EUGENE – Nike and the University of Oregon athletic department added another chapter to their special partnership with the unveiling of a new uniform line for the Duck softball team Monday afternoon.
The returning Women's College World Series (WCWS) advancers got their first glimpse of the innovative new design in anticipation of their season opener this Thursday at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
Oregon will boast five different uniform combinations featuring green, yellow, white, black and gray, and will also integrate state-of-the-art technology into its new helmet and catching gear.
"We couldn't be more excited by what Nike has done," Oregon head coach Mike White said. "The design folks did a great job incorporating many of our new logos and key jargon specific for just us. Nike has always been very generous to all our programs. and we're excited to finally see this end product after 1 1/2 years of work. It was hard to keep it a secret for so long, but was well worth it to see the smiles on their faces today."
The uniforms feature lighter and more durable materials, and the new Duck logo script developed in recent years for other Oregon sports. Nike has again striven to increase the mobility of high-performance sport fabrics and implement the latest technology for warming, cooling and drying.
"Besides the amazing look," White said, "there are a lot of technical enhancements that will help our players raise their game. The uniforms' breathability and extra durability in key wear areas is so important, along with the improved fit for the players who are constantly moving, crouching and jumping."
Duck fans will get their first opportunity to see the new equipment first-hand this Thursday in its season opener vs. Western Michigan in the Kajikawa Classic. The following two days, Oregon will face two recent national runners-up - Florida and Oklahoma - among its six tourney games in four days in Tempe.
After four more additional away tourneys, Oregon’s first home tilt is against New Mexico at Howe Field on Wednesday, March 13.
After making its second-ever World Series trip in 2012, UO was tabbed No. 5 and No. 6 in the preseason NFCA and USA Softball preseason polls the past two weeks – its highest-ever rankings in the editions.
The Ducks also come off their second-most overall wins ever (45) after a second straight, third-place Pac-12 finish. UO beat every conference rival for the third time in school history en route to a 13-9 league mark.
More information on each part of the uniform/helmet/shoe additions follow:
The uniform top is made of a lightweight, durable stretch fabric designed to minimize weight, and maximize freedom of movement. Uniform numbers and logos are made of a stretch twill to minimize weight. The back panel is composed of a maximum air flow fabric on the parts of the body with the highest temperatures to keep players cool and dry. A separate, NPR Hypercool Flash Baselayer long-sleeve works in conjunction with the jersey to provide maximum cooling and breathability.
The pants are made of a lightweight Dri-FIT stretch mesh that encourages air flow and maximum freedom of movement. The lightweight, elastic waistband provides maximum comfort and the iconic ‘Oregon’ team ID on the back.
The Ducks’ new cleats are in custom colors and blocking unique to the Duck softball team with separate home (White/Apple Green-Yellow Strike) and away (Anthracite/Yellow Strike-Apple Green) colors.
On each shoe are embroidered “DUCKS PRIDE” and ‘O’ logos, and the words ‘PRIDE’ and ‘OKC’ – the latter an abbreviation for Oklahoma City – the host site of the Women’s College World Series. The sockliner features the new Duck mascot logo and the 2013 team motto: “Attitude Effort Respect”
The MVP Pro line shoe is made with a premium synthetic leather upper, and a Dynamic Fit sleeve for a snug, lightweight fit. The Phylon midsole has an Air-Sole unit in the heel for lightweight cushioning. The outer also offers a Framelite medial toe guard for outstanding durability, a nine-cleat pattern for maximum traction, and a full-length Pebax® plate for support without added bulk.
HELMETS / CATCHER’S GEAR
The batting helmets and catchers masks are coated using HGI’s HydroSkin® and hydrographics via a new, innovative finishing process. The leg guards and chest protectors also use the same combination process with an occasional proprietary adjustment to insure maximum protection and durability. The Carbon Fiber HydroSkin® was specifically developed to match the Nike-designed carbon fiber trim and numbers on the uniforms, and completes the “Nike System of Dress”… head to toe.
The HydroSkin® process began in 2008 when Nike and Oregon challenged HGI to apply a carbon fiber print to a football helmet. Rather than using a traditional paint system, HGI developed its process, which combines a specialized football helmet coating system, hydrographic printing and specially developed seal and clear coats. For the past four years, the partnership has brought Oregon’s football helmets to a new level of national visibility and performance.
Last fall, HGI was asked to work with Oregon’s softball team and extend this technology to its batting helmets and catcher’s gear.