Good to know
- The Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 2 is an update to a greenhorn series of neutral running shoes. It is also the progeny of the original VaporMax Flyknit model, which some considered to be a worthy result of the implementation of many Nike technologies. The façade of version two looks somewhat similar to the precursor shoe, save for a helping of printed overlays on the sides, as well as a stitched-on pull tab on the rear part of the collar.
- Flyknit is a proprietary technology that evokes the feeling of merely wearing a sock. This textile has open pores that permit air into the foot-chamber. Many Nike running shoes employ this feature as it’s touted to be a game-changer in fit adjustment and foot coverage.
- The Air cushioning technology in the midsole is comprised of several ‘pods’ that have compressed air. These malleable containers directly cushion the foot as there are no traditional foams involved. Only the adhesive that connects this feature to the upper and the insole that rests above it are the ones that separate it from the foot.
Ground-contact Air technology pods make up the majority of the VaporMax Flyknit 2’s outsole. The plastic surfaces of these nodes have semi-prominent lugs and traction patterns to provide grip. Nike claims that this technology is durable enough to withstand impact shock and punctures.
Rubber layers cover the areas of the external pad that are prone to abrasion. These barriers add some more oomph to the durability of the shoe, preventing the elements from scratching the Air pods. The grippy nature of this compound also helps to increase the traction capacity of the shoe.
The Air pods are spaced apart to allow the shoe to bend in conjunction with the foot as it transitions from the heel to the toe with every step. The freedom to move is a catalyst for energized performance on the roads.
The midsole unit of the Air VaporMax Flyknit 2 is primarily composed of a Nike Air technology, a system of plastic pods that have compressed air. These pseudo-balloons are responsible for mitigating the impact shock generated by the striking phase of the gait cycle. They also help the foot in achieving a well-rounded step by being bouncy by design.
A traditional foam unit is not present in this shoe. Instead, an adhesive connects the midsole to the upper. This configuration allows the foot to directly experience the Air pods beneath it. Synthetic prints bolster the edges of the platform, preventing material separation or tearing.
An insole is placed right above the primary cushioning unit. This lightly cushioned piece adds a perception of softness to the underfoot experience, evoking the feeling of stepping on regular foam instead of air-filled pods. It can be removed or replaced with a new one.
The upper unit of the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 2 uses Nike’s in-house Flyknit technology. This textile has the texture of woven cloth, and it is made using a weaving process that doesn’t result in seams or irregular threading. It also has a stretchy construction that allows it to accommodate the natural shape and movement capacity of the foot.
The collar of this running shoe has a stretchy fringe that’s akin to the openings of socks. This design aims to hold the bottom part of the leg, wrapping it and keeping it in place. The hug of the stretchy collar also prevents surface debris from entering the interior chamber.
Thin overlays are printed onto the sides of the façade, mainly focusing on the rear part. These synthetic add-ons help in bolstering the structural integrity of the Flyknit upper, yet they also hold the foot in place and prevent it from quivering or exiting the shoe accidentally. They can be considered as stabilizing mechanisms, though they do not correct pronation problems.
The Flywire cables are elastic strands that jut out of the Flyknit from the midfoot section. The looping ends of these wires serve as the eyelets of the lacing system. When the flat shoelaces are tightened or loosened, the Flywires follow suit, giving a customized in-shoe hug that welcomes to fit preferences of the wearer.
A fabric loop is stitched onto the back of the collar. This tab helps the runner when it comes to widening the shoe-opening and guiding the foot inside the walls of the upper. It can also be used as a means to hang the shoe if there is a need to do so.
A reflective strip adorns the pull tab, and it’s meant to make the shoe visible in low-light conditions. Nighttime runners may benefit from this safety measure, especially if they’re on roads that aren’t illuminated well.
