Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

The beauty of great innovation is that it gives us something we never had before but which becomes indispensable. Nike, as you may well know, is a brand which innovates like no other. Therefore, it was hardly surprising that in the yoga studio where the second of the five "sports experiences" which I was treated to in Berlin last week was taking place, the new Studio Wrap shoe was unveiled. For those among you who thought that barefoot pilates, yoga and barre classes were your lot, then think again because those clever product developers have come up with a kind of new rif on the classic ballet shoe- well, that was how it immediately looked to me with its foot hugging silhouette and beautiful ribbon ties.

Ignore the toes... Me modelling the Studio Wraps
Nike's Ann Marie and George were on hand to tell us how they had set themselves a mission to make a shoe which was "better than barefoot". A tall order, for sure,  but one driven by that Nike mindset which sees any small compromise or niggle as a problem to solve. For instance, walking around a sweaty hot yoga studio, shoeless can feel quite gross. But it's just one of those things which we grin and bear, or wear socks to get through. Well it was until Thursday, but now Nike's Studio Wrap is telling us  that not only does it not have to be this way but that there is a solution which is genuinely quite beautiful; much more lovely than a pair of socks. George explained how it took months of making up and testing prototypes which she constructed using socks and tights and bits of elastic to come up with the final design which will go on sale in February as Studio Wrap. The shoe which you wear to practice also comes with a more substantial pair of sporty ballet shoes which you can wear to and from class. The shoe's silicone print sole was put through rigourous testing in studio classes where the areas of impact on the foot where support was needed during key positions like squats and lunges were measured. As well as being more hygienic and  a way to beautify barefeet, Ann Marie and George also emphasised how Studio Wraps will actually help us improve our practice because those super-grippy soles will stop us slipping out of key postures.

George and Ann Marie, the brains behind Studio Wrap

A Studio Wrap prototype
Do they actually work? Well, Nike Master trainer Buket took us through a few sun salutations and it was definitely much easier to stay in a posture once you were there- downward dog was far more enjoyable than usual. I also wore my Studio Wraps to a Bikram class last night and actually found that they made balancing a bit easier, maybe because they act as a nice anchor to the ground? They did make my feet quite hot but I'm sure that would be something you'd get used to. I am most obsessed however, with the ribbons which you wind round your legs, just like a ballerina would. One of the biggest testers of good sportswear is whether you'd be happy to wear it when you're not working out, and Studio Wraps are at the top of my list of shoes I want to be wearing right now, yoga or no yoga.

Nike Master trainer Buket models her Studio Wraps
Of course, Nike had more treats in store for us through the rest of the day. Here's what we got up to...

A bike tour through Berlin, taking in street art and cool stores...

Artists from VAGE preparing for their exhibition opening
 A Nike Training Club session with the astonishingly gorgeous Allyson Felix, who won three golds on the track at London 2012

And to top it off, a really fabulous evening event to launch the latest Air Max 2013 collection and the Spring/ Summer women's lookbook, starring, of course, Allyson Felix. 

The venue overlooking Berlin's River Spree

A trainer p**n selection of Nike's new styles and colours. Who needs any other shoe?

Our respective Air Maxs

 All images Fashion Junior at Large/ Nike


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