Inspired by Nike’s “Nature Amplified” design ethos, the Free Hyperfeel shoes are the company’s latest sports footwear designed to mimic the working of the human foot. By using pressure-mapping technology and high-speed film to analyze the foot in motion, the designers say they were able to provide padding and protection only where it is needed. The result is a shoe made up of only seven components, which contrasts with the 57 components that go into a typical Air Pegasus running shoe.
To create the new shoe, the team at the Nike Sport Research Lab employed Nike's Flyknit material to produce a one-piece upper that the company says reduces typical upper waste by an average of 90 percent. Introduced in its Flyknits shoes, this is a very light, tightly woven polyester yarn that increases compression fit and support while keeping the structure ultra-light and minimalist.
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To increase stability and help lock the foot down, the upper also features Nike Flywire, a thread composed of Vectran or nylon that is inspired by ligaments.
Cushioning is provided by Lunarlon foam, a material developed by Nike to spread force more evenly across the foot that is 30 percent lighter than standard phylon foam commonly found in sports footwear. A drop-in Lunarlon insert goes between the foot and the outsole as an intermediary layer to allow direct contact between the foot and the cushioning so as to provide maximum sensation.
The ultrathin outsole comes studded with waffle-like structures that are designed to increase the level of contact between foot and ground. It also features “pistons” strategically placed on key pressure points and durable XDR rubber on the heel areas that are more likely to suffer with wear.
The retail launch of the Nike Free Hyperfeel is scheduled for September 5 in the US, UK and Japan, priced at US$175. Nike is already taking pre-orders.
Nike's Tony Bignell explains the design of the Free Hyperfeel shoes in the following video.