In our cars, seatbelts hold us in place in the event of an impact. Imagine if our footwear had a seatbelt system too, one that could prevent us from rolling our ankle when we place our foot down on uneven terrain. That's essentially when German startup BetterGuards is developing.
Their "adaptive ankle protection" is like an external ligament, but one that's made from a slim hydraulic piston concealed within a strap, connected to a second strap encircling the ankle. When the wearer places their foot down and the shoe wants to go wonky, the piston prevents it from rolling, "reacting three times faster than the human body," the company writes.
The company says the arrangement still permits a natural range of motion, and that the piston is long-lasting and rated for over two million cycles. Hot and cold weather don't affect its performance.
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The first shoe to feature BetterGuards technology will be these forthcoming Terrein Ascent hiking boots, which will offer ankle protection for those traversing rocky terrain.
The technology, however, may also find its way to far smoother surfaces: BetterGuards has been selected by the NBA for their Launchpad program, an initiative to incorporate new technologies to better protect their players' health. Nike and Adidas have surely noticed.
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