Cramming a bunch of contraptions into the shape of a shoe does not guarantee a legitimately wearable, helpful piece of equipment for athletes. The people who worked on the Hyperice x Nike boot wanted to make sure they were making something that was functional and fluid in its range of motion. The Frankenstein element shouldn’t extend too far—Hatfield didn’t want wearers lumbering around and losing mobility.

When did Hyperice and Nike finally feel they’d gotten it right? There was a moment, when the loose wires had been tucked away and the tech all onboarded, that convinced Katz it was really coming together.

“I remember Tobie trying them on and walking with them,” Katz says, “and he walked down the hall and turned around and goes, ‘Feels like a shoe.’”

Hatfield felt the compression and the heat himself, but needed more input from outside sources. At one point, during a meeting with Nike’s Advanced Innovation Team at its world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, he happened to have an unnamed professional track and field athlete by his side while he was going over the shoe. Could they react to and confirm the sensation of the heating modality, the firm touch of the compression?

“I had the athlete come over,” Hatfield says, “and they tried it and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because we want it to work, we’re biased. It was just like: I’m biased. Athlete comes by, had no idea what in the world—just really out of the blue—and just put it on their feet, on their foot, just one foot. And then they said, ‘Yeah, I would use this right now. This is amazing.’”

Not that the project will always only be about elite athletes. Hatfield believes in the Bill Bowerman dictum and Nike slogan that if you have a body you’re an athlete, and believes the Hyperice boot won’t only be useful for Olympians.

In fact, another of the professional athletes who he had triliang the shoe confirmed for him just how widely it could be adapted for anyone looking to increase recovery and circulation.

“They said, ‘I love this and I’m using it, and it’s great.’ Kind of like a thank you,” Hatfield says. “Then there was the, ‘But, I want this on my grandma right now.’”

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