Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Running | The Science

With many brands trying to make innovations in the running industry, minimalism seems to be the design brief for all, especially since the arrival of Vibram's barefoot series. It seems Adidas is at the forefront of this race with their Adidas AdiPure Adapt. The facts are very impressive. Weighing in at 4.5 ounces, this shoe is not only light in weight but molds to your feet, which gives you a more natural fit. It is certainly easy to get seduced by the futuristic look of the Adapt with it's barely there aesthetic but it might be a case of form over function. 

The video up top is of heel-striking, which is what most runners do. As the runner is in motion the impact of each stride is absorbed primarily by the heel. The high impact blast that travels up the leg on heel impact is equivalent to two times the runners body weight or someone taking a hammer and pounding the heel of the runner repeatedly. By running barefoot, you tend to adjust away from this kind of impact which our muscles and joints cant really absorb. Instead a toe strike is adopted to compensate for the pain caused by the problematic heel strike as seen in the running style of sprinters. But there are problems. To effectively adopt a toe strike running style a basic speed has to be reached for this technique and style to be comfortable, natural and effective. If this speed is not reached it is inevitable that the heel strike technique has to be used. If the Adapt is genuinely going to be considered as the future of runners it needs to offer a more robust cushioning system to absorb this shock. It would seem that the problem faced by designers to make the shoe lighter without it compensating the comfort and security of the shoe has yet to be satisfactorily answered. 

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