Nike technology and terminolgy can sometimes be slightly confusing. Being such an innovative brand and one of the market leaders in sports technologies there are new materials and technologies coming out all the time.
If it's a simple Dri-Fit material used in a t-shirt or a new trainer using Flywire support, below is a guide to break down what each technology actually means and how they help!
Nike Zoom is a very lightweight, super-responsive performance cushioning system from Nike. Beca use the Zoom is very thin it brings the foot closer to the ground makin the shoe more responsive.
Flywire provides ultra-lightweight support and for your foot. Strong Nylon fibers strategically placed on the upper of the shoe holds the foot in place during movement. This allows for a massive reduction in weight because material is used only where it’s needed for structure.
Nike Air is extremely durable and versatile and is designed to cushion the footstrike to offer you the best possible protection and comfort.
Nike Air has been going strong for over 20 years, and the materials used are continually being redesigned to give you even better comfort and performance.
What is Nike Air?
Nike Air cushioning is offered in a vast array of Nike footwear styles. We offer several different types of Nike Air so you can choose the best level of cushioning for you. If a style contains Nike Air, the Air type will be called out on the product page.
How does it work?
Pressurized air is captured inside a tough yet flexible urethane bag. Compression reduces the force of impact and then recovery allows the air unit to return to its original shape and volume. Air technology addresses the specific needs of the sport, the athlete's size, the terrain, the distance covered, and the speed and direction of movement. Configurations: heel, forefoot, or both locations.
Nike Air is lightweight, versatile, durable cushioning.
Nike Air systems are lighter per unit volume than many other midsole cushioning systems on the market today.
Pressure, placement, and thickness of the Air-Sole unit are engineered for the specific needs of a sport or athlete.
Each system maintains its cushioning properties throughout the shoes's life.
Each Nike Air system is comprised of pressurized, compressible Nike Air chambers engineered to provide cushioning based on a specific performance insight.
Nike Air Cushioning Differentials Explained
NIKE AIR - Nike Air cushioning provides a comfortable ride. Nike Air is almost always encapsulated in the midsole or sockliner. Original Nike cushioning technology debuted in 1979.
MAX AIR - Max Air technology is a form of Nike Air cushioning that contains maximum air volume for maximum impact protection. Always visible in the midsole.
ZOOM AIR - Zoom Air cushioning comes in a flat, thin unit that provides low-profile, super-responsive cushioning for top speeds and fast "off-the-mark" movements.
NIKE TUNED AIR - Tuned Air is a cushioning innovation that incorporates mechanical elements into a maximum volume Air-Sole unit.
Nike Plus is a revolutionary way to track your runs, monitor your performance and communicate with other runners about your progress. Join communities around the world and store runs and times.
Nike LunarLite Foam
LunarLite foam is 30 percent lighter than standard Phylon and provides ultra-lightweight and springy cushioning for your foot. Encased in a Phylon or Phylite midsole, this new foam compound, invented at Nike, delivers cushioning that’s soft and not too mushy. It allows impact force to be more evenly distributed and helps reduce painful pressure points on your foot.
This sits in the shoe's midsole and offers on-demand support in response to a runner's changing needs. It features more soft foam on the lateral side for cushioning on impact and more firm foam on the medial side for support.
Nike LunarLon Foam
The Lunarlon cushioning system comes in a 'bottomless' carrier construction that delivers a lightweight, springy sensation and responsive yet soft shock absorption.
This gives a supremely cushioned and responsive ride. These are placed in the Air units of the shoe.
Nike Flex Grooves and Traction
The outsoles of Nike Free running shoes feature siping (deep slices) and reverse flex grooves to encourage flexion and extension in both directions. With a lightweight seamless upper atop this flexible outsole, Nike Free shoes merge the natural, healthy motion of a bare foot with the protection of traditional footwear.
Hyperfuse is a composite, or blend, of three materials (synthetic material as a supportive base layer, mesh for lightweight breathability, and TPU film as a top skin) pressed together with hotmelt.
This fusion produces a super-strong mechanical bond of the three layers, as well as
a new, unique aesthetic. Hyperfuse construction delivers a wide range of performance benefits, but the primary benefit of Hyperfuse is its superior breathability.
Nike Dri-Fit is a high performance, microfibre, polyester fabric which has the properties and build quality to wick sweat away from your body and move it to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates; as a result, Dri-FIT fabric helps you stay dry and comfortable.
Nike Pro apparel features durable and comfortable four-way-stretch Dri-FIT fabric to move moisture away from your skin, helping you stay dry, cool and moving freely.
NIke Therma Fit
In 1989, Nike moved into the outdoor market, launching their ACG (All Conditions Gear) division. The collections are developed in conjunction with a team of athletes and mountain guides, who help design the collection – testing them in training and expeditions, reporting back to Nike's lab.
Nike Sphere Dry
Nike Sphere Dry: This double-brushed microfiber fleece retains energy and resists heat loss. It provides maximum insulation from cold and wind with minimal weight and bulk, and is ideal for any cold weather activities that require insulation. Can be worn alone or as part of a multi-layering system.
