WHY NIKE X UNDERCOVER GYAKUSOU IS THE BEST RUNNING GEAR IN THE WORLD
Nike's Gyakusou line blends the technical expertise of the Oregon based sportswear giant with the fashion forward brain and design nous of Undercover founder Jun Takahashi. We reckon it's the best running gear in the world, and here's why...
Jun Takahashi was approached by Nike to create and develop a performance running line. He was uninspired by what he saw on the market, and it was a perfect oppurtunity to design the running clothing that he liked. He began running in order to keep healthy and maintain regular excercise, but it has gradually become a way of life for the Undercover founder. Running keeps a rhythm to his weekly routine and acts as a way to clear the mind. The 10-15k he runs every other day is roughly five laps of Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, where Takahashi lives. Everyone runs clockwise around the park, but he runs anti-clockise; Gyakusuo means 'reverse running' in Japanese.
Gyakusou is the merging of Nike's vast technical knowledge and Takahashi's design philosophy and fashion tuned brain, but it is a running collection first and foremost. It is designed from a runners point of view and the designs are based on function vs shape and look. Takahashi had to understand how Nike uses performance materials and how they function, before putting it through his own filter and adding subtle detailing including colours, that he felt were missing in running clothing.
Since the first Gyasukou collection was released in 2010, Takahashi has focused more on the running and technical elements and taken a step back from the design aspect. That is not to say the collection doesn't look good; it's probably the nicest looking running gear on the market. However, over time the colours have become a little more muted and subtle, and the technical innovations have come first. Takahashi founded the Gyakusou International Running Assosciation in Tokyo, where he and fellow members test and develop the products as they are designed.
Efficient running clothing must overcome several hurdles, including performing to their maximum abilities in all weather conditions. The Gyakusou collection is versatile; jackets are waterproof but lightweight, meaning they can be worn in the harshest winter and warm summer days. Shorts and tights are light and breathable yet offer heat retention when the temperature drops.
The Dry Utility Short is built from a polyester and elastane mix with Nike's Dri-Fit technology, which pulls sweat away from the body and dries quickly. The knitted, breathable waistband provides ventilation as well as allowing heat to escape. The shorts feature two zip pockets at the front, one with an elasticated pouch to hold a phone or music player in place whilst running. The rear of the shorts features an exterior pouch which is also perfect for holding a phone or a water bottle. Smaller flapped compartments and a larger zip pocket are perfect for stowing your essentials including keys, money, debit cards etc.
Lightweight and moveable yet waterproof and breathable, this jacket is designed for all weather conditions. It is built from Nike's Storm FIT fabric, features taped seams throughout and allows for free movement when running and stretching. The interior pocket houses a special slip to hold your phone in place, as well as a small hole to thread your headphones through so you don't have to deal with wires everywhere whilst running. The waistband is easily adjustable whilst on the move and the graphics are reflective to add a nice safety feature.
The Gyakusou Dry Tight is designed to hug your muscles whilst they work, and the mixed Dri-FIT fabric means they are breathable in warm weather yet provide much needed warmth to the muscles when the temperature drops. They feature a single zip compartment at the rear to store your valuables and all printed graphics are reflective.
The Nike x Undercover Gyakusou collection hits the perfect sweet spot between good looks and functionality. Pieces can be mixed and matched depending on the weather conditions, and it is designed to blend in rather than stand out. In Takahashi's own words, the collection is harmonious; colours blend in with the environment and fabrics are silent when they move. It is a collection designed by a runner, strictly for running and it's that key factor blended with its sleek design and technical detailing that make the Gyakusou collection the ultimate running gear.