One of the kids’ most magical attributes is spontaneity — when they get the urge to run, jump, and dance, it’s gotta happen right now.
Nike’s new Dynamo Go and Play Pack collection is out to help that spontaneous play happen quickly and easily, harnessing the brand’s goal to make play a lifestyle for kids. The shoe and apparel line is made with the same innovative FlyEase technology that was developed using insights from the disability community, and they include kid-inspired features and playful touches that guarantee our youngest athletes can play whenever, however they want.
“Make getting shoes on easier and faster” — that’s the No. 1 thing Kevin Dodson, Global Vice President for Kids Footwear Product, hears from the hundreds of Nike kid shoe testers and their parents and caregivers. “Anyone who’s spent time with kids knows that when they can pull on their own shoes quickly and easily, it gives them confidence and a feeling of empowerment, and that gets them moving more,” says Dodson. Kids and parents tell Nike designers that, in addition to autonomy, they want a shoe that’s lightweight, with a great fit, and a grippy sole that can handle any kind of movement. “Kids aren’t saying, ‘Okay, it’s time to go switch my shoes now. They’re going from activity to activity to activity, and we know our products need to stand up to that spectrum of use,” says Dodson.
Erasing any struggle to get gear on and off is paramount for kids apparel too, says Jermaine Younger, Senior Director, Nike Kids Product, and especially for those in the disability community for whom a tricky zipper or series of buttons can create real barriers. Using feedback from Nike’s dedicated Consumer Insights team, which conducts focus groups and panels with kids and caregivers worldwide, Younger says the kid’s apparel team heard four key asks: Make it fast and simple to get products on; incorporate one-handed functionality; provide secure pocket storage, and make the apparel work for kids with disabilities too.
After listening to kids’ and parents’ shoe and apparel needs, Nike created the new Dynamo Go for little kids and Play Pack collection of tops, jackets, hoodies, and pants for big kids.
“Watching the wear-test videos, you see preschool-aged kids pop on the Dynamo Go, and there’s this moment of pure joy and pride, like, ‘I did it myself this time!’” says Dodson. That’s an emotion he saw firsthand after bringing home a test pair of Gos for his 3-year-old daughter a few months ago. “I told her the shoes were just for her to try, and she stepped into them herself and took off ripping around the house. She told me they were ‘super cool’ and ‘beautiful,’ and when I asked for them back, she gave me a firm ‘no.’ It took two pieces of chocolate, one for each shoe, to wrestle them away.”
For the Play Pack line, the positive feedback Younger’s heard from athletes in the disability community and their caregivers prove that design for all benefits all. “These innovations are relevant to any kid who just wants to pull their pants and shirts on themselves and get out the door to play quicker. If we can make that experience easier, everybody wins,” says Younger.
That innovative, accessible design will carry through and expand in future kids shoe and apparel releases for athletes of all abilities, Dodson and Younger say, creating gear that complements Nike’s push to invite the next generation into the sport.
“This is just the beginning of the solutions we can create,” says Dodson. “I think in the near future we’ll be known for being true leaders in easy-on, easy-off footwear and apparel.”