The criss-crossing bands of these running shoes by Nike are inspired by a Chinese finger trap.
The Nike Free Trainer 5.0 has an upper made of soft intertwined bands over breathable mesh fabric.
When the foot is moving forwards or backwards or at rest, the bands stay flexible, but when pressure is applied from side to side, the bands tighten like a finger trap to provide extra support.
We recently featured another design inspired by the finger trap – a collection of leather handbags with clamping woven handles.
We've featured lots of other Nike technology on Dezeen, including American football boots with 3D-printed studs and the spike pads worn by Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius – see all design by Nike.
Here's some more information from Nike:
Adaptability is key to effective training. Scheduling, weather, location and coaching are constantly changing. Nike is focused on providing one constant – the best shoe for multi-sport training.
Designed as one of the most versatile training shoes, the men’s Nike Free Trainer 5.0 delivers lightweight comfort and supportive lockdown with a distinctive look for training in the gym, field or street.
Athletes must adapt to the ever-changing factors in training and evolving training footwear is no different. Nike designers are committed to constantly improving footwear to allow athletes to perform at their best. The evolved approach to maximising the support and natural motion intuitive to training comes to life in the Nike Free Trainer 5.0.
While the woven upper has an eye-catching aesthetic, the shoe's high-performance aptitude sets it apart. The dynamic fit moves with, adjusts to and supports the foot during the rigours of training.
Designers Laura Parrett and Jeff Rasmussen took inspiration from the Chinese finger trap device. Like the toy, the upper consists of intertwined bands that are soft and pliable. When the foot is at rest or moving forward or backward the bands are flexible and compliant. When pressure is applied with side-to-side movements the bands engage and tighten around the foot for enhanced support.
Three performance benefits distinguish the Nike Free Trainer 5.0:
- Dynamic-fit technology for a glove-like fit
- Natural motion design to deliver a barefoot-like feel with resilient cushioning
- Aggressive rubber nodes on the sole that provide multi-surface traction