Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nike introduces fast technology for the Olympics...

NEW YORK--Nike unveiled an array of new technological advances that track and field athletes will wear at this summer's Olympics in London at a media gathering featuring sprinters Carmelita Jeter and Walter Dix, and marathoner Abdi Abdirahman.

Nike CEO Mark Parker told the media, "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".

"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."

Among the technological innovations introduced included Nike Flyknit, a next generation upper based on the company's Flywire technology introduced four years ago at the Olympic summit in Beaverton.

Flyknit technology will be used in the Flyknit Racer, a featherweight (5.6 ounces or 160 grams for size 9) road racing shoe that Abdi Abdirahman wore to earn a spot on the US Olympic team in the marathon last month in Houston. That technology will also be used on its Flyknit Trainer+, an everyday running flat that weighs 220 grams or 7.7 ounces.

Another innovation introduced is the Pro Turbospeed suit (above/photo courtesy Nike) that many sprinters will wear in competition, particularly among Nike sponsored federations like the USA, Russia, China, and Germany. The company's sponsored athletes will debut those suits in pro competition beginning in April (paulmerca.blogspot.com has been told by several credible sources that the basic look of the national team uniforms for Nike sponsored federations will trickle down to its sponsored schools, like the University of Washington for the 2013 season--think a purple & gold version of the Russian speed suit!).

Nike Pro TurboSpeed is made with approximately 82% recycled polyester fabric, using an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles.

Spike shoe nuts will be happy to know that the Zoom Superfly R4 and the Zoom Victory Elite middle distance shoe were unveiled.

Once upon a time, Nike co-founder and Oregon track & field coach Bill Bowerman said that the ultimate track spike is a bare foot with nails.

Both the Superfly R4 and the Zoom Victory Elite (above/photo courtesy Nike) are edging closer to Bowerman's ultimate track shoe, as they've managed to shave some weight from its predecessors, yet maintain its support and traction features, using a dynamic Flywire upper that helps lock the foot down for a more personalized fit.

The Superfly R4 has an aggressive eight-spike Pebax plate to help sprinters get a strong push off, especially in the start and drive phases of the race, while the Zoom Victory Elite uses a carbon fiber plate for traction, support and flexibility.

According to a post by counterkicks.com, some of the shoes that were introduced at Nike's media bash are part of a big tie-in with the Nike FuelBand introduced to the public last month.

In the post, the web site says that Nike’s 2012 Olympics shoes (or footwear to come) features sensors in the footbeds that read everything you do.

The end goal is to combined the modularity their recent releases and take the data one step further by creating the ultimate custom fit shoe.

The FuelBand will read your style of running, and you'll allegedly be able to take your band to a Nike store with the personal data stored in the band, and have a custom made shoe, making it a game changer.

The company is expected to make this announcement Wednesday when the media summit concludes, according to counterkicks.com.

NOTE:  Nike Media Relations contributed to this report.

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