When the NikeWomen’s design team asked athletes what they looked for most in a sports bra the response was unanimous: support and comfort while keeping them cool and dry. Naturally, the bra would need to look good as well. This was the catalyst behind the brand’s decision to infuse its Flyknit shoe technology, a digitally engineered knitting process, into a new sports bra: the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra.
“Nike Flyknit allows us to be incredibly precise in a single layer,” said Janett Nichol, VP of apparel innovation.
The construction behind the Flyknit enables it to maintain its shape while simultaneously creating zones of greater or less support and breathability. In order to use the technology appropriately on apparel, engineers and designers went through over 600 hours of biometric testing, including motion capture and creating atlas maps — a digital body scan which is used to evaluate areas of high heat, sweat, cooling and movement. Though the brand has utilized atlas maps before, this is the first time it was utilized to create a sports bra. In this instance, designers used three maps — cooling, breathability and support — as opposed to the typical one.
“The goal of the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra was maximum support and comfort that would allow women to feel and look amazing while doing anything they choose,” explained Nicole Rendone, Senior Bra Innovation Designer.
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A form-fitting nylon-spandex yarn uses two single-layer panels for a virtually seamless bra construction. The use of the Flyknit process also resulted in an overall reduction of materials; Whereas some of Nike’s bras can have up to 41 pieces and 22 seams, the FE/NOM Flyknit Bra has just two panels and a binding, and is 30-percent lighter than others.
“The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra is a new generation of bra…it’s full-coverage for total confidence during any activity, from running to high-intensity training, boxing to spin, Pilates and yoga,” explained Rendone.
The innovative technology debuted at the 2012 London games with the Nike Flyknit Racer and is now used across the brand’s various shoes including the Zoom Fearless Flyknit women’s training shoe and Kevin Durant’s signature KD10. As of July 12, the Flyknit debuted in the new FE/NOM bra which launched exclusively on Nike+ for 48 hours before it becomes available on nike.com.
“This is bigger than a bra, really,” adds Nichol. “It’s about breaking down the barriers women face in sports and life.”