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You've waited long enough and you couldn't wait any longer. This morning at 10AM, The Man, Bo Jackson opened the doors to the home of the largest collection of Jordan merchandise in the world; the doors to the pavilion for the first Nike Digital Hub and the newest "brand experience store" in the nation. Lovers of sport have been unleashed and today, are conquering this 4-floor field house that is the second coming of Niketown Chicago.
Upon entry of the massive flagship we're in awe at the big balls above our head, these 8-foot glossy white chandeliers constructed of Jordan 11s and Elite Basketballs, tipped off at the bottom with a hoop and net.
Exploration of the first floor reveals that this ground floor is the largest basketball floor of any Nike store with product offerings ranging from bomber jackets to shoes to balls and jerseys aiding athletes to live out their roles in every sartorial aspect of their lives. Placed prominently in the center of the ground floor is what is called the Digital Hub where consumers can consult with associates about all Nike+ products and technologies.
Up the escalators on the raw cinderblock are insignias and logos from local sport teams, painted in fresh white, seeming to pop off the wall. The second floor which is all about football is a first for Niketown Chicago, for reason that Nike didn't have the liscence agreement with The NFL when Niketown was first constructed. Nowadays though, Nike is the Official Supplier for the big league, which translates here. Replica and fan jerseys pepper the mannequins here ("da Bears"), which are made in the same lightweight fabrics as what the pros wear. We step back to look at the entire floor, the way it's laid out, the offerings and special design features like the reclaimed basketball court floors salvaged from gyms all over the world as well as from local schools including Hinsdale High.
Up the escalator once more to floor 3, we have a feeling we've reached the top--on the contrary, this new expansion which has brought the back walls of the store closer to the front means the 4th floor is no longer the only storage floor. Each floor has its own stockroom now. This makes the store more flexible for featuring current events such as the Chicago Marathon which takes center stage here on floor 3 with the limited edition Nike shoe designed by artist Cody Hudson. Only available at this store, right now, it sits atop a pedestal surrounded by stacks of marathon bibs. On the wall that displays the categorically seperated shoes for living and the shoes for running are different waffle iron prints, taking inspiration from Bill Bowerman's revolutionary experiment in 1971 when he poured liquid urethane onto a waffle iron to make a better tread for track shoes. Also on this floor are a few treadmills which in the coming weeks will feature gate analysis technology.
The party continues on the fourth floor (which we assume is the top, but keep reading) here is the NikeID custom shoe technology, with a wall of uppers and low wall of neon shoelaces. The design consultants approach us a few times asking if we need help, since the NikeID technology is new to Niketown Chicago. The rest of the floor is dedicated to young activewear, tennis and golf. Thinking that we just saw the entire store (we only gave you the cliff notes here) we head to the elevators and see that there is a 5th floor... a secret 5th floor....
· Nike [Official Site]
· Niketown Chicago Reopening With Fancy Features Out The Wazoo [Racked]
· All Nike Coverage [Racked]