Nike Sister One

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To take your game forward, you have to move laterally. Off-field training—whether it's conditioning, strength or speed work—requires you to move in multiple directions. Recognizing the need for all-around support of your feet as you make sharp cuts, quick bursts, jumps and full stops, Nike developed a revolutionary female-specific training shoe. Here's the inside scoop on the Sister One.

Your feet are the foundation of your balance, and the arches of your feet act as shock absorbers during weight-bearing activities. Research suggests that barefoot training is ideal for strengthening the stabilizing muscles in your feet to improve balance and develop more controlled movements. But hitting the grass, dirt, court or pavement barefoot isn't exactly the safest way to train. Hence, the idea for the Sister One, a flexible, lightweight shoe designed to simulate barefoot training.

The Sister One's technology—Nike's cutting-edge DiamondFLX and Flywire—is just as impressive as its design.

Inspired by Nike Free technology, DiamondFLX helps strengthen your foot by mimicking natural motion. That's key because "the more naturally you're moving your foot, the more naturally you're able to train your body," says Jay Meschter, Nike's innovation director.

DiamondFLX also provides stability during lateral training and support for multidirectional movement—unlike running shoes, which are meant for forward motion. Meschter says, "[When] you're doing lots and lots of miles, there's lots of pounding in your heels…so [a running shoe's] real focus is on cushioning. The trouble is when you try to use cushioning in a training environment, it's almost too much."

According to Meschter, when you engage in training, you want to be lower to the ground, especially when doing lateral cuts. Therefore, a training shoe that remains nimble and flexible, while providing some cushioning, is ideal. The Sister One, he claims, is "really successful when you're moving in all kinds of different directions. [It's] supportive, holding your foot accurately in the footbed."

Introduced during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Flywire consists of high-strength threads, like cables, that form a supportive, lightweight cage around your foot. Flywire reduces the amount of material needed for the upper part of the shoe, resulting in a lighter shoe overall.

"All the intelligence of this upper is layered down these cables," Meschter says. "It's like a suspension bridge that's holding the side of your foot down, so that makes such a lightweight package that the overall shoe just feels like nothing in your hand. In a product like a training shoe, you want to be able to move diagonally and still have it hold your foot accurately."

The Sister One, available Dec. 26, will retail for $110.

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