Running Shoes Technology

Advances in design and science mean that many running shoes are more technical than ever before. With advanced computer modeling techniques, creators can now develop shoes that mimic exactly how humans run.UK-based company, Reebok are credited with one of the first purpose-built sports shoes when, in the late 1800′s they released a pair of shoes designed for running that featured spikes. Something that had never been done before, the inventor was a keen runner himself and found that the spikes provided more grip on softer surfaces and helped him to run faster than before.Two of the giants in the sporting footwear industry were actually founded by brothers. Adi Dassler created Adidas, and his brother Rudolph formed Puma. Established in 1925, Adidas also included shoes with spikes to help runners, this time offering a selection of varying styles for runners of different distance.A great deal of research was done in the early 1970′s to determine exactly how humans run. Research that nowadays, thanks to computer software, is much easier than it was then.The research focused on the harm caused to the human body, especially the knee and thigh joints as a result of prolonged running on different surfaces.The results revealed 3 main styles of running; Neutral, Supenation and Pronation.The Natural running style is where the runners foot lands flat on the ground and doesn’t roll either inwards or outwards, but the foot travels in a straight line. This style of running is often the best for endurance running.Pronation – This is where the foot rolls inwards as it hits the ground, and moves to the side as it travels forwards. Common injuries caused by this type of running are Tarsel tunnel syndrome, shin splints and bunyons.Supenation – The style is opposite of Pronation – In this case, the foot rolls outwards. Excessive supenation can cause shin splints and ankle sprains.There are now different versions of running footwear developed to cope with whatever style of running you have. A great deal of shoes use different density of foam in areas of the sole to offer extra and firmer support where needed to minimise the damage caused to your body with excessive running.Other advances in running footwear include the Air Sole from Nike which was created in 1972. The inventor put rubber into his waffle machine at home and stuck the resulting ‘waffle sole’ onto a standard pair of running shoes. Runners who tried the new invention remarked on how good they found it, and the lightweight sole revolutionised the running shoe market.More recently, brands including Skechers have entered the running shoe arena. Their ‘Skechers Resistance Runner’ technology is designed to mimic running in soft sand. The sole softens the impact on the feet in every step, supposedly resulting in a much faster and smoother run.With continuing advances in composite materials and computer modelling, it seems that technology in running shoes will continue to advance further.

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