“The main inspiration is to give Roger an advantage on the tennis court.”
The public Apple-boosting reveal came from Brett Golliff’s “Design Insight” interview with Tinker (which you WILL READ NOW if you haven’t: The Architect | Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3). Today, we finally get some moving visuals of what Tink’s digital magic actually looks like. (Wonder what render app that is…)
From Nike’s own media release on the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour:
Here’s the challenge for tennis footwear: How to combine the lightweight, breathable comfort of a running shoe with the strength necessary to withstand the aggressive, lateral, stop-and-start forces that serious tennis players create? The answer is the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour, a unique package that’s different than any other tennis shoe out there. It’s designed more like a running shoe, but with the incredible strength and lockdown fit needed for the demands of tennis.
An innovative fit system uses “fingers” on the outside and a loop system on the inside. When the laces get cinched tight, the fingers mold to the shape of the individual foot, resulting in a customized fit that continues to adapt as the foot moves during a match. Wrapping the laces all the way to the bottom of the arch further enhances the glove-like feel and a synthetic-leather quarter panel overlay adds to the firm fit.
Lightweight mesh throughout the shoe helps keep the foot cool. And the TPU foot-frame from the mid-foot to the heel delivers stability and protection during the quick slides and directional changes of a competitive match. Rubber overlays in high-wear areas improve durability. Soft and springy Lunar cushioning and a Nike Zoom unit in the heel work together for exceptional comfort and impact protection.
And while the Swoosh video of Tinker and Fed below gets you loaded up on the design and function of the shoe, part 3 of “The Architect” interview fleshes out the timetable and real life context of how the Zoom Vapor 9 Tour came to be:
Like I’ll tell you a quick story, I was at the French Open last year sitting in Roger Federer’s box with his wife-to-be, Mirka, with my daughter sitting next to me and we were going to have a meeting the next day. So I watched him play tennis. He actually lost the match but it was still fun nonetheless. But I went back to my hotel room and thought about the fact that I was going to have a meeting with him and I guess I knew so much about tennis and knew a lot about him. So I decided to go to the meeting without any preconceived ideas, I should say without a preconceived design, and we had the meeting. I talked to him and listened to him and I literally jumped on the Metro, took the train back to my hotel after the meeting – this is the day following his match. Drew something up in forty minutes, emailed it to him and to the Creative Director of Tennis, to our head of Sports Marketing of Tennis, to Roger, and to a couple of other people and everybody got it an hour from when I started. Roger had an iPad and he got back to me right away and said well this is very cool. He said, “How did you do this so quick?” I just downplayed it and said it is not that difficult.
The Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour is available now for $130 at Nikestore and other fine tennis retailers.