Nike Inc. has found a way to continue its momentum in building its women’s business through a new premium sports eyewear line targeting female athletes.
The new sunglass line from Nike Vision, a part of Nike Corp., is complementary to Nike’s existing women’s apparel and footwear product lines. And while the performance component is meant for active sports movement, its lifestyle orientation allows the eyewear to be worn during the day as a fashion statement.
Following on the ath-leisure trend and working with its licensing partner Marchon Eyewear, Nike now offers five new sunglass styles that merge fashion and sport under the umbrella Women’s Training Collection.
According to Stephen Tripi, marketing director at Nike Vision-Marchon, the new line replaces the existing unisex collection of sunglasses offered by Nike. Come spring, the activewear giant will complement the women’s line with a men’s training collection. In fall 2017, there will be additional sports sunglass lines targeting golf and skateboarding.
Tripi said the company in April began working on a different design direction for the eyewear. The first was a running collection that was brought to market in time for the Rio Olympics targeting track-and-field athletes, including a limited-edition called Wing — only five were made and all sold out, Tripi said — that sold for $1,200 each. The unique design was a single lens that wrapped around without need of any hinges or screws and featured a built in silicone rubber strap to loop around one’s head.
For the Women’s Training Collection, the four styles currently available are Nike Flex Motion, featuring rounded angles and mixed materials, $195 and $210; Nike Flex Momentum, a variation of the aviator style that allows for ventilation and a lightweight frame for comfort before, during and after a workout, $145 to $165, and Nike Flex Finesse, inspired by the cat-eye frame that can transition from workout to the rest of one’s day, $145 to $165. Nike Vital, $126 to $175, is a preexisting style similar to the original unisex frame, but featuring a rubber nose bridge and temples for stay-put comfort during “dynamic movement,” Nike said. The fifth style, Nike Helix Elite, features Zeiss Optics and is a one-piece lens incorporating rubber channels and ventilated temple arms for fog prevention. Pricing for the Helix Elite start from $195 to $210, and the style will be available in March.
Justyna Szacon, the designer of the eyewear, said the collection was designed after obtaining feedback from female athletes on their needs based on performance and lifestyle.
She said that with the exception of Nike Helix Elite, all the styles could be fitted with prescription lenses. The lenses in the pairs that are sold are polycarbonate and have UVA and UVB protection. The frames themselves are lightweight nylon, and feature bendable rubber temple arms and nose pads. They also incorporate Nike Max Optics with lens tints engineered to provide protection from the elements.
The eyewear is available at nike.com, nikevision.com and at select optical retailers and online dealers.