New Running Shoe That Feels Like A Sock

March 2, 2012 by staff 

New Running Shoe That Feels Like A Sock, The new Flyknit shoe was the product of four years of R&D, which yielded new machines for a fabrication technique that never existed before.
When most of us think about what we want in a shoe, a sock probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Sure it has comfort, but what about stability? And how about some support?

Nike is filling in those blanks with its newest line, Nike Flyknit, which will make its big splash in the Olympics. Four years in the making, Flyknit is the product of an entirely new shoe-making process that can produce a single, lightweight knit upper (tongue included). The resulting intricate patchwork of yarn, cables, and fabric boasts a heretofore unseen look and feel.

We were challenging a fundamental way of making shoes.
Flyknit was powered by athletes’ input, says Tony Bignell, director of footwear innovation at Nike’s Innovation Kitchen. And what they wanted, head-scratchingly enough, was a sock. “A sock fits great, feels snug, goes unnoticed, and you get no irritation,” Bignell explains.”So the idea was, how do you engineer a sock into a high-performance shoe?”

A simple enough conceit, but one that proved harder to execute. “We had no interest in just creating a shoe that looked knit,” says Ben Shaffer, studio director for Nike Innovation Kitchen. “This is where we found our first biggest challenge: There was no technology in the world available to do this for footwear.” The intricacies of the work–building static structures and support into a dynamic knit–demanded entirely new machinery and software, Shaffer tells Co.Design. “We were challenging a fundamental way of making shoes.”

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