When I recently visited Nike’s gleaming glass flagship store for the first time, innovation greeted me as soon as I walked in. The main floor buzzed with shoppers creating unique custom sneakers. Customers were assisted by Nike employees, outfitted in lab coats, helping with selection of styles, fabrics, color dips, artistic swooshes, and colored shoelace options. Other customers worked in a glass-enclosed lab to put the finishing touches on their custom shoes.
Winding up the stairs along the front of the building, I found two floors of more traditional retail clothing with innovative touches. Mannequins were equipped with a QR code that I could scan to request to have the same outfit brought to the app pickup area or to buy the items online. Additionally, self-checkout stations were in place where I could pay for my purchases without having to wait in notoriously long NYC checkout lines.
Another flight up led me to the sneaker floor, where TVs and displays show the stages of the development process for the latest pair of LeBrons, and rooms upon rooms contain countless styles of sneakers, boots, and shoes to try on.
One final flight up brought me to the top floor, which featured a more subtle display of Nike’s customization capabilities. Customers could meet with fit experts to find the best Nike clothing for their lifestyle in private fitting rooms. Another glass room housed seamstresses steadily cutting, sewing, and tailoring bespoke clothes.
Finally, I made a quick stop in the basement to check out the online order pickup area, along with a curated selection of the top styles popular among New Yorkers. And there, I spotted the same pullover I had been eyeing on the second floor, confirming my selection for a new winter style.
Nike's House of Innovation allowed me to browse more Nike clothes and shoes than I could imagine, and provided the resources to help me make anything else I could dream up. I will be back!