When Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, their sole aim was to supply runners with the best shoes available. Almost 60 years later – and having long since changed the company name to Nike – athletic performance remains at the core of what makes the Swoosh so successful, as they continue to set new benchmarks with their performance running offerings. With that long-standing focus in mind, it’s time to explore Nike’s current cutting-edge range, which is a culmination of the innovation that preceded these incumbent models.
Rai Benjamin of Team USA wears the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The absolute pinnacle of Nike Running right now has to be the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%. Its credentials were actually proven before it even released to the public, as Eliud Kipchoge wore a prototype pair en route to breaking the previously unfathomable sub two-hour marathon milestone. A tech sandwich of Zoom Air, carbon-fibre plates, and ZoomX foam ensures the 42nd kilometre (and beyond) can be just as fast as the first. Complementing the Alphafly is the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2, which was developed with the same ethos, and tuned for high speed over long distances. As for the much shorter distances – think the 100- and 200-metre dash – Nike recently proved over in Tokyo that their Air Zoom Maxfly was the fastest shoe on the planet.
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah wears the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly to win the women's 200m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Beyond race day efforts and PB chasing, Nike have also reinforced the importance of different running categories – i.e. having the right shoe for the right occasion. There are now options specifically designed to work day in and day out, while also performing just as admirably in competition if needed. Daily runners are accounted for with training models including the React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 and ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit, which both feature performance cushioning in a supportive and durable package.
Similarly, the specific biomechanical needs of female runners are catered for with models like the React Escape Run, which was developed after closely studying women’s feet and determining their footwear preferences. On the topic of biomechanical considerations, Nike’s FlyEase ethos is helping people with physical and mental impairment to access running more easily via modified versions of popular models like the Air Zoom Pegasus. After all, it was Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman who said, ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete’.
While new designs represent the cutting-edge of Nike Running, the Beaverton brand haven’t forgotten to update their favourites – nor reprise the technology that brought them their revolutionary success: Air. The aforementioned Pegasus line, now in its 38th iteration, is one of the longest running and most reliable models, and contains the latest evolution of Zoom Air, a technology first developed over 25 years ago. The Vomero and Structure series are also established options that are regularly revamped.
From junior-level athletic carnivals to record-breaking events on the world stage, athletes still choose Nike for their unyielding commitment to squeezing every bit of performance out of their shoes, and the people that wear them. And THE ICONIC have an extensive selection of the Nike Running range that will suit the needs of everyday athletes.
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