A Nike Lovefest: Where Interaction and Design Ingenuity Meet

February 22, 2012

A Nike Lovefest: Where Interaction and Design Ingenuity Meet

Nike has long been at the forefront of sport design, but lately it seems that the fusion of art, tech, innovation and athletic performance in all their new products is off the charts. From the introduction of the Fuel Band I posted about last month, to the new woven Flyknit Racers and additions to the Nike+ line, their new athletic tech not only looks beautiful, it engages consumers.

Design, nike, innovation

Meant to call participants to action and not simply wow them with new colors or material, Nike+ Training lines sense steps, jumps, lunges, and other movements, allowing users to track, record and share their stats and compete with friends. The Nike+ Basketball suite even measures jump height and speed for basketball players, coining another Nike-specific metric: "hustle," and though—like "Fuel"—it's completely arbitrary to traditional measurements, it helps push users forward and offers them valuation for an abstract idea—an achievement and challenge in one.

Design, nike, innovation

That's added motivation to keep moving and to continue interacting with the products and interface. The function meshes well across a variety of audiences—those who would enjoy the competition, those looking to step up their game, athletes serious about tracking training, and others in between. It's obviously working, since the community currently include 6 million+ athletes with predictions to expand even further once the Fuel Band and + Training products join and gain traction.

The Nike interfaces are slick, refined and easy to navigate, unlike most competitors whose clunky app and web-based workout videos that are difficult follow and use without calculated preparation. You choose a program level for the day and the steps, instructions and video are available Instantly. The actual industrial design isn't too shabby either—Nike doesn't stick with the status quo or rely on existing techniques, and we can look to them for inspiration in process.

When Nike decided to design the new Flyknit Racer, they knew that they wanted to emulate a sock—the perfect combination of comfort and contour. They also knew they were in for a challenge. Athletes were begging for it—something light with support, something comfortable—but adding sole structure to a knit in that way hadn't been done before. No process existed for knitting a structured shoe from fiber, so Nike innovated their own path.

Design, nike, innovation
Design, nike, innovation

After building a talented team of product designers, engineers and programmers, Nike started the journey to realizing a vision, which included crafting new machinery and techniques, endless prototypes and thinking outside the box of material and method. The end result is a featherlight and ultra-soft shoe with knitted breathability and flexible cabled support in all the right places. The shoes woven structure also opens up some interesting avenues for color design, since the layers of knit and fiber create a dimensional color canvas.

Interested in the goods? Here are the specifics on releases:

The first NIKE+ enabled Basketball shoe will be the Nike Hyperdunk+ which will be worn by LeBron James this summer. The first NIKE+ enabled Training shoes will be the Lunar Hyper Workout+ for women and the Lunar TR 1+ for men. All three shoes to feature the new NIKE+ technology are part of the Lunarlon collection, which combines advanced NIKE Flywire technology with a sports specific NIKE Lunarlon cushioning system. All styles of the NIKE+ enabled footwear will be available and at retail June 29, 2012, in the US, UK, France, Germany and Mainland China.

The Flyknit Racer will be worn at the Olympics by marathon racers from the United States, Kenya, Russia, and the U.K. Nike will release a limited edition street-wear run of the line called HTM Flyknit, a collaboration between influential stylist Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nike Vice President of Creative Design Tinker Hatfield, and Nike CEO Parker. The three-shoe line will be sold for a few weeks in New York City, Tokyo, and London.

Some other hand-picked posts you might enjoy on our Design Blog:

Arizona Basketball Gets a New Look from Nike Hyper Elite
Nike Fuel Band: Not Your Mama's Pedometer
ESPN Smart Basketball: Sports Science Infographics Video with Derrick Williams

Via Fast. Co Design and Engadget

Ward Andrews

Ward Andrews

Hi, I'm Ward Andrews. I started Design.org in 2009, you can read about why here. Thanks for participating in the Design.org Community. I also run an interactive agency called Drawbackwards. I love basketball, electronic music and creating experiences that improve daily life. You can follow me on Twitter @wardandrews.

Featured Job

Senior UX Designer / Portland, OR, US

Join the Conversation

  • Facebook

    Like Design.org on Facebook.

  • Daily Inspiration Email

    Receive a daily email with Design Blog highlights. Subscribe

  • Newsletter

    Our monthly design newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.