Introducing the brand new Nike Joyride technology

Innovation in the footwear world is something the big brands are constantly striving for. The metaphorical arms race between Nike and Adidas is, and will always be ongoing. Nike has recently unveiled its newest form of proprietary footwear cushioning looking to establish dominance. The technology is called Nike Joyride and is the newest addition to their running product line.

Nike Joyride

In keeping with Nike’s ethos to develop materials that are light in weight and offer a high energy return, the Nike Joyride technology features pods that hold thousands of little TPE beads. These are strategically placed in areas of the foot that experience the most impact with the ground during natural motion. The idea behind the construction is to create a functionality Nike call “multi-dimensional displacement”. What that means in layman’s terms is that each TPE plastic bead is able to expand in all directions. So when pressure is applied from the wearers weight, it creates a personalized cushioning experience underfoot. Imagine what happens when you sit on a bean bag seat; the basic principles are the same.

Naturally some areas of your feet experience more pressure than others. So Nike have tailored the Joyride construction to mimic that. The heel areas for example, which rightly so requires ample support, receives 50 percent of the 8,000 TPE beads. While the toe area only sees 5 percent applied to it. The Nike Joyride looks to cement itself alongside stalwart product lines built with established technology like Nike Air and Nike React.

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit

The new technology will debut on the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit which is set to get a members-exclusive early release on July 25th, before receiving a global release on August 15th. Other models to be released utilising the new technology include the Joyride NSW Setter (Men’s) and Optik (Women’s) on September 7th. The Joyride NSW (Unisex) on September 20th, and the Joyride NSW Setter MMW on September 22nd. Each pair will retail for £145, £113 and £160, respectively.

New Nike technology receives flack via plastic pollution claims

Unfortunately for Nike the publicity surrounding their new technology hasn’t been all positive. Website Gizmodo has hit back at Nike via an opinion piece on the Earther column of their website. Openly criticizing the sport wear brands use of TPE plastic beads, and its contribution to plastic pollution.

Gizmodo contributing editor Andrew Liszewski was not at all impressed by the reportedly revolutionary new technology. Stating that “the new design comes at a time when beads and plastic pollution are an ever-growing concern.” He claims that the small foam beads can cause quite a big problem for the environment. Sighting plenty examples of micro-beads used in various face washes and toothpastes or body scrubs. Where, once they enter water sources, are practically impossible to clean out.

The point Liszewski is making, is that the TPE beads in use here share similar qualities, therefore coming with a similar level of environmental risk. Although of course the beads in this instance are contained within the shoe the author goes on to point out “shoes eventually wear out, and when disposed of there’s always the chance that the wear and tear of garbage disposal will result in these beads spilling out and finding their way into streams, rivers, and lakes because they’re so small and light.” He also went on to take issue with how the TPE beads are constructed, with no mention of use of recyclable or biodegradable materials.

Nikes Response

In response to the concerns raised on Gizmodo Nike had this to say: “Nike is committed to creating a more sustainable future and protecting the future of sport. Like all athletic footwear, Joyride can be recycled through Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program and transformed into new products. We have also been actively exploring the source of microfibers and working with the sporting goods industry and other industries to understand the issue and identify long-term scalable solutions.”

Adidas’ contrasting eco friendly model

Where Nike have received some negative publicity surrounding their most recent innovations. Adidas in contrast have been applauded for their eco-friendly model. Most notably with the ongoing work being put into 3D printing technology which is high on the Three Stripes priorities list.

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