Anyone who has ever run a race, whether it be a 5K fun run or an ultramarathon, has experienced the frustration. No, not “bonk"ing or dealing with bloody nipples. It occurs before that, before you even reach the starting line. The annoyance, of course, is fastening your race number to your shirt via safety pins.
Bib pickup is as much a part of the race experience as breaking in new sneakers or Vaseline-ing the aforementioned nips. But while so many other aspects of a race have been updated via technology, the method for attaching bibs remains stubbornly anachronistic. There’s usually a box top filled with safety pins for runners to grab from. Then they struggle mightily to get the race number to lie straight on the jersey or shirt (you need to look good for the ‘Gram), all without pricking themselves with the sharp end of the pin.
Fortunately, amidst developing all kinds of innovations for this year’s Olympics in Rio, the folks at Nike decided to redesign the racing bib while they were at it. The Nike AeroSwift bib is essentially a sticker that affixes easily to any part of a runner’s kit. It uses a similar technology to Nike’s AeroSwift tape that runners in Rio will attach to their bodies to make them more aerodynamic.
The new bibs are perforated for breathability, which comes in handy in longer races. They also stretch so that they can move with the body naturally. The best thing you can say about them is that you won’t notice they’re there. (The same can’t be said for the current safety-pinned versions.) And that’s really all that a runner wants, especially since the bibs don’t do anything other than serve as real estate for a sponsor’s logo. The days of someone at the finish line recording racer’s bib numbers have long since passed, replaced by timing chips worn on runners’ shoes.