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3M Technology Featured on the Revolutionary Nike Swift Skin

Innovative 3M Materials Reduce Friction and Increase Grip in Key Areas of Speedskater's Body

LAS VEGAS - The Super Show, Booth #6446D - Jan. 21, 2002 - Innovative materials from 3M have been incorporated into the Nike Swift Skin to maximize the performance of competitive speedskaters. The revolutionary materials are strategically placed to reduce friction in key areas of the skater's body, including under the arm and inner thigh, and to increase grip of the skater's fingertips on the ice.

"We have a long-standing relationship with 3M and they were able to successfully produce the 24-carat gold reflective material for track superstar Michael Johnson's shoes. They were the obvious choice to produce the technology for the Nike Swift Skin," said Rick MacDonald, global director of apparel innovation, Nike. "3M's technical innovation continues to meet and exceed Nike's unique needs and applications."

Nike approached 3M in February 2001 and challenged the company to develop a material that would significantly reduce friction. 3M scientists examined the possibility of developing a new product, as well as tested hundreds of current 3M technologies to find the best friction reducing solution for incorporation on the Nike Swift Skin. 3M discovered their highly-regarded Scotchlite reflective material reduced friction the greatest - by up to 55 percent. In fact, tests show that some commonly used sports apparel textiles have a coefficient of friction ranging from .23 to .83. Partnering these textiles with Scotchlite reflective material transfer film reduces the coefficient of friction to a range of .175 to .375 respectively.

This significant reduction in friction helps the skaters refocus their energy from overcoming friction and staying in motion to increasing speed, overcoming wind resistance and improving overall performance. Scotchlite reflective material transfer film from 3M is comprised of thousands of powder-like beads and is typically used to make people more visible. Manufacturers in the sporting apparel business will now be able to turn to this material for the friction-reducing application as well as its enhanced visibility benefits.

Another material adopted by Nike to maximize the speedskater's performance is Greptile gripping material. Greptile gripping material is a one-of-a-kind gripping material that is comprised of thousands of microscopic "fingers." Introduced in 2001, as a soft, flexible material, Greptile gripping material was specifically redesigned as a hard, gritty material for incorporation onto the fingertips of the speedskaters' gloves. This unique application helps the speedskaters grip the ice surface when in the traditional three-point stance starting position. This allows for a better push-off and faster start.

Greptile gripping material from 3M is used to obtain a better grip on sporting equipment such as racquets, clubs and bars, and on apparel such as gloves, zipper pulls, footwear or shoulder straps for luggage and hunting equipment. Manufacturers who have already incorporated Greptile gripping material into their own products include, Nike, Pearl Izumi, Connelly Skis, Inc., Burton Snowboards and Beretta USA.

"3M has built a great customer relationship with Nike over the years, and we were excited to meet their challenge once again," said Susan Haider, sales and marketing manager, 3M. "Nike knew they could come to us for a solution and after significant testing and product development considerations, 3M was able to provide Nike with two technically innovative products for the Swift Skin."

For more product information or to purchase samples, call 1-800-328-7098 or visit or

See  Fact Sheet for 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material on the Nike Swift Skin.  (PDF, 93KB)

3M is a diversified manufacturing company with 2000 sales of $16 billion. 3M has operations in more than 60 countries and employs more than 70,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., 3M is an innovative supplier that focuses on six markets: Industrial; Transportation, Graphics and Safety; Health Care; Consumer and Office; Electronics and Communications; and Specialty Material Markets. Innovation and the creation of new products stem from 30 technology platforms such as adhesives, non-woven materials, microreplication, drug-delivery systems, and medical-surgical supplies.

3M, Scotchlite and Greptile are registered trademarks of 3M company.

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