After losing Kanye West and losing its ranking as a top sneaker seller to Adidas, the Jordan Brand decided to do something Cohen said it actively stayed away from previously: non-athlete collaborations. Nike’s latest cushioning system debuted on the Joyride Run in 2019. The shoe uses four pods filled with TPE beads that compress to absorb shocks. The pouches are wrapped in SR02, a super-soft foam (normally too soft to use in shoes) that helps smooth the gaps between the pouches. Although unique, Nike’s not the first to develop a beads-in-pouches system—Puma created a similar platform in 2017—and we found the Joyride delivers unremarkable performance for a steep price. It’s not included here.
Early successes helped the company (which changed its name to Nike in 1978) establish itself among runners. In 1972, Knight and Bowerman released the Cortez, one of Nike’s most iconic shoes. Designed to be lighter and more water resistant than other sneakers, the Cortez gained a following for its full-length cushioned EVA midsole, a new feature that gave runners unprecedented comfort and shock absorption. Designed to meet the needs of world class marathoners, the Zoom Vaporfly 4% is a lightweight road racing flat that delivers Nike’s greatest energy return to date.
More important, nearly all of these new results take place in a world in which runners had begun to wear these shoes in large numbers. In this period, an overwhelming share of runners — particularly faster ones — reported switching to these shoes, presumably looking for any edge they could get on race day. Others tagged Nike and asked the American sportswear company to provide some gear for Bullos and her fellow runners, saying that they should be receiving “a lifetime of free Nikes” for their efforts. The Nike Team Hustle D 9 Auto features police car graphics on a durable design perfect for your little one patrolling the playground. Leather gives little feet a supportive feel, and soft foam cushions every step as they cruise around.
The latest iteration of the Zoom Fly comes with a tweaked upper for an improved fit and better moisture control. There’s a thicker, softer sockliner and a new arch-band lacing system that helps create a snug fit around the midfoot. The upper also utilizes a new transparent material from Nike, which doesn’t absorb water—that means these shoes won’t soak up rain and weigh you down. In the midsole, you’ll ride on a generous, full-length wedge of springy React foam and a carbon fiber plate for increased energy return.
The Air Jordan III is Cohen’s “favorite shoe of all time.” It was the first shoe to feature the Jumpman logo on the tongue. Anyone who saw Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya break the two-hour marathon barrier in October very likely saw something else, too: the thick-soled Nike running shoes on his feet, and, in a blaze of pink, on the feet of the pacers surrounding him. Since 1971, Nike and its famous Swoosh logo have become global powerhouses in the sportswear industry, supporting athletes from grass roots to elite as well as producing streetwear for the coolest of cats.