The philosophy of Natural Motion

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Nike co-founder and Track and Field coach Bill Bowerman was obsessed with stripped-down, high-performance running footwear. He created a legacy of likeminded athlete-and-coach-turned-designers who have been able to continue Nike’s vital design culture. He once described the ideal trainer as “a second skin for the foot”, which has become a major influence for pretty much every silhouette produced. It’s this exact philosophical ideal that has occupied the minds of countless designers, who have generated an evolutionary succession of footwear models in their pursuit of it.

One of these designers is Tobie Hatfield, Director of Athlete Innovation and Explorations and the influential creator of the Nike Free. First encountering Bowerman in 1979 at the age of 18, whilst training for the state championships in pole vaulting, Tobie was instantly taken aback by the innovative and fundamentally experimental methods that were applied to achieve improved performance. This fundamental belief that shoes should provide both protection and traction, but with as little weight and distraction as possible has navigated the evolving path of natural motion over the decades, resulting in the Nike Free, first introduced a decade ago to mimic the biomechanics of running barefoot.

“An athlete who is able to develop his or her innate natural abilities is able to run farther or faster, jump higher, become stronger, and thus challenge the boundaries of athletic performance.”

This is the key insight that has driven natural motion, a philosophy that emerged from Nike’s singular design approach, and pioneered new technologies and even expanded what a shoe can do for the foot, creating an approach to footwear that has changed the way shoes are made.

Check out our entire Nike Free collection online HERE and in selected size? stores now.

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