And now comes the impossible task of trying to sum up my amazing trip to Portland to learn about Nike. I think it can be summed up by two a few quotes from the day:
Nike’s Mission: To Bring Inspiration and Innovation to every athlete* in the world
*if you have a body you are an athlete
I left the Nike campus (and campus it is. The huge sprawling grounds look like a college campus) totally inspired as a mom, woman and athlete*
“Uh mom, I think we are getting a little spoiled here.”- Lily
Every single detail of this trip was so well thought out and impressive. From the kids room at Nike set up with ping-pong tables, Wii’s, computers and camp counselors, to the fact that throughout the day while we were separated from our kids we got frequent texts with pictures of what they were doing. To the little touches like a framed picture of our group waiting for us in our hotel at the end of our day. They spoiled the us from our heads down to our new Nike shoes and I gotta say. I could get used to it.
“I am telling you babe, I completely bought into the Nike mission. I can honestly say I will not buy another brand of athletic shoes again.” – Me to my hubby
I must admit I don’t think much about my kid’s athletic shoes. We buy cheap because I figure they outgrow them fast and I have no brand loyalty whatsoever. Even my own athletic shoes which I tend to invest a lot more money in are whatever the sales person at the shoe store tells me are good shoes and on sale.
I think Nike thought at times they were boring us with all their research and statistics and studies they have done on the human body and mostly the foot. But my background in kinesiology and physiology and my years working in pediatrics as a physical therapy made this stuff fascinating to me. I was nodding along and eating up everything they told us.
They have a state of the art research facility (which people really don’t get to see because it is so top secret, but we were treated to an amazing tour) and an Innovation Kitchen (more top secret stuff) where they dream big about shoes. It is there that we were introduced to the concept of the Nike Free shoe.
It is the most researched shoe at Nike compared to all the other shoes combined. There is a ton of science and studies that have gone into this shoe in an attempt to mimic barefoot conditions as closely as possible. The coolest part is when they went to design the kid’s counterpart to the adult shoe, they didn’t just miniaturize it. The did extensive studies on children’s walking and running patterns, how they wear and tear their shoes and how they play and developed shoes specific to toddlers, preschoolers and elementary kids.
Lily and I were both treated to a pair of Nike Free shoes and before I knew a thing about the science behind the shoes I put them on and noted that they felt like I was wearing slippers. I could hardly believe they were a tennis shoe. And my “I only want to wear fancy shoes” daughter refuses to take hers off. Could be because they are hot pink.
I seriously believe in the science behind these shoes. They allow the shoe to better feel the ground beneath it, which strengthens the foot itself instead of using a shoe to provide all the stability. Their studies have shown that in athletes the Nike Free shoe leads to a 10-20% increase in strength, a 5-10% increase in flexibility and a 20-22% increase in balance. Most importantly it leads to less injuries.
As a mom I realized that although my kids aren’t super athletes, they are playing in shoes all day be it at recess, in my backyard or in a soccer game. Putting them in cheap, unflexible shoes suddenly seemed quite foolish. (thankfully we ended the day at the Nike employee store with discounted prices so I remedied our shoe problem)
I have much more to tell you next week but right now I have to make the long trek across time zones and back to hug my other two babies. Plus Nike was kind enough to take a whole boatload of pictures throughout the day allowing me to leave my camera in its usual spot, unused in my bag. So I will have a lot to share with you on Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned.
Kids Nike FREE Run: If your feet flex, shouldn’t your shoes flex too? Must-have flexibility for young feet.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nike via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nike