Earlier this week, Nike released a whole lot of information about its next running shoe – the Nike Free Flyknit, which offers something pretty unique.
To put it crudely, it’s basically a sock with the sole of a running shoe attached to the bottom of it. The shoes are designed for a near-barefoot style, making it the next step along in Nike’s current Free Run range, combining Flyknit technology with Nike’s hugely popular Nike Free+ 5.0 midsole.
The new running shoes are the product of a new design ethos Nike is calling ‘nature amplified’, the concept of using data driven advanced sports science to strip away all but the essentials for optimum performance.
The Flyknit technology – where the upper is woven in a single sheet and supported at key points by a Flywire frame – has been developed based on insights from the Nike Sport Research Lab, working with elite athletes using pressure mapping technology to identify and protect the key stress points during running. The Nike Free Flyknits will also be compatible with the Nike+ running system, so you’ll be able to track and monitor your training progress.
As with previous shoes like the Flyknit Lunar 1+, areas on the top of the foot have been engineered to stretch and flex naturally when in motion, while a tighter weave at the edges gives added stability for the forefoot and heel.
The additions of the Free+ 5.0 midsole provides a more natural, minimalist feel while maintaining mid-range cushioning, giving you a ride that falls somewhere between a barefoot experience and a standard cushioned running shoe.
The articulated sole is also extremely flexible – it can literally be bent in half – and has been designed to move naturally with the foot. Diagonal hot-knifed flex grooves through the arch also helps keep your movement natural in the mid-foot as you transition strides.
Speaking at the launch at the Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Sean McDowell, Creative Director for Nike Running said:
“Nike Free Flyknit is the ultimate 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 enhanced lockdown and propulsion.”
The Nike Free Flyknit will be on sale from August 1st in the U.S., retailing for $160, with the UK prices and release dates still to be confirmed. We can’t wait to try them out however and see how Nike has improved on its current offerings.