When the thought of having to run—even for just five minutes—pops into your mind, what sort of feelings does it conjure up? Excitement? Dread? Not-a-chance in hell vibes? If you’re in the latter camp, Nike understands and is offering the Joyride Run Flyknit as a tool to help alleviate your running anxiety.
Launching globally on August 15, the shoe was crafted specifically for those who just can’t stand running (whether it’s because of the impact it can have on your body or because it’s not your idea of fun). Unlike other shoes, this sneaker comes with a dynamic footbed full of what they call TPE (short for Thermo plastic elastomers) beads that form to your foot and ultimately make the run easier on your legs.
On a recent trip with the brand to L.A., I got to try the sneaker both indoors and outdoors—first for an interval run on a treadmill and later for a run along the Santa Monica pier, led by Nike Run Coach Bec Wilcox and Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso (a self-professed reluctant runner). The first thing I noticed a few minutes into the workout was that I’d never felt a shoe like this before. Since the foot sits right against the four-pod footbed it gave me the sensation of standing on a sheet of un-poppable bubble wrap. Think supportive, but not necessarily springy. As I settled into the run, I could feel the beads in the footbed mold to the way my heel and forefoot hit the ground. The sensation was much like wearing an already perfectly broken-in shoe.
After the run, I sat down with Godso who shared that even though you may expect her to love running (she is a trainer and all) her relationship with the sport is quite the opposite. “So many people are training for certain things, a marathon or half marathon, but there’s a lot of us out there who actually don’t really like running but just want to move,” she says. “I like to do short and fast runs, so I’m never looking for a full on performance shoe because I’m not doing a serious amount of miles. Joyride is the first shoe that’s come along that feels like it could be my shoe.”
Early the next morning, we set out for a two mile run along the Santa Monica pier, and the shoe felt even better the second time around—somehow even more broken in than the day before. Running outside in 80 degree weather will never be easy, but the shoe did make the it a little less painful.
While the Joyride is a new innovation designed to make finding your stride easier, and it feels great, what really sold it for me was how it made me think about running. As Godso says, “I don’t mean to sound cliché but it’s actually a privilege to move your body. There are tons of people who would die to go on a 100M run and maybe don’t have the capability to do that.” Ask any runner and they’ll echo that sentiment. Then they’ll tell you that a lot of it is mental. The right fit and shoe can help you get in the zone and cut out the many excuses you may have for not going on a run. “Honestly, I think the worst thing we do is waste so much time being in the logistics of getting it done rather than just doing it,” says Godso. “You can get out there and it may suck but you can stop as many times as you need to. Release some of the ego, put the shoes on and go.”