What started out as a quest for the ultimate running shoe– one which possesses a sock-like fit took Nike four years and teams of programmers, engineers, and designers to develop. The result– a unique, featherweight, precision-fit upper which employs a complex combination of flat-knitting techniques such as short row knitting, intarsia, jacquard, tuck stitches and stitch transfer and binding-off.
Unlike its predecessors where the knitted shoe upper panels are knitted side by side and are later cut from the fabric and seamed before being attached to other shoe components, the Flyknit’s upper appears to have been released from the flat knitting machine in a single, unwasteful piece, making it yet environmentally sustainable.
“Yarns and fabric variations are precisely engineered only where they are needed for a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper. With all the structure and support knitted in, the Nike Flyknit Racer’s upper and tongue weigh just 34 grams (1.2 ounces),” Nike said in a press release.
This groundbreaking lightweight line of shoes is scheduled to be released in July 2012. Will it measure up to Nike Zoom Streak at the Summer Olympics in London? We’ll soon find out. But one thing’s for sure– Grandma’s knitting has come a long way.