There's no consensus on whether it's better to have more, or less, cushioning in a running shoe; this article crystallizes some of the larger theories being debated, enlisting the opinions of an evolutionary biologist who's conducted biomechanical analyses of how the human foot operates during running. But while consensus will have to wait, Adidas isn't. Yesterday they announced their new Boost foam material, "a revolutionary cushioning technology which provides the highest energy return in the running industry."
The foundation of the BOOST innovation is centred on its cushioning material. Based on a groundbreaking development process created by adidas partner BASF, the world's leading chemical company, solid granular material (TPU) is literally blown up and turned into thousands of small energy capsules which make up the footwear's distinctive midsole. With their unique cell structure, these capsules store and unleash energy more efficiently in every stride. Tests conducted by the adidas Innovation Team show that the highly durable material found only in Energy Boost products provides the highest energy return in the running industry.
Here's a quick vid demonstrating the base difference between Boost foam, the industry-standard EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) stuff, and concrete:
And here's a closer look at how it's integrated with the sneaker:
So what benefit does this new material actually provide? Adidas' attendant press release, like most, has presumably been carefully picked over by Legal; while they don't outright claim the shoe will improve an athlete's performance, the implication is that the energy returned by Boost foam is retained by the athlete and in turn provides "the secret weapon that can set you apart from the competition," in the words of spokesman and 100m World Champion Yohan Blake. " An added boost of energy is what allows you to push yourself ahead of everyone else to cross that finish line first, especially in a sprint when every millisecond counts."
Consumers will get to decide for themselves later this month. The product debuts on February 27th.