Thursday, August 2, 2012


Nike Flyknit limited edition. Photo: Matthias Weingärtner

First of all - this is not a plea for being skinny, to make this clear. With I LOVE YOU we also would like to create a certain awareness for a healthy body, no matter which body size you are. Therefore I'd like to recommend an article of the last ZEIT newspaper (No°31). Here is a short summary roughly kind of google translated:

“Potbellys are not just an aesthetic flaw - fatty deposits are life-threatening. The danger lies not just in high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, dementia, chronic back pain and joint deseases. The risk of getting cancer is much higher for a corpulent person than someone with normal weight. (...) Death due to overweight in the U. S. ranges to 115,000 a year. That means every fifth cancer death is in the final analysis because of overweight. Soon excess weight could really replace smoking as the main risk factor for cancer. (...) Indeed the rate of smoking adolescence in germany reduced by half between 2002 and 2012. Only thirteen percent of the german population are smokers nowadays. But maybe the conceivable decline of lung cancer will be compensated by the increase of other cancers. Therefore it is questionable if smokers even heighten the risk of getting cancer by quitting. Because former smokers are often gaining a lot of weight within a short time. (...)
(Die Zeit N°31, 26th July 2012)

To make a long story short, this article finally convinced my lazy body and I am now back in the park running. 5 days a week. My new running concept (to make sure i am not giving up after the second week): shorter distances, therefore more frequently, even if it is a 30-minutes-run. And to push my motivation i need the new mindblowing special edition beauties from the Nike Flyknit collection. Honestly, these are the most beautiful running shoes I have ever seen. And they are not just fashion gadgets, these are serious feather-weight racing shoes. Alyson Felix, one of the track and field sprint athletes is wearing the Flyknit racers at the olympic games.

The third Flyknit Collection has just been released and I had the great chance to talk to Ben Shaffer, head of innovation at Nike, about the concept and this milestone in footwear design technology. Read the interview after the jump.

Can you tell us a little bit about the idea and the process of creating the Flyknit Collection?
During our researches in the last years we kept asking the athletes what they expect from the perfect shoe. They wanted something that moves nicely with their feet, very soft something very tight like a sock. Since then we focued on the perfect fit and all the technological possibilities. We wanted to try to build cables into the structure that wouldn’t stretch and then on the other sides could move easily with your foot. I ended up hiring a handful engineers, programers for different kinds of knitting machines, but our concept, our sketches were that unique that the machine alone wouldn't be able to do it properly. So we wrote programs for what the machines couldn't be able to do. 

The idea was to take the knowledge, the shape of a skeleton corset and try to embed all that into a fabric. When an athlete laces into the shoe he feels the cables from all around on his foot. Then there is something really static and at the same time something that moves abolutely independently. And on the top of it you have a breathing part in the midfoot having perfct functionality with the net structure. They are for marathoners, running 43 kilometers, so there are quite a few requirements to satisfy.

So the fabric is made out of one piece?
Yes, literally this is what comes out of the knitting machine. Footwear usually uses rolls of fabric, rolls of synthetic leather. You have to find ways to stitch something on, glue together.. Now its about thinking the other way around. What would have been a mash layer, what would have been a leather layer? And every answer ended up as one fabric.

Are there any plans doing an apparel collection with it? 
It's funny. We kind of took it from the apparel world and now that we are working with some of the innovation apparel guys they are taking inspirations and adjustings. It's a nice way to feed back and forth. With any new thing it's about collaborations with minds feeding each other coming out with something that neither of them could have done individually. Apparel and design or apparel and footwear - it's always about getting something unique.

The Flyknits are available in six new solid colours (i.e. neon-yellow, red, blue, black) and the limited edition (the ones flashing on the top) is only available in selected boutiques worldwide and in Berlin at Firmament and Wood Wood

-Christiane Bördner

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