Nike recently unveiled and released the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra, which is designed by the Nike Innovation team in order to provide better support and comfort for females and at the same time, keep the material lightweight. This time around, the brand is using their highly-praised Flyknit technology for sports bras instead of footwear.
“It is the most important piece of apparel for the active woman — a good one enables women to play sports, and sports can give women confidence in life. Nike Flyknit allows us to be incredibly precise in a single layer,” stated Janett Nichol, VP of apparel innovation.
However, people, specifically females, would definitely ask how Nike managed to determine what makes an excellent sports bra. NikeWomen’s dedicated design team took in opinions from athletes and all of them managed to agree on thing: That women prefer bras that can give them complete support for their activities (regardless of how strenous they are) and still let them feel cool and dry without having to endure discomfort all throughout. And of course, what use could it be if the bra doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing?
The design process
After finding out what women want on their ideal sports bra, the Nike Innovation team immediately conjured up ideas. They decided on using Nike’s Flyknit technology (more commonly known for the footwear line) as it’s known to hold its shape despite constantly being on the go while still providing support and breathability. They knew that they had the perfect combo to improve their sports bras and let their designers create something that’s specifically engineered to do the things that women had stated during their research.
Nike Flyknit has been around for half a decade now, with its debut occuring with the Nike Flyknit Racer during the 2012 London games. It’s pretty much a digitally engineered process of knitting (yes, that thing that your grandma does!) that produces “lightweight, formfitting, and virtually seamless,” uppers for footwear. From then on, the brand has used the technology for various other footwear lines under different sports categories, which include the Nike Zoom Fearless Flyknit for women, and the Nike KD10 which was produced in collaboration with Kevin Durant.
Nike revealed that the process in deciding on the best usage of the Flyknit technology for these sports bras were extremely rigorous and meticulous, so as to ensure that their latest athleisure venture would deliver what was asked. The brand’s engineers and designers put in around 600 hours on biometric tests, motion capture, and creating atlas maps (wherein the body gets scanned to determine areas that produce high heat, sweat, movement, and cooling.) The results of these tests and scans were then used as references for pattern production of the knits and which materials are best used.
This release also marks the first time that Nike will be using atlas maps in the engineering of sports bras. Usually, only one map is used in production, but this time, they used three atlas maps for cooling, breathability, and support to create the right combo.
“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. We prioritized support, breathability and cooling in essential zones,” according to Nicole Rendone, Senior Bra Innovation Designer for Nike.
“Some sports bras keep me so locked in that it’s almost hard to breathe. But when I wear the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra I feel free, like I can move around but still be completely supported,” says Sydney Leroux, soccer player and Olympic gold medalist.
Highly-engineered sports bra
The bra is built with an “ultra-soft nylon-spandex yarn” that form fits on the body, with the use of dual single-layer panels assembled to provide a seamless feel. The Flyknit technology also gave designers the freedom to merge encapsulation and compression to reduce bounce during high-intensity movements. This method also helps retain shape, support, and comfort with adding in extra components to the piece like foams, wires, pads, and elastics.
The result is a significant reduction in materials and seams: The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra has two panels and a binding (other high-support Nike bras can have up to 41 pieces and 22 seams) and is 30-percent lighter than any other bra in Nike’s line.
Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra is significantly lighter than the other non-Flyknit bras in Nike’s apparel line. Their more high-support bras tend to have up to 41 pieces and about 22 seams, whilst the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra only has two panels and a binding.
“The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra is a new generation of bra. It offers all of the support, strength and comfort of traditional high-support bras even without all of the components typical to those styles, and it’s full-coverage for total confidence during any activity, from running to high-intensity training, boxing to spin, Pilates and yoga,” added Rendone.
“This is bigger than a bra, really. It’s about breaking down the barriers women face in sports and life,” says Nichol.
Nike’s “bra” philosophy
Nike has a bra philosophy that actually seems quite delightful, as the company aims to provide a wide variety of options for women, and to make sure that their company gets the right “fit, support, feel and style” to cater to their personal preferences. The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra is just one of the three bras that they’ll be releasing this season, rounding up to 30 styles that will be available for those sized 32 A to 38 E, with different options for support levels.
“Be sure to consider style and comfort as well. Because in the end, the right bra is the one that makes you feel confident and capable no matter what your workout is,” says Rendone.
The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra is the most lightweight out of all the high-support bras in the line and is recommended for women with C to DD cup sizes and those who engage in running, HIIT, and dance.
The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra was launched exclusively on Nike+ for 48 hours, starting on July 12th, but as of posting time, it’s now on nike.com, priced at $80 a pop, with some styles already sold out.