Nike 2008 Olympic Footwear - 04.13.08
Nike has designed a whole line of Olympic Footwear… one for every sport in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. And besides the usuals like track and field, basketball, etc… what fascinates me are their designs for things like Gymnastics, Wushu, Kayaking, Wind Surfing, Taekwondo, Equestrian, and Fencing. These were launched at the incredible 2 day press event: The Nike Beijing Innovation Summit (more images here).
View the most interesting designs after the jump ~ with a special feature on the fencing ‘Ballestra’ shoe (for Justine) ~ and just in case you have yet to see Kobe jump over an Aston Martin in the new Hyperdunks, i’ve embedded that as well!
Here is an image from the Innovation Summit that a handful of lucky global press were present for…. i love that it says “Considered Design”… Nike, i’m blown away by this collection. Really.
Here are some of the most unusual footwear designs that i found particularly noteworthy…
All of the shoes have incredible background stories ~ read them here
This is definitely one of the viral videos that is hard to forget…
The sport of fencing requires athletes to perform a constant series of advance, retreat and lunging moves during the course of a competitive match. Each move creates an impact on the athlete’s body. However, the impact of a lunge on a fencer’s lead foot is one of the most powerful in all of sport, reaching up to seven times the athlete’s body weight. Such force requires footwear that can withstand this type of impact. Working closely with world champion fencers, Nike designers developed the Nike Ballestra. It is not only more comfortable and lighter than anything currently available, but it also meets the demands of the sport.
To soften the notoriously heavy blow of fencing lunges, the heel of the Nike Ballestra’s outsole is rounded to absorb impact. Designers also updated the traditional vertical cushioning system of most fencing footwear in the Nike Ballestra by adding an additional 10mm of foam in the back of the heel to accommodate the rolling motion of a fencer’s footwork. Along with a Zoom Air unit, one of Nike’s best cushioning technologies, Poron foam is stacked in the heel to act as a dampening agent that slows down the foot as it moves through heel impact.
Fencing athletes stressed the need for sure footing during competition. The Nike Ballestra is built on a very flat outsole, incorporating a traction pattern that delivers unmatched stability on the metal competition surface during advancing, retreating, and lunging moves. On the medial forefoot of the Nike Ballestra, notched TPU wraps up from the sole to resist abrasion as the back foot is dragged during advances. Breathable mesh on the upper makes the shoe more comfortable for the athlete while reducing the overall weight, making it up to 2oz. lighter than the market standard.
Special colorways of the Nike Ballestra were designed for the Chinese, US, and Ukrainian teams for this summer’s events. Team China will wear a version with a White/Metallic Silver upper that incorporates a Comet Red stripe on the tongue and laces, an extension of the red stripe that runs down the front of the Chinese fencing uniform’s socks. Sockliner graphics specific to the Chinese team are inside the footwear and are designed to inspire athletes every time they lace up. The exclusive Nike Ballestra for Team USA is a mixture of Obsidian and Photo Blue, Sport Red, and White. When worn during a match, red outsoles create a bright, flashing effect as the athlete elevates the toe of the front foot during a lunge. USA graphics on the sockliners complete the package and personalize the team experience. The Team Ukraine fencing footwear is Royal Blue with white accents and a Yellow Zest Swoosh. These have special sockliners as well, inspired by tribal art.
Look for Italian gold-medalist Margherita Granbassi to be wearing a pink and black version of the Nike Ballestra when she goes for her second gold this August.
-Breathable upper with seamless lining offers secure and comfortable fit with no peeling sockliner
-New flexible, abrasion-resistant materials in high-wear areas of the shoe
-Highly flexible forefoot and rounded heel promote nimble advance and retreat
-Zoom Air unit and Poron foam add cushioning in high impact areas
-Stable base of support in forefoot
-Outsole designed to maximize traction on competition surfaces
-Weight = 275 grams