Running remains on the rise
as a preferred form of exercise. In fact, running/jogging shoe sales reached a record high of $3.04 billion domestically in 2012, and there are no signs of stagnation. Yet, to stand out in today’s crowded sneaker market, athletic apparel manufacturers must continuously innovate
. As a result, the latest models implement state-of-the-art technology and draw inspiration from unexpected sources.
: To reduce the number of running-related injuries, UK-based mattress company Harrison Spinks
and biomechanics professor Jim Richards created The Preston
, a sneaker that has mini mattress pocket springs
in its soles. Most running shoes have foam inserts, air pockets, or gel units that absorb shock, but The Preston’s lightweight micro springs are more effective. Moreover, the technology increases uplift as runners push off the ground. The shoes, which can be customized for each runner, will be available later this year at global sporting goods retailer Intersport
. In the meantime, a prototype is on display at The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
: Earlier this year, Adidas released the Boost
, a running shoe with foam pellets in its sole, designed to help runners achieve longer distances while exerting less energy. Now, the brand has unveiled an even more impressive sneaker that also offers a high energy return. The Springblade
has 16 elastic blades intended to propel runners forward by mimicking the movement of springs. Each blade is positioned to offer support relative to the runner’s stride. To create the shoe, Adidas’ designers drew inspiration from springboards and pole vaults, and its Innovation Team tested it for six years. The shoe will finally be available on August 1st.
Under Armour’s Speedform
: After learning that Playtex designed the Apollo spacesuit, Under Armour reimagined its sneaker production process in a comparable way
. The athletic brand commissioned the bra factory that produces its sports gear to manufacture a soft, supportive, and snug-fitting shoe. After spending three years in development, the resultant Speedform
hit stores earlier this summer. The shoe is virtually void of seams, stitching, or insole; instead, it’s composed of a single piece of material that hugs the contours of the wearer’s feet. Weighing less than 6 ounces, it's ideal for racing. Under Armour plans to apply similar technology to other sneakers next year.