Gym Owner Monthly

Nike And Hyperice Unveil Recovery Boot Ahead Of Olympics

Nike athletes travelling to Paris will have recovery technology on the go. And on their feet thanks to the new Nike x Hyperice boot, a collaboration between Nike and Hyperice that features heat and air compression for feet and ankles in the form of a high-top boot.
To make it all work, the shoe includes Hyperice’s Normatec bladders bonded to warming elements to distribute heat throughout the shoe’s upper. Designed to push heat into muscle tissue, the boot can assist with both warmup and recovery. It all happens on the go.
“Heat and dynamic air compression at the levels we are delivering within the boot have a multiplier effect, and really change how the body feels after use,” Anthony Katz, Hyperice founder and president, tells us. “The high pressures of the multi-zone compression drive the heat deeper into the body and amplify the effects of the heat on the tissue and fluid.”
During the warmup phase, the goal is to mobilize the ankle joint, decreasing the thickness of the fluid between the layers of muscle and tissue so the fluid acts as a lubricant. The compression helps move the heated fluid up the leg.
Along with the boot, the brands also revealed a new Nike x Hyperice vest with similar technology. While Nike hasn’t announced when the items will be released at retail, they will be in use by Nike athletes during the Olympics in Paris.
“It is great to start with the highest level of need,” Tobie Hatfield, senior director of Nike athlete innovation, tells us about working with elite athletes and trickling the technology to others. “They are going to be so fine-tuned into every single thing they feel.”
The mobile aspect of the new products gives athletes more flexibility. “It unlocks a lot of versatility for the user to be able to maintain their recovery routine wherever they go,” Katz says. “Athletes are very routine based in their preparation and recovery, but their lives off the field or court can be very dynamic and demanding from a time and travel perspective, which makes it harder to stay in a routine. Being able to use the products at home, during travel or on the way to and from a media or brand obligation allows the athlete to stay on track with their recovery when they have to be mobile.”
Hatfield says the mobility offers a critical piece, adding he’s even worn the boots through the airport, even if TSA had a few questions for him. “They can have treatment more often,” he says about the benefit. “That is what is critical. If you can put this on and walk to the kitchen, and the store, and know you are getting treatment at the same time, that means athletes will continue to have that treatment longer.”
The Nike x Hyperice project has been in the works for years. The final iteration of the boot allows for the control of the heat and compression directly on the shoes. Athletes can synchronize the two shoes or run them individually, selecting between three levels of compression and heat powered by a battery pack in each shoe’s insole.
Katz says that with pressure you don’t need as much heat. That pressure also drives the heat deeper, ensuring improved mobility on the ankle. “There is a lot of science behind it,’ he says.
Hatfield says the trickiest part in creating the product was the merging of footwear with technology in such a small space. “We were taking the Hyperice Normatec technology and stuffing it into a small area with curvatures,” Hatfield says. “Electronics like a lot of room and flat, straight lines. You don’t see that on shoes very often.”
On the flip side, Nike isn’t used to working with technology. Key changes included designing not for performance, but for function. Hatfield says he built the sole thicker to encapsulate the technology and added a rocker in both the toe and the heel, making it a walkable boot. “How am I going to make this not so slappy? I have to not only put a rocker in the toe, but I had to put a rocker in the heel,” he says. “That is not what I normally would do. They had to shrink some things to put them in tight spaces and I had to accommodate. We had a give and take, and we were able to stuff it all in and make it work.”
Ada Hegerberg, a Norwegian soccer player, says that feet are a precious tool in her sport. “Taking care of them is absolutely essential and while we’ve had plenty of tools for other joints,” she says, “these new boots specifically designed for your feet are very useful for many athletes.”
The vest offers the ability for either heating or cooling and uses sensors to monitor temperature and maintain the selected level. An air bladder and pressure sensors within the vest push the thermal modules toward the body.
“From the moment I tried the Nike x Hyperice boots and vest while they were still in development more than a year ago,” says NBA star LeBron James, “I knew they were going to change the game for athletes’ warm-up and recovery.”
Eluid Kipchoge, an Olympic marathoner from Kenya, says he’s used the new boot before and after training sessions. “When using before a warm-up for a fartlek or hill session, it makes my legs feel light during the workout,” he says. “I also use them post-run as a key part of recovering my muscles.”
Katz says he’s spent years working on this initial project with Nike and it is all “just the start.”