Nike lives by their iconic slogan, “Just do it.” If there’s a way they can positively impact an athlete’s performance through gear or training, Nike will pursue it. Last week, the company showed us how far they are willing to push the envelope by unveiling a number of impressive innovations at their Beaverton, Ore. headquarters.
Nike kicked off the presentation by taking us through their history—from Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron to the elite athletes who proudly use Nike products today. One such product is the Vapor Strobe Eyewear, futuristic glasses with an adjustable strobe that blocks and unblocks an athlete’s vision. These specs are used by superstar football players like Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings to improve vision on the field.
We had the opportunity to try out the Strobes ourselves in some wide receiver, defensive back and running back drills. After we caught several balls and made some cuts on the field, Nike took the Strobes off. The transition was like seeing a black and white world turn to full c0lor. Passes came in much clearer and holes in the line were more obvious for running backs. The difference was not unlike removing a weighted vest or taking the weight off a barbell.
Football was the main event at the summit, and Nike spent the afternoon displaying their new jerseys. Todd Van Horne, Global Director for Football & Baseball, explained some of the early innovations of Nike football jerseys and showcased what’s to come for the legendary Army/Navy game. Throughout the presentation, Van Horne stressed that Nike does not change a team’s jersey just for the sake of change; they do so with a practical purpose in mine.
Originally, Nike sought to create a tighter jersey so opponents would have less fabric to grab. Now, the company strives to produce jerseys that keep athletes cool and comfortable all game long. After getting a glimpse of their impressive collegiate products, we can’t wait to see what they cook up for the NFL in 2012.
Creative Director of Footwear Ken Link followed the theme of the afternoon by taking us through a history of Nike cleats. He shared a story about buying a pair of Landsharks with his son, an experience many fathers cherish. (Launched in the 1980s, Landsharks have become the go-to cleats for Pee Wee Football.) Once again, we got a taste of what’s to come with previews of Nike’s futuristic new cleats with Hyperfuse technology.
We can’t wait to share the video we captured at Nike’s Innovation Summit. Stay tuned for exclusive previews, interviews and highlights.