In a bid to design a training shoe that is all things to all athletes, Nike’s footwear designers have been hard at work on the Nike Free Trainer 5.0, the latest model of its free training shoe for men, which features an eye-catching woven upper.

Nike is a global brand with a large and very diverse product range, but according to the manufacturer, its mission is simple: to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. This is certainly true of its new Nike Free Trainer 5.0 – not only is it distinctive in terms of colour and design, but the shoe incorporates some rather innovative features too.

According to Jeff Rasmussen, when he and fellow Nike footwear designer, Laura Parrett, were designing the shoe they really wanted to take a crafted approach, as well as performance approach, and marry the two together.

“One of the unique inspirations we used in the beginning when we were designing the shoe was the Chinese finger trap,” explains Parrett.

For those unfamiliar with the Chinese finger trap, it’s a braided, tube-like toy that you place each of your forefingers into. When static or loose, it is very flexible and the trap moves with your fingers, but as soon as you try to pull them out quickly, it locks down and traps your fingers inside.

Rasmussen and Parrett thought that this is how training footwear should perform. So the shoe’s upper features 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.

“We really set out to design the best dynamic fit system that provides great lockdown when you’re cutting and changing direction,” explains Parrett.

Other features included in the Nike Free Trainer 5.0 that will enhance an athlete’s performance include dynamic-fit technology, natural motion design to deliver a barefoot-like feel and rubber nodes on the sole to provide multi-surface traction.

Nike’s designers clearly work quickly, as it was only three months ago, in mid-December, that the brand launched the shoe’s predecessor – the Nike Free Trainer 3.0 – which, at that time, claimed to be the most advanced men’s training shoe, being ultra-lightweight, breathable and flexible.

“I think we’re on the verge here of really understanding fully human potential,” says Paul Winsper, Nike Performance Director, in regard to the 5.0, the most recent model in the range. However, if you want to get your hot little paws on a pair, Nike Free Trainer 5.0 won’t be available globally until 28 March.

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