When the pandemic shut down gyms and workout classes, many people turned to outdoor running, which keeps you active with minimal gear. But as the weather becomes even more cold and miserable, it’s all too easy for a few days off to turn into weeks. Nike, however, is proving a little more resilient — the brand announced a new Nike Sports Research Lab (NSRL) performance capsule for runners. According to Nike, each piece in the collection “responds to runner-needs, whether temperature control or visibility, with a unique environment-first approach.”
Runners aren’t looking for labels — they’re looking for functional, quality items, and brands are taking note. Nike’s latest gear was made through athlete studies, Nike Run Club app feedback, global Nike running group input, and extensive testing. The brand is committed to creating the best, most innovative gear possible, as demonstrated by past examples. Nike collaborator Tom Sachs put his newest Mars Yard 2.5 to a literal wear test to improve the sneaker’s design, while the brand itself debuted the Nike "Go FlyEase," a 100 percent hands-free sneaker made after working alongside athletes with disabilities. Through research and feedback from real runners, Nike also created two sneakers that actively work against running injuries. The brand’s marketing strategy is smart and simple — ask customers what they want, and make it. Now if only Nike would take some feedback on the SNKRS app…
Detail-packed design — Nike’s research revealed that the two greatest struggles for city-based daily runners in the winter are temperature regulation and visibility in low-light conditions. Because of this, every piece in the brand’s NSRL collection responds to runner-needs with adjustable temperature control and visibility features.
The highlight of the collection is the unisex Transform Jacket, which incorporates four fully-removable down pillows to allow for modular insulation, responding to weather conditions and the athlete's thermoregulation needs. The pillows can be easily rolled and stored in the jacket's chest pocket, while a removable hood and sleeves can also be put away within the jacket to create a lightweight vest. Constructed of Gore-Tex Infinium™ fabric, the outerwear is completely windproof, water-resistant, and breathable.
For more visibility on evening runs, Nike created the Aurora Bomber, taking inspiration from bioluminescence to give off a subtle ambient glow. The reflective jacket can be worn from a workout to errand-running, and offers warmth through body-mapped quilted insulation.
Warmth without the weight — Alongside outerwear, warm-up tops and pants were carefully crafted by Nike to keep you both warm and visible. The NSRL series Packable Pant, made of windproof fabric and offering a high range of mobility, features a ghost-flash pattern activated against direct light sources like headlights and helps runners to be seen. Similarly, the collection’s performance T-shirt boasts wicking benefits, a hidden pocket, and reflective bars that are revealed when the sleeves are flipped up.
Nike has also catered specifically to women runners, whose gear often leaves them little storage for keys, credit cards, or phones. The brand’s NSRL thermal tight offers a phone pocket in the back and additional pockets for smaller items. A body-mapped merino wool base layer provides breathability.
Get back on your feet — Versatility is key to a great product, and Nike’s NSRL series has been altered to adjust to runner frequency, the time of day, and various weather conditions. With more visibility, warmth, and storage features, the collection is sure to start winter runners off on the right foot — and get rid of any excuses. The NSRL Series releases February 10 on Nike’s website, but in the meantime, runners can also check out the new audio-guided "A Cold Run" on the Nike Run Club App. Without NSRL gear, however, your run might be extra frigid.