Nike Aims to Make Walking, Jogging & Running Fun for Women With Motiva – Footwear News

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Nike is out to make walking, jogging and running for women a bit easier — and more fun — and is using insights from one of its popular digital platforms to do so.

Equipped with data from its Nike Run Club app, the athletic giant stumbled upon a revelation. It discovered that most women logging their first workout were averaging a 13-minute mile, and they were fluctuating between walking, jogging and running. They also were starting and stopping throughout the activity.

“We saw this as an area of opportunity,” Domonique Debnam, Nike senior director of men’s and women’s fitness and tennis footwear, told FN. “How can we create a product that uniquely services those slower-paced movements?”

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Nike’s answer is a new silhouette, the Motiva.

To create the Motiva — a shoe made for walking, jogging and running — Debnam said Nike spoke with more than 1,000 women from around the world to get anecdotal information to best understand their needs. This process, the brand stated, consisted of hundreds of interviews and focus group hours both in the Nike Sport Research Lab and in people’s communities.

Nike said its teams found that stop-start-slow pacing patterns are the result of fatigue, which causes discomfort and frustration — and also keeps people from enjoying their movement.

“In designing Motiva, we went after removing distractions, addressing the discomfort that can go along with how you feel both during and after an activity,” Nike Sport Research Lab principal researcher Dr. Emily Farina said in a statement. “The result is a shoe that can help reduce disruptions in your stride to make moving feel smoother — and, we hope, help you want to come back for more.”

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Nike Motiva

Nike Motiva.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

The key technology in the Nike Motiva — which Debnam said has been in development since 2020 — is its rocker geometry. “One of the things we found is that walkers tend to heel strike. That really informed how, and why, we created that rocker geometry,” she said.

The exaggerated rocker bottom was designed to help provide a smooth transition as the wearer moves forward. Nike said the rocker helps ease the wearer’s foot to the ground after heel impact before helping to roll the foot forward to push back off for the next step.

Also, keeping comfort in mind, the Motiva was built with ample cushioning underfoot. It features full-length Cushlon 3.0 foam, added to help soften the impact as the wearer’s feet hit the ground. This is paired with the brand’s ComfortGroove bumps on the outsole, which make the underfoot experience even softer by compressing where and when it is needed.

Nike Motiva

The Nike Motiva with ComfortGroove bumps on the outsole.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

The shoe’s comfort story continues with the soft foam waterfall collar designed to hug the ankle and heel, and an internal half-bootie that makes the shoe easier to put on and take off.

Nike also created the Motiva with a new fit, which was requested by wear testers. Using a data-driven last, Nike moved away from a narrower fit toward a widened forefoot, arch and toe box.

“The biggest thing was how can we solve for comfort? How can we encourage more movement and make a product that’s going to help you want to put that shoe back on and go out for more movement?” Debnam said.

Nike has revealed the Motiva at a time when activity among Americans is higher than it has been in more than a decade. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) stated in its 2023 Topline Participation Report that the number of totally inactive people in the U.S. dropped below 70 million people for the first time since 2010.

Aside from the running boom brought on by the pandemic, many Americans have also taken up walking as a means of exercise. According to the SFIA, 114.8 million people used walking for fitness in 2022, a 3% increase over the total three years prior.

“When we think about our history and heritage, Nike has always been in the walking market, in the jogging market, going back to predecessors and models that we launched in the 1970s. When we think about the consumer today, wellness is a key thing that’s driving a lot of our lifestyles, so [the Motiva] is right for right now,” Debnam said.

The Nike Motiva will arrive in May via, as well as in select Nike stores and at select specialty retailers. The retail price is set at $110.

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