Press Release

Nike Vision and ZEISS Collaborate for Performance Athletic Eyewear

Nike Vision and ZEISS create state-of-the-art optics that deliver advanced acuity, so the athlete can lock on a moving target, accurately identify objects and assess distance.

31 March 2016

Working together since 1998, ZEISS has been the optics production partner of choice since Nike entered the sunglass market. As one of the industry leaders in developing and producing top-of-the-line optic lenses, ZEISS and Nike Vision elevate the standard of performance athletic eyewear in 2016, creating state-of-the-art optics that deliver optimum acuity.

Aalen, Germany | 31 March 2016 | ZEISS Vision Care

This ensures the athlete can lock on a moving target, accurately identify objects and assess distance accurately. Nike’s brand name is synonymous with innovation across categories and today’s athlete continues to evolve. The time was ripe for a reinvention of performance (and more specifically, running) eyewear.

To make the Nike’s design a reality, ZEISS developed a new, customized manufacturing technology

Flash back to late Summer 2014, when a team of Nike Vision designers approached their longtime partners with a never-before-seen concept for running eyewear. To make the eyewear a reality, the ZEISS team went back to the drawing board, expanding beyond the realm of simply eyewear manufacturing to investigate what could be done to produce the designs. Pulling together a team of optics, ophthalmology and manufacturing experts and more, ZEISS staff looked to the company’s other departments, such as its production unit and Industrial Metrology business group, for a solution.

Nike Vision and ZEISS collaborate for performance athletic eyewear

The ZEISS teams in Germany and Italy developed metrics for a new mold specific to Nike Vision’s eyewear – starting from scratch, their goal was to create a mold that would be as close to optically perfect as humanly possible. By manufacturing a custom mold, the team also eliminated on the waste that occurs during the cutting down of pre-existing molds in the typical production process. Once produced, the mold was polished using the same diamond cutting technology used to polish ultra-precise optical surfaces, ensuring as little blur as possible, by removing all flaws in the eyewear’s mold. The laborious process meant ZEISS’ team was required to cut the mold to the geometric measurements of the sunglass’s final product. Upwards of 30 revisions were required to perfect the specifications and mathematics for the final product.

A true testament to the rigorous standards that both Nike Vision and ZEISS hold their designs to, the teams obsessed over the smallest details to ensure that the end result meets the needs of the world’s best athletes. “For decades the strict optical 0.09D standards for sunglasses have constrained designers to use only simple spheres and torics for the optical surfaces in their premium products. ZEISS has adapted advanced freeform design and manufacturing techniques developed for ophthalmic and precision optics to achieve 0.06D optical performance for general complex shaped surfaces. This extra freedom has been exploited by the creative team at Nike and frame-manufacturer Marchon to simultaneously optimize the fit, the aerodynamics, and the aesthetics of their new line of premium athletic eyewear without compromising optical performance”, said Steve Sprat, lens designer for the Nike+Zeiss project.

Nike Vision Spring 2016 performance eyewear for speed and comfort

The new collection with Vaporwing and Vaporwing Elite models offers runners of all levels highly technical designs engineered for both speed and comfort. Designed around the specific needs of runners, the Spring 2016 assortment pushes the envelope of athletic innovation and style. Using cutting-edge manufacturing methods, the Spring 2016 collection raises the bar for performance eyewear. For the athlete to stay focused, their eyewear needs to stay put. The developed new materials and vision technology to create high-performance eyewear that stays stable during movement, grips when the athlete sweats and conforms to the shape of his or her face for maximum comfort.

Nike Vision and ZEISS collaborate for performance athletic eyewear

Nike’s running eyewear offers optimal stability and fit for training and competing. On the field, on the trail, or on the course, eyewear that doesn’t fog up is essential. Nike Vision attacks the program from all angles, looking beyond the lenses instead to the whole frame, ensuring optimum ventilation for peak performance.

Portrait Joachim Kuss
Press contact Joachim Kuss General Topics and Sustainability

ZEISS Vision Care


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.

In fiscal year 2016/17 the company generated revenue approximating €5.3 billion with around 27,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

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ZEISS Vision Care
The Vision Care business group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of eyeglass lenses and ophthalmic instruments. The business group develops and produces offerings for the entire eyeglass value chain that are distributed globally under the ZEISS brand. The business group is allocated to the Vision Care/Consumer Products segment. In fiscal year 2016/17 the segment generated revenue of €1.1 billion with around 9,770 employees.


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    Nike Vision and ZEISS collaborate for performance athletic eyewear

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