Sportswear brand Nike has released a trainer called Air Max Dn, which features an improved variation of the air-filled plastic cushions under its heels called Dynamic Air.
The sneaker is the first in Nike’s Air Max Dn line and features foam-injected thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel inserts called Dynamic Air.
A variation on the air-filled plastic cushion featured for decades in the Air Max line, the Dynamic Air heel cushion has four tubes divided into two “chambers”.
Each chamber has an opening between the two tubes, allowing for air to flow between them. The front chamber has a lower pressure than the back one, creating a bounce in the step as the foot moves from heel to toe in step.
“We call it ‘dynamic motion’,” said Nike Lifestyle Footwear product director Reggie Hunter.
“The independent set-up of the chambers means that the air unit can respond to the load of your body with each step. The feeling of heel-to-toe movement is seamless because the air unit is interacting in real-time with your foot and moves with you.”
Nike said that the air units were designed by using Finite Element Analysis, a digital system, which “helped teams test the air unit more quickly and accurately before making prototypes for real-life testing in the lab”.
These air units are encapsulated by a Phylon foam heel structure. TPU plates were inserted on the heel and at the arch to reinforce the structure of the shoe.
Its textile upper features a “haptic” silicon print, which, according to Nike was designed to express the dynamism of the shoe’s use.
According to Nike VP of NXT Footwear Kathy Gomez, the air-filled components are manufactured in Oregon, where Nike has its main office, and the full shoes are assembled overseas.
She told Dezeen that extensive testing went into the shoe and that its structure was designed with men and women in mind.
“If a generation of people who love Air Max are shocked by the Dn, we know we’re doing something right, said Hunter.
“But the reason we made Dn is less about appealing to a specific demographic and more about designing a shoe that people want to pick up, interact with it, learn about it and wear [it].”
The first iteration of the shoe features two colourways — all-black and red/pink. A pink hue has been used for the air chamber units, and the sole of the shoe has semi-translucent plastic elements that allow light to pass up through it and out of the tubes.
The first of the official Air Max line was released in 1987; it was the first Nike model where gaseous chambers in the soles could be seen through “windows”, though prior models had included gas-filled heel elements.
Other recent releases by Nike include Superfly 3, a “super shoe” that was used to break the marathon world record in Chicago last year.
The images are courtesy of Nike.