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Flat Knitting

Breaking down the Air Max 270 Flyknit upper

Nike has placed a Flyknit upper on Air Max 270, the brand’s first 100% lifestyle Air cut-and-sew shoe.

14th May 2018

Knitting Industry
 |  Portland, OR


Nike, a leading designer and manufacturer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment, has placed a Flyknit upper on Air Max 270, the brand’s first 100% lifestyle Air cut-and-sew shoe.

“When you do the toe-down view on the cut-and-sew pair, there’s this asymmetrical, wind-runner kind of look,” commented Jesi Small, the Nike Footwear Product Design Lead, who developed the shoe’s Flyknit upper.

To do that, she said, the designers focused on the challenge of bringing that design language into what would be a one-piece, sock-like upper, but “with a few surprises”.

“The Flyknit has a nice graphical read on the medial side. Because it doesn’t have toecap or side overlays, we asked how we could garner interest in the look of the one-piece upper, as opposed to having the panels that you can play with on the cut-and-sew version,” said Ms Small.

The new model is said to offer enhanced breathability, with special engineered zones. In addition, no laces are needed with this construction. Flyknit is known for its sock-like fit, so the company intended for the shoe to be worn with or without laces. “That’s why we made the eyelets as inconspicuous as possible,” explained Ms Small.

There is also more overtness in the logo placement. And the company used a tighter knit that offers a little extra protection over the toe and toward the heel to provide more structure for a secure lockdown.

The latest colourway of the Air Max 270 Flyknit will release on 15 May on the company’s website.

While there have been other Nike Air shoes designed explicitly for lifestyle, beginning with the 1987 Air Safari, these all featured air units originally created for running performance. The Air Max 270 unit, and its subsequent shoe, is the first 100% lifestyle Air shoe, inspired by the Air Max 93 and the Air Max 180.

An Old Nickname, coined by Nike designers, influenced the 270 moniker. The name 270 comes from an internal Nike epithet for the Air Max 93, which referred to the 270 degrees of visibility in the air unit. The Air Max 270 heel unit of 32 mm offers the biggest heel volume displacement for maximum air cushion comfort, according to the company.

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