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Silent Hunter on the Attack

How the world’s fastest predator became the face of NB Race Day
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Primitive Speed

In the animal kingdom, speed kills. It’s the difference between being the hunter and being the hunted. It’s a primal necessity for survival.

Survival on the track is no different. Speed is the unexplainable feeling of freedom that comes with going full throttle. It’s the quiet confidence of knowing you possess it. And when you unleash it, it’s a guaranteed head-turner. And ultimately, speed is the difference between winning and losing, smashing records and fading away. The urgency is primal.

On race day, speed comes alive the moment a runner kicks off their trainers and slips on their spikes. From that moment on, it becomes instinctual.

To Kyle Strek, NB creative design manager, this primitive feeling of speed is the foundation that our Race Day Collection is built on.

“As a designer, we bring the emotion of speed to life through visual language in motion," Kyle says. "We talk about the psychology of speed, and how our bodies signal this through various senses. It’s my passion to bring those senses to life in our race day product.”  

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The Birth of the Silent Hunter

A few years ago, despite the fact that our spikes were helping Team NB athletes like Jenny Simpson climb podiums and set records on track and field’s biggest stages, Kyle still felt like something was missing from the line.

“We needed a connection point to athletes as a way for us to give a subtle message about our overarching inspiration on race day,” Kyle explains. “That’s where the falcon icon and silent hunter message come into play. We wanted it to be an icon for speed and attitude on the track or course.”

To begin the creation process for this new logo, Kyle first began in the same way as footwear design projects: seeking inspiration. As it turns out, he didn’t need to look far. In fact, it was staring him right in the face.

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Outside of the 15ft. mill window that Kyle’s desk overlooks in Lawrence, Massaschusetts, is the natural nest of a Peregrine Falcon, which just so happens to be the fastest animal on Planet Earth.

At first glance, the Peregrine looks like a cute bird you’d hope to find in your backyard. However, when this seemingly unassuming predator spots prey from the sky, its leisurely glide snaps into an aggressive dive where it can reach speeds of more than 240 miles per hour (more than three times the top speed of a cheetah). The Peregrine was a perfect fit. 

[WATCH NOW: Live feed of Peregine Nest in Lawrence, Massachusetts]

"The Peregrine's hunting tactics were similar to Team NB in competition - humble, stealthy...but dangerous." Kyle Strek

“When I gaze out the window of our Design Studio, I see the Peregrine Falcon nest. When you think about it, our Race Day collection shares a home with the world’s fastest animal, which is pretty incredible,” Kyle says. “As I started to research and learn more about the Peregrine, I realized how similar its hunting tactics were to that of Team New Balance in competition. Humble, stealthy…but extremely dangerous.”

After the discovery of the Peregrine nest, the answer was abundantly clear: Kyle has found the new face of New Balance’s Race Day Collection. Since then, it’s been perched on the heel of every shoe within the collection.

 “The Peregrine Falcon is renowned for its speed during its characteristic high-speed dive, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom,” Kyle says. “This speed and attack strategy makes it a silent hunter, which ties directly into our design ethos for the entire collection and to the demeanor of our Team NB athletes as well.”

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Design Inspiration of the Peregrine

Since 2012, when the Peregrine was introduced to the line, this personification of speed has been so much more than a symbol on the back of spikes – it’s served as an inspiration for the team in their pursuit to create the perfect spike. Taking cues from the design and hunting tactics of the Peregrine, small details of this year’s collection make it the most primal yet. 

“Our goal for our spikes is for them to feel like an extension of the body,” Kyle explains. “We’re really thinking about design from the inside out to create high performance, barefoot-friendly race products that fit like a second skin so that speed is unleashed without any restrictions.”  

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Every detail of the Peregrine’s body is built for speed, from the unique nostril construction that keeps its lungs from collapsing during a 240 mph dive, to its extra set of eyelids that clear debris so it can stay locked on its prey. In the same way, Kyle and the team used highly technical data collected in our Sports Research Lab to make sure every detail of our spikes is built for speed.

“Using Aramis Data, which collects 3D data using high-speed cameras and a unique dot-patterned shoe upper, we’re able to map the strain patterns on the foot,” Kyle explains. “Using this information, we’re able to tailor the placement, size and direction of openings of our Fantom Fit uppers to deliver the optimal amount of support by distance.”

On race day, everything changes the moment you lace up your spikes. The outside noise gets quiet and your primitive instincts kick in. Like the Peregrine, you’re ready to unleash your speed in pursuit of anyone in between you and the finish line. You are a #silenthunter

SHOP NB RACE DAY.

[WATCH NOW: Live feed of Peregine Nest in Lawrence, Massachusetts]

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