Nike’s new mantra should be Just Re-Do It.
In recent years they’ve successfully tackled everything from Olympic running shoes to swimsuits, to creating a essentially an elaborate pedometer that plays music, the Nike Plus.
Next up, it seems they’ve borrowed a page from design guru Ken Carbone’s own style playbook.
Starting this weekend college gridiron gets a makeover. This time it’s not just to be less garish, but to also help footballers dress less cumbersome, so they can slim down, speed up, and make more highlight reels. Enter Nike Pro-Combat, a football-inspired line of ultra-light–37% lighter when dry! 46% lighter when wet!–and strong athletic gear. In a fitting football analogy, the company’s marketing blitz starts this weekend. Over the next month, Nike will outfit 10 different college teams on game days to highlight their new innovations. And swag is also intended to inspire the fans to buy, too–less elaborate versions will be marketed online, in campus stores and at retail stores for couch potatoes.
The structural highlights, according to the Seminole’s Web site: Interwoven twill jerseys with high-tenacity yarn woven into the shoulders to increase flexibility and durability, Shorts that feature Nike dry-FIT Mesh (a breathable, water-wicking blend of polyester and spandex) around knees to help the body cool down more quickly. Even the D-ring belt clasps have been switched from steel to titanium to be 66 percent lighter.
The visual tweaks pay homage to a new age of interactivity. For instance, many team gloves may look odd until you realize that they form two halves of a school logo. The design comes together when the palms are squeezed together, as in, the fundamental motion needed to catch a touchdown pass.
The inside of each
jersey is also tagged with team-specific slogan that seems to have been thought up on the fly; Mizzou’s is “Beast Mode”; TCU’s is “Don’t Back Down”; Florida State’s is “Fear The Spear.”
Such assignment of seemingly random slogans has already lead to some witty heckling, but it’s no accident that these are just the sort of epigrams you might find in the “comments” section of an online sports forum. It’s a marketing easter egg; customers that log on to Nike’s Web site will quickly see that their own less-augmented line of Pro-Combat gear is meant to be personalized in the same fanatical manner.
The clothing line for amateurs is billed as the “Athlete’s Secret Weapon” that is supposed to fit like a second skin with flat seams to minimize chafing, dry-FIT tech to keep dry, and a ridiculously clingy cut to outfit you just like your favorite Heisman winner.