Nike have unveiled an exciting series of cutting-edge, lightweight performance innovations that opens the doors for changes across all Nike sport's shoes. Stemming from Bill Bowerman's constant drive to ''make it lighter'', Nike's revolutionary Flyknit technology is the latest step in the brand's mission to build shoes from the ground up, utilizing featherweight materials to create the lightest products on the market.
Nike Flyknit technology could dramatically change how footwear is designed and manufactured across a range of sports. The defining piece of technology made from yarn and fabric material, will impact Nike athletes in the 2012 London Olympic Games – a number of who were present at the recent New York City unveiling.
For Nike, the focus is towards making their products lighter, lighter and more lighter – a widespread drive that is shared across brands in the sports industry. Nike have engineered knit for performance to create running footwear that features only the essentials. Employing new Nike Flyknit technology, yarns and fabric variations are precisely engineered only where they are needed for a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper.
The inspiration for the Nike Flyknit was born from common athlete feedback, craving a shoe with the qualities of a sock: a snug fit that goes virtually unnoticed to the wearer. The knit upper applies 40 years of knowledge to create a layer that refines the precise placement of support, flexibility and breathability.
While reducing the weight of the shoe, the Nike Flyknit upper is also engineered for a precision fit, creating a feeling of a second skin. With all the structure and support knitted in, the Nike Flyknit Racer upper and tongue weight just 34 grams (1.2 ounces), while the whole shoe weighs a mere 160g (5.6 ounces).
NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker was joined by one of the most iconic track and field athletes in history, Carl Lewis, and other great athletes to unveil Nike’s newest innovations at a global event in New York City. "Today we’ve unveiled technology we believe has the potential to change sports performance. Nike has always
been committed to bringing the best innovations to athletes at every level and we’ve done that today in a powerful way," said Parker.
"The Nike Flyknit upper redefines the idea of running footwear: Lightweight and virtually seamless, it acts like a second skin for the foot and is precision engineered in one piece and one layer to minimize waste, dramatically changing how footwear is designed and manufactured."
Nike Flyknit is the latest advancement in lightweight innovation, building on the cross-sport success of Nike Flywire – as featured in the Mercurial Superfly. Flywire allowed Nike to make its lightest and strongest football boot ever, transforming how footwear is engineered by reducing the amount of material required for the upper.
For us, the real excitement comes with what Flyknit technology could potentially bring to soccer. Nike claim their new innovation will revolutionise the manufacturing of sports shoes – how widespread the advancements will reach is yet to be seen.
Flywire was a radical step in sports shoe design, first introduced to football with the release of the Nike Superfly. The high-strength threads have since been replaced for Nike's latest Mercurial innovation – the Nike Vapor VIII. The aim of Flywire was to reduce the material required for the upper of a shoe to the bare minimum – the same lightweight aim as the new Flyknit technology.
The upcoming Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII will no doubt be a generation too early to have any Flyknit concepts transformed into soccer. But in the ever evolving game of football boots, could this be a potential game-changer for future designs including the Vapor IX or the landmark Vapor X?
Much like Nike Flywire, the Flyknit construction has built in support which can be manipulated into a three dimensional upper for attachment to a sole unit. The Nike Flyknit upper uses a complex state-of-the-art combination of modern knitting techniques to create a precision fit through a seamless one piece upper.
You can expect to see Flyknit constructed shoes including the above Nike Flyknit Racer hit the roads of London and the tracks of the Olympic stadium this summer. The Nike Flyknit Racer will be the marathon shoe of choice for some of the world's best runners, including those from Kenya, Great Britain, Russia and the USA.
Nike continue to be at the forefront of modern innovation with the unveiling of Flyknit technology. Is Flyknit, as Nike claim, ''the future of footwear'' and can you see any attributes being suited to soccer shoe design? Let us know what you think! Share your thoughts and join the conversation online on Twitter and on Facebook.