Last summer, Eliud Kipchoge became known as the fastest man to run a marathon — in Nike sneakers, no less. So what better way for the sportswear brand to introduce its first 3-D printed shoe upper than on the long-distance athlete when he hits the streets at the London Marathon this weekend?
Dubbed the Flyprint, Nike’s new textile addition is the latest iteration of the Zoom Vaporfly Elite trainers, which the Kenyan runner wore in September at the Berlin Marathon — four months after he earned his famed distinction at the Monza race track in May. Facing Germany’s wet and humid conditions, Kipchoge spoke with the brand’s designers to discuss ways to develop trainers that wouldn’t absorb water and thus add weight to his shoes.
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Enter the Flyprint, an improvement to the Vaporfly and 11 grams lighter than the very pair Kipchoge wore at the race. Starting by capturing athlete data, Nike used computational design tools to determine the ideal composition of the shoe, producing a final textile that championed versatility and comfort. Through prototyping, the brand said it was able to manufacture the sneakers 16 times quicker than previous methods.
Lighter, more breathable and boasting a moisture-wicking ability, the shoes will be worn by Kipchoge when he runs the race in London on April 22. He tested the new upper in Kenya during his latest marathon training cycle.
See how the Flyprint is designed here:
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