Kate and I have just returned from the most amazing trip to Portland, Oregon, where we were invited to a blogger event at the Nike World Headquarters. We had such an amazing time, and I am going to do my best to recap the highlights, but I’m sure I’ll miss some because seriously? Every part of it was a highlight.
I apologize in advance for the superfluous use of “amazing,” “awesome,” and “unbelievable” that’s sure to be rampant in this post.
It all started Thursday morning, when we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed to the Dayton airport.
It had been a while since Kate had flown, and she was a bit nervous.
By the time we boarded the second flight from Atlanta to Portland, though, she was an old pro.
Nike made all the travel arrangements, and they flew us first class. That was a new experience for both Kate and me, and it was just the first indication of how thoughtful and generous Nike would be throughout the weekend.
We arrived at The Nines hotel, which was simply amazing. We immediately felt very welcomed by Nike, because we each had a gift bag waiting for us on our beds. Such a nice touch.
We attempted to explore a little bit but Kate was super tired and just wanted to hang out in the hotel. We did get out a while later, though, and experienced some fine Portland cuisine – Subway at the mall food court. My girl isn’t all that adventurous in her food choices! We went to bed early and slept for a long, long time – it was glorious.
The next morning it was time to go!
We met Jill from The Diaper Diaries and her daughter for breakfast, and then we joined the other bloggers and their kids on the bus to head to the Nike campus.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the paparazzi – otherwise known as the camera and video crew that would follow us around for the rest of the day. Not one to shy away from the camera, Kate posed like she had been doing this her whole life.
Our first stop was the kids lounge.
Before I go on, I just want to give Nike huge kudos for not only inviting our kids to attend the event with us, but for going to such great lengths to make it an unforgettable experience for all of us.
Seriously people, the kids lounge was so amazing. They led the kids to a row of lockers, each one with a name on it, filled with Nike shoes and clothes just for them. It was like Christmas morning. And the set up in there! They had everything a kid could want to do – from coloring to Wii, from Etch-a-Sketch to ping pong. It was unbelievable. And that was just where they were going to take breaks between all the rest of their experiences!
Next door, the bloggers had a lounge of our very own. It was just beautiful and once again the team from Nike had thought of everything – they even had power strips set up all along the bar for us to plug in throughout the day.
They started off by showing us a few Nike commercials on the big screen – and they were the perfect way to set the mood. Jill and I both tweeted that we were getting a little choked up.
Our first field trip was to the Nike research lab, in the Mia Hamm building. Basically no one is allowed in there, even some of their employees, because of the top secret things that they’re discovering about making shoes.
I had no idea so much went into the design of Nike footwear. They described the biomechanical tests they run, the years and years and years of research they’ve done on everyone from infants to elite athletes. It’s just unbelievable.
As we listened to the inspiration behind the Nike Free line, I thought about how I was super picky about the shoes my kids wore as infants and toddlers. I read a lot about the importance of shoes with flexible soles on developing feet. I wouldn’t put them in anything I couldn’t bend with one hand. However, as they got older, I kind of forgot about that, though, figuring it wasn’t so important. As it turns out, though, flexible shoes are extremely important for kids and adults alike, because they allow the muscles in the foot and ankles to develop, thereby preventing injuries. It only makes sense. In fact, they’ve discovered that the Nike Free shoe leads to a 10-20% increase in strength, a 5-10% increase in flexibility and a 20-22% increase in balance. That’s pretty amazing.
So, after a thorough tour of the lab (they even brought the kids down and let them perform some of the tests), we headed upstairs to hear from the head honcho of the Nike Youth division, as well as from a world-class athletic trainer. It was really interesting to hear the theories behind the shoes. I am a bit of a dork, but you already knew that. Oh, and we skyped with Mia Hamm.
While we bloggers learned from experts, ate lunch, and toured the Nike campus, the kids were off having the time of their lives. They climbed a rock wall and swam in the Lance Armstrong building. They created their own shoe designs using Nike ID. They met Olympic runner Amy Yoder-Begley. And throughout it all, the Nike employees who were in charge of the kids were texting pictures to the parents, so we could see what a great time they were having.
See what I mean? The Nike people thought of everything.
It was just such a wonderful experience. I still can’t get over how amazing it was, and how thankful I am to have been able to share it with Kate.
And I have so much more to share with you! To Be Continued…
Kids Nike FREE Run: If your feet flex, shouldn’t your shoes flex too? Must-have flexibility for young feet.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nike via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nike.