A Look Back: The Creation of Nike Dri-F.I.T.

A Look Back: The Creation of Nike Dri-F.I.T.

If you’re an athlete, chances are you’ve worn Nike Dri-F.I.T. apparel at some point in your life. And if you haven’t, you’re missing out. From base layer tees, to running shorts, to socks, to track jackets, to slacker tights, to sports bras to hats – the lightweight, moisture-wicking Dri-F.I.T. material has been a staple for athletes young and old for 30 years now. I’ve been wearing Dri-F.I.T. clothing since the late ’90s, and I fondly remember how great that microfiber material felt. The functionality of Dri-F.I.T. was unmatched, and I remember how well it was marketed by Nike. I’ll never forget seeing tennis star Andre Agassi rocking a royal blue long-sleeve zip polo at the US Open during a night match. I couldn’t believe it – it was 80 degrees and he was wearing long-sleeves? What was he thinking? But that was the point. Dri-F.I.T. fabric was moisture-wicking, unlike your standard cotton tee shirts. It worked so well, you could stay cool like Andre on a hot, humid night in New York. I was hooked.

Drew Hammell Look Back Nike Dri-F.I.T.

In case you didn’t know, F.I.T. stands for “Functional Innovative Technology”. In the late ’80s, Nike Apparel was known mainly as a tool for branding and promotions. Think big Nike logos plastered on the chest of tee shirts and hoodies. Heading into the ’90s, however, Nike’s new objective was performance innovation, with a reinvigorated focus on materials. This focus was based, as always, on the needs of athletes.

As Nike was perfecting their Dri-F.I.T. material, their ACG line was also taking off. In the ’80s, layering was necessary for hiking in the mountains and other outdoor activities. Athletes preferred a base layer and then a thermal layer that provided insulation when the temperatures cooled down in the fall and winter. For the extremely harsh elements like wind, rain, and freezing conditions, there was also a need for a waterproof layer. And that, essentially, is how the F.I.T. line was created.

Drew Hammell Dri-F.I.T. Running
Drew Hammell Nike Dri-F.I.T. Training

Along with Dri-F.I.T. were three other key materials that each served specific functions to aid in the athlete’s performance. Nike designed materials that were versatile enough to handle a wide range of temperature and climate variables. Here is a breakdown of the core four F.I.T. categories:

Dri-F.I.T.

Quickly wicks the sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. This unique fabric was designed to keep you cool and dry or warm and dry in a wide range of conditions. The construction of the inner layer transports moisture from the body to the outer layer for rapid evaporation.

Clima-F.I.T.

Fabric better than waterproof – allows excess body heat and moisture to escape while keeping water and wind outside. The dense weave of the Clima-F.I.T. microfiber eliminates the need for special laminates or coatings, making it breathable and comfortable in a wide variety of conditions.

Storm-F.I.T.

Totally waterproof but incredibly breathable laminate fabric. Lightweight, soft, and supple – this seam-sealed fabric was designed for the athlete. It will keep you dry and comfortable from the inside out – no matter the weather or activity.

Therma-F.I.T.

Engineered to keep the body warm in cold conditions. The tiny spaces between fibers trap air within the material while blocking wind from the outside to provide the utmost comfort for any cold-weather activity.

Drew Hammell Therma-F.I.T.
Drew Hammell Therma-F.I.T. 2
Drew Hammell therma-F.I.T. 3

Nike launched their F.I.T. line beginning in the spring of 1991 after years of research. Soon, the line accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total material Nike used in apparel manufacturing. They even designed special sewing machines to ensure the fabrics were super-thin yet durable enough not to tear.

Prior to F.I.T. technology, Nike utilized outside products such as Lycra, Coolmax and Thermax for apparel construction and components. John Notar, former VP of Apparel Categories, led the F.I.T. project and remembers, “We decided to name each layer by its function, so on simple terms, it was Dri-F.I.T. keeps you dry, Therma-F.I.T. keeps you warm, Clima-F.I.T. protected you from the elements. A few years later we added Storm-F.I.T., where our thinking was around waterproof fabric. That was really the birthing of Nike F.I.T.. When we went to market, we even had a F.I.T. manual. (source: www.swell-graphics.com) 

Like most things Nike did in the ’90s, the results of the F.I.T. line were ground-breaking and have had a long-lasting impact on the sports industry. Those early tees, shorts, and jackets set the standard for what athletic apparel could become. Not only did Dri-F.I.T. tees look and feel cool, they actually helped you perform better. Granted, Nike was not the only company utilizing polyester microfiber in their apparel back then, but in my opinion, they definitely made the coolest stuff (both literally and figuratively).

