Hard to believe, but after five years of working with the technology, Nike's never added it to apparel—nope, not even a pair of compression leggings. So why did it decide to start with a sports bra? “[It's] the key piece to a woman being able to work out without distraction,” says Nicole Rendone, senior bra innovation designer at Nike Women’s Training. “Looking at our Flyknit technology, it seemed perfect for bras. It molds and shapes, and you can offer support and breathability wherever you want."
"Looking at our Flyknit technology, it seemed perfect for bras. It molds and shapes, and you can offer support and breathability wherever you want. "
Not that slipping into a FE/NOM will feel anything like pulling on a pair of VaporMax—Nike's come up with a brand-new, super-breathable yarn for them, which it quality tested for more than 600 hours. The result is an extremely lightweight and very touchable sports bra, with a cool cropped silhouette that could definitely work as a top beyond the gym, as demo-ed by Rendone during a recent presentation in New York City. (She paired hers with a blazer and high-waisted trousers.)
The individuality offered by the bra is one of the designer's favorite features. "You get a custom fit and feel, based on the knit structure,” Rendone says. One thing you won't get? "It’s not the total-compression, uniboob look,” she assures. Instead its support comes from a fully integrated band and its shape via woven darts and encapsulation (AKA breast separation). All that bra wizardry comprises just 2 single-layer panels. (High-impact bra construction typically involves as many as 42 pieces, like wires, casings, stabilizers, and hook-and-eyes.)
“We engineered the benefits of all those components, without adding anything to the seamless knit paneling,” explains the Nike designer. “[And] we found a way to [weave] the straps so they’re totally stable and strong, without extra irritation."
The FE/NOM costs $80, is offered in extended sizes (fitting up to a 36DD), and comes in a black and gray combo. (Bolder colorways will debut with future iterations, which are already in the works.) "For the first style, we went with something iconic," Rendone says. "It’s full coverage, so you can really do whatever you want in it—it works for HIIT and running, but is comfortable enough for yoga." Or just rock it under your favorite mesh top.
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