden / San Diego Chargers, Ryan Matthews. NFC: Chicago Bears, Brian Urlacher / Detroit Lions, Ndamukong Suh / Green Bay Packers, Jermichael Finley / Minnesota Vikings, Percy Harvin / Atlanta Falcons, Justin Blalock / Caroline Panthers, Deangelo Williams / New Orleans Saints, Pierre Thomas / Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LaGarrette Blount / Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten / New York Giants, Victor Cruz / Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick / Washington Redskins, Brian Orakpo / Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald / San Francisco 49ers, Alex Smith / Seattle Seahawks, Kam Chancellor / St. Louis Rams, Cortland Finnegan.  

Team photo by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia.