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

This Year’s Best Soccer Gear: A position-by-position breakdown

This Year’s Best Soccer Gear: A position-by-position breakdown

Soccer Gear Guide Featured Image

The grass has been cut. The lines have been painted. It’s time to head back to the soccer field. Eastbay is here to help make this your best season yet. We’ve got a massive collection of the best soccer gear from the biggest brands, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit. And, to make it easy on you, we even divided our soccer cleats by player type, so you can make sure you lace up the right way. Check it out below:

TOP CLEATS

Players looking for speed

Nike Mercurial Superfly 7 Elite

Nike Mercurial Superfly 7

After bursting onto the scene in 2009, Nike’s Superfly line became a staple of speed at the professional level. Worn by some of the best players in the game, the newest Mercurial Superfly has improved traction with a slightly stiffer chassis and the Nike Aerow Trac zone in the forefoot. These boots also feature a 360-degree Flyknit Dynamic Fit collar that wraps your foot for a comfortable, second-skin fit.

adidas X 19.1

adidas X 19.1

Show off your speed with the perfect lightweight boot from the brand with the three stripes. The adidas X 19.1 cleats offer a thin SpeedMesh upper for a lightning-quick look and feel. These cleats also utilize a SpeedFrame outsole for traction and stability that doesn’t weigh your foot down.

Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Elite

Nike Mercurial Vapor 12

Looking to burn past the back four with devastating explosiveness? Look no further than the Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 cleats. The elite version of these boots provides Flyknit technology that is lightweight and flexible for agile comfort. They also feature a two-part podular plate system that flexes with your foot for responsive speed with every step.

Players looking for striking and ball-handling

adidas Nemeziz 19.1

If your game revolves around displaying flashy footwork and finding the back of the net, you have to check out the adidas Nemeziz 19.1 cleats. The durable, textile upper and torsion system provide a comfortable, locked-down fit while the TPU-injected outsole keeps you stable when striking the ball. These boots will adapt to your foot for customizable style that stands out on the pitch.

adidas Predator 19.1

adidas Predator 19.1

Is precision the name of your game? Then you need to take a look at the adidas Predator 19.1 cleats. These boots offer a textured control skin coating for a confident touch when dancing around an opponent or hitting top corner on a strike. They also have a stretchy collar that wraps around your foot to provide a snug fit without sacrificing ankle movement.

Nike Phantom Venom Elite

Nike Phantom Venom Elite

Take control of your strikes with the Nike Phantom Venom Elite cleats. These innovative boots include blades on the instep to help create spin and direct the flight of the ball. They also feature flywire cables that offer better lockdown to keep your foot securely in place when making that game-winning kick.

Nike Phantom Vision Elite

Nike Phantom Vision Elite

Block out all distractions and make the precise play with Phantom Vision cleats. With an innovative Ghost Lacing system, these cleats feature a flat surface placed over the laces for clean strikes every time. They also utilize premier Quadfit mesh construction that fits to your foot like a sock, offering a comfortable, stable feel.

Players looking for touch and comfort

Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Elite

Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Elite

Nike’s legendary Tiempo cleats continue to be one of the most reliable choices on the market. The Tiempo Legend 8 Elite cleats feature soft, premium kangaroo leather that delivers unrivaled touch and control. They also utilize a flyknit tongue and quad-fit mesh lining for a supportive, comfortable feel all game long.

adidas Copa 19.1

adidas Copa 19.1

Lace up a pair of adidas Copa 19.1 cleats and instantly improve your first touch. These boots also feature super soft kangaroo leather that helps you orchestrate in comfort while a molded vamp brings you closer to the ball for confident control.

But to dominate on the soccer field, you’ll need more than just the best cleats – you’ll need the latest apparel and equipment too. Here’s a quick rundown of the added pieces you can grab to complete your game.

TOP APPAREL

soccer apparel

Maximize your potential by training in Nike Strike Apparel. Made with lightweight, breathable Dri-FIT material, Strike apparel is engineered to keep you cool and comfortable throughout a day on the pitch. The Nike Strike Shorts are a top choice for the serious soccer player. Featuring zippered pockets for secure storage space and an elastic waistband with a flat drawcord for a snug fit, these shorts are a must-have. To shop the rest of our Strike collection, visit eastbay.com.

We also carry a variety of Nike Academy apparel, available in men’s, women’s, and kids’ sizes. Two of our hottest items from the Academy line are the Women’s Knit Tank and the Men’s Knit Hoodie. The tank features a racerback design that allows a natural range of motion while the hoodie is constructed of Dri-FIT fabric and a multipanel hood for warmth and comfort in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Finally, if you’re team adidas, we recommend shopping our selection of Tango apparel. Designed to be the perfect combination of style and performance, adidas Tango apparel is built for the soccer obsessed. One of our favorite items is the Tango Logo Jersey T-shirt because it combines the iconic adidas look with comfortable, lightweight fabric so you can look good and play even better.

TOP EQUIPMENT

Get the protection you need with the Nike Flylite Shin Guards. These guards are lightweight and flexible, so they won’t get in the way when making plays. Geometric columns and webbing replace traditional foam, holding the guard up off your leg to keep you dry and comfortable. For added protection when heading a volley or just playing physical, we recommend checking out the Storelli Sports ExoShield Head Guard. Weighing only eight ounces, this head guard is built with combat-grade viscoelastic foam that conforms to your head for maximum security and fit.

We didn’t forget about goalies! When it comes to gloves, we suggest one of the two following options. The Nike Vapor Grip 3 Gloves feature Grip3 technology that helps you make tough saves from anywhere in the box. On the other hand, the Storelli Sports Exoshield Gladiator Legend 2.0 Gloves are chock-full of padding and support for game-long, stable protection.

Of course, there is no soccer game without a soccer ball. The Nike Magia Soccer Ball is the perfect choice for any surface in any conditions. The Nike Aerowtac grooves provide a perfect flight pattern while a textured casing gives this ball incredible touch and feel. Another solid choice is the adidas Context 19 ball. The thermally bonded, seamless surface gives the player complete control and reliable performance with every kick.

7-on-7 Football Gear Guide

7-on-7 Football Gear Guide

 

7-on-7 football is growing at a rapid rate year after year. Thanks to its fast-paced play and high-scoring nature, it’s a great way for skill position players to keep improving as they prep for their fall sports season. A major perk that comes with playing 7-on-7 is the gear — most leagues allow athletes to wear flashier cleats, gloves, and clothing than they’re allowed during the fall football season. So what gear will help you stand out this year? We turned to arena football corner and YT star I Know Football for his expert picks on this season’s top 7 on 7 football gear.

 

Cleats

 

Adidas Adimoji Cleats:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgr_xp7nuPx/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“With the tons of flashy designs, you can make a statement with swag during 7-on-7.”

 

Jordan Retro XI Cleats:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg4pk61HaCr/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“These cleats are super soft, super comfortable. You’re going to be able to look good. They have so many different colors of these.”

 

Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 Cleats:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgOlLxDFcbG/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“These are my more serious, performance cleats. If I want to play the best of the best, no holds barred, I’m definitely going to be rocking these. They have my favorite traction.”

 

Gloves

 

Nike Vapor Jet 5 Gloves:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhratyTHTpE/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“I love the MagniGrip in the glove and its seamless fit. It has kind of a surgical look to it.”

 

Cutters Rev Pro 3.0 Gloves:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BidPZuUH-sR/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“If you like Cutters and love that Cutters’ grip, these are perfect. They are machine washable and that grip is actually built into the glove material, so you’ll have some great durability.”

 

Adidas Adizero 7.0 Gloves:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgFO_ndl9a_/?hl=en&taken-by=iknowfootball

“When you’re out there, you want to be looking and feeling good. You want to make a statement. If you wear the adiMoji cleats, you need these.”

 

Apparel

 

Evapor Compression Apparel:

“They have so many different colors, so you can match with any team color. They are seamless, very lightweight, and eliminate distractions.”

 

Nike Vapor 3.0 Football Socks:

“You’ve got padding in the Achilles area here too, but you have some gripped ribbing at the bottom. If you wear cleats with NikeGrip tech, this gripped ribbing works in perfect sync with those cleats.”

 

Stance GameDay Socks:

“These have minimal branding so you can wear them with any other brand of cleat. Double-cushioned in the forefoot and left-to-right specific to give you that support in the midfoot.”

 

Accessories

 

Bicep Bands (Nike and adidas):

“Your swag will not be complete unless you have some bicep bands. You can rock these on your legs or your arms.”

 

Wilson GST 1003 Official Game Ball:

“The 1003 is real leather with a pebbled grip for quarterbacks. It’s the only football that has stitched-on laces. That makes it easier to throw and catch the ball.”

 

Wilson GST 1780 Composite Ball:

“The 1780 is at a lower price point than the 1003, but has a lot of the same technology and features. It still has those pebbled laces and is still very tacky.”

 

Battle Sports Oxygen Mouthguard:

“This is a fan favorite for a lot of people. There are plenty of different designs. It’s also pretty inexpensive, and it’s not a boil-and-bite. So you can use it right away.”

 

Nike Brasilia Large Duffle:

“It’s big enough to hold all that gear I just showed you – multiple cleats, footballs, you name it.”

 


Those are I Know Football’s picks — make sure to follow him on YouTube and Instagram for even more updates on the latest football gear.