Saturday, November 22, 2014

Marathon winner wore his Crocs

Callum Robertson-Barnes lost his running shoes on a school bus, so he ran 21.1km in a pair of black, slightly dirty Crocs. Callum managed to finish 10th out of more than 1200 people in one hour, 23 minutes and three seconds. He was pleasantly surprised at the Crocs' performance. The straps kept them on, and there was only one blister. Fellow race entrants and Callum's mates greeted his impressive effort with a mix of head-shaking amazement, or observations that he was slightly mad.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Powerlace auto-lacing shoe : No longer in the future

Thirty years after Back to the Future II sold the world on the concept of an auto-lacing shoes they are here, finally. A startup called Powerlace in St Hubert, Canada has created a shoe that they claim will pave the way for a paradigm shift in the shoe industry. The company's system uses a pressure plate in the heel to tighten shoes and a level at the lower rear end to release them, with an adjustment puller near the tongue. Powerlace co-founder Frederick Labbé tells Gizmag thought there had to be a better, more efficient way to do it, and seven years ago started tinkering with ideas. After studying traditional methods of shoe manufacturing rhey went through dozens of prototypes, starting with existing shoes that were modified then later building their own from scratch. They developed a mechanism which uses highly-resistant cables to hold the foot in the shoe. Inserting the foot triggers the mechanism, which locks into place at a tension level set by a pull tab on the outside upper section. The tension in the laces can be adjusted separately, too, by moving the lace lock. A thermo polyurethane sole serves as support for the mechanism as well as anchor for the lever that unlocks the mechanism, while the tongue opens right out once pressure is released from the laces. The team has tested the system up to 200,000 lacing cycles, which if it stands up to real-world use would mean the mechanism could operate without a hitch for 68 years if used four times a day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Nike: Genealogy of Innovation campaign

Following successful exhibitions at Nike’s Phenomenal House spaces in Paris, London and Berlin during the summer, the brand launched an immersive online experience. The exhibition showcased forty years of Nike design, thirty years of sneaker culture, and twenty years of Nike Football. It all started with the very first shoe to bear the Swoosh, “The Nike” football boot from 1971, and it concluded with Nike’s latest football boots, the Magista and Mercurial Superfly. Keen to share the experience Nike approached the London-based animation production company Golden Wolf to direct and produce a film that would develop their Genealogy of Innovation campaign and bring it to life. Anew TV commercial called The ‘Genealogy of Innovation’ campaign which shows 43 years of history and 200 shoes in under two minutes.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Top siders: The origins of boat shoes

Boat shoes (or top siders), favoured by the yacht se,t were invented in 1935 by sailor, Paul Sperry looking for shoes that could keep boaties sure footed on wet decks. He noticed his dog could run nimbly over the ice and snow without slipping and carved the sole of his rubber shoes with his penknife to mimicked the grooves on his dog’s paws. His shoes proved so effective he started Sperry Top-Sider , and the U.S. Navy negotiated a deal with the brand to manufacture Top-Siders specifically for them. Australian tennis champion Adrian Quist was impressed with the rubber treads and made the connection with tennis shoes and lawn courts he eventually convincing Dunlop to make the Dunlop Volley for tennis . This was the Godfather of sports trainers and remained unmatched for the next three decades. By the 50s top siders became the shoes to wear following the release of Lisa Birnbach's "The Preppy Handbook."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Deceptive advertising: Sport shoe buyer's beware

Do you believe everything you read in marketing material? Seems a significant number of us do despite laws to help protect consumers from manufacturer’s erroneous claims. Three major shoe manufacturers have recently been involved in class action suits where deceptive advertising was claimed. In all three cases, the companies were found guilty and required to pay multi-million dollar settlements after it was revealed no scientific research was found to support the advertised health claims for their shoes. Organisations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) want national advertisers to understand they must exercise responsibility and ensure any claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science. The situation exemplifies a tendency to prefer theory over evidence. Whilst it might be nice to think wearing a certain pair of shoes can help increase muscle tonality or assist in weight loss, there is simply no evidence to support these claims. So buyer beware.

Read more
Robbins J and Waked E 1997 Hazard of deceptive advertising of athletic footwear. Br J Sports Med. Dec 1997; 31(4): 299–303.