Wet and windy weather is on the cards for at least the first week of the Olympics, but nothing’s strong enough to blow down Nike’s House of Innovation, not even the gulfstream that threatens to drown out the games.
Located at Selfridges, London’s unofficial stadium of style, the House of Innovation is Nike’s own Olympic showcase. Nike isn’t an official Olympic sponsor, but it does sponsor individual teams around the world. Team USA’s togs are on display, offering a sneak peek at the track and field uniforms, as well as special jackets designed for the medal stand. For the first time, Nike has created three distinct outfits for the moment when America’s athletes take the stand for the Star Spangled Banner. The medal outfits will be divided by sport, with the men’s and women’s cycling, swimming, and sailing team among more than a dozen teams lucky to wear the Windrunner jacket on the podium.
Once they’ve won the gold, silver or bronze, Team USA’s best will wear the jacket, a hyper reflective shell designed to burn bright under the stadium lights. The material looks like a sheet of silver metal, with detail on the lower back revealing 50 perforations, one for each state. And, in patriotic style, a badge on the inside of each jacket, placed over the heart, reads “Team USA.” The jacket was first designed for Nike-sponsored runners in 1978, and stays true to its design, with its trademark V-shaped chevron across the chest.
Jackets to be worn by other teams include an MKII jacket, inspired by warm-up jackets with a lean silhouette, satin finish and stand-up collar, and the Varsity Bomber jacket, paying homage to an enduring signature of American style.
Varsity jackets at American high schools can’t be bought. The treasured items still have to be earned the hard way, but thankfully, the same isn’t true of Nike’s medal jackets. All three are available to consumers, including Team USA’s basketball kit, for those who believe the outfit inspires greatness.
If the images of hard-won glory are starting to inspire a sweat, it’s because they’re meant to. And, to train like an Olympian, Nike has just launched a new Nike+ Basketball app. The app works with a sensor built into Nike+ Hyperdunk shoes. The sensors collect data translated into different metrics, delivering real-time feedback during a training session or game.
The sensor measure how high, how hard, and how quick, an athlete performs and, on the night I visited Nike’s House of Innovation, the shoes seemed to be working magic. Chike Orakwue tried a pair and managed to jump 26.7 inches!
“The shoes hug your feet. They definitely give you an oomph as you work up a sweat.”
It also features a show-off factor, allowing players to record a their moves and superimpose their live data onto a video, which can be shared via social media. Talk about cool…who wouldn’t kill to post a record-breaking slam dunk of Facebook?
So now you’ve sweated, and slammed like a champ, it makes sense to dress like one. Nike’s also launched their new men’s Pinnacle collection, an upscale ensemble of casual sportswear meant to be worn outside the gym. Inspired by Nike’s running roots, the separates combine classic running silhouettes with understated colours, and premium textiles. A soft, quilted jacket is just the sort of thing tired muscles want to slip into after a hard training session. It’s off-field apparel designed for team drinks, or at least smoothies in the trendiest juice bars.
With all the sensors, the kit, and even the victory jackets, there’s no excuse not to train hard and just do it.