Tonight at midnight marked the much anticipated release of the Nike Free Flyknit. I was fortunate enough to receive an early pair to review last night at the Nike Vault in Downtown Los Angeles. I spent the day wearing the shoes to break them in and really get a feel for them throughout a typical day as well as for a mile run.

The Nike Vault location showcases the latest innovations and offerings that Nike has. Located adjacent to the Staples Center this retail location often has many of the first releases. It’s definitely worth checking out just for the displays in-store.

Nike is all about the details and this custom packaging made quite the first impression. Sometimes its all about the presentation before the big unveiling.

Along with the Nike Free Flyknit, Nike has also recently released a new range of apparel. The new gear is incorporated with technology that help athletes to maintain their optimal body temperature when running in varying conditions. As Nike puts it, “The innovations are informed by Nike’s “Nature Amplified” design ethos — an approach focused on the body in motion and fueled by scientific data and athlete insights — to keep runners comfortable, protected and focused on performing at their best.”

I was graciously provided a new Nike Dry-Fit Knit shirt to test. I am thoroughly impressed by this garment. It is super soft and lightweight and as many of the other products has a stretch and optimal cooling benefits. The open texture on the sides promote breathability in key sweat zones and seamless construction to ensure a smooth fit free of distraction. It really is the best workout / running shirt I have tried. Even after the mile run and wearing a windbreaker in the evening, I was able to maintain a good overall body temperature. Whereas, I would of normally been sweating profusely and my shirt would of been damp, it remained cool and dry. The styling is even on point and can be worn on the daily or as an undershirt.

The first Nike running shoes were born from Bill Bowerman’s wife’s waffle iron, so it was only fitting that they paid tribute with their own Nike waffles.

On to the main attraction the Nike Free Flyknit. After spending a day with these kicks I can confidently say that this is one of my personal favorite shoes of all time and here’s why. The shoe is the perfect hybrid between two of my preferred shoes, the Nike Free and the Nike Flyknit taking the best of both worlds and melding it into one amazing shoe.

The shoe itself is incredibly lightweight. The Nike Free component gives flexibility and cushion while running. The Flyknit technology in the upper hugs the foot for a compression fit and support that locks the foot in place. “The compression fit brings the foot closer to the sole for enhanced lockdown and propulsion.” The shoe moves with your body in a natural way.

In this test I decided to forego wearing socks to really get a feel for the shoes as well as they already provided the support without movement. The shoes are very breathable and so far I feel that my feet were able to stay dry throughout. Even after the run I feel that my feet feel good without any blisters or anything else. I will try wearing thin Nike running socks for my next run to see which way I prefer to go with.

I am in no means a runner. With a bad lower back and sore knees after years of action sports I rarely just go for a run these days. But I did want to give the shoes a chance and also push myself to get fit and so I decided to participate in tonight’s Nike LA’s “Get Fly” Program, which took place at the Nike Vault and will continue through the month of August every Wed at 10PM. The event consisted of a timed 1 mile run. I have set the goal for myself to get fit and get fly during this month…so tonight was day 1.

The lightweight and comfort driven second-skin feel from the Flyknit upper design made the run more natural and easier on the body, which is precisely what Nike intended with their “Nature Amplified” design ethos, an approach that is focused on designing for the body in motion and fueled by scientific data and athlete insights. In fact I felt pretty good during and after the run. No complaints of discomfort caused by the shoes and this was even after running on cement sidewalks. The shoe is solid, meaning I knew I had support while I was running and never once experienced a shift or slight movement in the shoe, which probably makes it safer and prevents things like rolling of the ankles. The shoes provide great natural motion when running.

Overall, I am very pleased with the experience wearing the Nike Free Flyknit. I am a fan of the aesthetics of the shoe and know that more colorways will be showcased soon making it the next “it” shoe. The performance provided by the shoes are incredible complete with the comfort, support and protection needed for running.

I also look forward to using the month of August and the Nike “Get Fly” program to personally get in better shape. Tonight my mile time was around the 7 minute mark and I am setting the goal to cut that by 30 seconds by the end of the month…wish me luck.