New Nike Technology has one goal in mind – to make athlete’s dreams come true. But how do they do it?

New Nike Technology has one goal in mind – to make athlete’s dreams come true. But how do they do it?

Ever wondered what goes into the making of Nike’s trainers?

For the average person, it’s unclear what goes into creating a clean and comfortable pair of trainers. A fashion degree maybe? Maybe some design engineering? 

Well to some extent yes, but it’s also much more! At the Nike on Air exhibition, we spent the day in Paris with some of Nike’s senior design team to learn more about creating and sustaining Nike’s reigning shoe-stringed legacy. Through a four-chapter exhibition, Nike’s history, cultural impact, and reinvention of AIR were brought to life, painting a perfect picture of the brand’s commitment to innovation. 

To kick off we met with John Hoke, Nike’s Chief Innovation Officer who shared the extent of Nike’s intellectual investment into creating the perfect trainer, comprising a 500+ team of Scientists, Bio-Mechanists, Engineers, Computational Designers, Data Scientists, Psychologists, and more based at their headquarters in Oregon. 

While the brand is now recognized for its advanced capabilities and bold innovation agenda, Nike started from very humble beginnings. Matt Williams a senior storyteller from Nike’s Department of Archives, shared the story of Frank Rudy (also known as the Father of Nike Air) who came up with the idea of putting inflatable cushions inside running trainers.  

Alert all emerging creatives Frank’s ideas had been rejected by 22 other footwear companies before finally being accepted by Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder. The lesson here: don’t give up on your ideas! Several years later Frank’s air units gave birth to a whole portfolio of Nike Air’s, which now spans across every genre of sport, from basketball to hiking. 

From athletes to artists, the second part of the exhibition explored how the Nike AIR has acted ‘as a canvas connecting cultures and communities,’ building new avenues for self-expression and enabling the pushing of boundaries. 

The collection featured a range of iconic collabs featuring the likes of Virgil Abloh, Comme Des Garcons, Travis Scott, Clint, and more.

After taking a walk down memory lane we were finally introduced to Nike’s reinvention of Air for the 2024 Olympics. This folks, is where it gets really interesting! Imagine walking into the Avenger’s office. Ok wait, here’s a picture.

Here we met Nike’s senior/global design managers who gave us all the tea on the advanced technology behind Nike’s athlete-driven shoes. From light and fast sprint wear to basketball shoes that return energy to their users, the Nike team shared with us how their shoes make their athletes faster, stronger, and more competitive. 

Nike’s Air units — made in endless sizes, shapes and pressures — is at the center of the company’s work for this summer’s biggest sport moment, and with it, Nike has made the impossible possible for athletes. 

The final stop of the tour gave us a preview of the new AIR innovation in the form of the Nike Pegasus Premium which feature a new full-length ReactX foam midsole and forefoot and heel Air Zoom units.

As the exhibition drew to a close, we were thrilled to be invited to the Nike On Air performance which featured forty elite athletes from around the world who joined Nike to unveil the latest Nike Air footwear and team kits for the summer. The show was a display of the future of athlete co-creation featuring iconic and visionary looks that highlighted their self-expression and incredible athleticism.

In the finale of the show, 13 athletes declared their visions of the future of Air through radical AI-explored, 3D-printed, one-of-one footwear that Nike’s innovation teams helped bring to life in a project called A.I.R. — Athlete-Imagined Revolution

The event represented 46 years of research and innovation of Nike Air. Since Air debuted in performance product in 1978, Nike innovation and design teams have consistently found new tools and methods to enhance what it can do. Air is the window into Nike; it represents the company’s constant reinvention and never-ending progress.

That progress is what Nike On Air signaled for this summer and beyond. As shown by A.I.R., for Nike, the best is always yet to come. With expanding digital capabilities and the expertise, creativity and passion of Nike teams, the company is giving all athletes more support, more choice and more inspiration than ever to make their dreams real.

As it always has, Nike Air flows in one direction — toward the new frontier of innovation.


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