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Nike ( NKE) unveiled its latest shoe today: the Nike Epic React. The running sneaker features a proprietary foam technology, as well as its signature Flyknit upper fabric.
Brett Holts, Nike's VP of running footwear, told us it's their most complete foam ever, made up of synthetic rubber and designed for durability.
The company actually had a rough quarter. U.S. North American sales fell 5% last quarter, with a 7% dip in footwear. Luckily, the decline was offset by strength in Europe and Asia. But this means that the Epic React better deliver.
I got to try out the new show today at a Nike event in Manhattan. There were a couple dozen lucky contestants, including some famous athletes, and we were divided into four teams for a little competition. Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez was on my team, and we really brought it. But alas, we lost.
Aside from being beautiful and probably very fast, the React is special because the foam is a proprietary technology. This means that it was made by and for Nike, so that whenever inventory falls lower than demand, the production process would be speedier than if Nike had worked with a third-party.
In October, Nike COO Eric Sprunk announced that the company plans to cut its entire design and manufacturing process in half, to about six months. So React better be one speedy shoe, on the pavement and beyond.