Even before the official debut of Nike's new Joyride cushioning last month, there were whispers of the setup's visual similarities to another recently introduced technology: Puma's Jamming. From a glance, both technologies make use of comparable materials—what are essentially hundreds of loose pellets packed within visible windows. But while the two advancements may look alike, Nike says they're actually quite different, and it's got the science to back up its claims.

"The main difference is how it's constructed, which has led to a different sensation and a different benefit," Rachel Bull, Nike’s Senior Product Line Manager for Joyride, told Sole Collector. "In the case of the Puma Jamming shoe, you're not actually sitting on top of the beads. You're more on the side of the plastic or a cemented down sockliner, so you don't get that sensation of sitting down into the beads like you do with Joyride."

Naturally, Nike put its tech to the test against the Jamming, and the results speak for themselves. According to Bull, the Joyride provided 38 percent more impact absorption than Puma's setup, along with 17 percent higher energy return. 

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Puma's Jamming technology. Image via Finish Line

As anyone who's been around the industry long enough knows, technologies like this aren't cooked up overnight. So while Nike's bead-packed midsoles may seem like a response to Puma's tech from an outsider's perspective, it's more than likely pure coincidence. Puma introduced the Jamming, which uses what it calls NRGY Beads, in late 2017, but Bull says the roots of Joyride go back nearly a decade.

"It's taken awhile and then really we started to iterate it for running about three and a half years ago. With any brand innovation, it takes awhile. It doesn't happen that often. You get evolutions of foam and Air pretty consistently, but this is a brand new cushioning system," Bull said.

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is available now to Nike members for $180 and will release globally next week on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Nike Joyride
Image via Sergio Santos
Nike Joyride 3
Image via Sergio Santos