A little while back, Jeff Johnson (think: Nike employee number one) shared an observation with product developers at the company. On his casual runs, he tended to veer out of his way to hit a soft patch of pine needles, even if the detour only rewarded him with a few strides on softer terrain. Could Nike design a shoe that replicated that soft-pine-needle feel all the time?
The answer comes in the distinctly silhouetted form of the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit, a running shoe dedicated to creating that extra bit of underfoot cushioning.
The Flyknit upper is complemented by the sock-like collar, which makes the shoe feel like a seamless extension of your lower leg, rather than a clunky appendage. “By increasing the surface area of the upper, you eliminate some of the pressure points that can typically be there in a running shoe,” says Kathy Gomez, vice president of Nike Running Global Footwear, “So the result is, the upper kind of disappears on your foot. You don’t feel it.”
Other innovations include a new midsole construction that uses heat and pressure, rather than glue, to fuse two different densities of Lunarlon foam, and an outsole that's marked by laser-cut grooves, or “sipes,” for added flexibility and traction.
And, in case you’re wondering, the shoe is meant to be worn with or without socks.
Weight: 8.3 oz. (Men’s size 10); 6.55 oz. (Women’s size 8)