Drew Hammell Dri-F.I.T. spread
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

The term “long-distance running” is pretty arbitrary when you think about it. For some of us, long-distance running means going on a five-mile jog. For others, it’s competing in a 26.2-mile marathon. And for ultrarunners like Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia, it’s waking up before the crack of dawn to run 50 or 100 kilometers over the span of a full day. 

That last group of people are outliers, of course, but over the past decade, there has been an increase in distance runners gravitating towards ultrarunning. We got to talk to Jared and Mayra about why they choose this extreme sport, what their workout regimen is like, and what HOKA products they use to train in.

Why did you get into ultrarunning?

Jared: I started running through competing in cross country and track. Once I was in high school, I was introduced to the trails through one of my high school coaches. I grew up in a pretty small town but we happen to have an ultramarathon that was pretty popular in the area, so I started running those trails more. Once I started learning more about ultrarunning, I was pretty fascinated by how somebody could run like 100 miles when I was only going out on the weekends and running 20 miles and getting destroyed on the trails. So it really was that fascination that led me to ultrarunning.

Mayra: I had a great coach and motivator. When I was running cross country, I didn’t know that there were races more than 3.1 miles. And my coach said that I could do more, do a marathon, and I just fell in love with it after that. My coach also told me that I would get stronger in road races if I started running trails too. So that’s really how I found ultrarunning and trail running.

How do you train for such a rigorous event like an ultramarathon?

Jared: I train year-round and there’s a certain focus on fitness that I really apply across a lot of different distance races. But when it comes to my specific training for ultras, once it gets closer to those races I ramp up the intensity of my training and focus on the long runs. I live in Flagstaff, so the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half away, so that’s one of my favorite training spots. I’ll just go there and do 20 or 30 mile runs. When I’m getting ready for a long race, I usually get in three or more 20+ mile runs a week.

Mayra: I like to just put in miles. I also think recovery is a big part of getting my body ready for these longer races too. Every two weeks I get massages to make sure that I don’t get injured. But really it’s all about running A LOT. During the week, I like to stay on roads so I don’t lose my speed. I see my coach on Mondays and Wednesdays, so on a typical Monday we do the track. I do 400s and build myself up to 1600s. And on Wednesdays, we do tempo runs and hill repeats. When I’m on my own on Tuesdays, I do long, easy runs, and then on the weekends I run through the mountains. If I can, I’ll run the actual race trail itself to see where I can pick up and gain some time so I’m ready for race day. But usually I’m running like 10 to 20 miles on those days.

What has been the highlight of your running career so far?

Jared: I would say the runner-up finish at Western States (a 100-mile endurance run in Northern California). I have a fairly long history with Western States. I ran it in 2014 and 2015 and then didn’t run it for a few years. I got back into it last year and had a great race. I’ve really seen a nice progression there too. The first year I ran it, it took me about 17 ½ hours, and five years later it only took me 14 ½. It’s nice to see that type of progression and know that the work I’m putting in year after year is paying off.

Mayra: I think just running the 50ks around my area. Running is a small world – everyone knows everyone in the running community and that’s been a highlight for me. A lot of people got to see where I started, running 3:40 or 3:50 marathons and then got to see me drop down to 3:20 and win some of our local races. It’s awesome to see them smile or come congratulate me on the work I’ve done over the years. That’s what makes me truly happy.

What HOKA products do you use for your training?

Jared: My go-to training and racing shoe has been the Speedgoat, which is convenient. It’s a shoe that I can train in all the time, and it’s also a high-performance shoe that I can take and race in. It’s nice because on race day, it’s nothing new. It’s a shoe I’ve run hundreds of miles in. It’s lightweight, it’s got protection, it’s got grip. I pretty much take it anywhere, even the Grand Canyon.

Mayra: I use all their stuff. Seriously, all of it. For marathons or road, I like to use the Clifton or the Carbon. But on the trails I use the Speedgoat or the Mafate, and sometimes the Torrent too. I love trying out all their shoes. The HOKA shorts have deep pockets for storage, too, and their sport bras are amazing and supportive. I truly am a fan of all their stuff.

Shop all the gear Jared and Mayra use to elevate their runs and maximize their distance at eastbay.com

Check out Jared on Instagram @jared_hazen

Check out Mayra on Instagram @born2run87

Enhance Your Skills with Dribbling & Footwork Drills from Ariana Dos Santos

Enhance Your Skills with Dribbling & Footwork Drills from Ariana Dos Santos

From her very first steps, Ariana Dos Santos had a soccer ball at her feet. By the time she turned two, she was dribbling through cones in the living room of her home. Her passion for soccer has led her to several of her favorite life experiences so far. She was a guest of honor for the Brazil National Team, the star of Steve Harvie’s “Little Big Shot,” and has filmed several sports commercials. Ariana now plays for Florida Premier Football Club and is excited to empower girls who play sports. 

