Last week in New York, Nike introduced its new Pro Combat line, and it's perhaps the most technically advanced athletic apparel on the market. Supercompressor got an exclusive backstage look at the launch. Enjoy.
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The event, called "Hyperschool," was located in an unmarked warehouse on NYC's west side. As representatives in matching black Nike gear lead me through, I felt like I was in a nightclub in Tron. After being pulled aside into a small screening room, Nike researchers and designers spoke about the science behind the new Pro Combat line, which features pieces made from breathable meshes and fabrics.
The seamless knit-engineering benefits both performance and aesthetics. Panels for flexibility and unrestricted movement are integrated throughout nearly all the items, ensuring that athletes won't have to worry about bothersome or distracting clothing during activity.
Dri-FIT Max fabric is specially integrated at key positions to aid in wicking away moisture. What's this mean? Well, that each piece is specially engineered to keep an athlete warm or cool.
As we moved through the warehouse, the Nike reps explained the science behind the gear. Behold, the environmental chamber! This room simulated different temperatures and humidity conditions for an athlete. A guy in Pro Combat gear was running on a treadmill wearing an incredibly-terrifying face mask that monitored vital levels while working out.
Next was a copper mannequin named Hal, who walks in place and sweats, allowing Nike to test how well the clothing wicks sweat away from the body. Hal was jacked.
Third was a body scanner. No, not the kind you find in an airport, but one that allows Nike to take precise measurements of athletes' bodies and then design pieces tailored exactly to an their needs.
Finally, an impact simulator test showed how well the Pro Combat apparel can protect the body. A weighted ball was dropped on a gelatin-like material, designed to mimic real-life human tissue. It was pretty impressive how a small pad sewn into a garment can be integral in stopping deep bruising from simple impacts on the field.
The bottom line? Nike does their research. Anyone looking for new athletic gear, training for the Olympics, or wanting to just look outrageously cool, the Pro Combat line is a safe bet.
Gavin Woolard is an editorial intern at Supercompressor. He challenged the NFL player Steven Jackson who spoke at Hyperschool to a race; it hasn't happened... yet. Follow him on Instagram.