Nike points the way to a fully-bespoke future with the launch of its newest running shoes, the Nike Flyknit Lunar1+. The latest lightweight trainers can be steam fitted in store to create a running shoe that hugs your toes like a custom-fit glove.
Nike's innovative FlyKnit technology now comes with a new twist. With the launch of the new Nike FlyKnit Lunar 1+ running shoes, everyone from casual joggers to experienced marathon runners have the chance to own a pair of running shoes customised to fit their feet.
The new in-store Nike Steam Lounge system offers the unique opportunity to have a pair of Nike's newest running shoes moulded to the contours of your forefoot in minutes.
Nike's FlyKnit system has been around for a while. The uppers are woven in a single sheet and at the heart of the technology is the theory that by stipping away as much of the panelling as possible, you not only make the shoe lighter but more straight forward and cheaper to manufacture.
The entire upper is made from tightly woven polyester yarn that varies in density: more open in targeted areas that need greater flexibility or ventilation and tighter in areas that demand support like the heel.
Now Nike has taken things one step further. The FlyKnit yarn on the front of the shoe above the toes reacts when it's hit with enough hot steam and shrinks to offer a more snug fit. Taking us one step closer to every runner's dream - a shoe that feels like it's been made just for you.
Nike has also changed the cushioning. The sole of the Lunar1+ boasts Nike's Lunarlon cushioning system. It's lighter than the standard EVA material you find in a lot of running shoes and claims to deliver a more responsive ride. It helps the men's size 10 shoe weigh in at just 8oz.
The Steam-Fitting Experience
T3 went down to Nike's London flagship store to try out the new steam-fit service.
The machine itself looks like something out of Iron Man. After a quick test run on the treadmill to check size and general comfort, the trainers are put into the steamer for around a minute. When the lid opens they rise up, enveloped in a cloud of steam, like running shoes sent from the future to make us all as fast as Mo Farrah.
Once they're out of the machine you pop them on and as they cool, gentle pressure is applied to help mould the forefoot for a tighter fit around your toes.
Not only is the sensation of putting on warm trainers pretty good (why hasn't someone invented self-warming shoes for those cold winter runs?) but it's also interesting to see just how much shape and definition there is once the shoes have cooled. Slighlty more alarming though, is that all of your feet deformities are there for all to see. It's only now that you realise one little toe sticks out more than the other.
So does it make a difference? After another little run on the treadmill, you do notice the difference. The shoes which already offered a comfortable fit, do feel more snug on your feet but you have to be realistic here. The area affected still remains quite small so don't expect an entire shoe from heel to toe that's moulded to you.
This new system does take us one step closer to personalised trainers but it seems we're still a way off the days when we might be able to walk into a store, have our feet scanned and have a fully-bespoke pair of running shoes 3D printed for us to take away.
Sadly the Steam Lounge is only set to be in London and New York until the 28th February and Nike currently has no plans to roll it out beyond those stores or those dates.
Nike FlyKnit Lunar 1+ Price: £140