SOURCE: Kuraray America
August 04, 2008 22:07 ET
Vectran Fiber to Propel Olympic Runners in Revolutionary New Nike Zoom Victory Running Shoes
Super Strong High-Performance Fiber Key to New Flywire Technology Hitting the Track in Beijing Summer Games
FORT MILLS, SC--(Marketwire - August 4, 2008) - When athletes from around the world go for
the gold at the Beijing Olympics, a super strong yet lightweight and
flexible fiber being used in a revolutionary new type of running shoe
construction from Nike, may help propel them to victory.
Vectran® fiber, a high-performance multifilament yarn spun from liquid
crystal polymer, is a key component of the new Flywire technology being
used in Zoom Victory Spikes that are so light that athletes say they feel
like a second skin or spikes coming out of their feet.
Manufactured by Kuraray America, Inc., Vectran's high-strength threads are
pound-for-pound five times stronger than steel. In the Flywire technology,
these fibers work like cables in the new suspension bridge-inspired design,
providing cushioning and support precisely where a foot needs it.
Nike is calling the Zoom Victory Spike its "lightest and strongest footwear
ever made," weighing 93 grams, without compromising on durability,
integrity or support. In comparison, the famed Gold Shoe worn by Michael
Johnson in the 1996 Olympics, which had been the lightest spike to date,
weighed in at 112 grams.
Each Zoom Victory Spike uses 116 strands of the Vectran fiber Flywire
strands to keep an athletes' foot cushioned at key points, such as the heel
and forefoot, and also firmly cradled in the spike's footprint, according
to the Nike Innovation Lab site. This enables more energy to be transferred
directly into forward motion with each stride.
Nike is supplying the Zoom Victory Spikes to the U.S. track and field team
for middle distance events and Zoom Matumbo, also utilizing Flywire, for
longer distance events. The same technology is being used in Hyperdunk
basketball sneakers being worn by L.A. Lakers' superstar Kobe Bryant.
The multifilament Vectran fibers, which are a quarter of the diameter of a
human hair, were converted into embroidery threads to be sewn by Nike. Nike
explored the use of other high-performance synthetic fibers, before
choosing Vectran for achieving the desired properties.
"Vectran fiber's unique combination of properties, including its tensile
strength, light weight and flexibility, enabled Nike to design the lightest
weight spikes ever made," said Robert Knudsen, manager of sales and
marketing for Kuraray America, Inc.'s Vectran division.
"Kuraray is pleased to supply Vectran fiber in this revolutionary design
that has allowed Nike to achieve both light weight and strength -- a
combination that was never thought possible before today," he said.
Versatile Vectran has been used in demanding applications ranging from
cushioning Mars Rovers during landings to the cabling system on new
airborne wind turbines, puncture-resistant bicycle tires and the world's
largest sail on a luxury charter.