Behind the scenes of Nike’s new 3D-printed Flyprint performance footwear
Nike has launched its latest in performance boosting material innovation, just in time for the London Marathon. The next generation Nike Flyprint is a 3D-printed upper material, which is precision engineered for performance in collaboration with Nike athlete Eliud Kipchoge.
The project has been a year in the works. This time last year, Kipchoge attempted to break the sub-two-hour marathon time, as part of the brand’s Breaking2 project. It was a target that he famously missed by a 25 second margin. The valiant attempt, which, lets not forget, was two-and-a-half minutes faster than the world record, nonetheless gave Nike the opportunity to capture Kipchoge’s performance data, offering the brand further insights into world-leading running patterns, styles and techniques. What they found prompted the Nike design team to create the next generation of VaporFly Elites.
Come London Marathon day (22 April 2018) Kipchoge will return to his old stomping ground armed with the all new Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite Flyprint shoe – the first iteration of the new Nike Flyprint technology. A direct response to the athlete’s feedback, (which was fed through computational design tools to affirm the ideal composition of the material) the new upper improves the VaporFly Elite shoe and makes it 11g lighter than Kipchoge’s original pair.
Not only is the 3D printed upper lighter, its also more breathable and precise. In traditional 2D fabrics, there is frictional resistance between the interlaced yarns, in a printed textile, due to its fused intersections, there is greater potential for what Nike calls ‘precision-tuned containment’. In layman’s terms, it can bend and stretch with even the slightest movement of your foot.
Though intended for the elite of the elite, you can get your hands on a pair of the Flyprint’s from the Nike App, where a limited edition run is being released to us sportsfans.