Nike Celebrates Japan's Annual Relay Race Marathons With the Air Zoom AlphaFly NEXT% "Ekiden"

Commemorative performance shoes for the country’s most-watched annual sporting event.

Footwear
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Following similar commemorative pairs for the London Marathon last year, Nike now reveals the Air Zoom AlphaFly NEXT% “Ekiden,” paying homage to Japan’s Ekiden season in which multiple multi-stage relay marathons are held across the nation.

The most popular contemporary Ekiden race in Japan is the Hakone Ekiden which consists of teams of 10 male students from universities across Tokyo. It was estimated that last year’s Ekiden event had just over half of the entire Japanese population tuning in at some point in the race. The event is held over the span of two days and each runner covers just over a half marathon before passing on to the next teammate. “Eki” translates to “station” in Japanese and “Den” means “to convey.” The name was given to the old Japanese transportation network when government documents were delivered by handheld relays of horses and men.

The upcoming pairs come in gradient Amarillo, Magma Orange, Healing Orange hues across the Atomknit uppers and split mid-sole, while glow-in-the-dark eye-stays and fractal black swooshes adorn the lateral and medial sides. Heel pull tabs and insoles feature callouts and symbols for the event, and bottoms feature a forefoot Zoom Air puck, full-length Flyplate carbon fiber inserts, and a thick ZoomX foam midsole to maximize both efficiency and speed.

The Nike Air Zoom AlphaFly NEXT% “Ekiden” is available at select retailers in Japan with a global release date yet to be announced.

In other footwear news, New Balance reworks its Caravan Moc Low winter slip-ons.

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