Back in 2015, my two roommates and I were bored on a Sunday afternoon and decided to go for a run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Before we even made a half a mile, my lungs felt heavy and fatigue in my legs crept in. Despite their best efforts to dial down to a slow jog so I could catch up, I found myself feeling defeated and was the last to finish. This memory is one of many that made me feel intimidated by the sport of running. After all, nobody wants to be the weakest link. After being invited to Santa Monica for the launch of the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit, a sneaker made with the “reluctant runner” in mind, I was intrigued and delightfully surprised to discover just how much finding the right shoe can change our attitudes about running.
The Nike Joyride sneaker is the first of its kind. The sole is divided into four different pods filled with tiny TPE beads which you can actually see in the heel of the shoe. The entire sneaker is engineered to adapt to your unique footstrike, and the pods create the sensation of running on bubbles.
“It’s a new innovation that’s not just aimed at the few and the elite,” Rachel Bull, Nike’s Senior Product Line Manager for Joyride told ESSENCE exclusively. “Everyone can benefit from more cushioning.”
During a two-day event hosted by Nike, I had the opportunity to experience the Joyride on both a treadmill and an outdoor run at the Santa Monica pier. True to its name, the sneaker made running a joyful experience by providing a stable, smooth impact on every surface. It was light enough in motion and immediately lessened the strain in my knees and calves. Me? Actually loving a run? Mind as well be a unicorn!
What I found even more interesting is that I am not alone in my reluctant runner’s attitude. Plenty of super-fit folks like Olympic athletes (yes, I got to run with some and will never stop bragging about it) and Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso classify themselves as folks who don’t necessarily love long-distance running. It’s not the labor of completing the miles that they look forward to, but the natural high they get from accomplishing the journey that makes it all worth it.
As a curvier woman, it felt refreshing to see myself reflected in this experience. During a panel at Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike’s first-ever brick and mortar store and original brand name, we heard from folks like Catherine Li. She is a plus-sized model and self-professed running hater. She also successfully completed Nike’s 26-mile marathon in Chicago. “If I can do it at a size 14, anybody can do it,” Li said. “Running shouldn’t be defined to size or age. It’s for everybody.”
Trying the Nike Joyride sneaker was a gateway to so many discoveries that will forever change the way I approach fitness. But here’s the most memorable nugget of truth: running, like saving money, might not feel good in the beginning or ever. It takes discipline, practice and hard work. The more you invest (like buying a proper shoe and finding a reliable running group), the happier you’ll be with your progress.
After all – it doesn’t matter how you start or how fast you go, but that you ultimately finish the race.
The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is now available for purchase and retails for $180.Share :