August 29, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 8
It was Bill Bowerman’s groundbreaking ingenuity that provided Nike with its first spark over 40 years ago, and ever since, the brand’s designers have built on his original cornerstones of innovative problem-solving and a dedication to meeting runner’s needs that has never waivered. Running shoes have come a long way since Bowerman first crafted rubber soles in his waffle iron, but the feet that they protect have used the same design since the beginning of time. At the root of all great running shoe designs was a dedication to providing those feet with a few essential elements that have and will always be in high demand with runners – minimal weight, maximum protection, and the ability to respond and work in harmony with the motion of the foot.
Over the years, Nike and countless other brands have tackled these inevitable demands from every different angle imaginable, resulting in decades worth of remarkable design achievements and some mindblowing new technologies. While these concepts have constantly been evolving and improving with each passing year, some of the most groundbreaking developments have emerged in the past few.
Nike shattered the boundaries of footwear flexibility with the introduction of their Free technology, a revolutionary approach to the sneaker sole that segmented the entire bottom of a shoe using deep grooves to allow each separated area to flex and twist in a way that better conformed to the natural motion of the foot. A few years later, the intricately engineered weaving process known as
Flyknit was unveiled as the ultimate “less is more” solution to making a sneaker super lightweight, while still effectively protecting the foot in all the required areas.
Now, with their new Free Hyperfeel model, Nike brings both of those gamechanging technologies together with Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron and a side helping of the brand’s other state of the art materials and construction methods. The shoe is made up of only a staggeringly minimal seven components, including a one-piece compression-fit Flyknit upper, an ultra-thin waffle outsole, Flywire support cables that replicate the ligaments of the foot, and a removable Lunarlon insole with full-length flex grooves for a responsive feel underfoot. Every detail of how the foot moves and what it needs to perform at its best has been tirelessly analyzed by scientists in Nike’s Sports Research Lab, and the Free Hyperfeel has set out to conquer them all.
The Hyperfeel’s Flyknit upper offers a barely-there second skin that protects the foot where it needs it and lets it breathe in others, and the interior and exterior of the cushioning system not only protects, but allows your foot to move in a natural way that leaves it unencumbered to perform the way it was meant to. Minimal weight, superior protection, optimum flexibility and responsiveness… check, check, check. The Hyperfeel addresses all the core needs that every footwear designer has perpetually toiled over for ages, and does it in a bold and progressive way that will surely inform and inspire the next wave of performance runners that will hit the market in their wake.