Serious runners in Chicago are used to braving frigid temps to log some major miles. For the month of March, at least, Nike Chicago is offering a much warmer workout alternative with its exclusive House of Go pop-up shop (673 N. Michigan Ave.), the only House of Go in the United States. Chicago was chosen as the destination because of the city’s rich running culture and its athletes’ ability to push through tough elements.
“If you just look at some of the barriers to running in this city—you deal with a lot of cold, you deal with a lot of rain [and] a lot of snow. I think the running community here is really strong,” said Heter Meyers, Nike Chicago’s head of communications.
Visitors are able to experience different elements of Nike’s cushy new running shoe, the Epic React Flyknit, through various parts of the pop-up. The first floor of the House of Go is a completely interactive experience complete with digital animation and rooms essentially made for your best FOMO-inducing selfies (a mirrored room with a ceiling made of feathers demonstrates the shoe’s “lightweight qualities” while a white, womb-like tunnel includes the shoe on a display made of springs). At the entrance of the House of Go, visitors immediately become part of the experience through their literal footsteps—the floor turns into a video game and reacts to guests’ steps and strides with quirky animations.
The House of Go’s most talked-about feature is a virtual reality-like experience in a special treadmill room. Chicago-based artist Lauren Asta designed the animations for the pop-up, and visitors have the chance to choose a cartoon avatar that simulates their running experience during a 30-second jog on the runway-like machine. Sticking to the House of Go’s shareable social media theme, visitors are emailed their best boomerangs from the session.
For those visitors looking for a heart-pumping workout, the House of Go also has a state-of-the-art treadmill studio on its top floor. Classes are taught by Nike’s elite coaches, are designed for runners of all fitness levels, and give visitors a chance to test out the Nike Epic React during the session. With disco lights and a pumping playlist serving as additional sources of motivation, it’s easy to see why every class has filled up so far.
“It’s all free classes,” Myers said. “Pretty much every session there’s somewhat of a waiting list [with] folks trying to get in,” Myers says. Daily classes are available for NikePlus members only, and registration takes place each Sunday during the month. Those looking to join and sign up for a NikePlus membership can do so on Nike Chicago’s website.
The House of Go pop-up runs until March 23rd and is open Monday through Friday, noon to 9pm, Saturday from 10 am to 9pm and on Sunday from 10am to 7pm. Myers says visitors can also expect a few surprises before the spot closes.
“We do have some pretty big athletes and folks from the running community who are stopping by,” Myers said. “Who knows who you’ll bump into at a class? You might look up and see someone standing next to you who you’ve seen before.”