Do you ever feel like a product was made for you? Well, in the case of the new Nike Motiva hybrid running shoe, it really used to be do for me.
Or, at least people like me. According to Nike, I’m completely average. Yes, yes, I am a special human snowflake. But when it comes to my runs, I was surprised to learn that my pace actually falls within the Nike Run Club female average, which is about 13 minutes per mile—a pace which many consider “slow”.
I learned to run with the Nike Run Club app, which has a series of beginner-friendly runs called “First Run”, “Second Run”, “First Long Run” , etc. The chorus of the first run is go slow. Like, a lot slower than you think you should go. The app taught me that running should increase over time, starting slowly, reaching cruising altitude, and ending at a certain speed. That makes that 13-minute mile just an average between my really slow starters and my faster mid-to-late.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that other users of Nike’s running app and I actually have a lot in common in terms of speed, because many of us have learned to run using the same program designed to run. Design to get started for beginners.
But it was really news for Nike, seeing this data about all of us slow runners out there, decided to look at how those recorded miles were going. It turns out that a lot of Nike users are running just as easily as I am, and a lot of them are doing a jog-jog-walk combo. So Nike decided to poll users of the app to find out how a shoe could support their specific needs. They interviewed 1,000 female users who represent 13-minute runners and learned that “comfort is king, or in this case queen,” said Domonique Debnam, senior director of Nike men’s and women’s sneakers and tennis shoes, told Well+Good. “We spent a lot of time [trying to understand] Hey, what encourages you to go out for a walk, run, or other jog? What are some of the things that hold you back from doing that? And how can a pair of shoes really support you along that journey and what are your goals?”
Nike Motiva — $110.00
Best for: Low-intensity exercise such as walking or jogging.
Buffer level: Tall, with plush material and pillow base
Featured: An exaggerated rocker, wider forefoot and rubber bottom with “comfort grooves”
Color options: Two
- Versatile enough for both walking and jogging
- Soft and cushioned
- Chic and bold look
- Lightweight but supportive
- The exaggerated rocker took some getting used to
Nike has a huge selection of running shoes, from the minimalist Nike Free line to the neutral Pegasus line to the Infinity React and Invincible with more cushioning and support. But it felt like a shoe that could support a combined activity like jogging or running like mine that started out extremely slow and got faster, was missing from its arsenal. So it set out to design a shoe to “serve the void we felt existed in the market and provide [users] with a product uniquely designed to support those slower movements,” says Debnam.
That market gap is a gap that other companies are squeezing in. Shoes with maximum cushioning, like Hokas, have grown in popularity in recent years.
Nike’s answer? The Nike Motiva, a shoe specifically designed for low-intensity movement, seems to be the brand’s entry into the world of walking/running shoes for fat people. The Motiva features an exaggerated rocker sole, a wider forefoot, a taller, cushioned midsole, “comfort grooves” on the bottom, and super soft materials throughout. Although it is designed with insights from women, there is also a version for men. The women’s style features an unexpected light gray color scheme with neon green details, which looks both chic and bold. (There’s also a hot pink option.)
Reviews of Nike Motivas
I used to own a pair of feather sandals, which meant I was literally putting pillows under my feet. The Nike Motivas are the closest I’ve come to that, except for the more supportive sole. They are soft and cuddly, and I really look forward to wearing them. I’m a girl who likes to leave my toes as free as possible, so that says a lot.
“The hype rocker” took a while to get used to, but I got used to its springiness. Sometimes I have to kick my heel back to make sure it’s taking up space the way the shoe wants to point my foot. But obviously, it’s all there to make the particular walking experience more comfortable.
“What we found was that walkers, or people who were performing the movement at a slower pace, were more likely to strike with a higher heel,” says Debnam. “That means they land on their front heel. So we designed the shoe in a unique way to make it easy for you feet and heels to the ground, clearly push you forward on your feet, and then take you onto your front foot to take your next step. [It’s] That rocker geometry will help propel you forward and keep you moving.
One of my favorite aspects of the shoe is that it is meant for both walking and running. Sometimes, when I’m walking on cooldown after a run, I worry that I should change my running shoes and change into another pair of sneakers, so as not to damage the sole intended for running, not walking. This is clearly not an issue with the Motiva as it is built for both activities.
“The higher stack height in the midsole gives you a lot of comfort,” says Debnam. “Make sure you have a smooth ride, give you that transition, then the rubber on the bottom will ensure that you get the support you need as well as the durability it needs. long-term use when you’re out and about and you’re doing those moves over and over again.”
As I ran faster, I didn’t feel bogged down by the shoe either. Debnam says that’s because it’s designed to be lightweight as well as supportive.
Really, Motiva is about versatility. Nike’s decision to produce this shoe reflects changes in the way people choose to move their bodies: Slow, fast, in-between, or whatever they’re comfortable with that day. It’s not about achievement or time, faster miles or longer runs. It’s about getting out there and having the comfortable tools to do it in the first place.