Don’t even think about asking a serious runner to lace up anything other than their trusted, tried and tested running shoes. When you’ve got your feet firmly in a decent pair, you get all the right amounts of bounce, glide and stride. Joint pains? A thing of the past. Blisters? Save those for a Friday night on the dance floor. Chunky cluggers? Please, it’s the 21st century. Running shoes are like an extension of the runner’s body – they’re a support system that have your back through the hours of lonesome hard training and during every moment you need to break through a wall to take grasp of your new PB. It’s just you and the shoes against the world.
And if you can do it all in style, well, all the better. Sports giant Nike has been a brand that has consistently pushed the boundaries in fusing performance and style, evident through its collaborations with fashion icon Liberty London as well as its fun, fluoro colourways lining the gym floors these days. Pairing statement designs with unrivalled technology might seem superficial on the surface, but what effect does feeling good have on your performance? Let’s face it – good vibes can seriously boost your session, whether you’re rocking the über cool Flyknit Lunar1+ during race training or the chic Studio Wraps in a Pilates class.
Nike is known as one of the world’s most pioneering sports brands, developing its innovations with the ‘athlete’ in mind. If you think this culture dismisses the general gym-goer, recreational runner or slapdash spinner; think again. ‘If you have a body, you’re an athlete,’ Nike proclaims, and we couldn’t agree more. Its new design ethos is ‘nature amplified,’ and using its impressive scientific data and research in combination with its athlete insights; it’s brought us two new running shoes that yet again raise the bar in running.
Nike Free Flyknit
When the ‘Free’ concept launched in 2004, Nike brought to the mainstream a minimalist shoe that runners could really use. Taking into account our modern concrete jungle surroundings, the impressive shoe sported a flexible sole that alluded to the feeling of freedom without exposing our fragile feet to the harsher aspects of the environment – perfect for the urban dweller in search of a more natural ride.
Fast forward to 2012 when Nike pushed out its much-hyped Flyknit technology which boasted shoes with a seamless knitted upper, using selected yarns to create compression just where it was needed. Those who believed the hype were right to do so. The result was an incomparable snug fit teamed with a lightweight feeling of nothingness to produce almost a second skin on the feet.
Two genius concepts that were waiting to meet. August 1st will be the date when the match made in heaven will be available to the UK in the form of the Nike Free Flyknit. This time, the Flyknit upper is more compressive than ever without abandoning comfort, reminiscent of a futuristic sock that holds and secures the feet in all the right places. The Free+ 5.0 midsole gives you cushioning, it gives you flexibility, it gives you freedom. If you want to run further, faster – slip your feet into these.
Nike Free Hyperfeel
If the Free+ 5.0 midsole doesn’t bring you close enough to the earth, then hold out for the ground-breaking Nike Free Hyperfeel, designed to move with your body like they’re not even there. The waffle outsole supports you at the key pressure points to offer protection and cushioning, yet strips back to as little as possible. The result? A truly minimalist shoe with maximum sensation, free from the troubles that come with actually running barefoot.
Adding to this minimalist feel is, again, the Flyknit upper. Want proof of just how minimalist this shoe is? A typical Nike Air Pegasus running shoe features 57 different components. The Free Hyperfeel? Just 7. By ditching the unnecessary layers and panels, Nike brings users closer to environment – in more ways than one, with the construction of the Flyknit upper reducing Nike’s typical upper waste by an average of 90%.
Those desperate to experience this nature-inspired ride will have to wait until September 5th when the shoe launches in the UK. A date for the diary, no doubt.
The Nike Free Flyknit will retail at £130 and is now available for pre-order at nikestore.com. The Nike Free Hyperfeel RRP is TBC. Check out the hashtag #natureamplified on Twitter for more info.