The words "Nike" and "air" have been synonymous for decades. But for an endeavor 10 years in the making, the shoe giant is ditching the air for a new bead cushioning system for its latest running shoe: the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit.
The Joyride features a proprietary cushioning system that centers around thousands of tiny beads that expand in every direction and can adapt to a runner's foot strike to help maximize performance.
The shoe doesn’t have a sock-liner, and this is by design. Nike wanted runners to stand directly on the beads so they can conform to their feet.
Over the years, Nike has put many things into its sneakers. Foam, different kinds of rubber, and of course, air. In the 1970s, Nike changed the shoe game when it used technology developed by former NASA engineer M. Frank Rudy which allowed the designers to implant pouches of air in hollow midsoles. Nike’s been a household name ever since, and technology is one of the reasons it sits atop the global footwear and apparel market. The Oregon-based company pulled in an industry-leading $39.1 billion revenue, which was up 7% on a reported basis and up 11% on a currency-neutral basis.
For inspiration William Moroski, senior product manager for Nike Running, tells Yahoo Finance that he and the team looked at where people run.
"If you go to any park with a paved running path, you'll see a parallel path where the grass has been worn away. Runners create this worn path because running on grass or on a dirt path is softer and easier on the legs and body. It's this insight that inspired us to look more closely at a solution that helps elite runners feel fresh by giving their legs a day off and ease the running experience."
The Joyride Run Flyknit will be available on July 25 for Nike members and will have a retail launch date of August 15. They’re priced at $180.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.