By now, anyone that is remotely into sneakers has heard the term Nike Flyknit or knows about the footwear technology. Since debuting on the feet of athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the knitted footwear technology has made its way from originating in running, to going to baseball, basketball, soccer, and training. It is truly one of Nike’s best innovations in years. The technology is made up of yarns that are knitted together to form the upper of a shoe to form to your foot. Flyknit has come a long way since 2012 and has been proven to be a great advancement for footwear, but Nike may have come up with something that could top Flyknit or even be a great substitute for it across a more broad spectrum of categories.
First debuted on the Jordan XX9 in 2014, Nike Flyweave is a technology that is an upper material of a shoe that is engineered to provide targeted support in areas that need it for specific movements. Depending on your sport, there are different types of Flyweave sneakers that can serve the athlete in different ways that Flyknit may not be able to. Flywave is comprised of an intricate weave of warp and weft threads that can come together as one to make a textile that is extremely durable and flexible, yet still very supportive. The technology was designed by Nike designer Thomas Bell, who was worked on textiles for Nike in the innovation kitchen for over a decade. Four years ago, Bell was inspired by long-lasting textiles used in the aerospace industry which gave him the idea for Flyweave. Pictured below is how Flyweave is created.
“Flyweave is one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen at Nike – inspired from traditional weaving methods, but with the strength and reliability of aerospace materials,” said Bell. The limitations for Flyweave are endless, especially with the uppers and different colors/designs that the designers can come up with to incorporate into the shoes.
Fellow Nike footwear designer and Nike Basketball design director Leo Chang is also very excited about the future for Flyweave. “Flyweave offers us an amazing technical advantage in basketball to create incredible strength with a precise, comfortable fit. We have some exciting news on the way and the response from athletes has even exceeded our expectations,” Chang said. Chang, who was brought on by Nike in the mid-to-late 2000’s, has been the designer for all of Kevin Durant’s shoes so far all the way up to the KD8, which recently just released. Chang incorporated the use of Flyweave for Durant’s latest shoe, a first for the Nike Basketball category following the incorporation of Nike Flyknit in basketball in 2013.
So far, Flyweave has been featured on four Nike shoes over the past year: the Air Jordan XX9 (basketball), Nike KD8 (basketball), Nike Tiger Woods ’15 (golf), Nike CJ Elite TD Cleat (football) and Nike CJ3 Flyweave Trainer (training) all pictured above. Flyweave truly is a incredible footwear innovation from Nike. It offers the ultimate fit, support, and durability for any shoe across the board. Nike can really utilize this technology to their advantage. Since Calvin Johnson is a big guy and plays a high impact sport such as football, Nike designers were able to develop an upper weave that took two years to develop that’s durable enough for his needs on the field for his game cleat and in the gym for his training shoe. The design team can make the weave stronger in certain areas where he may need it and making it a unique fit to his foot. The same is to say about the KD8, made for Kevin Durant. The Flyweave on the upper of the KD8 is the tightest Flyweave to date, all while featuring Dynamic Flawier cables integrated into the weave. The KD8 upper really hugs your foot well, yet offers you the support and flexibility you wouldn’t expect. There is no break in period and the shoe feels great right out of the box. The Flyweave really moves with your foot and feels like an extension of your foot. I honestly couldn’t believe the feeling of the Flyweave on the KD8’s when I tried them on. I believe Flyweave will be better for the sport of basketball rather than Nike Flyknit. From what we’ve seen from Flyknit on basketball, it can be tough to break in and not as uniquely fitting as to the Flyknit used on Nike running shoes. On the Kobe 9 Elite which featured Flyknit, there was a layer of fuse right below the top layer of Flyknit, creating a double layered material that some people didn’t like. with Flyweave, the upper of the shoe moves with you foot so freely, it almost makes more sense to feature it rather than Flyknit. When the KD8 is fully laced, you can actually also feel the extension of the Dynamic Flywire cables as well. Nike has had some issues with the over use of Dyamic Flywire in the past, using the cables on certain shoes that don’t necessarily need it. Hear me out, I do believe that Dynamic Flywire does work on certain shoes and definitely serves a purpose, but sometimes it is layered on top of a mesh on the upper of a shoe can kind of dangles, or on the internal side of the upper of the shoe and isn’t fully activated. Not the case in the KD8 or even the Calvin Johnson Trainer 3. The fit is so unique that you can actually feel the Flawier cables serving a purpose.
With the introduction of Nike Flyweave a litter over a year old and starting to hit retail across different categories from Nike, expect to see the (new)er technology used on Nike footwear from here on out. The 2016 Summer Olympics are just one year away, so you know that Nike has some tricks up their sleeves and have been working on some technologies to debut at the Nike product that features Nike Flyweave, such as the products I mentioned in this post. The most accessible footwear to feature the technology will probably be the KD8, which will be at select retailers across the country now. Try the product on, see how it feels and maybe give it a try. Flyweave is here to stay and will most likely continued to be rolled out on more products from Nike.