Innovation in sneaker tech has skyrocketed in the last five or so years; just think about these futuristic self-lacing sneaks, these ones that literally have you running on air, and the ones made out of ocean pollution. One huge hit since its debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games has been the Nike Flyknit series—a revolutionary stitching technology that adds support and shape to your performance footwear without adding weight or bulk.
Now, Nike is taking that signature innovation to the next level with the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra, a sports bra knitted with the same Flyknit technology as your favorite running and training shoes.
"The things that make the Flyknit technology amazing in a sneaker are that you can knit in areas of support, flexibility, and breathability, and it also custom wraps around the shape of the foot," says Nicole Rendone, senior bra innovation designer for Nike. "Looking at all those elements, they're all the same things we look for in a bra."
Between underwires, heavy elastic, stabilizers, underwire channels, stabilized padded straps, hardware, and hooks and eyes, a typical high-support sports bra can have 40-plus pieces, says Rendone. (Just check them out in the gif below.) "And every time you add a piece, there's more sewing and bulk, which can add discomfort and distraction as you're working out." The Nike Flyknit bra, however, uses just two single-layer panels for a super-comfortable seamless feel—without sacrificing any of the heavy-duty support.
"When you wear a Flyknit shoe, your foot feels totally free, yet supported," says Rendone. "And when you wear this bra, you almost forget you even have a bra on."
The Nike design team sought out the perfect material (an ultra-soft nylon-spandex yarn that's less abrasive than the one used in the sneakers) and put in more than 600 hours of rigorous biometric testing using body atlas maps to understand which areas need heat and sweat management, cooling, flexibility, and support. The different zones allow for compression without the dreaded "uniboob affect." "Compression bras have one panel that goes all the way across the bra and smushes you down all over," says Rendone. "There are also encapsulation bras, which use two separate cups to completely encapsulate each breast. The awesome thing about the Flyknit is that we can knit in that shaping and that support, so you're getting both from the single layer of fabric." (Other cool bra tech: this bra is made to detect breast cancer.)
The Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra launches July 12 exclusively on Nike+ for 48 hours, and then will be available on Nike.com. The Flyknit bra launch comes with other updates and additions to Nike's sports bra collection, which you can score on their site now. Because they wanted to get the bra out to women ASAP, their initial launch only ranges from size XS to XL. "But we're working to bring this up to larger sizes because we think it has great support potential," says Rendone. (In the meantime, check out these other plus-size sports bras.)
And in case you were wondering, this isn't the end of Nike's Flyknit domination: "Think of all places that you want compression, control, and support during your workout," says Rendone. "We think this is going to go all over Nike apparel—the bra is just the beginning."