New Sport Shoe Technologies
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Sara Shea
Paul Simon once sang about a girl with diamonds on the soles of her shoes.
While diamond-studded footwear may be a bit over the top, the importance of good quality sports shoes cannot be over emphasized. Trends in health awareness and innovative new sports shoe technologies are launching the athletic wear market to new heights.
Over the past five years, leading companies in the sports shoe industry have included Adidas AG, ASICS Corporation, Crocs Inc., Geox, K-Swiss, Nike Inc., New Balance, Puma AG, Reebok, Sketchers USA Inc., Under Armor Inc. Vans, and Wolverine Worldwide Inc. But the world of athletic footwear is evolving rapidly. In fact, it’s about to take a giant leap toward the future. Cutting-edge new sports shoe technologies are already making headlines worldwide. What can we expect to see in the coming months… and years? What’s in store for the future of the sports shoe? This quick overview will help you choose the right shoe for you!
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10. Smart Shoes: The Wearable Future
It may sound like something out of the Jetsons… but the future is already here. Smart shoe technology will soon be synched with sensors in other smart technology to track things like training logs, medical info, mileage, cadence, pace, gait analysis and foot-strike zone. These sensors will give real-time electronic bio feedback. The Altra Running Shoe Company showcased their first Smart Shoe The Altra Halo at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Trade Show. This shoe will be available in stores by December of 2015.
9. Energy Harvesting Shoes: Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Imagine if your shoes could harvest and store the vibrational energy you create as you move and walk. Imagine if that energy could then be used to recharge or power your other technology devices. It may sound like something from Star Trek… but this technology is already under development. Learning to harvest human energy and turn it into electricity will have profound global impact. SolePower is one example of an energy harvesting company designing shoe inserts to harvest and store electricity.
8. Adaptive Fit: The Shoe That Forms to You
The Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit technical performance footwear line has recently been unveiled in France and will be available by spring/summer of 2015. Several other companies are following suit with adaptive fit technologies. The quest for improved breathability led Arc’teryx to develop a shoe liner; specifically, separate shell-liner construction. The combination of a stretchable liner and single-piece, seamless laminated outer shell that are manufactured separately but worn together improves comfort, breathability and durability.
7. Maximalism: An Ultra Boost for the Sole
“Maximal” or “high cushion” running shoes boast extra cushioning, foam, and thicker midsole foams. There are pros and cons to maximalist sport shoes. Some runners claim that maximalist shoes take away from a runner’s connection or “feel” for the ground. Other runners say that’s an acceptable trade-off for longer-wearing comfort and less muscle fatigue. The new Adidas Ultra Boost is one example of a shoe that combines Maximalism and Adaptive Fit. Adidas partnered with chemical manufacturer BASF to design the Ultra Boost. The sole of the Ultra Boost is made from 3,000 individual, pea-sized pellets of thermoplastic polyurethane foam that are heat-welded together. This gives the sole more surface area; thereby providing a runner with more “boost”. The maximalist design of the Ultra Boost sole absorbs more impact, thus returning more energy to the runner.
6. Minimalism: Barely There at All
Minimalist shoes evolved from the grassroots trend in barefoot running. Barefoot running remains a controversial topic. According to medical experts, the better a shoe is at replicating a barefoot situation, the greater the neuro-physiological response: an essential protective mechanism of the human body. Merrell, Vibram Five Fingers, and ZEMgear have been some of the hottest brands in minimalist shoes. But this year, a company called INOV8 is stealing the show with super-lightweight fusion compound running shoes.
5. Shock Absorption: Runners are in for a Shock!
Technology that reduces shock on heel impacts and provides more cushion has been all the rage. GEL Cushioning Systems, and thicker soles associated with maximalism are all aimed at shock absorption. But now, runners are in for something completely different. Spira WaveSpring technology has patented a sole composed of interchangeable shock absorbers. This revolutionary running shoe is guaranteed to put a spring in your step!
4. Eco-Friendly: A Greener Footprint for Footwear
The trend in eco-consciousness is a great stride forward for our whole planet. Fashion and footwear produced through more sustainable manufacturing practices, as well as products produced from recycled materials are becoming increasingly popular. Companies such as Vivo barefoot Eco, Kigo, Sockwa and Newton Running Shoes are leading the race for greener footwear. Recently, Adidas has also gotten into the game with their launch of shoe called Element Voyager. Element Voyager is a running shoe made of 45% less material that includes recycled content.
3. Retro Makes a Comeback: Back to the Future of Footwear
In regard to colors, designs, patterns and styles… retro is certainly making a comeback in athletic wear. For example, the diagonal lines of retro basketball shoes have had a re-birth in contemporary athletic shoe brands like Puma and Asics. One of the keys to success lies in making retro modern. Retro sport shoe styles must have a contemporary fit, and feature modern technologies as well as elements of modern manufacturing.
2. Shoelaces: Time to Tie the Knot with High-Tech Laces
Recently, several innovative shoelace designs and technologies have emerged. But the XTENEX Company is tying the knot with new sports shoe technologies. According to the company website, “XTENEX Accu-Fit Adjustable Compression Shoelaces feature enlarged (auto-blocking) knots that can be manually reduced in diameter size by stretching the lace apart where the reduction is needed, either for lacing or adjustment, release to set your compression preference. Knots create an adjustable compression zone between each set of eyelets to provide a tuned ergonomic fit.” XTENEX laces increase stabilization, reduce painful footwear pressure, relieve foot swelling and aid in healthy blood circulation.
1. Guideshops: The Future of Retail Shops and Shoe Stores
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Guideshops, described as “e-commerce showrooms,” are indeed the future of the traditional retail experience. Guideshops have a small, eco-friendly real estate footprint because they only carry a limited amount of merchandise, often no more than one of each item in each size. Customers can touch and try on the item, and can then place an order for the item online with the help of an in-store associate. Within two days, the purchase will arrive at the customer’s doorstep.
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