Several athletes recently premiered the new Nike USA track and field uniforms before a sold-out crowd of 20,000 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
The new uniforms, which will be worn by members of the 2008 Olympic Track and Field team, caused such a stir because of the innovative technology behind the material. Nike’s USATF uniforms feature Nike Swift materials which reduce weight to achieve less drag and faster times. With seven per cent less drag than the uniforms used in Athens, the suit can help sprinters run .02 of a second faster in the 100m race.
The uniforms are also designed with Nike Aerographics and the “We the People” graphic. Athletes are able to customize what they’re wearing while increasing advantages on different parts of their body. Unique types of socks, gloves and arm coverings have been developed by Nike so sprinters can run faster. For instance, the Nike Swift gloves and arm coverings have golf ball-like “dimples” to help cut wind resistance and allow arms to move faster. The design team found that compared to bare skin, the accessories can reduce drag by up to 19 per cent.
Nike has also provided runners with unique footwear developed from Nike’s new Flywire technology. Shoes like the Zoom Matumbo and the Zoom Victory are lighter than most track spikes. With a wider catalogue of footwear, more athletes involved in different sports can benefit from the unique technology.
Nike has shown again that they mean business when it comes to the Olympics. But since everyone else is using new technology as well, it will be interesting to see how the track and field events play out in a month’s time.