NIKE’s PROPRIETARY AIR Drives The Future Of Performance For Athletes

Athletes’ dreams and ambitions constantly evolve, and so does Nike. Alongside the best in the world, the company is leveling up its game. To fuel competition on the world’s greatest stage and the demands of everyday life, Nike listens to its athletes’ exact needs and harnesses a proprietary platform: Nike Air.

Air is Nike’s most revolutionary, ubiquitous and versatile cushioning platform. Since its debut in the midsole of the 1978 Tailwind, Nike has used Air in every category of footwear, from basketball to toddler shoes, and the company continues to find new ways to use it to serve athletes of all ages, sizes and pursuits. Air is a window into Nike. It is a story of constant reinvention and never-ending progress.

The dynamic Nike Air unit — made in endless sizes, shapes and pressures — is at the center of the company’s work for this summer’s biggest sport moment, and with it, Nike has made the impossible possible for athletes. Perhaps Nike’s most famous Air-performance outcome was breaking the two-hour barrier for the marathon. Now it’s optimizing Air to help runners break barriers in every distance, and to help all athletes perform their best. The newest accelerant for Air: pioneering applications of cutting-edge technology that are closing the gap between what is known (sport science), what can be imagined (design), and what can be made (manufacturing).

Tools like these also allow Nike researchers to see how a digital footwear model will perform in the real world, how it will react to load, and even much it will weigh, all before the first physical prototype is ever made. And finally, Nike’s digital capabilities allow it to computationally tune its Air technology, so there’s an ideal distribution of performance across all shoe sizes. All of this is enabling better, faster, more efficient solutions for athletes while also opening up a world of creative possibilities — including Nike’s first sculpted, visible Air Zoom unit in a running silhouette, found in the new Pegasus Premium.

These digital capabilities have helped Nike create its most innovative, influential products ever — from the track to the court to the pitch — and they see no greater test than Paris ’24. Nike has pulled out all the stops to make this moment a tour de force, bringing together the best of its expertise in sport science, design and manufacturing and kicking off an innovation super cycle for the brand.

You can see the results of that effort in the Nike Blueprint Pack, which includes the best of the company’s Air-powered product offering, including updated spikes for track athletes, the Nike Victory 2 and Nike Maxfly 2; a new basketball shoe, the Nike G.T. Hustle 3; and its most premium boot for footballers to date, the 2024 Nike Mercurial.

The Blueprint Pack colorway is inspired by company cofounder Bill Bowerman and his obsession with enabling the best possible athlete performance. Bowerman was so focused on optimization that he would take a ballpoint pen and “dot” a Swoosh on the side of his athletes’ spikes to save the weight from stitching on a logo.

Nike designers were inspired by his sketchbooks, and for the Nike Blueprint Pack they created a typography based on his actual notes. Nodding back to the person who created “the blueprint for serving athletes” seemed right as the best in the world head to Paris this summer. The clean design spans a 13-shoe collection including spikes, basketball shoes, a football boot and a lifestyle shoe. In addition to the Nike Blueprint Pack, the company will also release another energy-driving colorway pack prior to the games.

In the Nike Blueprint Pack, you see the infinite applications of Air. The ability to make those applications perform comes thanks to Nike’s unique access to the world’s best elite athletes and the most everyday athletes through testing in its Nike Sport Research Lab. This incomparable data set merges with Nike’s know-how to create distinct, market-separating products. To create those products, Nike taps every tool in its toolbox — though not always as intended — with an irreverent, disruptive approach that’s baked into its DNA. (See one busted waffle iron, circa 1971.)

In Paris, Nike will celebrate what Air and the sport science, design, manufacturing and imagination behind it can produce — and what it means for the future of sport. “At the heart of all we do is the athlete — we exist to push boundaries and take risks on their behalf,” says Martin Lotti, Nike Chief Design Officer. “This summer, the difference-maker is the massive energy return of Nike Air. With these Air-powered products, I’m inspired not just by what we created in service of athletes, but also by the feeling that we’re at the beginning of an incredible new journey.”

Funnily enough, in the best-selling memoir, “Shoe Dog,” Nike cofounder Phil Knight says that when he first heard the pitch for shoes with Air cushioning from former aerospace engineer Frank Rudy, it sounded like “jet packs and moving sidewalks.” Air was an idea right out of the future then, and in this vanguard Nike Blueprint Pack powered by Nike Air, it’s giving athletes the ability to write the future of sports now.

The Nike Blueprint Pack will be available at and select retailers July 3.