What the Wellness

Exclusive: ‘I Went to the Nike Innovation Center To Train Like an Athlete—Here’s How High Tech It Gets’

Zoe Weiner

The ethos behind Nike's innovation is simple: Never accept the status quo. In the 50-plus years since the brand's inception, it has pushed the boundaries of the sporting world to develop products that incentivize every athlete—whether they're an Olympic sprinter or a weekend sweater—to perform at their best.

In the last few years, the brand has brought us innovation galore: the sneaker that helped Eliud Kipchoge break the first two-hour marathon in history, the brand's first-ever hands-free workout shoe, and the first sports bras ever included in a World Cup kit. Time and time again, Nike's products have set the industry standard for what's possible, and it all starts at the Nike Sports Research Lab in Portland, Oregon.

In the latest episode of What the Wellness, Ella Dove, Well+Good's Director of Creative Development, paid a visit to Nike HQ to find out what really goes into making some of the brand's latest and greatest tech. And—spoiler alert—the answer is: a lot. The lab is equipped with technology to gather holistic intel on athletes, ranging from their run pace to their motivation, and that intel is then used to help inform the products they develop.

"We use science as our tool to objectively understand every single athlete, regardless of their background and ability, to help them reach their potential and be more motivated, and ultimately positively influence human behavior," says Matthew Nurse, VP of Nike Sport Research Lab. "It allows us to understand athlete performance, behavior, risk of injury, and we use that information to make better products and services, not just for Nike but for the athletes that we serve."

To see what goes into the gear beloved by pro athletes and weekend warriors alike—and why Nike continues to be the best of the best in the sportswear world—check out the video above.

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