Contributing Editor Ryan Heiser was invited by Nike to attend the unveiling of Nike's new football gear.
Few companies are as good as Nike at creating unique, unified stories around their product innovations, and we got to witness first-hand the unveiling of the next chapter in their "Pro Combat" gear - a new lineup of uniforms, shoes, and gloves.
The day began with the company showcasing its Sparq line of training equipment, designed for use by athletes of all skill levels, from high schools to pro sports.
Interesting patterns and unique textures everywhere you look on the shoe
Time for the first new product - The Air Zoom Alpha Talon. The amount of research and new technology that went into the design of this shoe is crazy to say the least. The team started with a question - "How do you design speed?" Athletes wanted a shoe that was comfortable, durable, but most of all, fast. The designers found their answers in new high-tech materials like Flywire for lightweight stability, Kevlar laces for higher durability, Deflex padding for ankle protection, and Kurim, a highly breathable, durable material used for supporting the foot.
The one feature that is going to define this shoe however, the one it's named after, is the Talon adaptive traction system. The bottom of the shoe features cleats that automatically extend when more grip is needed, like under full acceleration, and retract so it doesn't dig in all the time.
Another major developmental goal was to provide athletes with one shoe to be used for any position. Sharkteeth cleats in the heel provide additional traction when backpedaling.
Now for the uniform reveal; the goal was the same as the shoes - to be the lightest and fastest in the game. Flywire technology is again used to reduce material usage and provide stability, while back portions utilize a woven mesh inspired by gladiator chainmail for a breathable, yet durable fabric.
It's clear that Nike has carefully thought through every piece of the uniform from shoes and socks all the way up to gloves and helmets, describing the combinations as a "completely unified, integrated system of dress." With Nike set to be the official gear supplier of the NFL in the 2012 season, one can only expect to see the Pro Combat series evolve even further heading towards the future. We can't wait to see what they come up with!