For Nike, everything comes back to helping athletes move smoothly. As a way to help runners better regulate their body temperatures while moving, the Nike Explore Team and Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) created a new performance apparel technology: Nike Aerogami. First launching in the Nike Run Division Aerogami Jacket, the technology features moisture-reactive vents that autonomously open and close when detecting sweat.
Imagined and created with runners in mind, the Nike team wanted to provide instant, real-time technology that would help athletes’ bodies as they warm up, sweat and cool down. It consists of a series of tiny winged vents powered by the moisture-reactive film that open as they sense sweat build-up on the skin, providing increased airflow and space for moisture to escape.
To learn more about the Nike Aerogami technology, Jahan Behbahany, Senior Apparel Innovation Product Manager at Nike, chats with Schön!
At what point did the Nike team realise that the issues runners were facing could be solved by creating something like the Aerogami?
Running has always been at the heart of Nike’s culture of innovation. For over 50 years, we have been relentlessly committed to solving problems for runners. With Aerogami, we wanted to find an innovative solution for a timeless problem for runners: overheating while wearing a running jacket, causing discomfort and distraction from their run.
How did you work with runners to ensure that the Aerogami features were what they were looking for?
At Nike, everything we do starts and ends with listening to the voice of the athlete. We work with elite and everyday athletes of all levels, both here at our World Headquarters and worldwide, to understand them in their entirety to better serve their needs. We created Aerogami using advanced product creation capabilities and technologies at the Nike Sport Research Lab in the LeBron James Innovation Center. Using computational design methods built around athlete heat and sweat map data and environmental chamber testing to create this venting technology, Aerogami is the latest example of advanced apparel innovation that only Nike can create.
The invention helps regulate body temperature while exercising by creating a venting system that opens when it feels sweat on the body. What was the design creation process like and what did the collaboration look like between the two teams — Nike Explore Team (NXT) and the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) — to create something such as this?
The scientists and innovators from the Nike Explore Team and the Nike Sport Research Lab are always inspired by our passion for running and solving problems for runners. We worked together for over three years creating various prototypes using different vent designs and materials to bring this first-of-its-kind solution to life. Throughout the entire process, we put the athlete’s voice at the center and leveraged our world-class sports science and research capabilities to bring this technology to life.
We are obsessed with all the details, from the design to the method of the vent construction to the moisture-reactive film applied to the vents so that they autonomously contract upon sensing sweat on the body, to the location of the vents. Through prototyping and athlete tests inside environmental chambers, we generated heat and sweat maps for runners that informed the location of the vents. Through this testing and data visualization, we placed the vents on the men’s and women’s jackets in different places to accommodate gender-specific needs, such as vents on the women’s jackets around the area where a sports bra sits.
How does Nike’s Storm-FIT ADV work alongside the Aerogami feature?
FIT ADV is Nike’s pinnacle performance apparel platform. Storm-FIT ADV technology combines windproof and waterproof fabric with advanced engineering and features to help keep you protected and comfortable in harsh weather conditions. Combining Storm-FIT ADV with Aerogami creates a jacket that protects runners from the elements while also providing ventilation and breathability where – and when – they need it.
It’s being called one of the best inventions of the year — what does that mean to the Nike team?
For more than 50 years, solving problems for runners has led to some of the biggest innovations in our history. When you look at our Running innovation history, we can confidently say we’ve created innovations that have changed the sport. We’re proud that Aerogami was born from this same culture of innovation, and we’re excited to continue providing game-changing products that serve the needs of all runners.
Lastly, what do you hope runners feel after wearing Nike’s Aerogami clothing and running innovations in general?
We want runners to feel that we listen to them. We are relentlessly committed to creating products that solve their specific problems and remove distractions as they chase their personal goals. Innovations like Aerogami show how we’re pushing the boundaries and reimagining the possibilities of how performance products can serve athletes. Innovations like Aerogami also help evolve the relationship that athletes have with their product and their understanding of how innovative products can integrate with their life; from something that they wear or use to something that engages with them to serve them how and when they need it. And, the beauty of this technology in particular is how intuitive it is because not only can the athlete feel the benefits, they can see them.