Nike Sphere React
Nike Sphere React Cool increases the body's natural cooling process, even though it isn't engineered to pull sweat away from the body. The garment sits up off of the body, so there's less contact of fabric and skin, and large, open-hole mesh allows far more than the usual amount of air to flow across the skin. As a result, athletes feel as cool or cooler than if they weren't wearing a shirt at all.
FURTHER TECHNOLOGY - GLOSSARY
Remember mum's delicious roast? Know how she got it to be just right? Pressure-cooking. Autoclave construction uses a similar process, using high pressure and steam to ensure that our rubber outsoles are just right. But they're not nearly as fast.
Lugs are traction devices on an outsole. By arranging them in alternating directions, we generate maximum grab in wet, sloppy conditions.
Used in Max Air cushioning, this process allows designers to make Air-Sole units in more shapes. Gas is injected through an external tube, forcing the plastic into the shape of the mold.
A highly durable rubber we invented for use in outsoles. BRS stands for Blue Ribbon Sports, which was our name before we came up with Nike. The tie-in? Both BRS and Nike last and last.
A material used in midsoles for support. It's stronger than steel, but lighter, which is another reason we don't make steel shoes.
The supporting frame of a structure. In cleated shoes, it supports your foot.
Flat feet are so unusual they can keep you out of the army. So a footbed that follows the contours of the foot not only makes sense; it makes sure you can be all you can be.
Contoured Phylon wedge
A piece of foam cushioning placed in the midsole, under the heel, for extra impact protection. So go ahead and make that hard cut.
No, it's not a place where you can sleep for the night. It's a pad on the outside heel of running shoes that helps minimize impact pressure.
An outsole with sidewalls that 'cup' the foot.
We have to get technical sometimes. So, we use a material like Phylon and make it more dense on one side to get just the right support. It still cushions. It's just a little thicker -more firm if you will.
Simpler than it sounds. Midsoles that are harder where you need them to be (that's the polyurethane part), softer and lighter where you don't (that's the Phylon).
Dual-pressure Max Air
Lower pressure = softer cushioning. Higher pressure = more stability. Lower pressure = crash pad. Higher pressure + medial heel. A+B=C. Put 'em together and you've got a great ride.
A blown outsole compound that resembles a foam pad. It serves to provide a cushy ride, and runs from the heel to toe. Techies call it an open cell material that is very porous and lightweight. But you can just think of it as all the cushioning without any excess calories.
Made of spandex material, it hugs the foot and ankle for improved comfort and support. Another responsible use of spandex that reminds us that this wonder material is a privilege, not a right.
Encapsulated Air-Sole unit
Encapsu…what? Just remember that just because you can't see the Air-Sole unit, it doesn't mean it's not there.
Short for or Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, EVA was the foam cushioning used by Nike before we developed Nike-Air cushioning. It's still lightweight and it still provides excellent cushioning. EVA is ay-oh-kay (in a hooked on phonics kinda way).
Fabric wrap technology
Three thousand years ago it was how the Egyptians preserved their rulers. Today it's how we preserve areas of the foot: by placing a piece of nylon fabric between the outsole and midsole to add stability and stiffness without adding much weight.
Weightlifting to your favourite tunes or areas carved out of outsoles, midsoles and forefoot Air-Sole units to assure an anatomically correct response in the forefoot.
What good is cushioning with flexibility? I dunno, but thanks to compartmentalized air pockets designed to follow flex groove patterns, I don't have to find out.
A device we use in shoes to help slow the rate of pronation. It is inserted between the upper and the midsole. You never know it is there, except when you think of how good your stride is.
Nike-Air cushioning placed in the forward part of the shoe. It keeps you on your toes longer.
A nylon underlay placed between the midsole and the outsole of the forefoot to help protect against stone bruising and other objects encountered on the trail.
Oh, this is good. The Oreamnos Americanus joined with our engineers to offer a traction design on edge, literally. They took soft, sticky rubber pads with the ability to conform, and then took hard carbon rubber with the ability to give traction on loose gravel and dirt to create an outsole made for all terrain. Combine that with up and downhill wedging forces and you have a mountain goat.
A V-shaped piece of stainless steel positioned around the heel of the shoe. You pinch it together for a more customized fit. (Believe me, it's a lot more comfortable than it sounds.)
Your heel needs support and stability. Count on the rigid characteristics of a heel counter to provide it.
Stands for High Frequency welding. The same principle that allows a microwave oven to bake your potato in minutes allows us to seal air into useful little cushioning and support compartments in our shoes. So you can go work off that baked potato.
Interlocking PU/Phylon midsole
Less geeky than it sounds. Merely a combination midsole that gives you the best of both worlds. Firm PU in the heel provides a good base for those uneven trails. Phylon (Nike's own EVA material) from the midfoot to the toe supplies lightweight cushioning. Less filling. Rides great.
Usually involves laces wrapping around and sometimes even under the foot and pulling the upper snug. We think that's fitting.
Large-volume Air-Sole unit
Say it loud: a running shoe is only as good as the amount of impact protection it provides. This unit provides ample protection without weighing down the shoe. Firm enough to protect the heel and still compress to provide awesome cushioning.