Below you can find several of her favorite drills that she uses to improve her dribbling and footwork skills so she can dominate on the pitch.

GLUED TO YOUR FEET: In this video, Ariana starts off with a little bit of foundation. She progresses into a step over and turn. Then she begins dribbling through the cones using the inside of her feet, focusing on keeping the ball close to her feet. In the second part of the exercise, she uses the outside and inside of her foot, with a little more speed to create confusion/uncertainty for the defenders. 

PULL BACKS AND STEP OVERS: Here, Ariana is doing a combination using her right and left foot, focusing on using the inside part of her foot. After weaving through the cones, she sets up a pull-back move before using a burst of speed to quickly get to the next set of cones. 

CLOSE CONTROL: Here is a combination of all the exercises. This gives Ariana the freedom to use her own creativity. She rolls and pushes the ball through the cones using her right and left foot. She follows that up with right and left foot scissors. To end, she uses a Ronaldo turn and finish with a fun flick in the air to catch the ball. 

FREEDOM AND FUN: In this exercise, the cones were removed, and Ariana plays as if she was in the World Cup! She does a few double scissors through her imaginary defenders progressing into a Maradona move before slicing into a defender with an elastic. She finishes with some Ronaldo flair and celebrates her goal with a big smile and thumbs up.

Improve Your Handle with Basketball Drills from Drew Hanlen

Improve Your Handle with Basketball Drills from Drew Hanlen

Drew Hanlen is a basketball skills coach & consultant who counts stars Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, and more as full-time clients. He is also the CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball, and his internationally renowned Unseen Hours Skills Clinics have been held in 26 countries around the world.

Drew knows what it takes to succeed on the court, and one of the most important things is to have a tight handle that allows you to consistently attack your defender without turning the ball over. Check out both drills below to learn some new moves to add to your arsenal.

Cross-Step Basketball Tutorial

Step 1: A long lunge forward making sure the ball and foot hit at the same time. Make sure to decelerate on the front foot.

Step 2: Use a pocket dribble and an anchor step to get back on balance while still protecting the ball. Balance is crucial to maintaining your attacking momentum.

Step 3: Once you’re balanced, change directions either using a behind-the-back or crossover dribble and then attack the basket.

Same-Foot Stop Basketball Tutorial

Step 1: Lunge your strong-hand foot forward and take a pound dribble at the same time. The dribble should be just outside your heel to protect the ball.

Step 2: Flip your stance with either a between-the-legs or behind-the-back dribble to create a new attacking angle.

Step 3: Attack in the new direction.

You can also find some of Drew’s favorite gear to play and train in when you shop his gift guide at eastbay.com

5 Drills to Greatly Improve Your Core Strength from Dr. Reef

5 Drills to Greatly Improve Your Core Strength from Dr. Reef

Dr. Sharif Tabbah, aka “Dr. Reef,” is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and co-founder of Athletix Rehab & Recovery in South Florida.  Dr. Reef began his career in the fitness industry back in 2003 when he became a personal trainer at New York Sports Club. His time there sparked a passion for fitness and led him to a career in physical therapy. 

His unique approach to fitness has led to him working with hundreds of professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and many more. Dr. Reef places emphasis on balance and dynamic core stability, which helps with rehab and injury prevention. Below you can find five of his favorite drills that work on strengthening your core and improving your balance.

DUAL CRUNCH KICKS: Make sure each kick is deliberate so that you don’t shift the ball. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and back should be straight.

OVERHEAD SLAM: Bring the medicine above your head each time. Do not slam the medicine ball into the ground. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the entire exercise.

BALANCED CRUNCH KICKS: This should be a controlled movement. Make sure not to wildly kick your leg out. Hold your leg in the starting position briefly following each extension.

BALANCED PLANKING: Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Focus on not letting your hips drop or shift.

WEIGHT SHIFT WHILE PLANKING: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while balancing on the ball. Your back and core should be as flat as possible. Make sure you use a weight you are comfortable with.

For more workouts check out @Doctor_Reef and @Athletixrehab on Instagram or athletixrehab.com where he is always posting new and challenging unique workouts. You can also find some of Dr. Reef’s favorite gear that will keep you comfortable and get the most out of your workout when you shop his Eastbay gift guide.