Reebok Spurs Innovation in Flexweave Footwear Tech with Designer Collaborations
Reebok is partnering with a group of creative designers to create a custom collection of fitness prototypes showcasing the power of Flexweave, the brand’s latest footwear innovation, which launches in Spring 2018. Flexweave features an open figure-8 construction that interlocks unlimited strands of fibers to create a single surface construction that the company reports is as strong as it is light.
In partnership with Joe Doucet x Partners (United States), Modla (England) and Odd Matter (the Netherlands), the global fitness brand explored the potential of Flexweave. All designers worked with the version of the textile that will appear in the first-generation of Reebok Flexweave footwear, launching in 2018, made from chenille yarn. The goal was to explore Flexweave’s potential to create a unique product linking form and function, creating an aesthetic product utilizing the benefits of Flexweave while at the same time serving a fitness purpose.
Reebok Flexweave prototype collection includes a pair of cutting-edge running gloves (Joe Doucet x Partners), a 3D printed altitude training mask (Modla) and a collection of light-weight, active sitting chairs (Odd Matter). Flexweave was developed by the Reebok Innovation Collective, a division championing the open-sourced pursuit of progression via innovation and partnerships that aims to push the boundaries of invention.
Apparel checked in with Tim Bristol, Reebok Product Marketing Director, to learn a bit more about the material.
Apparel: What really makes Flexweave different? What freedom or movement or technique does it allow the wearer that was restricted before; in other words, what problem did it solve?
Bristol: Upper innovation in our industry has primarily focused on a “less is more” approach to shoe making. Through advancements in seamless constructions, engineered meshes and jacquards, and most recently knit constructions, uppers have been deconstructed to their simplest form. The problem with this industry-wide approach is it doesn’t address the total performance needs of athletes. You can get soft and stretch, but no structure or support. Our solution with FlexWeave is a single surface construction that now offers multiple performance solutions in one shoe and is as strong as it is light.
Apparel: How is Flexweave constructed and what gave rise to the new material?
Bristol: Through an innovative figure-eight open structure, multiple materials can now be woven in and out of this structure creating a single surface. The more materials woven into the structure, the more possibilities of performance benefits that can be engineered into different zones of the shoe.
Apparel: Will this impact the way that other Reebok lines are developed?
With FlexWeave offering infinite possibilities of materials and benefits woven into the open figure-eight structure, we are currently exploring how to best utilize this opportunity across our range. Performance zones can now be tailored to an athlete’s needs in new and exciting ways in our existing franchises, as well as completely new concepts.
Jordan K. Speer is editor in chief of Apparel. She can be reached at [email protected]
All prototypes can be viewed at reebok.com/en-US/innovation_collective/