Refers to the outside (little toe) side of a foot or shoe.
I could get really scientific here, but I'll spare us both. It's a fiber designer's love because it makes other fabrics super-elastic. You'll recognize it as the stuff that makes biking shorts hug every curve in your body. Which may be a reason to love it or hate it.
Max Air cushioning
It's just what it sounds like: maximum cushioning. Through blow-molding, more pressurized gas can be put inside even bigger air bags. The bigger the Air-Sole unit, the less traditional cushioning material is needed. More cushioning, less weight. You do the math.
Refers to the inside (big toe) part of a foot or shoe.
Conforms to the shape of your foot to provide a glove-like feel.
An open-textured, breathable fabric, knitted or woven...blah, blah, blah. For our purposes, if it's got visible holes in it, it's mesh.
A strap that runs across the upper to help lock your foot in place.
Any system, internal, midsole or outsole designed to enhance stability in the midfoot area.
Like you've probably guessed, it's the part of the shoe located between the upper and the outsole. It provides the bed your foot rests in, houses Air-Sole units and provides cushioning and support. Think of it as the meat of the sandwich, unless of course, you're vegetarian.
Rubber pieces on outsoles that dig into ground for extreme traction. Like regular traction on steroids.
Synthetic rubber sponge-like material that goes between two layers of nylon knit to create better insulation.
Nike Alpha Project
A bunch of athletes and other sports freaks designing, testing and developing the best Nike shoes, clothes and equipment on a sport-by-sport basis. The best stuff Nike makes.
Kind of like little bean-bag chairs for the feet. They mold around the ankle for extra cushioning and protection.
Nike Waffle pattern
What's cooking? How about a revolutionary outsole pattern invented by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman on his wife's waffle iron? We now offer a full-size pattern, as well as, a low-fat mini-waffle. Talk about your breakfast of champions.
A lightweight, breathable material used in the upper that provides consistent, resilient fit.
Optimal Motion flex grooves
A fancy name for a refinement of traditional flex grooves, incorporating grooves aligned along the heel-to-toe axis as well as the medial-to-lateral axis, and resulting in optimal motion during the foot-strike. Ouch, my head hurts.
You know those pontoon things sticking out the side of traditional Hawaiian canoes? They're called outriggers, and they add crucial stability. Same principle here. This refers to a stabilizing device on the outer portion of a shoe designed to keep you from tipping over.
The bottom, outside of the shoe. It gets dirty, it gets abused, and it still provides traction and durable protection. The king of sole, the outsole might just be the hardest working thing in shoe business.
A plastic material that bonds to rubber, it's ideal for use in cleated outsoles because it is lightweight, strong and flexible.
Originally used in dolls, it is a heated and compressed EVA foam cushioning compound that is light, resilient and capable of giving a soft, smooth ride. As a bonus, it is non-yellowing and impervious to attack from water and microbials.What kind of dolls were they?
A durable material used in midsoles and other components to help produce stability and a firm ride.
A very soft foam insert that adds plenty of comfort.
Polyurethane is applied like a foam to fabric to give it water-resistant properties. The foam laminate contains air pockets, which enable the fabric to maintain breathability.
Phylon carved or sculpted, as opposed to molded, to a particular shape. Used primarily in midsoles.
Like it sounds, it's an upper made of a single piece to increase stability and/or reduce seam abrasion.
Sometimes the forefoot and heel don't want to go in the same direction, which can cause a problem if they're on the same foot. A shank plate, usually in the midfoot area, keeps the forefoot and heel working together to provide more force and stability when you make a cut.
We know you know this, we just want to be sure you know all of what it does: provide even more cushioning. A liner under the foot can add comfort and protection from blisters.
What you'd better call Lycra made by the Dupont Corporation if you don't want to get sued.
Thermoplastic Rubber, a very dense rubber used to make stabilizing sole inserts.
Thermoplastic Urethane. It can be fine-tuned for optimal stiffness and is used to make stabilizing plates.
Wasn't this an old Ziggy song? No wait, it's actually Thermopolyvinyl Resin. Nike's newest technology used to provide stability without adding excess weight. They're lightweight and appear as clear stripes on the shoe. Sounds like something Bowie would wear.
Newton said that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. We weren't about to argue. Instead, we copped his idea and used it to make a supremely versatile and customizable cushioning system.
We don't think you're really looking for the upper on the bottom of the shoe, but just as a formality we'll tell you that you'll find it at the top part of the shoe. You know, the part with all the colors, laces and Swooshes. The upper not only grips your foot and provides comfortable support, but we also tend to make them look really good.
Visible Air-Sole unit
Some people just won't believe something is working unless they see it with their own eyes. So for the sceptics out there, we put our Air-Sole units in plain sight.
Visible Zoom Air
A vacuum-formed polyurethane bag houses densely packed fibers. The fibers, combined with Nike-Air, act as little springs. The result is low-to-the-ground, hyper-responsive speed cushioning you can feel. And it does it in less space than other Air-Sole units.
A women's sockliner designed to mirror the unique contours of a woman's foot. Slightly narrower in the heel & higher in the arch, it provides a closer fit & more comfortable support.