Flyknit is a technology that came out of nowhere. Before its integration into the world of running, this textile has only been a fever dream for the innovative minds at Nike. Four years of research and development caused the brand to rise up to the occasion and bring forth a shoe-element that would change the industry. The year 2012 marked the birth of one of the most comfortable cover systems to grace shoes.
Here are some of the prominent Nike series that encompass the Flyknit upper:
Nike Free RN Flyknit
The Free RN line of running shoes began as answers to those who desired a minimalist approach to performance footwear. Nike wanted to cater to those who want security, stylishness, and flexibility in a single package, so they made a shoe that permitted a movement capacity that is ‘free’ and enabled.
The series branched out to the realm of Flyknit uppers at the tail-end of 2016, eventually releasing the much lauded Nike Free RN Flyknit 2017 the following year and the Free RN Flyknit 2018 the year after that. The shoes featured the revered lightness and flexibility of the original models, but with the extra comfort of a seamless foot-wrap.
Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
The LunarEpic Flyknit series is composed of both low-cut and high-cut running shoes. This family formally began with a model that was fundamentally a Lunarlon that’s graced with a Flyknit façade that nearly resembled a sock that extended to the shin. Runners flocked to that cloth-like upper, thanking the creative minds at Nike for crafting a shoe that fully embraced both the foot and the leg. The Lunarlon didn’t get any complaints, as well.
Casual shoe enthusiasts and those who desired a low-cut version of the well-received LunarEpics were given the LunarEpic Low Flyknit and its sequel, the LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2. A version with a water-resistant upper called the LunarEpic Flyknit Shield has also been made available.
Nike EpicReact Flyknit
React is one of Nike’s most innovative technologies. This midsole foam is meant to challenge the ones that other brands are using. It flaunts a lightweight form that is also responsive and able to mitigate the landing impacts. It has a noticeable thickness, yet it’s flexible and long lasting. The Swoosh brand really wants this tech to set the bar for the industry.
But the React foam’s transition from basketball shoes (yes, it began as a midsole for shoes under the banner of the popular court sport) to running shoes didn’t hinder its capacity to perform. In fact, many consumers have felt that it was a worthy addition to the ever-growing number of features that have become iconic. Examples of well-received React foam implementers are the OG Nike EpicReact Flyknit and the EpicReact Flyknit 2.
Zoom Air is a classic when it comes to technologies churned out by Nike. The name calls forth a series of plastic cassettes or pods that have hollow interiors. These chambers are filled with air. The resulting outputs produce the pillow-like inflatable items that serve as add-ons to, or the focus of, the entire cushioning system. They’re advertised as pieces that heighten the springiness of the midsole.
Many Nike shoe families employ the Zoom Air tech. Here are some of the well-known ones:
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
The Air Zoom Pegasus line is one of the longest-running in the industry. People have come to recognize it as a go-to family of performance footwear for daily activities and neophytes. And as time moved forward, so did the Pegasus name. The façades moved from traditional mesh and stitched-on overlays to cloth-like engineered mesh and synthetic prints. The overall structure slowly embodied modern outlines that followed the signs of the times. But the midsole remained the same: a foam carrier that housed a Zoom Air cassette. The highly-regarded Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is an example of this entanglement of old and new.
Nike Air Zoom Structure 22
The Air Zoom Structure is a roster of running shoes that are designed for overpronators. The products within its banner feature the Dynamic Support technology, a dual-density piece in the medial midfoot section of the platform designed to support the arch and prevent the excessive inward rolling of the foot as it transitions through the gait cycle. The Air Zoom Structure 22 is one of the well-received iterations.
Nike Air Zoom Streak 7
The Zoom Streak line is a relatively new addition to Nike’s ever-growing series of running shoes. It has been hailed as an agreeable option for contests and speed training sessions, with consumers stating that the products that share the ‘Streak’ moniker are reliable race-day companions. They’re apparently light and able to quickly adapt to the foot inside the interior chamber. The Air Zoom Streak 6 and the Zoom Streak 7 are the representatives of this well-liked group.